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Casino games are all based on random chance. Even the players at a poker table don’t know which cards will be played next and many a poker strategy entails folding before you get too deep into betting if you have a weak hand. That’s a great lesson to keep in mind when you think about any type of gambling strategy because the element of the unknown sooner or later renders all strategies moot.
Nonetheless most experienced players fall into comfort zones where they feel like they have some control over the outcomes of their games of chance. This tendency to trust in the zone is just another form of the Gambler’s Fallacy. If you really want to gamble then why not try a few strategies that fall outside of your comfort zone? There are some pretty interesting things you can do without sacrificing the statistical position you want to maintain in facing down the house edge.
1. Never Play Blackjack Again
Blackjack has earned a lot of respect among gamblers because, unlike most other casino games, you can bring some skill to the table. The pundits are most likely to tell you that the house edge in blackjack is pretty good, too. But there is one problem with standard blackjack: it’s not the most generous version of this game that you can play.
Although most people have learned to avoid single deck blackjack games that pay only 6:5 odds the majority of players are most comfortable in playing standard blackjack with 6 to 8 decks in the shoe because they like those 3:2 odds. But there is another way to enjoy this game with a slight advantage over the usual blackjack player.
If your casino offers Spanish 21 you should try it out. Although there are several rule differences between regular blackjack and Spanish 21 the most distinctive difference is that the Spanish 21 game is played without any 10 point cards. In other words, a Spanish 21 deck has 48 cards (all the face cards are left in) instead of 52 cards. By removing those 10 point cards the game reduces the chances of either player or dealer drawing a natural 21.
2. Only Play in Tournaments
This strategy is fairly well known. Almost every basic strategy pundit tells you to only play in tournaments at some point in time. That is because if you just pay a flat fee up front but win the tournament the value of the prize could be substantially more than your buy in fee. Even slot game tournaments can be rewarding for the first, second, and third place players.
What makes tournament play really interesting is that you can plan ahead for the buy in. This almost reduces your gambling to a predictable wager. Of course, you may want to gamble more than the tournaments allow so limiting yourself to only playing tournaments may not be practical.
Joining tournaments allows you to gamble on two levels, and that additional risk may make the tournament experience more satisfying for you.
3. Play One on One with the Dealer Whenever Possible
Casinos don’t like it when you are the only player at the blackjack table. Part of the casino’s advantage is derived from the dealer playing against several customers at the same time. Whether you count cards or not, you will see less volatility in the distribution of the cards if you are the only player facing the dealer.
The pit boss may close other tables or send over some house players to fill up your table if you get a lucky break and can play the dealer by yourself. Don’t get upset when this happens.
Why does it matter how many players are at the table? Because your chances of getting those high value cards decline as more people draw from the shoe. When it’s just you and the dealer you have an even chance of drawing the cards you need. As more people join the table your chances drop radically.
4. Play Two of Three Outside Bets at Once in Roulette
Gaming pundits like to pick on roulette and there are surely many good reasons to dissuade you from playing a game that is cleverly designed to emphasize high risk bets. Most of the betting options on the table are the single numbers and players tend to think in terms of betting only on single numbers when playing the inside.
Savvy players may play the lines in roulette but even when you bet on six numbers the house has a huge advantage over you, and the odds are terrible, too.
Your best chances of winning in conventional roulette strategy guides are to play the “safe” outside bets: black or red, odd or even. Pundits reluctantly agree you can also place bets in the 1/3 categories: 1st twelve, 2nd twelve, and 3rd twelve numbers. These 1/3 groups each pay 2 to 1 odds.
5. Only Play Max Lines in Slot Games
The so-called “penny” slot games have been evolving since they first appeared. The game manufacturers have added more and more pay lines to these games and now they even add more screens to handle more pay lines. Early versions of these games allowed you to choose how many pay lines are active during spins. While this may have seemed like a generous gesture to the players who felt uncomfortable placing bets on 15, 20, or 25 pay lines the reality was that the theoretical return to player was brutally reduced to very low levels.
If you only play 1 out of 25 active pay lines you will almost never win. It’s not the same as playing a single pay line slot game. Players who try to conserve their money by playing fewer pay lines are in fact throwing it away. That is because the games are designed to pay the best percentage when all the pay lines are active.
6. Play Keno Instead of Other Games
If you know anything about which casino games are recommended then you know keno is at the very bottom of the list along with all other lottery style games. So how can playing keno be a good strategy to recommend in place of other games? Well, as a regular gambling activity it’s still not recommended but most people when calculating just how bad keno is usually go after the large pick options and don’t look at the probabilities on the lower pick options. But there is another component to this “insane” strategy.
First, let’s take a look at the worst and best case scenarios. In a typical keno game you can usually select 2 numbers to 10 numbers. The rule of thumb is that the more numbers you pick the worse your chances of winning become, although the payoff odds improve. Who would not want to pick 10 numbers that are drawn in keno? Of course, that is the appeal behind keno and most players seem to go for the big win rather than the more achievable wins.
7. Don’t Pass in Craps and Lay Odds
Craps is the most complicated game in the universe and it’s also considered one of the most player unfriendly table games if you try to use all the fancy bets. Just about every introduction to craps tells you that the best bets are the Pass and Don’t Pass line and that you should always Take The Odds if you bet Pass or Lay The Odds if you Don’t Pass.
These plays are simple, you almost don’t have to think about them, and everyone recommends them. But most players choose to bet Pass because they want to support the guy throwing the dice. Opinions vary on all this but in comparing the two options the biggest drawback to betting Don’t Pass is that you may lose on the Come Out roll.
8. Use a 17 Second Delay between Spins
Slowing down slot game play is not easy but there is a mathematically valid reason to do it other than that you lose money at a slower rate. This is not a betting system that promises you will win more often. This is a system that increases the volatility of your play. It is based on the way random number generation algorithms work.
There are two things you should understand about random number generators, those complicated little chips that all modern slot machine games depend on to determine where the reels stop spinning. First is that we don’t yet have the science to produce a truly random number via a mathematical algorithm. Second, the numbers generated by these chips are drawn from huge pools of possible results which makes them more than random enough to be unpredictable in casino game play. That is why the chips are allowed and regulated in most if not all gaming jurisdictions around the world.
This insane strategy is designed for slot players who believe the random number generators fall into patterns. The likelihood of that happening is relatively small but because the random numbers are not truly random it is possible. What happens is that the generated numbers fall into what is termed a “local pattern”. This means that for a short run they do follow some sort of pattern. This is okay because you never see the random numbers or how they are used. That black box effect ensures that the slot game is honest. But let’s take a closer look at how this black box effect is achieved.
There are crazy gambling strategies, dumb gambling strategies, and crazy dumb or just plain stupid strategies. We want to shake things up a little bit without increasing our risk (or losses) by using alternative strategies. The usual gambling advice you find in books and blogs starts to look homogenous and boring after a while. If you are gambling for entertainment you will be more open to changing things up and trying a new approach. That helps to keep your gaming experience fresh and interesting.
And the up side of playing an insane strategy is that if you are not satisfied with the results you can switch back to gaming the way you are more comfortable playing. But do give these strategies a try. You just may fall in love with them simply because they are different from the usual tips and tidbits.