This may not seem particularly controversial, but you might be surprised to learn just how many gamblers will take their seats at a table and begin laying bets without knowing how to play their chosen game!
For beginning players, this might mean basic knowledge: what a split is in blackjack, or the order of hands in poker…
… but it goes deeper than that!
Since gambling is a lifetime passion for many players, it’s important to continue learning the finer points of the game.
Whether it’s knowing how the different roulette bets pay out, the exact rake of a poker game, or the jackpot requirements for a progressive video slot, or the order of payouts in a craps game, continuing to learn even as you play is an essential element of the game. Consider it a way of staying hungry!
When complacency sets in, losses tend to follow.
2: Play Crowded Tables (Unless You’ve a Good Reason Not To)
“I’m just more of an introverted player, so I like to sit alone at the table.”
Well, introverted or not, playing alone is a surefire way to pad the house edge. Why is this?
Simply put, in all casino games, the house holds the advantage over time. That is to say, if you play for long enough, the casino is mathematically certain to win your entire bankroll. A player’s hopes for success rest in his or her beating the odds over the short term.
This means the playing more hands per hour helps the casino immensely, while playing fewer hands per hour helps the player. Slow down the pace, and you help your chances of winning.
And where do you think you’ll play more hands per hour: at a crowded table with multiple bettors, or at a lonely one where you play all by yourself?
That’s right: crowded tables mean fewer hands per hour, which hurts the casino and helps the player. That’s all you need to know!
(Note: there are exceptions to this rule: advantage blackjack play, for example. But unless you know exactly why a lonely table is the better choice, stick with the crowds.)
3: Know When to Call it Quits
If the player’s best hope for big wins is beating the odds over the short term, then it’s not enough to slow down the pace of play. It’s also essential to know when to quit!
This isn’t always as simple as waiting for a big win, then walking away.
It can also mean paying attention to your mind and body, or the context in which a game is taking place. Here are some possible reasons to step away from the table:
You hear an inner voice say: “it’s time to quit now and do something else.” It doesn’t matter why. Boom. Your session is over.
You’re tired! You need a walk, a nap, or a good night’s sleep. The game will be there when you’re feeling more rested.
For whatever reason, you can’t focus your mind. Personal life? Health problems? Just need a cup of coffee? Time for a break.
Your emotions are getting the better of you. If you can’t keep your cool, strategic mistakes are a certainty.
4: Manage Your Bankroll
Perhaps the most underrated principle in all of casino gambling, bankroll management often makes the difference between long-term prosperity and heartbreak.
As in #1 above, there are levels to this.
For casual gamblers, the conversation may be as simple as “I’m going to Atlantic City for a bachelor party this weekend. How much would I feel comfortable losing?”
More serious players, however, may need to hire a tax consultant, set up their 401G (special account reserved for gambling funds), carve out session win/loss limits from their weekly, monthly, and annual plans.
No matter what level you’re playing at, the essential rule is have a plan for your money.
This will not only prevent unsustainable losses. It also prevents problem gambling, and vastly increases pleasure. Gaming, remember, is supposed to be fun!
5: Don’t Sweat the Comps
Finally, too many players think far too much about casino comps.
Yes, it can be lovely to get a free night or two or room upgrade at your hotel. Sure, free food and drink is always nice.
But remember casinos don’t make these offers out of the goodness of their hearts!
The house is always trying to get more of your money. The only reason comps are offered is to keep you playing longer. Someone has done the math and determined that you are more likely to lose more of your bankroll when given a free meal or extra night.
So, keep it simple.
Enjoy comps when they come your way, but don’t seek them out, and definitely don’t alter your play in any way in order to get them!
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