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Considering a family vacation that may net you some extra cash? Why not try visiting Las Vegas or Atlantic City? Before you go to either of these two vacation spots, consider the following: If you go with the intention of winning money, more than likely you won't.
Casinos are not vacation spots, but businesses. Like any other business, the bottom line is of the most importance. Although there have been instances of people winning a huge amount of money at a number of casinos, the odds are always against the gambler. Casinos are configured in a way to flood the senses with ongoing sights, sounds and in some cases even smells. There are no clocks in any Vegas casino, because the casinos themselves do not want the gambler to worry about time. The rugs in most casinos are in patterns that are not pleasant to the eye, so the gambler has no choice but to look elsewhere than the ground, that’s why most slot machines are positioned at eye level.
There are many different games to play at casinos, with many different odds. Slot machines are capable of the biggest pay out to the gambler. A 25cent investment has a chance to return millions of dollars to the player. The odds of course are very, very slim. Slots are also called “speed games”; you are spending money at a quicker rate than any other game. Roulette has a payout of up to 36 to 1. A 1$ wager can pay you up to 36$ if you pick the winning number. There are several ways to place a bet on a roulette wheel, with several different odds and payouts.
One of the most popular games at any casino is Blackjack. With a basic knowledge of the game and several strategies on playing, a player has a good chance of leaving the table a winner, or at least breaking even. Most people think the object of the game is to get 21, well that is not entirely true.
Although you as a player are trying to get as close to 21 as possible without going over, the main objective is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over. So, if a dealer has 19, you have to try and get at least a 19 to not lose your bet (that’s called a “push”) or get a 20 to win.
A player has to also keep in mind that there are usually other players at their table with the same intent, so watching the cards that are dealt to other players at your table is important. A deck of cards has 52 cards, with 4 suits (spades, clubs, diamonds, hearts) some cards are known as face cards. Face cards are Jacks, Queens or Kings of any suit. These cards are worth ten points. Aces, of which there are 4 to each deck, are worth either 11 points each (when used as a high card) or 1 point when used as a low card.
Example: A Jack of any suit and an Ace of any suit is known as Blackjack, most casinos will pay out 3 to 2 odds on this hand. If you have an Ace and a 10 card of any suit, this too is Blackjack. An Ace and a 9 card are worth either 20 points or 10 points depending on how you want to use the Ace. All other cards are worth their face value. A 5 of any suit is worth 5 points, a 4 is 4 points, a 7 card is worth 7 points, etc.
There are several terms used in blackjack which one should familiarize themselves with also. Here are a few of them:
To take a hit – means you want another card from the dealer.
To stand – means you don’t want any other cards from the dealer.
Up card – any card that has been dealt out with their point value showing and is visible to the table.
Down card – The second card dealt to the dealer, which is usually turned down so you cannot see what it is.
Bust or Busting – Any combination of cards whose total is more than 21, this is an automatic loss.
Split – means you have been dealt 2 cards that are the same such as two 7’s and you wish to “split” the cards and create 2 hands. When splitting cards, you must also place an additional bet on the newly formed second hand. You now have a chance to win or lose twice the original bet.
Double Down – after receiving you initial 2 cards, you double your bet, but can only receive one additional card, then you must stand on those cards. Again you have a chance to win or lose twice the original bet.
Surrender – After you receive your first 2 cards, you call “surrender”, because you are assuming that no matter how you play this hand, you have no chance of winning. You will only lose half of what you have wagered once you surrender.
Insurance – If a dealer is showing an Ace, they will ask if any player wants to insure their hand. This is usually at least half of your initial bet, and is recommended when you have a hand of at least 19.
Always assume that the dealer’s down card is a ten, so if a dealer is showing a 9 card, you must assume that the dealer has a hand of 19, therefore you are trying to get at least a 20 point hand to win. Once a dealer reaches 17 points, they must stand. A dealer who has anything lower than 17 points, must take an additional card. As a player, these 2 rules do not apply to you. Therefore, if a dealer is showing anything lower than a 7, you must assume that they have to take an additional card, and are at greater risk of busting.
Keeping in mind what you have just read, here is a quick table to guide you on betting habits:
Dealer is showing any card between 7 and 10 – your two cards show any total up to 16 points – best bet: Take a hit
Dealer is showing any card between 7 and 10 – your two cards add up to any amount between 17-20 – Stand.
Dealer is showing a card lower than a 7 – your two cards add up to any amount over 12 – Stand.
Your two cards add up to 11 – Regardless of what the dealer is showing aside from an Ace – Double down.
Your two cards add up to 11 – Dealer is showing an Ace – use your discretion on whether to Double down or take a hit.
You are dealt the following same cards: 2’s, 3’s, 6’s, 7’s or 8’s – If the dealer is showing anything between 2 and 7 – Split your cards. If the dealer is showing anything higher than a seven – Surrender.
If you are betting 5-10$ a hand, try what is known as successive betting. If you win your first hand, take away your winnings and keep your original bet on the table. If you win once again, let it ride for a few hands if you are confident that you will win. Take breaks from the game table without losing your spot, by asking for a marker. Most casinos will give you up to 20 minutes to reclaim your seat. Most importantly, bet with your head and not over it, and enjoy yourself.