The D’Alembert Strategy System and Quitting Early

In this scheme you increase your wager by one unit after every loss and decrease it by one unit after every win. For example, with $5 units, you bump up your bet to $10 if you lose the first bet, then drop back down to $5 if you win the second hand. However, you never go below your starting unit, no matter how many hands you win in a row.
The D’Alembert may be a good way to keep your mind occupied, but computer simulations consistently show that no progressive system improves your overall results. Again, you encounter a lot of small wins punctuated by big losses.

Quitting Early
Another myth is that knowing when to quit saves you money. But quitting just postpones the inevitable results until your next trip. For example, you get off to a great start during a three-day jaunt to Tahoe and find yourself up $200 the first hour. Quitting early may have some positive psychological and emotional benefits, but it doesn’t make any difference in the long run. Your gambling bankroll continues on the next trip, because your money, the dice, and the cards have no memory of what previously happened. Playing less time overall in a negative expectation game can save you money, so in that sense, quitting has value. But if you plan to play 20 hours of roulette over the next year, it really doesn’t matter how you split the time up per trip.

Relying on Betting Systems

Gamblers instinctively understand that by wagering the same amount every time, they ultimately fall prey to the law of averages and will lose. They reason:
“If I could somehow vary my bets, perhaps I could come out ahead. All I need to do is win my big bets and lose my smaller ones.” Unfortunately, that strategy
is easier said than done. But that hasn’t kept numerous people from trying to find the Holy Grail of gambling – a winning progressive betting system.

Any betting system that has you change the size of your bet depending on whether you win or lose is considered a progressive system. Because most gamblers understand that the house has the edge, they vainly search for creative ways to gain the upper hand over the casino. Betting systems generally come in two f1avors: positive and negative. With positive systems, the bettor increases his bet after a win by some predetermined amount. The idea behind a positive system is to ride winning streaks by parlaying profits from one winning bet to the next. Negative systems are more common; they involve betting more after a loss. The idea behind a negative system is to raise your bet amount to make up for a loss or losses in one single bet. This article looks at two of the more common systems.

My advice: Avoid all progressive betting systems. They may look appealing, but ultimately they all fail.

Avoiding Myths, Magic and Other Superstitions

Perhaps the biggest mistake for novice gamblers is making a betting decision based on superstitions or instincts rather than facts. I can assure you that poker superstars such as Howard Lederer and Phil Hellmuth do not win because they wear their lucky sweater or rely on horoscope readings.

Winners like Lederer and Hellmuth are brilliant in analyzing the complex choices each hand offers in a high-stakes tournament. This section debunks
some common hocus-pocus that gamblers mistakenly turn to.

Going with your hunches
Using your intuition, going by your gut, and playing a hunch are all paths to ruin. If the odds favor the house by more than 9 percent like they do on a hard eight bet at the craps table, then that’s the rate you lose over time. Sure, you may get lucky and win in the short run, but casinos are geared to outlast you. (The only way to leave a winner on a lousy-odds game is to immediately stop playing if you’re up.) They have a huge bankroll, and when they have the edge, not even the luckiest person on the planet or even Olga, the All-Knowing Psychic) can turn the tables and beat the odds.

Instead of relying on your hunches, you’re better off diverting that psychic energy to studying the laws of probability and choosing games that offer the lowest house edge.

Playing a lucky machine
Many people have a favorite slot machine they like to play. That’s reasonable. After all, gambling at a familiar game is better than taking a chance with one
you know nothing about. However, many players return to the same game because they believe they have found a lucky machine.
If you’re relying on a lucky machine and think you’re consistently winning, I urge you to keep records of your play. Write down how much money you start with before you sit down, and then count up what you have when you walk away from the machine. You may be surprised to see that you didn’t perform quite as well as you thought, especially over the long term. Selective memory plays tricks and deceives gamblers into thinking they’re ahead, which is seldom the case.

Calculating the odds in Casino Games

Calculating the odds in Casino Games
If you’re good at maths, you often can detect when the casino payout odds are lower than true odds. With dice, for example, you have 36 different combinations, and the odds are 35-to-1 for each combination. But with other games, the odds can be impossible to calculate. Take slots, for example: The thousands of possible
reel combinations and ever-changing progressive jackpots make it difficult for anyone to calculate the odds of winning.
One of the most confusing aspects of odds is the difference between for and to. For example, in video poker a flush pays 6 for 1,which means your win of six coins includes your original wager. So your actual profit is only five coins. However, if the bet pays 6 to 1,your odds are better. Your profit is six and your total return is seven (your win plus your original wager). This small detail may seem like a silly case of semantics, but it can make a big difference in your payout.

This section ties together the joint concepts of payout odds and true odds that will get you on the road to understanding the house edge (or advantage). Armed with a full understanding of that key statistic, you’ll be able to discriminate between good and bad bets in a casino.

Identifying payoff odds
In almost all cases, the payoffs favor the house, and you lose in the long run. However, some unusual situations arise that give astute gamblers an edge.

Zero expectation
A zero expectation bet has no edge – for the house or the player. This balance means that both sides can break even in the long run. For example, if you remove the two extra green numbers (0 and 00) from the roulette wheel, the game now becomes a zero expectation game because it has 36 numbers, 18 red and 18 black. Any bet on red or black would be a zero expectation bet.
In other words, when you bet on one color, your chances for winning and losing are equal, just like flipping a coin.

Negative expectation
However, casinos aren’t interested in offering zero expectation games. In order to make a profit, they need to add in those two extra green numbers to change the odds in roulette. Now,when you bet red or black, your odds of winning are 10/’38 rather than ‘%6 So your even money bet moves from a zero expectation to a negative expectation.
Whenever you’re the underdog (such as in roulette), your wager has a negative expectation, and you can expect to lose money. It may not happen right then.
You may defy the bad odds for a while and win, but over time you will lose. Most bets carry a negative expectation because the house doesn’t give true odds for the payouts (as is the case for roulette). Craps provides another good example. Say you bet that the dice will total seven on the next throw. If you win, you are paid 4 to 1. However, the true odds for this occurrence happening are 5 to 1 (%6).
That difference may not sound like a major change, but the house edge on that bet is a whopping 16.67percent! And a negative expectation bet for you is a positive for the casino. (The casino makes an average of $16.67 on every $100 bet in the previous craps example.)

Positive expectation
In a positive expectation bet, the tables are turned on the house so that the players have the advantage. Most people can’t believe casinos actually allow a positive expectation for the gambler, but surprisingly, some are out there. One example is in tournaments, where, in many situations, more money is paid out by the casino than is taken in.

Examining How Casinos Operate and Make Money: House Edge

The seasoned gambler can count on true odds to dictate the chances of winning a particular game, right? Not exactly. Casinos aren’t in the charity business – they exist to make money. And like all successful enterprises, they follow reliable business models. With their intimate understanding of probability and odds, casino owners guarantee themselves a healthy bottom line.

So you can’t beat the odds when the house arranges them in its favor, but you can understand the odds of winning inside a casino by arming yourself with information about the house edge. The house edge (sometimes known as the casino advantage or house advantage) by definition is the small percentage of all wagers that the casino expects to win. Every game has a different house edge, and even certain bets within a single game have a better house edge than other bets.

To put it a different way, casinos expect to payout slightly less money to winning bettors than they take in from losing bettors. The laws of probability tell
casinos how often certain bets win relative to how often they lose. Casinos then calculate the payout odds based on the winning probabilities, or true odds. The payouts are typically smaller than the true odds, ensuring that, with enough betting action, the casino will take in a certain amount with every dollar wagered.

The edge for many games, such as video poker or blackjack, varies depending on the particular type and version you find and on how skillfully you play.

With some games, casinos charge a fee, or commission. Baccarat is a perfect example. Ifyou bet on the banker’s hand and win, a 5 percent commission is deducted from your winning bet. This fee tilts the odds slightly in favor of the house and ensures that the casino makes a profit at this popular table game.
Another example of fees is in sports betting. The house adds what is called vigorish or vig (a commission) to every wager.

Understanding the Role of Probability

Millions of merry gamblers frequent casinos all over the world every day without a clear understanding of one important concept – probability. Mastering one of the more complex branches of mathematics isn’t necessary for successful gambling. But an elementary understanding of probability is certainly helpful in making sound gambling choices.
Probability is the study of the laws of chance, the identification of how often certain events can be expected to occur. For example, to express the probability
that a coin will turn up heads, you can give the result in numerous ways, such as a
– Ratio – 1 in 2 times
– Fraction – Y2 or half the time
– Percentage – 50 percent
– Decimal- .50, which is the same as 50 percent
– Odds – 1 to 1

Odds expresses the number of times something won’t happen next to the number of times it will happen. So, 1-to-1odds means the event is an even money event; it has an equal chance of occurring or not occurring. This section looks a bit closer at probability’s role in casino gambling. Identifying independent events
Another important term to understand here is independent outcomes. Being independent has nothing to do with successfully ditching your loser boyfriend in the keno lounge. In gambling, independent refers to events (such as roulette spins or dice throws) that aren’t affected by any previous results. Craps and roulette are great examples. The dice and roulette table ball don’t have a tiny brain inside, so each new throw or spin is independent of all previous turns. In other words, the dice or ball doesn’t know what numbers are running hot or cold, so the probability of outcome for each and every spin is exactly the same.
Slot machines are also independent. Recent jackpots do not change the likelihood of the same combination coming up again. If your chances of lining up three cherries are 5,000 to 1and you just hit the jackpot, the three cherries have exactly the same chances of appearing on the very next spin.

Recognising dependent events
So you may be asking yourself, what constitutes a nonindependent or dependent event? Dependent events are occurrences that are more or less likely based on the previous occurrences. Imagine a bag of five black balls and five red balls. Before you pull a ball out, you know you have a 50 percent chance of pulling out a black ball and the same odds of pulling out a red ball. Then you reach in and pull out one red ball and toss it aside. Now the odds have changed – you no longer have a 50 percent chance of pulling either ball. Your chances of pulling out a black ball are now greater (56 percent).
So in some situations, the past does affect the future. Another classic example is the game of blackjack. Because cards are removed after they’re played, the remaining composition of the deck changes. For example, your chances for getting a blackjack drop dramatically when a disproportionate number of aces are used up.
Almost all casino games consist of cards, dice, spinning wheels, or reels. These games almost always yield independent events. Blackjack is the rare exception, which is the main reason for its popularity.

Taking safety into your own hands

The modern casino should be a carefree environment where you forget your troubles, spend money, and – with hope – win some money back. Although winning isn’t always possible, at the very least you expect a safe environment in which to gamble. Unfortunately, where innocent, naive, and trusting people congregate in great numbers – surrounded by huge amounts of disposable income – the predators of society gather as well. Thieves are on the prowl for ways to separate you or even the casinos from hard-earned cash.

Although casinos implement the most stringent security measures and the latest in state-of-the-art surveillance technology, you, as a prudent casino guest, should assume responsibility for your own safety. The following tips can help you avoid becoming a victim of a casino predator:

– Tuck your wallet in a safe, hard-to-access spot, such as your front pocket.
– If you carry a purse, take a small one that you can wear close to your body, preferably under a jacket or wrap.
– Guard your chips or slot tokens; these work the same as money, so treat them accordingly.
– If you go to the casino solo, be cautious about the overly friendly people you meet. Maintain tight control of your personal information, get your drinks straight from the cocktail servers, and keep your big wins to yourself so you don’t become a target.

Casino Management: Running the tables

In addition to the employees who ensure the smooth-running operations on the floor, a host of other casino personnel contribute to the success of the house. As a beginning casino player, you may not come into contact with any of these people. However, if you do, management employees, such as the casino host, may become familiar (and friendly) faces.

Casino hosts
Modern casino hosts best resemble a successful hotel concierge: They’re both at your service. Whether dealing with new guests, loyal customers, or high rollers, the casino host focuses on service, service, and more service.

Hitting the jackpot, baby!
For those rare but exciting payoffs when you defy the gods of gambling and win more than the machine can payout, a slot attendantand, in some cases, the supervisor – responds to your flashing machine. The slot attendant arrives with a big wad of cash to ceremoniously peel off the bills, one Franklin at a time, to you, the happy winner. And if the payout is $1,200 or more, you also receive an IRS form (called
a W2-G) reporting your win to your favorite uncle – Uncle Sam.
A typical casino host is an affable and professional employee whose mission is to serve your every need. Hosts are hands-on people who greet VIP guests at the door and pamper them throughout their stay. Depending on the size and popularity of the casino and the thickness of your wallet, a casino host may
– Comp your rooms
– Arrange for greens fees at the golf course
– Get tickets to sold-out shows
– Give away free meals

If it’s your first time in a casino, don’t expect to have the keys to the Rain Man suite at Caesar’s Palace handed to you. But even low rollers can make a relationship with the casino host profitable. Keep the following in mind:
– Join the club: The casino host expects you to be a casino loyalty club member before you’re offered many comps. And don’t forget to use your club card whenever you play.
– Express yourself: Don’t wait for the host to find you in the penny slots area; go introduce yourself to the host.
– Be loyal: Find your favorite gambling locale and stick to it. Even small-scale visits can make you a valuable customer if they’re repeated regularly.
– Just ask: The players who get comps are the ones who ask the casino host. Don’t be rude or demanding, just ask politely and see what benefits you qualify for.

Player development is all about forming relationships. Casino hosts are eager to wine and dine you if they believe they can create player loyalty through these lavish perks. Although player-development departments often employ telemarketers or other representatives to reach out to garners through databases, casino hosts achieve their goals on a one-on-one basis by working their cellphones and roaming the casino floors, seeking ways to make their clients’ gaming experiences more enjoyable.

Other managers
As in other walks of life, every casino employee has to report to somebody, and those some bodies are the shift managers. The shift managers then report to the casino manager. As the name implies, shift managers are responsible for their areas of casino expertise (such as slots or table games) during a particular shift (day, swing, and graveyard). Most land-based casinos are 24/7 operations, so shift managers must be prepared to work weekends, holidays, and late-night shifts.
When player disputes arise, money needs to be accounted for or items need to be authorized; the shift manager takes on these duties as well. Shift managers are responsible for employee schedules, customer service, comps, credit, and a host of other duties that make for a mind-boggling job.

The only position above the shift manager is the casino manager. You rarely see this head honcho on the floor, but he’s the ultimate decision-maker for most gaming operations. As a beginning casino player, you aren’t too concerned about who the casino manager is. The only time you may ever interact with the manager is if you win enough money to buy the casino.

Cashing out: Heading to the cashier’s cage

The cashier’s cage is where you redeem your markers – the chips the casino uses to represent cash – for hard cash and where you buy and redeem your slot tokens. (You must buy your chips at the tables, and you must cash out at the cashier’s cage.) Every casino has cashier’s cages – the larger the casino, the more cages you find. If the slot machines and gaming tables are the arteries that circulate a casino’s input and output, the cashier’s cage is the heart that pumps the casino’s lifeblood: money. Highly trained and supremely trusted casino employees handle more cash each shift than most people see in a lifetime.

Cashier’s cages are easy to find. Casinos typically locate them along the sides of the rooms to allow the more valuable floor space for games. Here, much like at a bank, one or more tellers deal with the public through a window. If you’re worried about leaving with your big winnings, you can request a check or get a safety deposit box in most casinos.
In addition to the cashier’s cage, casinos usually offer a credit office. Depending on how big a player you are and the type of games you want to attack, you may want to ask for a line of credit. You can also cash traveler’s checks, get change, receive incoming money via a wire service, and even receive bank wire transfers (with proper ID,of course!).

In the old days, the cashier’s cage earned its moniker because it was, as the name implies, behind bars. Today’s technology and construction make the modern cashier’s cage much more inviting, providing maximum security without looking like Fort Knox. You can usually find casino cashiers in the core ofthe casino layout, as far from any exit as possible, which means the casino’s money is more secure. This location also offers a beneficial side effect that casinos are happy to take advantage of. Their centrality means the cashier’s cage is often in the lion’s den of the most enticing betting areas, tempting many recent winners to recycle their bills by turning them right back into chips at a nearby table.

Navigating the Casino Maze

From Monaco, the Las Vegas of Europe, to the Queen Mary II, the largest cruise ship ever to sail, most casinos of the world are laid out in a similar floor plan. Even at the smaller clubs, you recognize many of the same aesthetic and functional characteristics found at the megaresorts. This common design is no accident – casino owners have an intimate knowledge of the gambler’s mind, and they design the interiors to make their guests comfortable with parting with their cash.

In this article I take a stroll through a typical casino to prepare you for the sights and sounds you encounter when you walk through those neon-bathed doorways. Preparation is the key for maintaining control. You’ll understand what I’m saying when you find yourself subconsciously reaching for your wallet before you finish the article.

Remember that gambling is the ultimate impulse buy. The casino’s layout encourages this impulse. Taking away the mystique is your first step toward improving your odds and coming out a winner. I suggest that, in addition to the virtual walk-through you get by reading this chapter, you do the same in every brick-and-mortar establishment you visit before you drop your first dollar on the table or pump a coin in a slot. Prepare yourself: Stand still, take a deep breath, and look around.

It may surprise you how fast you can find yourself in the middle of the sensory hurricane on the casino floor. In less restrictive states, such as Nevada and New Jersey, you can walk in off the street or get dropped off by a taxi and find yourself a few feet away from the gaming areas. You’re practically holding the door for your significant other with one hand and rolling the dice with the other. After all, casinos want as little as possible to stand between you and your favorite game.

But most casinos give you a chance to catch your breath and do some mental stretching prior to plunging into the action. When you walk in, you often find yourself in a lobby or foyer. Remember that most casinos are also hotels, so you may see familiar sights, such as the concierge, bell desk, and check-in counter. People bustle about and crowd together before they find the destinations suited for them. While some gamblers are anticipating the excitement just steps away, others are exiting with delirious grins on their faces – or expressions of shock and awe.

This bottleneck is no accident; it’s part of the calculated marketing strategy to lure you ever closer to the games. At the threshold of the gaming floor, the sounds, colorfullights, and crowd energy all go to work on your senses, even from a distance. Just like an infant reaching for bright colorful objects, casino visitors gravitate to the sights and sounds of the casino floor.

Interior design is to a casino floor plan what aerodynamics is to automobile manufacturers; forward movement is a result of an ever-expanding array of enticements including colors that dazzle, lights that entice, and a temperature scientifically controlled for maximum comfort. You quickly find that every destination in a casino – the guest elevators, the bathrooms, or the buffet requires that you walk through (or dangerously near) the gaming areas. Slot machines and video poker stations are positioned just inside the casino entrance. The boys in marketing put them here so you can test the waters and feel the rush a quarter at a time – getting your feet wet right at the casino entrance. Up ahead you see the casino proper, a virtual indoor carnival buzzing with excitement. You can almost feel the energy pulsing.