When it comes to gambling, there are some universal truths that players should be aware of before they step foot into the casino or register for an online casino account.
The reason for this necessity is pretty straightforward. A lot of people are just unaware of the reality of gambling, and those people won’t see the same winnings that advantage players do.
So, here are facts you should know about gambling. It just might save you a lot of grief if you keep these in mind.
1 – Slots Are the Worst Way to Spend Your Money
It’s commonly known in the gambling industry that while the tables pay for extras, it’s the slots that keep the lights on.
The reality of slots is that they can be very precisely tuned to ensure an extra low rate of return. Slots have always been the big money makers for casinos because of this fact. When you drop money into slots, you’re almost always throwing it away in the long run, even if you have a “strategy.”
And I place “strategy” in quotation marks because slots are hardly a skill-based game. Their extremely low odds are compounded by the fact that many people believe they can tell which slot machines are “tight” and which slot machines are “loose.”
News flash—there’s no such thing.
Casinos don’t put tight or loose machines in strategic areas. Why? Because the machines aren’t spitting out coins like they used to. You’re getting a voucher or something similar that encourages you to keep playing.
Now, casinos may have done it in the past, but as things changed, so did the concept of placing “better-paying” slots in different areas. This leads me to my next point.
2 – There’s No Such Thing as a Hot or Cold Streak
This is one that so many gamblers swear by and are mostly wrong about. Whole books have been written about this problem; in fact, there’s an entire branch of mathematics dedicated to its study.
Yep, it’s called statistics.
Statistics show that “hot” and “cold” streaks are nothing more than completely random sequences of events that our human minds have arbitrarily given meaning to.
All these games are completely random, and I do mean completely. There are no patterns for you to see. You’re not a genius who can sense when a machine is going to pay more or less. You’re either lucky, or you’re not.
This is particularly true of slot machines. The way these machines work is based on a chip inside the machine (that cannot be manipulated by you in any way) that has, among other things, an RNG inside (a random number generator). The RNG is literally producing random numbers at a set rate. Sometimes, those numbers are winning numbers, and other times, they’re not.
What you have to understand about RNGs is that they’re usually set to produce a certain percentage of wins and losses over a very large timescale (like months to years). You can sit in front of the same machine for a week straight and never hit a big win, yet over time that machine would produce the expected amount of money on average.
What’s worse than this? The fact that all the games are stacked against you anyway.
3 – The House Edge Goes From Bad to Worse
If you’ve never heard this term before, the house edge is basically how much of an advantage the house has over the player in every single game.
Now, this varies from game to game, but it’s pretty much all bad.
Blackjack is a great example. When you play blackjack, the dealer doesn’t have to reveal their hand until the player does. Why does that matter? Because if the dealer has a losing hand, and you lose first, the dealer wins even though their hand was bad.
The house edge might be somewhere around 8%, which is then mitigated by a variety of factors (for instance, if you hit blackjack, you get paid back 3:2 in a lot of cases).
If you have a strategy and choose the right place to play, you can knock the house edge all the way down to about 0.5%, which still means that the house is going to win more money than it loses over time.
What does this look like? Let’s assume a house edge of 1%. If you bet an average of $60 an hour, you should lose on average about $1 every hour. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well this is making a lot of assumptions. You might lose a lot more and have to play for days or weeks for that average to really appear.
Other games are much worse. Keno is notoriously bad, but pretty much all the games are deliberately stacked against you. That’s how casinos keep making money.
Here’s what you really need to understand: Gambling is good entertainment, but it’s not something you should completely rely on to pay the bills (even the small ones).
4 – Chances of Winning the Lottery Are Worse Than You Think
So, let’s say you’ve got your head on straight. You usually stay out of the casinos, you gamble online every once in a while, but you also like to play the lottery.
If you thought the odds on casino games were bad, you’ve got another thing coming when it comes to the lottery.
The odds on the lottery are pretty much astronomical. You have a better chance of getting eaten alive by a shark during a car crash while being struck by lightning. It’s just not going to happen.
They call the lottery “a tax on the poor” for good reason. Remember, a tax is something you pay and never see again. The odds of winning are so small that they might as well be nonexistent.
You can buy tens of thousands of tickets every year throughout your lifespan and still never win.
Now, one guy did figure out that if you had enough money to buy every single possible combination you would come out on top. But you need a few million in your pocket to pull that trick off.
You’re much better off spending your money on literally anything else than the lottery. It’s about the biggest waste of money there is.
5 – There’s a Benefit to Playing Casino Games Slowly
This one makes sense when you think about it. The concept is actually similar to drinking alcohol in some ways. We all know the guy who goes to the bar that drinks too fast and ends up getting a little hammered.
The same can pretty much be said for gambling. If you’re going into a casino and blowing all your money in the first five minutes on a handful of games, you’re going to be broke before you know it and more likely to go to the ATM to try to get more money out.
Why would you go to the ATM? Essentially because you haven’t played for long enough to get it out of your system. You haven’t actually been able to enjoy the process. Like many things in life, slowing down a little bit is going to do you a lot of favors in the long run.
Think of it like this—if you’re playing $5 hands every minute, you’ll spend $100 in 20 minutes. That seems like a lot, right? Now, if you slow it down even a little, that same $100 could last you an hour. An hour of gambling can be a fun, relaxing distraction.
But 20 minutes? Not so much.
6 – Yes, You Should Join the Players Club
This last one is something that not everyone thinks about. If you already know that you’re going to be gambling quite a bit, you might as well get some freebies out of it!
Players clubs are rewards programs that are available at most large casinos. They give you points for pretty much every game you play, and those points can be used for a lot more than just gambling. You can get discounts on show tickets (or even free show tickets), free drinks, and even a free room if you’ve spent enough money and get lucky.
The best part about players clubs is that, because all the major casinos have them, they all want you to join their club. So, they all give you casino comps when you join to incentivize you to stick around.
That means you can walk from one casino to the next on the Strip and gather up your free rewards and walk away with some pretty nifty stuff while still doing the same amount of gambling you were going to do anyway.
The same applies for online casinos, too. Most sites have players clubs that even reward you with free airfare, cruises, and more!
If you’re going to spend a lot of your time gambling at the best online casinos, at the very least you should do it the smart way. Follow the rules above, be aware of the truths about gambling and how all of this works, and you can look at it as an entertainment expense instead of your chance to win it big.
Is there anything I left off the list? Let me know in the comments!