How to increase your chance of winning when you gamble at a Vegas casino.
For part 1, which is important for Vegas casino gambling beginners, go back to Part 1. This (2nd) part focuses on some Vegas casinos gambling ‘strategies’ which may increase your chances of winning and decrease your losses.
As you can imagine there are many rumors surrounding casinos and how they ‘operate’; I was recently playing at a slot machine in casino frequented mainly by locals when I was told by a ‘regular’ that Friday nights are the worst days to gamble at slot machines, because that’s when they are ‘tight’ (it’s payday for many weekly workers). I must admit, I found that I wasn’t winning as easily as I usually do, but frankly those statements belong to the realm ‘rumors’ and we won’t be able to ever substantiate them. However, we have a new ‘slot machines myths and facts’ section further down which will hopefully help you.
Las Vegas casinos used to be the best places to gamble, where you actually had a good chance to win some real money, though of course in the long run the odds are always in favor of ‘the house’, for obvious reasons, and the slots machines will always pay the ‘house’ more than any player. As I mentioned in Part 1, Vegas slots seem to be far less generous now (perhaps with a few exceptions), which may also be connected to the fact that there seems to be a shift taking place in Vegas: that of slightly moving away from being gamblers-focused in favor of party-goers and other event-based crowds (= quick profits from alcohol and other high-paying events). However, Las Vegas has to maintain the image of the ‘place of dreams’, the place where anybody can live like a king for a few days, on any budget; a tourist destination where you dreams may come true.
Some casinos areas and some games in particular are (in my opinion) not going to wreck your bank account; they are designed to keep people there, happily entertained, in order to ‘welcome’ and attract other potential gamblers. This has been our experience, though more in the past years and less so in the last 12 months; in the long run you will lose money of course, just because in terms of percentage the house is set to make more money than it ‘gives’. Moreover, things are changing often so that nobody ever can a ‘permanently winning strategy’. Stay away from anybody or any site which tells you that you are guaranteed to win if you follow any particular strategy.
Some people have told us, over and over, that some Vegas casinos are ‘looser’ than others; we talk about this on our loose slots page; moreover, some Vegas casinos which seem to be not only ours but also other people’s favorites, and I have listed them on the best Vegas casinos page.
It seems that the most agreed upon concept is that playing Black Jack or any other card games gives you better odds at winning than any regular slot machine, as long as you are highly knowledgeable of the card games. If you know what you’re doing it is unlikely that you will lose your money as fast as you can at a slot machine or at a roulette table; those who are ‘set’ at receiving VIP invitations or ‘comped’ room offers tend to sit at Black Jack games and spend hours on them.
Regular slot machines are great fun and that’s why we all play them; but, generally, ‘professional’ gamblers tend to avoid them, for the very reason that there is absolutely nothing that you can control except guessing at what stage of the ‘cycle’ the machine is, if there is a ‘cycle’ at all (more on this further down), or guessing which machine is slightly ‘loser’ ( = gives better pay outs) than others. Locals who go to casinos daily tend to familiarize themselves with the ‘looser’ slot machines within any casino, but this seems to change over time (after all, it’s only a matter of software – which can be tweaked – though these are suppositions which no gambler can prove).
Having said this, there are general guidelines which – if followed – can help you win or at least help you avoid losing too much money. We absolutely love Vegas slot machines, no other game thrills us more; so, in order to avoid losing everything and having to go back home on foot, we have devised a set of rules we apply to our own Vegas gambling; using these rules does not guarantee a win but it usually prevents us from losing significant amounts of money:
1 – The first few minutes of your slot machine playing is crucial. Although letting oneself be ‘hypnotized’ by these fun machines is highly entertaining, you must keep an eye on how much money you are losing or winning. The biggest mistake anybody makes is to stay too long at any slot machine; if you do, the statistical odds are highly against you and you are most likely going to lose most (if not all) of your money or most (if not all) of your gains. Getting ‘stuck’ to a machine is the riskiest behavior you can adopt in a casino.
2 – Try go gamble slowly. This is one of my biggest mistakes and I’ve noticed that, when I make this mistake, I tend to lose more money because I enter some sort of ‘automatic’ state whereby I lose control of what’s going on, monetarily speaking. I press the button without even thinking and I do it fast, one spin after the other. This (and when I get ‘stuck’ to a slot machine for a long period of time) is when I lose money. If I avoid doing this, it is extremely rare that I lose money and indeed many times I win or, at least, I walk away with more money than I’d started with.
3 – It’s only a rumor which we cannot confirm nor deny: however, some say that slot machines are programmed in ‘stages’, namely high-paying and low-paying; if this is true you need to watch out for the ‘low’ phases, to avoid losing hundreds of dollars in the false conviction that sooner or later you will be ‘hitting some sort of jackpot’ or high-paying bonus round. Another rumor is that slot machines tend to pay at the beginning and increasingly less so as you keep playing. More on this further down.
4 – Another theory, less predominant these days because of the new, open casino layouts, is that highly-trafficked areas are where the ‘higher-paying’ machines are positioned; this would be because hearing winning sounds would automatically attract more players to the casino floors by associating the casino with winning. On the other hand, the new machines are so visually and audibly exciting that they sound as if they’re ‘dishing out’ hundreds of dollars when in fact it’s only a 70 cents payout! So I’m not so sure this theory is applicable to casinos with modern, ‘noisy’ machines.
5 – Following ‘systems’. Every time I visit a casino I meet a person who’s using a ‘system’ to beat the house. Well, as a newbie I let my friend convince me that his roulette ‘system’ was a winner: that night (years ago) I lost 700 dollars! I never made that mistake again; talking to those following ‘systems’ I have, in my experience, concluded that the old say ‘casinos love fools with a system’ is probably very true. Some people have made a lot of money counting cards (which is theoretically illegal), but as you know it’s something much more difficult and complicated than what a regular Vegas visitor can do or (probably) should do. Advice:
advice: our advice is that you gamble in casinos or resorts which tend to reward gamblers better for their play. I like those resorts which immediately ‘comp’ you (give you something for free) after your play: Excalibur and Mirage are among our favorites in this respect. I have gambled the same amount of money (playing in the same manner and for the same amount of time) at Mirage (where casino marketing comped me room and buffet entries immediately afterwards), and at Excalibur (where they tend to write off your check out bill or at least reduce it based on your play, provided you speak to the players desk the night before). So, always ask casino marketing what their rules are in this respect, or at least ask them for a general guideline and ask them if they tend to comp you. Avoid those casinos where casino marketing only refers to the point you have accumulated on your players card as a way to determine your comps (freebies): this means they are not flexible and not ‘generous’.