How to Calculate Your Odds (and then Brazenly Defy Them)

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Whether you’re playing the lottery or playing roulette, it’s important to understand your odds. When you can calculate what you’re up against, you can plan properly and improve your chances of going home a winner.

Understanding the Odds

Odds are used frequently in gaming when you’re determining the likelihood of a given outcome. If there are three possible outcomes, the odds of any one occurring are typically 1 in 3. However, this gets more complex as you begin to consider other factors.

For example, if a game has six possible outcomes but two of them are winning and four are losing, your odds are 2 to 4. As with all fractions, you would simplify this to 1 to 2. Ideally, these two numbers will be as close to each other as possible. Odds of 1 in 2 are obviously far superior to 1 in 10.

Putting it into Gaming Terms

Figuring your odds in any casino game is tricky. You have many different outcomes to consider and multiple ways of getting there. Fortunately, the odds for most popular casino games are widely published so you can look them up quickly and see what you’re up against.

These odds are typically represented in a percentage called the house edge. The lower the house edge, the better your chances of winning. For example, blackjack has a house edge of just 0.28 percent, making it one of the best games you can play. Keno has a house edge of 25 to 29 percent, making it harder to win.

Tipping the Odds in Your Favor

If you’re looking to increase your odds of winning (and who isn’t), there are several things you can do to subtly tip the odds in your favor. Don’t worry, these tactics won’t result in broken legs or get you kicked out of a casino.

The single smartest thing you can do to improve your odds of winning is understand the game. This applies to any game of chance that you may encounter, even those that don’t require much skill. If you’re buying a lottery ticket and you want to know your odds of winning, consider how many others are purchasing tickets. If you’re one of a million, your odds of winning are the same. If you enter a small raffle at work with only a few dozen entries, your odds of winning increase significantly.

With casino games, you will improve your odds by making sure you understand all the rules. Your chances of winning are always lower if you don’t understand the basic principles.

Keeping Your Head for the Long Haul

Always approach gaming with an eye to the future. Know how much you can afford to bet before you start to play and never go over your limit. Payout percentages only pan out over the long haul so you’re sure to lose if you wait to see those exact odds. Stop when you hit your limit or while you’re happily ahead.

You can’t win at every game or contest, so calculate the odds and determine that you’ll be content to lose when the occasion arises.

Looking to the Past: A Brief History of Gambling

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We all know what gambling consists of, but have you ever been curious about how it got its start? Gambling has a rich, cultural history that goes back further than you think. Here is a brief history of gambling to help you understand the games and appreciate the ideas behind them.

Gambling in its Earliest Form

Gambling was developed as a form of entertainment, and is in fact one of the first types of ever created. Evidence points to gambling starting as far back as 2300 B.C. in China. It was also used as a simple way to determine who should rule certain territories, rather than fighting a nasty war. Around the year 100 A.D., King Olaf from Norway and King Olaf of Sweden gambled with dice to see who should take over the District of Hising. It was back to back rolls of sixes that landed the Swedish king his new land.

Ancient Cultures

Almost everyone from ancient Rome gambled. From nobles to peasants, the idea of chance and luck drew all citizens together for betting and games. Just like many of today’s laws, Emperor Augustus had certain rules that forbade gambling except for Saturnalia, a week-long festival celebrating the god over Saturn. If citizens were caught gambling any other time of the year, they were forced to pay a hefty fine and sometimes even their lives.

Later on, Romans were allowed to play games of chance, and it is said that Commodus used the Imperial Palace as the first casino to help pay for debts incurred during the previous and currents reigns.

Evolution of Online Gambling

Once upon a time, those who wanted to gamble would have to take a bus, train, car, or even an airplane in order to play. The Internet changed everything, allowing people to gamble online in their very own homes. Most people were skeptical of online gambling in the beginning because they weren’t sure how it worked. It started out as simple games that people could play without betting any actual currency, but soon casinos were creating their own websites allowing people to use real money as they played.

Why People Gamble

Gambling is one of the most exciting forms of entertainment in America. But why do people love it so much? The reasons vary for each person, the majority however, agree that they gamble to get rich. The idea of winning a huge jackpot is so appealing that people can’t help but play. You can’t ever win if you never try. With the right betting strategy and knowledge of rules, you can play any game and have a real shot at going home with the gold.

The history of gambling goes back almost as far as the history of humanity. From the King of Sweden to the ancient Romans, and now to present day America, it seems gambling has a bright future.

5 Tips so You Don’t go Broke Gambling

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Gambling online is fun, but you want to protect yourself from mistakes that could cost you a lot of money. There’s nothing fun about losing your mortgage payment in a poker game. Follow these five tips so you don’t go broke gambling. You get to have all of the fun without the worry.

1. Know How Much Money You Can Lose

Everyone wants to win, but not everyone can win. That’s why you should enter every game knowing how much money you can afford to lose. Perhaps you have an extra $100 that you don’t really need. If you win, you’ll be happy, but if you lose at least you won’t go broke. That’s because you thought ahead and set aside money that you could afford to lose comfortably.

2. Know How to Play the Games

Learn the game’s rules before you start playing. No two games are exactly alike. Spend some time looking at odds, winning hands, and etiquette. Once you know the game on a theoretical level, get some playing experience by making small bets. Eventually, you’ll understand the game well enough that you can make larger bets when appropriate.

3. Create a Bankroll

If you don’t want to set aside a specific amount of gambling money each month, then you can create a bankroll that you always use. When you win money, the winnings go into the bankroll. When you lose, money comes out.

Do your best to keep some money in the bankroll so you never have to access your personal funds.

4. Set a Loss Limit

This is slightly different than gambling with money you can afford to lose. When you set a loss limit, you usually base that limit on how much you have in your bankroll. For instance, you might decide that you can lose up to 50 percent of your gambling bankroll before you walk away.

Maybe you’re playing against other people who know the game better than you. Maybe you just aren’t having a lucky night. Regardless, setting a loss limit tells you when it’s time to pack up and go home (or log out of your online account).

5. Set a Win Limit

Most people think about how much money they can afford to lose. That’s a smart way to make sure you never go broke gambling. However, setting a winning limit could also help.

When players win several hands in a row, they often start to think that they are on a “hot streak” or that they have luck on their side. That’s a dangerous illusion that can tempt you to keep placing bets even after you start to lose. You can decide to set a specific monetary limit or a percentage of your bankroll. That largely depends on how much cash you have in your bankroll and what goals you have set.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you choose your win limit as long you stop while you’re ahead instead of giving other players a chance to earn their money back.

What strategies do you use to manage your gambling money? Have you ever lost more than you should?

The 5 Best Casino Movies

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Casino movies can fall into practically any genre, including comedy, action, and crime. These five movies take radically different views of what can happen in a casino.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

The scenario: a drug-addicted boozehound and his lawyer go on a paranoid adventure through Las Vegas while covering the Mint 400 desert race on 1971. Breaking every law of the land, the pair manage to evade trouble, even though his psychedelic-fueled cohort almost murders Hunter S. Thompson, the central character and the book’s author.

However, what sounds like little more than a movie about drugs and lawlessness, has a deeper meaning about the American Dream and what freedom means in the United States. It’s also hilarious, creepy, and confusing.

Ocean’s 11 (2001)

The 2001 Ocean’s 11 is a remake of a 1960’s version that starred the Rat Pack. The Rat Pack made the original a success, so it makes sense that the remake has a star-studded cast of actors including George Clooney, Bernie Mac, and Brad Pitt.

This caper story puts challenges a group of professional thieves to do something seemingly impossible: rob three of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas, at the same time. They have a brilliantly orchestrated plan, but you’ll have to watch to find out whether they can get away with such a crazy caper.

Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale introduced the world to a Daniel Craig, who plays Bond as a tough, rough-around-the-edges character. Bond still enjoys his martinis shaken not stirred, and he still loves beautiful women, but he’s not above cracking lewd jokes while getting tortured. While the movie’s plot focuses on an intense card game that could give millions of pounds to a terrorist organization, it’s mostly about how the new Bond character interacts with the world. He’s not as suave, but he’s more aggressive and, at times, frighteningly intense. Any man who can restart his own heart is the kind of man audiences want to watch.

The Cooler (2003)

What do casinos do when a player has a hot night? They send in a cooler. That’s someone with such incredibly bad luck that it rubs off on everyone near him. The particular cooler, played by William H. Macy, in this movie sees a beacon of hope when a young waitress takes an interest in him. Unfortunately, bad luck continues to follow him wherever he goes.

This one isn’t a feel-good movie by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is interesting and well-made.

Casino (1995)

The title pretty much says it all. This three-hour epic directed by Martin Scorsese takes a close look at the ugly side of Las Vegas, including mobsters played by (who else?) Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro. If you’ve ever heard stories about how the seedy Las Vegas underworld controls the whole city, they probably came from this movie (or the true events that Scorsese used to craft the film).

What are your favorite casino movies? Do you think The Hangover counts?

5 Reasons It’s Better to Gamble Online

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The next time you think about going to a casino, consider these five reasons that gambling online is better. You might find yourself turning on your computer instead of hopping in your car.

Online Gambling Costs Less Than Going to a Casino

When you gamble online, you don’t have to pay for things like travel, hotel rooms, and drinks. Even if you live in a popular gambling town, you still save money by playing at home. When you venture out to the casino, you will have to pay for gas and parking.

At home, you just use the computer you already own. Well, you have to pay for the electricity you use, but that’s always cheaper than going to the casino.

Online Casinos Give You More Options

Brick-and-mortar casinos only have so much room on the game floor. They do a good job filling those spaces with poker tables, slots, and roulette wheels, but they cannot possibly offer the diversity that online casinos give you.

When you play online, you get to enjoy any game you like. You also have a nearly unlimited number of tables to choose from. Poker tables can fill up at the casino. When that happens, you have to wait for someone to get up before you can sit down to play. Online, you just choose another table. There’s always a seat open somewhere.

No Second-hand Smoke

Casinos don’t want players leaving the tables for anything. If someone gets up, there’s a chance that he might not sit back down. That’s one reason that so many casinos lobby against smoking bans. If you go to Las Vegas, expect second-hand smoke exposure. Given that so many places have already banned indoor smoking, those conditions can bother smokers as much as non-smokers.

By playing at home, you get to do what you prefer. If you like to smoke while playing, then you can do so. If you don’t like smoke, you don’t have to tolerate it.

Fewer Distractions

Even if you have a kid yelling in the other room, a dog barking at the backdoor, and a neighbor cutting his lawn, you still have fewer distractions at home than in a casino.

The flashing lights and beeping noises in a casino make it very hard to concentrate. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid these distractions unless you spend a lot of money playing in a private poker game in an isolated room.

The last thing you need when trying to decide whether you should bet, is more distraction. At home, at least you can retreat to a quiet room.

Bonuses!

Many online casinos give you sign-up bonuses. That means you have extra money from the moment you open your account. Casinos will also give you bonuses, but only if you spend a lot of money. They don’t hand out honeymoon suites to people playing the nickel slots.

However, when you go online, there’s a good chance that you will get a bonus before you even play your first hand.

What are some of your favorite things about gambling online? Do you find that it’s similar to playing in a casino, or are the experiences too different to even compare?

5 of the Weirdest Casinos in the World

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A whopping thirty-eight percent of Americans have been to Las Vegas. And sure, it’s the Mecca for gambling-lovers. But seriously, tourists need to widen their sights. Casinos are about more than winning money–it’s about the experience. If you’re lamenting lost dough, then the experience wasn’t crazy enough. Not insane enough. Not outside this world. Walking into the weirdest casino in the world–now that’s a whole new thrill that beats gaining a few hundred at the slot machine.

Desert Cave Hotel in South Australia

Ever think you’d be able to gamble underground? The Desert Cave Hotel is in the thick of opal mining territory in South Australia. Original settlers lived underground to stay cool, and this hotel is no different. It boasts high ceilings, spacious cool rooms, underground shops, café, bar, and of course, a casino.

Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota

Who would have though that a little Casino would make big news? But they did, and here’s why: in 2012, Black Bear broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bacon-cheeseburger. It weighed 2,014 pounds and was ten feet wide. They even used a crane to flip it. Any resort willing to put that much work into one burger ought to have an epic casino—if you want small-town weird, it’s at Black Bear.

Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek, CO

And then there’s weird as in paranormal. Cripple Creek, Colorado is infamous for its other-worldly sightings. The whole town has an old-flavor feel, and the Imperial Hotel shows it best. Built in 1896, the hotel is old-fashioned and stately, but hides secrets. Its original owner, George Long, had a daughter who was mentally disabled and still roams the halls. George himself comes down and plays the slot machines after closing the gaming room at night.

Resort World in Genting, Malaysia

Old-fashioned doesn’t fly here. This casino is accessible by skyway, and guests regular roll over the mountains from Kuala Lumpur in a skyway car. The tropical views are breathtaking, both from the skyway and from the casino itself. Perched on a mountain-top, rumor has it that guests who lost too much at the casino would throw themselves off of the mountain’s cliffs. That kind of desperation might be legendary, but this casino’s existence is not.

Prairie Knights Casino and Resort in the Middle of Nowhere

If you thought a skyway was remote, check out Prairie Knights. Located in Fort Yates, North Dakota, this giant, brightly-lit, spacious casino appears to have been dropped by aliens in the middle of a deserted, barren pasture. If you fly in the nearest airport, you’ll drive for about two hours at 75 mph before you get to the resort. The view from the car window will be spectacular, if a little desolate. And the people are friendly. But the night life? Don’t count on it, unless you like hobnobbing with cows.

From city to desert to haunted houses to tropical forests to the land down under, there are hundreds of havens for your weary weekend. So next time you check flights to Vegas, consider some new and unusual locations.

5 Myths About Gambling

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Just about every gambler, whether a beginner or a pro, believes some myths about games. Whether it’s a lucky coin or confused mathematics, gambling and mythology seem linked forever. Learning about these myths will take you one-step closer to playing responsibly without any delusions.

1. My System is Infallible

Before claiming that you have an infallible gambling system, consider who sets the rules of play. The casino does. That’s why at the end of the day, the casino always wins. You may have good luck that nets you a profit, but you can’t rely on a gambling system to always help you win.

If casinos didn’t make more money than they handed out, then they would go out of business. That’s why there is always a house edge. Always.

At best, a good gambling system tells you to stop playing before you lose all of your money. At worst, they encourage you to make absurd bets that have nearly zero chance of winning.

2. Some Slot Machines Are Hot or Due

The very nature of this myth reveals its own fallacy. On one hand, gamblers say that a “hot” machine pays out more than others do. On the other hand, gamblers say that a slot machine that hasn’t paid out for a long time is “due” to let someone win.

The truth is that you can’t predict what a slot machine will do. Even the programmers who design video slots can only predict averages. As a player, you don’t have a chance of knowing when a slot machine will favor you.

3. I Don’t Have a Problem if I Can Afford It

Some people get addicted to gambling. That addiction has nothing to do with how much money you do or do not have. Having a lot of money might make it easier for you to live as a gambling addict, but it doesn’t eliminate the problem.

Many of the negative effects of a gambling addiction don’t even involve money. An addiction also demands time. Addicts feel an uncontrollable urge to gamble even when they need to spend time with their families and friends. Eventually, relationships suffer.

 

4. Poker is a Game of Skill, Not Chance

Playing poker definitely requires skill, and some people obviously have more skill at playing the game than other people. However, that doesn’t mean the outcome of a poker game solely relies on the player’s skill.

Several random factors that influence win poker. You can’t control what cards you get and you can’t control how other people will bet. In addition, you can’t control whether someone will take more cards or bow out of the game.

The best skill you have in poker is deciding whether to stay in the game or get out. That just means you could lose less money, but it doesn’t mean you won’t lose.

5. If I Had a Gambling Problem, I Would Know It

Actually, you might be the last person to know it. The addicted brain is a master of deceit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s addicted to drugs, gambling, or anything else.

The truth is that most gambling addicts don’t want to admit their problems. They want to hide them. That’s why families often need interventions to stop unhealthy behaviors.

What other gambling myths have you heard? Get them out in the open so everyone has the information they need to enjoy games responsibly.

4 of the Best Casino Resorts in Europe

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Nothing combines glamour and culture quite like the casinos of Europe, some of the most popular gambling centers in the world. Whether evoking Old World charm, offering the sense of exclusivity and mystique, or simply creating a paradise where indulgence reigns, these player destinations attract heavy-wallet enthusiasts to gamble on foreign grounds. Take a chance on these four best of the best European casino resorts.

1. The Casino de Monte-Carlo (Monte-Carlo, Monaco)

Possibly the most iconic casino in Europe, the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco, established in 1863, is a hot-spot not only for casino lovers, but for celebrities, royals, car aficionados, and anyone trying the James Bond lifestyle (the casino hosted two Bond films). The 1,000 plus slot machines and international gaming offerings mark the Monte-Carlo as holder of the largest collection in Europe, and with views of the Mediterranean Sea and architecture befitting the interior sculptures, frescoes, and marble and gold speak to the grandeur and prestige of the long-standing casino. Deemed a family friendly resort, you can work your arm on the slots while younger visitors lounge on the beach.

2. Casino Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden, Germany)

The Casino Baden-Baden dates back further than the Monte-Carlo, having opened in 1809 to the German public, and through various Parisian palatal inspired renovations, earned praise as “the most beautiful casino in the world.” The 32,289 square foot property keeps fortune at fate’s fingertips with 113 slots and more than 20 table games. Beyond the flashing lights of Las Vegas or the easy access of a computer’s glow, Casino Baden-Baden emits elegance and vivacity in this sleepy summer town amid relaxation and antiquity (see: mineral baths, castles, Rebland wine region).

3. Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort and Casino (Gran Canaria, Spain)

On the other side of European luxury, the Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort, Spa, and Casino sits on the sea front in the south of Gran Canaria, the largest of the Canary Islands of Spain. The Casino has earned the World Travel Awards “Europe’s Leading Casino Resort” in 2012 and 2013, and received nomination for the “World’s Leading Casino Resort” in past years for its aura of romance, recreation, and richness. Balance your health at the Spa Corallium Costa Meloneras or while playing the many sports offered on the island with a mental resurgence of a nap by the pool. But don’t forget your green blood–hit the many slots and tables of the adjoining casino for the destination’s true shining gem.

4. The Clermont Club (London, UK)

If exclusivity and mystery drive your gambling hand, the Clermont Club in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square feeds off the busy London vibe, but discreetly behind the very private walls of the club. There are only six tables, very professionally manned, and in order to visit the institution requires a 24 hour advanced membership application. Once inside, the interior boasts spiral staircases and Baroque touches that exude the history of aristocracy and elegant opulence. It’s a travel site chart-topper among the world’s most glamorous vacation casinos.

These resort casinos offer different experiences, playing to wealthy audiences, champion players, and even thriftier enthusiasts. Follow Lady Luck’s call to one of these premiere European gaming locations.

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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Image via Flickr by Travis Isaacs

 

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.