How to Beat the Odds at the Casino

By Ben Hamill - April 03 2016

Beat the Odds

Casinos are a high tech business these days. They carefully calculate every penny that they pay out and are constantly looking for ways to increase their profits (and reduce the payouts to their clients). Casinos have become experts in applying strategies that work on your emotional and psychological weaknesses which they then exploit for their own benefit.

Yet players aren’t completely at the mercy of the casinos. There are some tactics that you should know before you start playing which can give you an edge. The House always holds the cards (pun intended) during casino gambling activities but players also have options allow them to boost their chances of taking home more payouts and bigger and better wins.

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Some of the tricks of the trade include:


The odds that the casino uses to determine your payout for a win are different than the odds of your winning a particular bet. The casino stacks the odds in its own favour. The house edge allows the casino to decrease player wins over time. Players tend to keep playing, especially if they’ve come to visit the casino for a specific amount of time or if they are on a “winning streak.” The more the individual plays, the greater success (and profits) the casino will enjoy. Therefore, it’s to your advantage to play for less time. Don’t continue to re-wager your wins on additional games. . .collect your payouts and go home. You can return to play at a different time when the odds are, once again, more tilted in your favour.


Some games have a significantly smaller house advantage than others. If you stick to those games and walk away while you’re ahead, your chances of walking away as a winner are higher. Games with the smaller house edge include blackjack, mini-baccarat, live poker, pai-gow poker, bingo and sports book gambling activities.


Games such as Red Dog, single-deck 21, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride Blackjack, Big Wheel or Wheel of Fortune have a significantly higher house edge and it’s best to stay away from those games if you’re focusing on achieving payouts.


Roulette is notorious as a game in which, the longer you play, the less you win. The house enjoys a 5 percent edge at roulette, meaning that, the more you spin, the less chance you have to win. That’s why roulette players enjoy the most promotions — because the longer you play roulette, the fewer wins you will achieve. So, it’s a good idea to say “no thanks” to those promotional roulette lobster dinners and luxury suite offers if you want to have the best chance possible of ending your gaming session with your bank account in the plus.

The game with the biggest house edge is Keno — the house advantage in Keno can run up to 50 percent. Save time and just donate to the casino, rather than play keno!


Casinos are built without clocks and windows. The casino wants you to lose track of time so that you play for as long as possible. Remember, the longer you play, the better the casino’s odds become. Decide ahead of time the amount of time that you want to play (and your gambling budget) and stop when you reach that point.


Some dealers are, shall we say, clumsier than others. That can work to your advantage. These dealers might accidentally flash a face-down card, which gives you a weak point that you can exploit. By "card holing," you can increase your edge by 6 to 9 percentage points over the house. Casino experts point out that this strategy is legal and it’s hard for the casino to pinpoint the players that are engaging in this activity. There are player-run casino online groups in which the players share this information among themselves.

Similarly, if you are aware of a casino where the equipment is old, head to the roulette table. If the wheel isn’t spinning properly, you might be able to identify the numbers and colours that will give you better chances for wins and take advantage of that knowledge. Player online groups can also share this type of information.

Party Pits

Some casinos have become “party pits” where the dealers wear bikinis and pole dancers entertain the gamers at points throughout the gaming floor. The point of this is, as you can probably guess, not to add to your entertainment enjoyment, but to distract you from what’s happening at the tables. What’s happening is that, in these casinos, the payouts have been trimmed — sometimes as much as from 3/2 to 6/5. For example, when you play a low-payout game, a $100 bet might net you as little as a $120 payout on a win, instead of the more traditional $150. The house edge doubles and you’re so busy watching the “skin and sin” that you don’t even notice!

Another example involves craps. Bets such as “Any 7” and “the “Field” offer the least return for your money but they’re the ones with the brightest lights and the most vivid colours. Identify the games and the bets that aren’t “gussied up” and stick with those for a more rewarding gaming event.


Slot machines are fun, themed, and have lots of bells and whistles. But they’re costly — significantly more so than the table games. The house edge is higher and the winning payouts are lower. If you do want to play some slots, focus on the slots that allow bets of $5 or more and wager the maximum bet. Penny slots have house edges of 15 — 20 percent but the dollar slots reduce the house edge.

The Drinks

The free booze isn’t free at the casino. Casinos carefully calculate the amount that they can expect to make off of you — they call it a “player reinvestment” fund. Then, they return a cut of that to you in the form of “comps” and “bonuses.” Often, those comps come in the form of drinks. If you think that part of the strategy is to encourage you to play more by making you feel loved through the presentation of drinks, you’re right. But, of course, the more you drink, the more you’re likely to play, so the casino serves you drinks but it makes its investment back several times over. Buy your own drink at a bar (which won’t be watered down, as the floor drinks generally are) and gamble where and when you wish, for a pre-determined amount of time or with a pre-determined bankroll.

Gambling is…well, a gamble. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But you can increase your chances of achieving wins by following these suggestions.