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Improving Your Chances in the Casino

Playing casino games is ultimately a losing proposition. That’s not to say that you’ll lose each and every time you play or even that you are guaranteed to lose overall. It’s just that the most likely outcome is that casino gambling will cost you money in the long run.

This is purely due to the fact that all casino games have what is known as a house edge: a mathematical advantage that puts the odds in their favor.

There have been people trying to find ways to overcome the house edge for as long as casino games have existed, but in reality, it can’t be done.

Outside of cheating (which is illegal and will probably lead to your arrest) and counting cards at blackjack (which is possible but hard to do these days), the only way you’ll ever win in the casino is if you happen to get lucky and are able to walk away before you give your winnings back.

With all of that being said, your destiny in the casino isn’t entirely beyond your control. You’ll need some good fortune whatever you do, but you don’t have to rely on luck completely as there are a few things you can do to minimize the house advantage.

We have listed some of these below for your convenience. None of them will help you overcome the house edge completely, but they can improve your overall chances of winning.

Ensure You Know the Rules

This could be considered the golden rule of playing any game in the casino. Many games are really simple to learn and you can easily enjoy playing them by knowing just a few basic rules.

However, it’s an even better idea to make sure that you know all the rules before you start playing, as this way you are far less likely to make mistakes or miss out on opportunities that give you a good chance of winning.

Take blackjack for example: a game where the basic rules are very easy to understand.

Although you can play blackjack knowing only the basics, there are few additional rules that you really should know as well, such as the one that gives you the option to double your initial bet at certain points throughout the game.

There are some circumstances where doubling your bet is very advantageous, and if you didn’t know that you had this option, then you might have missed out on good opportunities that could have increased your overall chances of winning.

This is just one example of where not knowing the rules can effectively cost you money, and there are many more too. They can all be avoided if you take the time to fully understand all the rules of a game before deciding to play it.

Our Recommendations

  • Visit our Game Guides section, which features rules for a wide selection of games.
  • Check the “house rules” at any online or land-based casino you play at.
  • Avoid playing games that you don’t really understand.

Play Games with a Low House Edge

As we mentioned earlier, all casino games have a built-in house edge which gives the casino the overall advantage. The house edge isn’t the same in all games though.

Some games have a very small house edge, while others have a significantly larger one. Mathematically speaking, your long-term results are likely to be better if you only play games where the house edge is small.

This piece of advice focuses on reducing your expected losses rather than improving your chances of winning, but it amounts to the same thing in reality.

Our Recommendations

The following games feature some of the lowest house edges that can be found in the casino. You should play these if you want the best chance of making your money last as long as possible

  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Blackjack
  • Video Poker (only some variants)
  • Red Dog Poker
  • Baccarat
  • Craps (only some bets)

Go for a Jackpot Win

Perhaps the best way to be an overall winner in the casino is to land a big jackpot win. Your chances of winning a large jackpot aren’t particularly great, but you don’t stand any chance at all if you don’t even try.

We obviously wouldn’t advise that you spend all of your money chasing a dream win, but there’s nothing wrong with allocating some of your casino budget to playing jackpot games.

If you do get lucky and win a large sum of money, then you’ll want to make sure that you don’t end up giving all your winnings back to the casino.

You don’t have to quit playing at the casino completely, but please don’t be tempted to start playing for higher stakes than you normally would just because you have the funds to do so.

Our Recommendations

The following games are usually the best options for going after a jackpot. These are the games you should play if you want to try to land a big win.

  • Keno
  • Caribbean Stud Poker
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Learn the Correct Way to Play

All casino games are based primarily on luck, and many of them entirely so. There are, however, a few games where you can influence your overall chances of winning. In video poker, for example, which cards you choose to hold after the first deal will have an impact on the likely results.

In blackjack, your overall results will be affected by how you choose to play your hands. In both situations, the decisions you make will have an effect on the outcome.

Playing the “correct” way in such games requires learning some strategy. Casino game strategy typically involves learning a number of rules about what to do in any given situation and these rules are based primarily on the laws of probability.

By following them you can give yourself the best mathematical chance of winning every time you play.

Our Recommendations

The following casino games all involve some degree of decision making that can directly affect your chances of winning. If you want to use strategy, then these are the games you should play.

  • Blackjack
  • Video Poker
  • Caribbean Stud Poker
  • Three Card Poker
  • Let’em Ride
  • Casino Hold’em

It’s also worth noting that there are better forms of gambling if your goal is to make money by learning and using strategy. Poker and sports betting are two of the best examples.

Manage Your Money & Stay Disciplined

The house edge isn’t the only reason why people tend to lose money in the casino. It always has some effect, but a player’s own actions are also often a factor to some extent.

Many players are the architects of their downfall simply because they make poor decisions that essentially increase the effect of the house edge.

Two typical examples of the mistakes players make are
not managing their money properly and not having enough self-discipline.

Money management and self-discipline are very important if you want to give yourself the best possible chance of winning in a casino.

Good money management is primarily about setting limits for how much you are prepared to spend overall as it relates to how much you are prepared to risk on each individual bet you place. Although doing this won’t directly affect your chances of winning any given bet, it will prevent you from losing your money too quickly.

The longer your money lasts,
the more time you have to hit a lucky streak.

Good money management also helps to ensure that you gamble responsibly and that you don’t lose money you can’t afford to be without.

Self-discipline is largely about sticking to the limits you set yourself. A lack of discipline can easily lead to the increasing of your stakes in order to chase your losses after a bad run or giving back all of your winnings after a good run.

Good discipline will also help prevent you from taking unnecessary risks which is useful if you’re trying to follow a particular strategy.

Our Recommendations

  • Read our article on self-discipline in the casino.
  • Set a budget every time you play.
  • Never chase your losses.
  • Quit when you’re ahead from time to time.