4 Black Jack Tips the Pros Don’t Want You to Know

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When it comes to playing Black Jack, most people think they only need a working knowledge of the basics in order to play. Unfortunately, there are many factors that go into a proper round, and if you don’t know them, you might be left in the dust. Here are a few tips the pros don’t want you to know about playing Black Jack

Pick the Right Seat

You might not think that where you sit is a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it can actually play a big part in your success during the game. By sitting in the end seat, on the far right of the dealer, you’re basically only playing against the dealer with less interference from other players.

The fewer contributing factors during your game, the better your chances of winning. So when deciding on a table, add this to the list of things to be on the lookout for.

Save Your Winnings

Anyone who has played Black Jack knows how engrossed you can get once you hit a winning streak. But don’t let the high of being on top cause you to make short-sighted choices. You should have a spending limit when you start a game, anything you make over that amount, cash it out and don’t touch it.

This approach will limit how much you’ll lose, and you’ll walk away a winner every time.

Know What Game You’re Playing

There are a lot of variations in the game and each table may be operating under different rules and limits. When deciding on a table, make sure you know a few things before sitting down.

First, make sure you’re at a standard Black Jack table, and know what the maximum and minimum required bets are for each hand. This will save you money and embarrassment when the game starts. You should also be aware of in-game rules like which cards you can split and double down. You should also know if you’re able to surrender during the game

The more information you have going in to a game, the better you will be at making decisions during the game.

Find a Good Dealer

If you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino, choosing a good dealer can have a big effect on your game. They should be welcoming and friendly, and make your game an enjoyable experience. If you don’t get along with your dealer, this can affect your attitude and decision making during the game, and lead you to make poor choices.

If you find that playing with a real dealer isn’t ideal for you, online Black Jack is a great alternative. You still get the rush of the game and all the subtle nuances that make it so thrilling, without having to tip or make small talk.

Black Jack may seem like a simple game, and even though you know the basics, there’s always something left to learn. Do yourself a favor before your next game and keep these handy tips in mind. What are some of your tips for playing a good hand of Black Jack?

Understanding Black Jack

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Black Jack looks like a simple game with simple rules. Once you get involved, though, you might find that other players use terms you haven’t heard before. This list of Black Jack terms should help you understand the game so you can keep up with everyone else.

Advantage Player – A player who uses mathematical strategies to gain an advantage over the house. This requires exceptional skill. Most casinos ban advantage players because they are “cheating.”

 

Image via Flickr by Travis Isaacs

Ante – A bet required of all players to enter the game.

Bankroll – The amount of money that a person has to bet. It could refer to the total amount, including any money currently involved in a wager, or the amount of money the player still has to bet with.

Black Jack – The highest hand in the game: an ace paired with a 10, jack, queen, or king.

Burn Card – A card that gets pulled from the deck to help prevent cheating. It’s usually the first card of a deck after it has been shuffled and cut. Some casinos also burn a card each time a new dealer takes over a table.

Bust – Going over 21. The person who busts automatically loses the game.

Bust Card – The card that causes a dealer or player to exceed 21.

Double Down – This is when a player doubles her original bet to get another card. In certain circumstances, it’s a smart move that can double a player’s winnings.

Edge – Also known as the House Edge. It’s the statistical advantage that dealers, or the house, has over the players.

First Base – The player sitting at the dealer’s left. She receives cards first.

Hit – Means that you want another card.

Insurance – A betting strategy where players will wager money that the dealer has a Black Jack.

Last Base – The person sitting to the dealer’s right. She always receives cards last. Last Base is also called the Anchor.

Pat – A hand with at least 17 points. It could potentially win the game, but taking another card will almost certainly lead to a bust.

Push – When the dealer and a player have the same points. In this case, the player does not win any money, but she does get to keep her bet.

Stand – When a player wants to keep her cards without receiving any additional cards.

Split – When a player is dealt a pair. She can choose to split the cards into two separate hands, but she must place another wager to do so. Most experts advise that players always split when they can.

Stiff – A difficult hand that cannot win without another card but will likely bust if another card is added. For instance, a player with a 9 and 6 has 15 points in her hand. This almost certainly cannot win the game. Any card valued over 6 points, however, will put the hand over 21 points.

Have you heard other Black Jack terms that aren’t listed here? Ask about them and a more experienced player will certainly help you understand the term better.

The 3 Casino Games With the Best Odds

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Whether you go to the casino for fun or to make some serious dough, you’ll want to consider playing the games that offer you the best chance at winning. Most people know slot machines offer the worst odds, but here are the three games with the best odds.

3. Baccarat

This little-known game offers excellent odds to players. The reason this card game has remained somewhat obscure is that historically, casinos only offered access to baccarat to the highest rollers. However, smaller versions of the game have migrated beyond the roped-off areas of casinos, allowing players to place a bet as low as $5 or $10 to play.

Baccarat is essentially a guessing game of who will win. In this game, winning means having a two or three-card hand that gets closest to nine, based on card values within the game. The dealer or house wins slightly more than half the time, making the odds as low as 1.17 percent.

2. Craps

The idea behind this game is simple, just bet on the outcome of a roll or multiple rolls of a pair of dice. However, the execution of this game is complex, which is one reason it attracts a lot of fans. Normal bets have odds ranging from 1.4 to 16.7 percent. To increase your odds of winning at this game, make an odds bet after the roller has established a point by throwing dice that add up to 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. By placing a bet on single, double, or ten times the odds of the point coming up again before there’s a seven, you reduce the advantage of the house almost to zero.

1. Blackjack

Blackjack is a game where players aim for 21 points. It’s a wildly popular table game that’s even been featured in major motion pictures. Strategists try to use various techniques to improve their odds. Even without counting, this game ranks high among games with the best odds.

Players who use no strategy and merely aim to get as close as possible to 21 can expect the house to win about 10 to 20 percent of the time. Those who recognize that beating the dealer (as opposed to just trying for 21 without going over) is the object of the game, and use strategies to do so, can improve their odds of winning. There are also various approaches to counting cards that enhance your chances of walking away with winnings. Depending how adept you become at card counting, you can expect odds of zero to two percent.

Regardless of which game you choose, be sure you have a strong grasp of the basic rules. All three of these games have the potential to help you make bank, but it’s not as easy as opening up your wallet and putting money on the table. If you read up on these games before visiting a casino, odds are you’ll fair better than those who haven’t done their homework.

4 of the Biggest Casinos in the World

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While Americans are often quick to consider Las Vegas and Atlantic City the gambling centers of the world, casinos have a long worldwide history, and famously large resorts dot every continent vying for tourists to visit. As such, many countries battle for the largest resort-style casinos to host gaming enthusiasts daily. If you long for adventure, chance, and spontaneity, consider hitting one of these four jet-setter’s playing paradises, among the largest in the world.

1. The Venetian Macao (Macau, China)

A far stretch from American’s gambling grounds, the lavish 546,000 square feet Venetian Macao, among many of the Macao Cotai Strip’s casinos controlled by Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands (LVS), boasts 3,000 hotel rooms and guest capacity to match the more than 3,000 gaming machines and 2,000 slot machines. Along with its three large shopping centers, health and wellness centers for the fitness minded, 24 restaurants and bars, four pools, entertainment like Cirque du Soleil’s Zaia show, and of course, gondola rides, and this resort puts anyone in a winning mood. It’s the largest casino in China’s extremely profitable casino sector.

2. Foxwoods Resort Casino (Ledyard, Connecticut)

Centered in Ledyard, Connecticut, it’s perhaps the last locale one might expect casinos to flourish. The Ivy Leagues seem more like a state signature, however, the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation owns the 340,000 square feet signature blue-and-white Foxwoods Resort Casino. Foxwoods provides visitors more than 6,300 slot machines to play, with a total of over 7,000 gaming machines to try their luck. Including the Foxwoods MGM Grand casino, the property hosts six casinos, totaling to 4,700,000 square feet of gaming and entertainment. The Foxwoods Resort hosts 29 restaurants and bars, including the famous Hard Rock Cafe franchise, and a two-story kid’s arcade to keep players of all ages occupied, entertained, and begging to come back.

3. Tusk Rio Casino Resort (Klerksdorp, South Africa)

At 266,360 square feet, the Tusk Rio Casino Resort may not measure up to the larger casinos of Macao and Las Vegas, but it’s still the largest casino in the Southern Hemisphere. The Tusk Rio brings the spirit, color, and vivacity of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro Carnival to South Africa in a first-class resort, located just a few hours from Johannesburg. Tusk Rio provides 257 gaming machines, on both smoking and non-smoking floors, 70 plush hotel rooms, and two restaurants promising exotic and indulgent cuisine adventures. Nothing encompasses the casino spirit quite like the samba spirit of Rio’s Carnival, but set in South Africa, the lifestyle beats with a stronger heart.

4. Casino Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal)

The largest casino in Europe, the 165,000 square feet Casino Lisboa sits in the center of the capital’s Park of the Nations and marks a major landmark that facilitated Parque Mayer’s rehabilitation in 2006. This casino is the sister-property to the Casino Lisboa in Macau, but offers an urban background in the decadent theatre district instead of sitting among many similar attractions in a usual tourist town. With more than 1,000 gaming machines, seven restaurants, and 1,000 hotel rooms, the resort displays a cool demeanor in a historically and culturally rich city that trumps the more traditional casinos of Monte Carlo.

Among the best spots for big-spenders with ready hands, these casinos take luxury and gaming to the extreme. You’ll feel like a celebrity at these resorts and go home feeling successful. Why not take a chance?

5 Reasons to Call a Bluff

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Playing poker to win involves careful betting strategy and knowing when to call a bluff, as well as knowing when to not. Learning how to spot a bluff from across the table will help you not only win, but advance to tougher games with higher stakes.

1. Stress Signs

Stress shows up differently for each individual, but it’s easy to spot to the observant player. Look for signs of physical stress in your opponent, like sweating, blushing, and jittery movements. Some people will bounce their leg or foot up and down as a way to release pent-up energy and anxiety. Sweat almost always comes in a stressful situation and is usually accompanied by flushed cheeks. Amateur poker players won’t be very good at controlling their outward appearance when it comes to high stakes.

2. Body Language

Body language is an expertly clever way to tell when someone is lying. All it takes is a few unconscious movements, and the bluffer’s façade will fade before your eyes. Watch for movements like a player wiping his hands on his pants; it probably means he is sweating and nervous. If another gambler covers his mouth with his hand, he is probably trying to hide a nervous tic. Refusing to make eye contact is a trick from the pros; if a player is unwilling to meet your eyes, it’s a safe bet he’s hiding something, like a weak hand.

3. Facial Expressions

Professional poker players do their best to hide their faces by wearing hats and looking down to keep others from reading their expressions. Sometimes disappointment at a weak hand is impossible to disguise and will fleet across a player’s face in the seconds before resuming a neutral composure. Look for a raise in eyebrows, a twitch in the corner of a mouth, and a hard swallow. All of these fleeting facial expressions are dead giveaways for bluffing.

4. Vocal Pitch

While someone can have an unreadable poker face, listen to their voice. Take note of their natural octave before the hand starts. If during the game you can tell that their voice has gone higher or lower, they are nervous and stressed out. Correctly noticing this sign is usually hard to learn because you have to go off memory, but once you’ve mastered it, this trick is invaluable.

5. Betting Patterns

You can tell a lot about a person by studying their betting patterns. If you notice a player folding frequently when asked to re-raise, he is a very careful better. Chances are in your favor for not calling his bluff, because he won’t risk a lot of money unless he has a strong hand. It’s just as important to recognize those who don’t bluff.

Try a few of these tricks on your friends for practice before you play with the big sharks. Remember, the more experienced poker players are very skilled in hiding their telltale signs of bluffing. If you’re looking to make some quick cash with little effort, try playing at an amateur table.

6 Ways to Spend Your Winnings if You Hit the Jackpot at the Casino

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Dreams sometimes do come true, and if you’re on your way to Vegas or Atlantic City you need to have a plan in place in case your ship comes rolling in. Allow yourself some daydreams along the trip and create a game plan for your earnings.

1. Set Goals for the Winnings

Winners can blow any amount of money. Consider William Post, who won over $16 million, and now survives on Social Security. Determine how much you’ll allow yourself to blow, how much needs to go into savings for the future, how much you want to set aside for heirs, and how much you’ll donate to a charitable cause. Commit to what you truly want the winnings to mean in the long run. 

2. Pay Off Debt First

A common mistake by winners is to blow the money on all the fun stuff, and neglect to take care of the financial obligations they held when they first won. The first thing to do with winnings is pay off every debt you owe, including the home, cars, credit cards, student loans, and any unpaid tax debt. Then you can start your new life fresh, and creditors won’t spoil your fun with harassing phone calls — or worse — lawsuits.

3. Make Solid Investments

Invest the money you’re setting aside for the future in an FDIC secured account, such as a Certificate of Deposit at a bank. The federal government guarantees FDIC accounts, meaning you can get your money back (up to a certain amount) from the government if the bank goes under for some reason. Other investment opportunities are available, but are less secure. For example, investing in stocks can bring huge returns, but there is also a chance you’ll lose some or all of your investment if the stocks fail to perform.

4. Give to Charity

Many winners give some of their winnings to causes close to their hearts. For example, if you’re passionate about helping the homeless, saving animals from abuse or euthanization, offering opportunities for abused or neglected children, or protecting abused women, consider giving a sum to organizations serving the cause you most admire. Most of these charities operate on donations alone, and a significant lump sum can considerably help their ability to serve.

5. Decide Who’s In

Unfortunately, friends and family members begin crawling out of nowhere and trying to get their hands on the money you win at the casino. Before you win is a good time to decide who you do want to share with, and who you don’t. Remember, this is your money and your decision. Don’t let people who would ignore you if you didn’t have the money wiggle their way in to take the money. Never fall for guilt trips or sob stories, because you’ll hear as many as you’re willing to listen to until you realize the money’s gone and you didn’t enjoy any of it.

6. Allow Yourself Some Spontaneous Spending

Wisdom in spending and saving is important, but so is having some fun. Don’t be such a miser that you won’t afford yourself a few well-deserved spending sprees. After you’ve paid off your debts, invested, and showed your generous side, indulge in a beautiful home, a spectacular vacation, or a super cool car.

What’s the point in winning if it’s all work and no play?

6 Ways to Make Money With Your Money

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As the old saying goes: you have to spend money to make money, and there are many ways to make cash out of your coinage. However, not all moneymaking schemes are created equal. Read on to learn all about the practical and fun ways you can spend to save up over time. Here are two ways to make money broken down: investing and gambling, with six ways total.

Investing

Investing is a more pragmatic means to an end. Although it isn’t a failsafe, it still offers some security – it’s just not as fun. Consider the following ways to invest money to make money:

1. High Yield Bonds – A high yield bond, or a certificate of deposit (CD), is a method of tying up money that results in earnings over time. A financial institute typically requires a starting balance to open a CD. The duration of deposit could be anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the investment of your choosing. Each CD offers a different compounded daily amount that accrues over the CD period.  

2. Retirement Funds – Investing in your retirement may not payoff right away, but it’s a smart way to invest for the future. Types of retirement funds include 401K, IRA, Profit-Shares, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), and more.  

3. Mutual Funds – A mutual fund is generally managed by a broker. It involves grouping your assets with a sum of funds from other investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The underlying logic of mutual funds is that they provide diverse investments — in stocks, bonds and cash — without requiring investors to make separate purchases and trades.”

Gambling

Gambling, both literally and figuratively is slightly risky business, but the payoff can be huge. Plus, it’s a lot more thrilling than dealing with a stuffy broker. Consider the following ways to gamble money to make money:

4. The Lottery Depending on how often you play, the lottery can be a fairly inexpensive way to gamble your money and possibly make money in the near future. Forbes notes, “the odds of winning the big jackpot are ridiculous (1 in 259 million for the Mega Millions lottery),” but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.

5. Online Gambling – Online gambling offers a better return on investment (ROI) than the lottery – plus it’s a lot more fun to play. The interactive aspect of gambling ensures you have more control over your fate. So play to win and your money just might grow.

6. The Stock Market The stock market is definitely a figurative way to gamble. If you play it by yourself, there’s no assurance that you’ll win. There’s also no real guarantee that a broker can increase your returns either, but at least you can make an educated bet. According to CNN money, when you invest, you’ll want to differentiate stock decisions by, “company size (measured by market capitalization), sector, and types of growth patterns. Investors may talk about large-cap vs. small-cap stocks, energy vs. technology stocks, or growth vs. value stocks.”

How do you spend money to make money? What’s your favorite investment? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

5 of the Biggest Slot Machine Payouts Ever Made

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It’s no secret that you can win big when you hit the slot machines. It’s one of the easiest games to play in a casino because there is no strategy to winning, everything is completely random. You have to rely on good old fashioned luck and perfect timing to hit the jackpot. Here are five of the biggest slot machine payouts ever made.

1. Desert Inn

On January 26, 2000, Cynthia Jay-Brennan, a cocktail waitress, set a record win of $34.9 million dollars on a Megabucks slot machine. This is currently the highest payout of the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Nevada. Only weeks after winning, tragedy struck her family when her sister was fatally hit by a drunk driver. This event started a famous myth that bad luck comes to those after they win big, but this is only a superstition and doesn’t deter people from all over the world taking a chance by hitting the slots.

2. Palace Station

Lady Luck was on one retired flight attendant’s side on November 15, 1998 when the 67-year-old put $300 in a Megabucks machine and won $27.5 million dollars. It wasn’t her first time winning either, she also won once before, hitting a jackpot of $680,000 on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine, proving anybody can win big as long as they’re willing to play. Her record win of over $27 million dollars was the first time any Megabucks machine had ever paid out over $20 million.

3. Bally’s

Johanna Huendl was on her way to breakfast at Bally’s on March 27, 2002 when she decided to play a Megabucks machine on a whim. The 74-year-old put in only $170 dollars and misread the meter, thinking she had only won $2 million dollars. Huendl says she would have been happy with just that, but as it turns out she scored $22.6 million dollars, enough to pay for breakfast and still have money left to spend for the rest of her life.

4. Caesar’s Palace

Caesar’s Palace is known for its extravagant shows, fancy drinks, and its high stakes gambling. On June 1, 1999, a 49-year-old Illinois native and business man deposited $10 into a Megabucks machine and won on his very first spin. Total payout? Oh, just $21.3 million dollars.

5. Excalibur Hotel and Casino

The biggest ever payout from a Megabucks machine was to a 25-year-old man visiting Las Vegas to see the NCAA Basketball Tournament in March of 2003. The lucky young man won $39.7 million dollars by investing $100 into one hot slot machine. That’s a payout of $1.5 million dollars every year for the next twenty-five years. Imagine the business he did with that.

The next time you’re in a casino, try out a few slot machines, and you too could hit a record-setting jackpot to enjoy for the rest of your life.

Roulette’s Historic Beginnings

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Image via Flickr by Hakan Dahlstrom

 

Just like gambling itself, Roulette has a rich and enticing history. From the way it came about to how it’s played today, Roulette is one of the most popular and well-known games in the casino world. Here is a little history lesson about this amazing game that comes with a huge fan-base and even bigger story.

Where it all Began

Like most games, there’s controversy over how Roulette came into being. The most commonly accepted theory is that a French scientist, Blaise Pascal, created Roulette while on his monastic retreat in 1655. It was first played in a Paris casino, where it was widely accepted by gamblers. The second theory is practically identical to the first, but instead of Blaise Pascal, it was a French monk who invented the game.

The third and final theory says that French Dominican monks modified an old Tibetan game where the object was to position 37 small animal statues into the magical number 666. The Tibetan game came from China, but the method of game-play was never recorded. The monks modified the game by transposing the 37 animal statues into numbers 0 through 36 and positioning them randomly on a spinning wheel.

Roulette’s Ancestors

Roulette is French for “small wheel,” pointing once again to French origin. There are, however, English ancestors with names such as “Roly Poly” and “Even-Odd.” Italy also has some evidence pointing to possible Roulette ancestors in games like “Biribi” and “Hoca.” While none of the games are exact replicas, they do have very similar objectives and rules.

Famous Players

In 1873, a gambler by the name of Joseph Jagger made Roulette history by hiring six clerks to record the outcomes from a Roulette wheel at Beaux Arts Casino in Monte Carlo. He discovered that one number came up more times than any other number and won $450,000 before the casino’s management caught on. Jagger is known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank in Monte Carlo,” a title made popular by the Fred Gilbert song. In 1891, gambler and con-man Charles Wells won over two million Francs and forced the wheel to close after he took all its money.

How its Played

The game itself is basically a spinning wheel on the inside of a big bowl. The dealer releases a small ball into the spinning wheel, and it rolls until it lands on number 0 through 38. Sometimes the numbers only go as high as 37 on Latin American and European wheels. Before the dealer releases the ball, gamblers place bets on the number they believe the ball will rest on by placing chips over a number on a mat or on different sets of numbers (even, odd, red, or black).

There’s no questioning the popularity of Roulette. It’s found in casinos everywhere and is always one of the busiest tables. While its origin is still under speculation, Roulette fared much better than its English and Italian ancestors. Even though it seems like a game of chance, there is definitely strategy involved. The rules are simple, and every spin is an exciting marvel for even the most seasoned gambler.