A short guide to making sure you're time on the casino floor is well spent and not too expensive.
Who doesn't like to win money? Everyone could do with an extra bit of cash, for whatever reason. The problem is, in order to win something extra, you have to gamble your own money. Casino's are everywhere. What with the explosion of the poker scene, and movies like Oceans Eleven and Casino Royale, everyone wants to be the one to walk in and “put in all on black.”
As a casino regular for a few years, and now a croupier, i can say that such Hollywood-esque luck, rarely works out for most. Most people who walk in, lose big in the first hour and feel crappy for the rest of the night.
This guide is not meant as a “how to win big” guide, but more of a set of rules to follow if you want to make the most of your money, minimise your losses, minimise the bad moods, and have the most fun, which is what gambling and the casino experience should be.
Don't see gambling as a source of income.
Something to remember is that money you gain from gambling – whether at a casino, betting shop or friendly poker game – is money won, not money earned. It is a pleasant surprise rather than something you deserve. As soon as you depend on gambling to earn money, you'll make the mistake of thinking you deserve to win, so its harder to take losses, and the worse you feel, the more mistakes you'll make. Remember, its a game that should be played for fun, not a job.
Don't get drunk
This should be obvious. Drinking impairs your judgement. You'll take risks you might not be able to afford, and mistakes you certainly can't. Also, the drunk guy on the table always puts everyone off their game. If you want to drink at a casino, do it after you've cashed in your winnings and celebrate.
Only bet what you can afford
Another fairly obvious one. It's all too easy to get carried away with the image of the high roller throwing huge amounts of money on the roulette wheel, a one in 37 chance. The people who do that can afford it, and everyone has different limits. One way I like to think about it, is that as soon as you swap cash for chips, that money has been spent. What you come out with at the end is a bonus. Also, its surprising how little money you need to have a good time at a casino. £20-30 is perfect for low limit tables. I have never once spent more than £50 in a night.
Know the rules of the games and the casino
There are hundreds of resources online and in books that teache you how to play the more popular casino games, Blackjack, Three Card Poker, Roulette etc. However, many casinos have slight variations or extra rules that are worth knowing about. Its worth doing a bit of research, and if you've never played a game before, practise at home. Also, check what the limits are on a few games. If you can only afford £20 all night, you don't want to find out the minimum bet is £10.
Find a friendly table
This is very important. Some tables are full of really uptight serious gamblers who don't take kindly to the casual bunch of us. I was sat on a low limit Blackjack table once, and this guy next to me made a mistake which cost a few people their hands. That few people then got really angry and started insulting this guy. It turned out, regardless of what he did, everyone would have lost. But it goes to show, its important to find a table of people who dont mind you making a mistake or two. A bad table only makes you feel bad. If you find your on one, get up and leave everyone to lose on their own.
Take regular breaks
I cannot stress this one enough. When you start the night at a casino, you will tend to win a little, and you feel less bad about losing, because ‘the night is still young'. But as it wears on, and you lose a bit, you may find yourself losing over and over. WALK AWAY. Go for a walk outside, have a drink of water or anything to get your head back together. And do it regularly. Every hour or so. It will keep you fresh and alert and at the top of your game.
Go with a few friends
Similar to 5). If you visit a casino with friends, you can celebrate each others winnings and console each others losses. If you get a few of you on the same table, you can build a really good atmosphere between you all and the dealer, which is going to make you feel good, not care so much about losing a bit and above all, have a fun time. Mostly, don't go on your own. That way you've got no one to pick your spirits up if you lose big, or stop you while you're ahead.
If you're up, play with your winnings
By this, I mean, if you've won enough extra to play with on its own, put you're original stake in your pocket, forget about it, and play the rest of the night with your winnings. A good thing to do, is get the highest value single chip you can and keep hold of it. You'll be less inclined to break into it again. For example, if you came in with £25, and you've doubled you're money, change £25 worth of chips into a single £25 chip (called a Pony), put it away and play on with the other £25, your winnings.
If you're down, dont be reckless
If you're down to your last £10, does it make more sense to play one last big £10 bet in the hope of getting lucky, but doubling the blow if you lose, or playing two £5 bets, keeping you in the game for longer, and doubling your chance of winning, if not as much? Of course, the second option. Just because you're on a losing streak, dont assume you'll come good on your last bet. Either string it out as long as you can, giving you more chance to win, or just walk away.
Get a ‘feel' for the table before you sit down
I feel this is very important. Sometimes, you'll watch a table where no one seems to win, the dealer always wins, and the morale is very low. Dont sit down yet. You'll just be getting into a negative mindset before you've placed a bet. Wait, or find a table where people seem to be winning and having fun. Luck does even out, you just need to jump in when its on the way up, not down.
Set your limits
Either in terms of money, bets or time, decide before you spend any money, how much you'll spend. Are you going to give yourself an extra bit of cash if you really need it? Are you going to play the high roller tables or the lower limits? Are you going to play with minimum bets? How long are you going to spend at any one table? How long are you going to spend gambling? The more you know about how youre going to play, the better of you'll be.
Realise one thing…
THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS! The sooner you realise this, the better. Casino's are designed in everyway to make you feel wealthy and make you spend as much money as you can. The bathrooms are full of marble, you're waited on hand and foot, the atmosphere is palacial, everything is there to make you part with your wallet. Which is why 11) is so important. Dont be sucked in by thinking, “Im in such a nice place, if i can afford to be here, i can afford to play with a bit more money.” You can't.
Also, of course, the games are in favour of the house. No game in any casino anywhere in the world is going to give you the advantage. You're fighting against the odds. In the short term, you might win, but in the long term, theres no way you will. The House Always Wins.
But above all…
Have fun, be responsible, and if you find a dealer whose been nice to you and given you a few big wins, be nice in return, say thank you and leave a tip. =)