The 3 Casino Games With the Best Odds

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Image via Flickr by Lisa Brewster

 

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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Image via Flickr by Dennis Wong

 

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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Image via Flickr by ReubeInStt

 

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.

5 Ways to be a Successful Gambler

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Image via Flickr by Bev Wagar

If the Gambler is your mentor or your lifelong dream consists of mimicking the math-whiz antics of Rain Man, you might not make it that far. However, you can seriously increase your chances of winning when you play at your favorite online casino or bricks-and-mortar establishment. Gambling is a skill, and as with all skills, you can become a wizard if you practice the right techniques. Just don’t go up against Burt Reynolds or play blackjack with Dustin Hoffman and you’ll be fine.

Practice Makes Perfect

To perfect any skill, you must practice. Knitting, speaking a foreign language, competitively eating hot dogs, playing Roulette all involve practice. To practice, play your favorite game with your friends, head to your local casinos, or find a place to play online. The last option is one of the best, especially when you’re first starting out, because playing in the comfort of your home takes away some of the pressure.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

Sucker bets are for suckers. You can’t go chasing the big win just because you’re sure it’s waiting up ahead. If you want to become a successful gambler, you have to know when to stop. Never bet more money than you feel comfortable losing, never bet any of your savings, and never chase a sucker bet with good money. If you’re not having any luck, walk away from the table and stop feeding quarters into the slots.

Never Play When You’re Emotional

Emotional players are losers. That’s not a character assessment, but more a statement of fact. People who play when they’re very angry or very excited make mistakes, and those mistakes cost money. You might think that you play better when you’re fueled by rage, greed, or euphoria, but you’re just being foolhardy.

You need to look for the “zone.” You’ll recognize it when you feel calm, cool, and almost blasé about the game. You know you can afford to lose if that happens and you know you have a winning cap, a moment to walk away and bask in your triumphs. That’s the only time you should play seriously.

Don’t Become a Jack-of-all-Trades

The urge to play every kind of game is understandable, and it’s actually a good idea. However, you want to experiment, not spread yourself too thin. Visit an online casino or a local hotspot and play different games. Discover what brings you the biggest thrill and, most importantly, where your skills lie. If you lose at craps ten times in a row, that’s not your game.

Improve Your Bluff

No matter what game you play, with the possible exception of the slots, bluffing is a gift. It’s a skill you should perfect, which again takes practice. Keeping your emotions cool and your reactions neutral will keep the other players and even the dealers guessing, and that will always work in your favor. And yes, you can even bluff your way through an online game.

Above all, make sure you know how to act graceful and gracious when you lose. Emotions have their place in gambling, but not when you’re sitting at the table.

 

4 of the Craziest Casino Bets Ever Made

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Image via Flickr by Lisa Brewster

These days, you can bet on anything you can think of, as long as it has a measurable outcome. Just find a bookie, set your terms, get the odds and you’re good to go. People have come up with some pretty crazy bets over the years, let’s check out some of the most interesting ones ever documented.

1. The Million Dollar Social Security Check

In 1995 a man in Las Vegas was down on his luck. His wife had just kicked him out of the house. On his way to the social security office to cash his $400 check he did what any other person down on their luck would do, he decided to go try his luck at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas.

He smelled so awful that no one would sit next to him, but fortunately the cards can’t smell a thing. Using a completely unconventional style playing blackjack he managed to surprise everyone and turn that $400 check into a cool $1 million.

But remember, he was down on his luck. Instead of leaving a man with a second chance he continued to play. He left Treasure Island with $400 less than he had when he entered the casino. I guess you’re not completely done playing until you’re out of money!

2. Oh Crap!

Benny Binion, the owner of the Horseshoe Casino popularized big-ticket betting in Vegas. In order to attract big money players who were after serious action, allowed some outrageously large gambling opportunities. He knew it would result in increased profit margins for his casino – except when they resulted in huge losses.

In 1980 William Bergstrom decided to try Benny’s big-ticket betting when he opened a suitcase with $777,000 in it and placed it all on the Don’t Pass line on the craps table. The thrower sevened out and Benny’s great strategy fell flat on its face as Bergstrom left with 2 suitcases full of money.

3. Six Weeks in Des Moines

Not all the wagers in Vegas take place on the casino floors. People will bet on anything for incredibly high amounts of money. For example, renowned high-roller John Hennigan’s buddies bet him $100,000 he couldn’t last six weeks in Des Moines, Iowa. Hennigan loved the nightlife in Vegas, but left for Iowa determined to easily win $100,000. Two days later he returned to Vegas, gladly paying his friends off.

4. The Ultimate Booby Prize

This is another wager that took place away from a gaming table, but it’s a beauty! Brian Zembic and a close friend got to arguing about breast implants, and of course that led to a wager. His friend bet him $100,000 he wouldn’t get 38Cs implanted into his chest for a complete year. Needing to cover previous gambling losses, Zembic went under the knife and made it a year with his fake boobs. But the best part is he kept them in after the year was up. He found they made for a great conversation piece – but frankly, he probably kept them because of the increased confidence they gave him.

Oh, there’s more crazy bets out there. People are funny when it comes to their money and what they think the outcomes will be. Bet it all and let it ride, that’s what I say.