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Gamblers Ten Commandments.

1-Be realistic, the casinos have the rules in their favor. If you lose, expect it.

 

2-Don't rely on hunches. Always make the mathematically best decision.

I have met numerous other players who disagree with me on this one, and they are all wrong. On the players side is the unlimited use of ESP and other psychic powers. The casinos have the mathematical odds on their side. Who always wins in the long run?

3-Although you will lose in the long run your money will go up and down like a roller coaster in the short run.

 

The rare exception to this commandment is that very good blackjack card counters and video poker players can gain a long term edge. Poker and sports betting may also be beat but I do not consider them "casino" gambling because they are not played against the casino but against other players.

4-In general the harder a game is to understand the smaller the house edge is if you play it correctly.

Your best bets are the more complicated games of blackjack, craps, baccarat, and video poker, assuming you play them wisely. Your worst bets are the simple games of pure chance like keno, roulette, and the wheel of fortune.

5-Don't bet money you can't afford to lose. Set a limit on your losses for both a table sitting and the duration of your trip.

In other words practice good money management. I would suggest dividing your total stake by the number of sittings you estimate to have over the course of your stay. The result should be the maximum amount you are willing to lose at any given sitting.

6-Don't hedge your bets.

Avoid the urge to insure against events that will cause you to lose or push rather than win. The insurance bet in blackjack is a classic example, with an average house edge of 5.88% (1 deck) to 7.47% (8 decks). Another example is the any craps bet with a house edge of 11.11%, which some craps plays use to insure a pass line or come bet. I realize that in the real world decision making is governed by both maximizing return and minimizing risk, and I have no problem with that. However in most cases it makes good business sense to not insure risks you can cope with yourself. In the case of gambling the high cost of insurance starts adding up quickly. To maximize long term return the best strategy is to take your chances with the bets with the lowest house edge. The long term cost of hedging your bets will be much more than the benefit they provide. If you are still too risk averse to avoid hedging then I would suggest taking your money to the change machine where you will have no risk at all.

7-There is no system that can beat a game of pure chance.

There are plenty of charlatans promising systems that can beat games of luck like roulette, craps, and even the lottery. Most systems trade a lot of small wins for a few huge losses. In the long run it is impossible to beat the house at games of chance only.

8-It pays to shop around for the best possible playing conditions.

In many games, especially blackjack and video poker rules can vary from one casino to another and one state to another. Know what rules are favorable to the player and to seek them out.

9-Avoid the side bets and gimmicks.

Good examples of side bets to ignore are those in Caribbean stud poker and let it ride. Yes, I know everyone else makes these bets but mathematically the house edge is huge. I've seen a lot of different side bets in blackjack and most of them have had a house edge, much higher than blackjack itself. Gimmicks, like craps less craps and commission free baccarat, have a higher house edge than normal rules in every example I have seen. When the casinos offer a change in a rule to your advantage you can be sure they changed another rule that is to their advantage, and that they are taking more than they are giving up.

10-Have fun.

Don't forget that gambling is supposed to be a recreational activity. Like many things, what is enjoyable in moderation can be disastrous in excess. If you lose the ability to walk away from the table or machine at will then you shouldn't play at all.

 


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