Jul 23

Dealing with obnoxious blackjack players and dealers.

Blackjack is widely regarded as the most entertaining game in a land-based casino. Socialites who enjoy the communal atmosphere of a multi-player game gather at the tables, alongside those who prefer blackjack for its supremely high, strategy-driven RTP. It’s a win-win for all but the most casual, solitary-minded casino goers.

Casino Casualties: Dealing with Obnoxious Blackjack Players and Dealers

But sometimes, the experience at a blackjack table isn’t quite up to par. Every once in a while, you may run across an obnoxious player who doesn’t know how to keep his opinion to himself. Sometimes, the dealer may forget his place, treating customers like second-class citizens instead of the bread and butter they are for their employers, the casino.

What do you do when this happens without losing your cool? Here’s some pro tips to help you out…

Dealing with Obnoxious Blackjack Players

The last thing we want to put up with at the blackjack table is another player who thinks he’s smarter than we are. If you’ve ever had your game play criticized by another, you know what I’m talking about.

Some do it because they’ve had a few too many drinks. Others do it because they’re under the impression that your decisions are effecting their game, and they’ve decided to take out their bad luck on you. Either way, it’s not appropriate.

You could just get up and leave, but you shouldn’t have to feel bullied in such a way. You could explain to him why you made the move you did, and that mathematical probabilities do not change based on the decisions of others. But I promise you that won’t go over well. And there’s always the chance that his argument is correct – not yours – and you come off looking like a total idiot.

The best thing you can do here is completely ignore him. Don’t leave. Don’t argue. Just remain calm, play your game to the best of your ability, and don’t show any emotion whatsoever towards this player. So long as you don’t appear perturbed by him, odds are he’ll become so frustrated he gets up and leaves first.

How to Handle a Rude Blackjack Dealer

The job description for any professional blackjack dealer will include supporting the players in their endeavor to beat the house. No dealer is ever told to root for his employer. They are trained to be polite, helpful, and give the best advice whenever a player asks for it. His boss doesn’t care, because he already knows the rules of the game give the house an edge.

If you happen across a dealer who’s blatantly hoping you lose, something is terribly wrong. This dealer is obviously in a very bad mood. Maybe he’s running a double shift and/or has had too many run-ins with obnoxious players of his own. Maybe he’s a disgruntled employee hoping to get himself canned so he can collect unemployment. Whatever the case, he’s out of line, and you’re left to deal with it.

There are three ways you can deal with this blackjack dealer, depending on the severity of their attitude. If they’re just being annoying, don’t tip them. If they’re beyond annoying, you may want to get up switch to another table. As an absolute last resort, you can report them to the floor manager, but only in extreme situations. Again, it could just be they’re having a really bad day, and we’ve all had those before.

The best advice I can give you is to think before you act. Consider all angles – all reasons why a fellow blackjack player or dealer might be acting the way they are. Then approach the situation with a cool, calm and collected demeanor. The high road is always the best road!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jul 05

Caribbean Stud Poker tips & logical lines of defense.

Fundamental Gambling: Caribbean Stud Poker Tips & Logical Lines of Defense

The fundamentals of gambling teach us that the rules of a game are imperative knowledge. Not knowing how to play will require far more luck than skill to win. Thus, the rules are the first thing any smart gambler will learn before attempting to place a wager on any new game. But those who are familiar with the stochastic nature of casino games will strive to attain a greater understanding of the logistics behind them.

If you count yourself among that group, you’ll enjoy today’s lesson in Caribbean Stud Poker statistics and probabilities. We’ll delve much deeper than the ordinary theoretical RTP to see just how likely you are to hit specific payouts when implementing a perfect strategy.

Caribbean Stud Poker Tips & Logistics

I’m going to assume that you already know the basics of how to play Caribbean Stud Poker. It’s a standard Ante/Play betting game with streets (revealing of cards) rather than a draw phase (no in-depth decision making). The only decisions to be made are how much to Ante, and whether to Play the hand with a continuation bet (Raise).

As for strategy, these five rules are all you really need to know.

Easy Perfect Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

  • When you have any pair or better, Raise.
  • When your hand ranks below dealer’s qualifying hand (Ace+King high), Fold.
  • If you have exactly Ace+King High…
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is 2-Queen, and matches one of your cards.
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is King or Ace, and you have a Queen or Jack.
    • Raise if the dealer’s upcard is lower than your four highest cards, and you have a Queen.

Caribbean Stud Poker Probabilities

Why do the above tactics work so well? Because the mathematical probabilities of the game state that following these rules will, in theory, diminish the casino’s house edge to the lowest possible risk factor.

By hypothetical standards, Caribbean Stud Poker has a 5.224% house edge (or 94.776% RTP). However, the edge is traditionally calculated as the expected loss on the original wager.

When following the above strategy, player’s will raise 52.23% of all hands, which comes to an average wager of 2.045 bet units per hand. And when raising, the player has a slightly higher probability of winning, or achieving a hand worth a high enough payout to be worth the calculated risk (hence the recommendation to raise in the first place). Therefore the element of risk falls to 2.555%.

With that said, let’s take a quick look at the…

Probabilities of All Possible Outcomes

Result of Hand Ante Pays Raise Pays Probability %
Player wins w/ Royal Flush 1 unit 100 to 1 0.0001%
Player wins w/ Straight Flush 1 unit 50 to 1 0.0008%
Player wins w/ 4 of a Kind 1 unit 20 to 1 0.0142%
Player wins w/ Full House 1 unit 7 to 1 0.0834%
Player wins w/ Flush 1 unit 5 to 1 0.1097%
Player wins w/ Straight 1 unit 4 to 1 0.2198%
Player wins w/ 3 of a Kind 1 unit 3 to 1 1.1751%
Player wins w/ 2 Pair 1 unit 2 to 1 2.4482%
Player wins w/ Pair or Less 1 unit 1 to 1 11.7555%
Dealer doesn’t Qualify 1 unit 0 22.7385%
Push 0 0 0.0016%
Player Folds -1 unit 0 47.7745
Dealer wins -1 unit -2 units 13.6786%

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jun 29

Terrible beginner blackjack strategies could will cost you everything.

Terrible Beginner Blackjack Strategies that will Cost You Everything

I’ve spent plenty of time writing everything from tips to detailed strategies for the game of blackjack. I’ve described at length many of the pros most famous and effective card counting techniques. Today, I thought we’d try something a bit different – a reversal, if you will. Today we’ll be discussing the three worst blackjack game strategies that only beginners are known to erroneously invoke.

The problem is that, to a brand new blackjack player with no experience or foreknowledge of how effective tactics work, these concepts can actually sound like the perfect way to win the game. That’s absolutely not the case. So if you are new to the game, be careful you don’t fall for these all-too-common fallacies.

Three Terrible Beginner Blackjack Strategies to Avoid

I was passing through Edmonton a few weeks ago with a friend and we stopped in the River Cree Casino. While dining at the Kitchen Buffet (pricey, but ask for a 2-for-1 coupon when you join the players club, it’s excellent!) I overheard a conversation that made my gut wrench. This was obviously a kid who had never been to a casino before, and probably had one too many drinks before he got to the blackjack table… his “perfect blackjack strategy”, as he called, was this…

Follow the Dealer’s Rules

This poor kid thought that if he followed the same rules that the dealer is forced to abide by, he would have to have an above 50% win rate. It works for the dealer, why not the player? He was so excited by this idea of his that I felt guilty for correcting him, but I couldn’t let him go on believing that horrible distortion.

At first, he seemed to prepared to argue his point to the death, until he finally stopped long enough to ask me why mimicking the dealer’s moves doesn’t work. My response was simple – because you can bust before the dealer ever plays.

Think about it, I explained to him. If you have 16 and always hit it, you’re going to bust a lot (62% of the time, to be exact). The dealer must also hit 16, but only if the player has already completed their hand. The average player using basic strategy will bust about 16% of the time, thereby losing some of those hands before the dealer ever has to take that scary hit on 16.

Because the player goes first, and can bust before the dealer ever plays, following the dealer’s rules is a terrible way to play blackjack! It results in a house edge of about 6%; far worse than the ~1% edge in most games.

The kid finally caught on and realized the error of his ways. He then proceeded to question my knowledge, asking if this strategy would work instead…

Never Let Your Hand Bust

Oh, no, I told him, that won’t do either. Sure, it will save you from facing immediate disaster when the dealer drops a face card on your 12+, but it’s not going to increase your odds of winning – quite the opposite, in fact.

A more prosperous strategy requires hitting some hand values of 12 or more. When basic strategy instructs players to do so, it’s because your odds of busting are lower than your odds of losing against the dealer’s up card.

For example, if you’re dealt 12, and the dealer is showing a 10, odds are higher that you will lose with the 12 than the odds of busting if you hit it. There are 9 cards that won’t hurt you, and only 4 that will. That’s a 69.2% chance you’ll survive the hit. Thus it is the right move to hit.

Like our error-ridden ‘mimic the dealer’ concept above, never busting also proposes about a 6% house edge.

At this point, I told our young friend that he should take some time to study basic blackjack strategy, and warned him to stay away from this third and final bad tactic that’s cost some beginner blackjack players far more than they could ever afford to lose. I’m talking about the potentially expensive error of using a…

Blackjack Betting System

These systems are advertises as sure-fire ways to win at all sorts of casino games that pay even money. Blackjack doesn’t really qualify, since you can split and double down, but a lot of players make the mistake of using betting systems here anyway.

The idea behind a betting system is to bet progressively in such a way so that even if you lose many hands in a row, once you do win, you’ll make it all back, plus a small profit. These systems do not work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a straight double-or-nothing, a positive progression, or a negative progression system. They don’t work for one simple reason. Casinos have table limits.

You can only place wagers so high before you hit the limit, and all that takes is 8 consecutive losses. The odds of losing 8 hands in a row aren’t great, but if it happens, you won’t be able to continue. You’ll have lost hundreds upon hundreds of dollars, with no way to win it back. Learn more about the inherent flaws of betting systems here.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jun 18

Cheaters never win! Unless you happen to be one of these guys who won a fortune by cheating at different casino games.

Cheaters Never Win? These Guys Won a Fortune Cheating at Different Casino Games

Cheating the casino isn’t exactly the best way to make your fortune. It’s not so easy, either, especially considering the last few decades or so worth of advancements in technology. Security surveillance is far superior to what was available half a century ago. But it does still happen.

We don’t hear about casino cheats too much these days for two simple reasons; mostly because there aren’t many willing to try it anymore, but also because those who succeed aren’t blasting the news across social media.

Cheating at Different Casino Games

Although not intentional, some casino games are designed in such a way as to be more vulnerable than others. An entirely computer based game can be hacked and its software re-engineered to perform differently. A deck of cards offers no such mechanized manipulation.

Similar rules apply to the number of people involved in the deception. Any single-player game – a slot machine for instance – is going to be easier to manipulate with special tools or hacking software. The fewer eyes upon you, the better. In the same token, a multi-player game like blackjack is easier to exploit via distraction, wherein the deceiver gives prying eyes something else – something less suspicious – to train their scrutiny upon.

Famous Casino Cheats of Past and Present

I certainly don’t recommend cheating casinos – or trying to, as the case so often turns out to be. I for one would never have the gumption to attempt it, and I hope you would make the same smart decision to keep your gaming on the up-and-up. But there are a lot of people out there who did and do take the renegade plunge. Most of them failed miserably, paying a high price for their crimes. But not everyone…

The following is a list of famous fraudsters who pulled off some of the biggest gaming heists in casino history. Between the most successful tricksters of old and the biggest failures of all time, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so for now, you can consider this an ever-growing compilation of casino game cheats.

Richard Marcus – The Drunken Master

I’m starting here because his story is my personal favorite. Richard Marcus, a former card dealer, was a supremely cunning individual who used the commonality of social vices against the very casinos that promoted them. In this case, slovenly drunken behavior.

Marcus’s skulduggery relied upon excellent acting skills, and a great deal of courage, of which he had both. He was so adept at this method, he gave it a name – “Savannah”. It’s awfully similar to the comparably lame technique of past-posting, in which a player uses slight of hand to inconspicuously add chips to a winning bet. But Richard’s method was so much more convincing, if not a bit backwards.

In one of his more vividly detailed exploits, Marcus would play roulette with all the vigor of a drunken master. Upon entering the game, he would place two chips on a bet. The top chip would be small; maybe $5. The chip beneath would be of much greater value.

If he lost the bet, he would irately grab his chips from the table – going against every casino rule in the book – and fling them straight at the croupier! In the process, of course, he would cleverly replace the higher value chip with a second $5 chip, which is exactly what the croupier would expect to find.

If Marcus won the bet, however, he would make a valiant show of the fact that the chip beneath the $5 was of greater value, ensuring he got paid for his acceptable, albeit unorthodox manner of chip stacking. If security were to go back and observe the surveillance video, nothing out of place would be seen. Such was the wisdom of Richard Marcus, who managed to dupe the casinos out of an untold fortune by doing the exact opposite of what was expected – cheating on a loss, rather than a win.

“Savannah” was Marcus’s lucky lady, and she walked him across the fiery coals of many gambling adventures without ever getting caught. We only know of his insurmountable success because he wrote of his duplicitous exploits in his best-selling books. Of course, by the time he told the world what he’d done, he was already beyond wealthy and retired from that swindling lifestyle.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost all respect for the man in recent years. Now, he makes all of his money by bragging and pitting his own kind against the enemy. He runs a blog that supposedly teaches others how to cheat at poker and casino games, and at the same time, offers services to the very casinos he once cheated, teaching them how to catch the people he is supposedly training to bilk them. Not cool, Richard!

Dennis Nikrasch – 2-Step Teaming & Scheming

Dennis Nikrasch World's Best Slot Machine Cheat

Dennis Nikrasch (aka Dennis McAndrews) was a very talented man, particularly skilled in lock smithing mechanics. He used those talents to his lucrative advantage, taking the casinos for an estimated $15 million before the FBI got hold of him.

Nikrasch’s story begins as a teenager, when learned the trade of a locksmith. His unscrupulous ways began there, stealing cars and burglarizing luxury homes in his community. His reputation grew quickly, earning him a respected position with the Genesse Crime Family. The police caught up with him in 1961, and by the time he was released, he began eyeing new locks – the ones on casino slot machines.

By simply observing the keyhole on a slot, he found he was able to fashion a key that would open it. Once in, he used a series of strong magnets to manipulate the machines into releasing their jackpots. His actions went unnoticed for eight long and lavish years before one casino’s security time finally caught on. He was arrested shortly after.

Following a 5 year prison sentence, Dennis eventually returned to Vegas in 1991, thinking he’d get right back to his old ways. Slot machines had changed a lot since then, and Dennis had to come up with a new way to cheat them. So he did. Nikrasch teamed up with tech wizard Eugene Bulgarino, a former associate from the Genesse Crime Family.

Together, the two got their hands on some of the newer slot machine models and dissected them from the inside out. It didn’t take long to discover that the computerized machines ran on a microchip, as opposed to the old mechanical reels, and that the microchip was responsible for triggering jackpot payouts. After months of hard work, he was able to replicate the chip, except that his version would command the game to pay out its top prize the very next time the reels were spun.

Nikrasch’s biggest problem now was finding a way to switch out the microchips in a busy casinos without drawing suspicion or setting off a machine’s tamper alarm. The solution was easy enough – recruit a large team of helpers to disguise his actions.

While Dennis was sitting at a slot machine, appearing to play the game, an entire crew of helpers were moving about the casino, ensuring that his view was blocked from the casino’s security cameras at all times. Once he had finished replacing the chip, he would leave the machine and one of the team members would come along to play instead. One spin later, that inconspicuous member struck the jackpot.

There’s nothing uncommon about one player walking away and the next one striking paydirt, thus the casinos didn’t catch on to what Nikrasch’s team was doing for several years. Odds are they never would have figured it out if Dennis hadn’t been betrayed by one of his own partners.

Exactly who turned on him and why is a matter of speculation, but it’s believed it was a woman from the team who wanted more than Dennis was willing to give. When she tried to turn him in to the police, the FBI was eager to get involved, but try as they might, they could not find a single scrap of evidence that he had tampered with any slot machine. The security cameras showed nothing, and he left no trace of manipulation on any machine. Even IGT, the company that manufactured some of the games he cheated, could find no hint of tampering.

Slot Machine Cheat Dennis Nikrasch Arrested

The FBI resorted to tapping his phone, but of course Nikrasch and his colleagues were too smart for that. What they didn’t prepare for was the bugging of Dennis’s home. The FBI overhead a conversation in which Nikrasch invited Bulgarino to his home. Just hours before, agents snuck in and planted listening devices throughout the house. During the meeting, the two discussed every aspect of their previous crimes in an effort to find areas of improvement. They spoke of upcoming hits, and ways to spend their ill-gotten gains.

That was more than the FBI needed to storm the home and arrest them both. Dennis Nikrasch plead guilty to all charges and agreed to reveal all of his slot machine cheating secrets to help casinos catch other people like himself. For his cooperation, his sentence was reduced to 8 years.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael – Monkey Paw, Monkey Do

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was a product of the mid 1950s, a time when technology was all the rage. Electronic wonders were coming out of the woodwork, and they fascinated Tommy. He was that kid that ignored his friends pleading to visit the soda shop, and instead stayed in his room, dismantling a ham radio just to see how it worked.

Infamous slot machine cheater Tommy Glenn Carmichael

When he grew up, Tommy’s love of small machinery led him to open Ace TV Sales & Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The business was going great, but then everything began to fall apart. Prior drug convictions had him on probation and doing community service. He was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his third wife. Similar shops were opening all over town, driving his revenue into the basement.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was in shambles.

That’s when Ray Ming, an old high school buddy, walked back into his life and change everything. Ray led Tommy outside to his car and told him that the object inside his trunk would change his life forever. He was right.

Within the confines of Ming’s trunk was a small-scale slot machine and a cheater’s tool known as a “top-bottom joint”. Neither Ray or Tommy knew how the gadget worked, but they were determined to find out. Carmichael took the slot machine home and disassembled it, learning the inner workings of the game and how to exploit it with the mechanism. Finally, after fiddling with the tool for many hours, he felt he was ready to use it in a real casino.

His first trip to Vegas started with a nickel machine, which he was to strike a $35 win on. He then moved up to quarter slots, and by the time the weekend was over, he had taken the casino for nearly $10,000.

His cheating ways continued with great success for the next few years before casinos updated their machines to RNG technology, forcing him to rethink his strategy. Unable to use the top-bottom joint on the newer models, Tommy limited his gaming habits to smaller casino joints beyond the strip, where the older machines were still in use.

Smaller crowds made for easier detection though, and it didn’t take long for police to catch up to him. They followed him for a week gathering evidence before he was arrested, charged and convicted of running an illegal gambling enterprise. Since he was already on probation, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Years later, in an interview with USA Today, Carmichael said about this time in his life:

You think about what you did, and the mistakes, and how to correct them. You either get straight or get better.”

Carmichael got better.

In the years he was away, machines continued to evolve, so Tommy decided to go back to school, so to speak. He worked multiple minimum wage jobs until he’d saved enough money to purchase one of the newer machines. Not a slot machine this time, but a video poker machine. He spent more than a year learning the how the RNG and micro-processing units worked before he was ready to head back out into the casinos with his new invention – The Monkey Paw.

It’s engineering was genius, yet its operation simple. Built with guitar string and steel springs, it did resemble a monkey’s paw. And when it was inserted up the payout chute of a gambling machine, it triggered a mirco-switch that released a payout.

Tommy was “winning” thousands of dollars every outing, but just as before, times were changing, technology was evolving, and casinos were updating to newer machines. Carmichael decided to save some time and play it cool, disguising himself as an affluent with interest in purchasing one of the new slot machines.

Under this presumption, he convinced a casino employee to open up one of their new machines and explain how everything worked. In that limited space of time, he conceived his next big invention – The Light Wand.

The Light Wand Slot Machine Cheating Device devised by Tommy Glenn Carmichael

As is turned out, the new games were just as easy to cheat as the old ones, but instead of making contact with the trigger, he needed only light to pass over it. Like before, the light wand was inserted into the payout chute. When the light shown on the sensor, coins were released.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael became extremely wealthy at this point, not only because his new slot cheating device worked so well, but because he was making loads of money on the side selling them to fellow casino cheats. He was so rich at this point, he took a 6 month vacation from Las Vegas, pilfering the machines on casino cruises in the Caribbean.

Upon his return, Carmichael decided to set up a team. He partnered with Ramon David Pereira and his old prison buddy, Michael Balsamo, among others. Each member had an important role, scoping out the machines, keeping a watch for security, blocking the line of vision from security cameras at just the right moments.

If the stories are true, these guys were so successful that at their peak, they were raking in upwards of $5 million a day, virtually raiding the vaults of every casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Then one day in 1996, it all came crashing down.

The group was running their scheme at the Circus Circus Casino when authorities closed it. Tommy had no idea the casino had updated its security cameras. His blockers were no longer effective. Security saw everything. The moment Carmichael inserted his light wand into a machine, a team of guards pounced.

He was charged with cheating, manufacturing of a cheating device, and possession of a cheating device. However, authorities didn’t have enough evidence to make all the charges stick. They had to release him the next day.

Tommy Glenn Carmichael was arrested again in 1998, to no avail, and one last time in 1999. That time it stuck. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison and 3 years probation. After his release, he turned his life around, sort of. Carmichael began working with the casinos instead of against them, and made his new fortune developing tools to help stop cheaters. Might as well, since he’s engraved in Nevada’s Black Book of life-time banned players.

Ronald Harris & Reid McNeal – The Ruinous Nature of Greed

In the mid 1990s, a pair of seemingly unlikely comrades were getting rich quick off Nevada casinos. One was Ronald Dale Harris, a respected engineer with a strong background in computer programming and a convenient source of employment. The other was Reid Errol McNeal, an old school yard friend of Ron’s who just happened to be in the wrong situation at the right time.

Ronald Harris and Reid McNeal arrested in 1995 for cheating slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City

The story begins in the early 1990s, when Ron Harris applied for a job with the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). He had all the right skills and his record was squeaky clean, thus he was a perfect candidate for computer programmer. His responsibilities included analyzing the state’s slot machine software for glitches and flaws.

In Ron’s defense, he had no intention of going rogue when he was hired. However, his job granted him access to very sensitive information, and it wasn’t long before he realized how easy it would be the manipulate the system from his position. All he had to do was alter the erasable programmable read only memory (EPROM) within a slot machine to govern its payout release. And so he did…

Harris knew the inherent dangers of his actions. He knew that if he went to the casino and won a jackpot himself, it would look awfully suspicious. That’s when he decided to contact his old childhood friend, Reid McNeal. The two had stayed in touch over the years, enough that Ron knew Reid had recently lost his job and was hard up for cash. Needles to say, it didn’t take much convincing to bring McNeal aboard.

Ron would program the EPROM chips of certain slot machines to line up a big win when a certain sequence of coins was entered. Then Reid would play the slot machines his friend told him to play, in the exact manner he was told to play them. For instance, one of Ronald’s favorite sequences – one no other player was likely to insert by accident – was 3 coins, 2 coins, 2 coins, 1 coin, 3 coins, then 5 coins. If that precise number of coins was inserted per play for six plays in a row, the sixth spin would result in the big win.

At first, they were the perfect duo, splitting the profits down the middle. They won relatively lucrative amounts of money, but never more than a few thousand per strike. It kept the prying eyes of the NGCB off their backs, and put far more in Harris’s pocket than his day job allotted. But then, as criminals so often do, the two got greedy.

In 1995, Ron wanted to try his illicit programming skills on keno machines, but he didn’t feel comfortable doing it in his home state. They left Nevada for the east coast, bringing with them all the equipment required to manipulate a gambling machine on site. They booked a room at an Atlantic City hotel and set their sites on a keno machine at Bally’s Park Place Casino.

In the beginning, everything worked just as planned. Harris gave instructions to Reid, who inserted $100 into the appropriate machine and – as expected – won the $100,000 jackpot. It was the largest keno prize ever paid by the casino. But instead of uncorking the champagne bottles and taking pictures with oversized cardboard checks, casino staff became instantly suspicious of Reid McNEal.

His first mistake was his lack of reaction. He did not seem surprised or even excited by the 6-figure win. He remained perfectly calm and asked for his winnings to be paid in cash. No payout would be forthcoming however; not just because the casino suspected something was up, but because any win of $35,000 or more required an investigation to confirm the win.

As protocol called for, security protected their latest big-money winner back to his hotel room, where they just so happened to find Ron, along with all of the equipment the two brought with them to manipulate the machines and cheat the casino. That was all police needed to place the two under arrest.

Ronald Harris plead guilty to more than twenty counts, including abusing his position with the NGCB, using confidential information for personal gain, and rigging gambling machines from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released on good behavior after serving just two. Reid McNeal cut a deal with authorities, testifying against his friend in exchange for exclusion. Subsequently, all charges against him were dropped.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jun 04

Gambling 101: Probabilities predict theoretical returns, not future results.

Gambling 101: Probabilities Predict Theoretical Returns, Not Future Results

Casino gambling can be a tumultuous thing. It comes with deep swings – ups and downs that can send our emotions soaring through the clouds one day, and our bankroll down into the doldrums the next. The transient nature of casino games is more volatile than most people realize, leading them to believe that with the right strategy, they can overcome the odds.

Therein lies one of the most common mistakes of novice gamblers – the belief that acquiring enough knowledge will give them the upper hand against the casino. Unfortunately for us players, it doesn’t work that way; at least, not anymore. And thanks to super intelligent computers that can crunch millions of numbers in under a second, it never will again.

Knowledge and skill are the experienced player’s friend. They can help the gambler to gain the best edge, but not a player’s edge. No matter how smart or mathematically inclined a person is, they cannot use that knowledge to predict the gambling future.

I know that a French Roulette wheel has two different levels of house edge. Even-money bets have a better payout rate than any other bets that pay 2-to-1 or more. I also know that those bets have a 1.35% house edge, which means players who make those bets should (collectively and over a long period of time) win back 98.65% of all those wagers.

Gambling Probabilities Predict Theoretical Returns

Gambling Probabilities Can't Predict Gambling Future

This knowledge of the game should provoke me to place only even money bets. Employing the skills that this knowledge has taught me, I will avoid the 2.7% house edge of all other bets and stick only to those that have the highest rate of return.

In this way, I am applying both knowledge and skill. But neither of these assets can predict the game’s future. I’ve gained no insight as to whether the next number will be black or red, odd or even, high or low. It is not going to help me predict future outcomes. The only thing my mental acuteness for French Roulette has given me is the keen ability to, on average, lose less money than an inexperienced player who wagers the full gambit of the roulette betting diagram.

Gambling’s Future Results are Unpredictable

Okay, you’re going to argue with me here. I know half the world predicted New England would win the Super Bowl over the Rams this year, and the other half doesn’t watch football. But it’s rare such simple bets come along. In a casino, they simply don’t exist.

None can predict with 100% assurance that will win the next slot machine pull, hit 3 of 3 keno numbers, or be dealt a blackjack. None can, with consistent accuracy, foretell when the craps shooter will crap out or the baccarat banker and player will tie. Were there any source of knowledge or superlative skill that gave players the ability to predict the gambling future, casinos would have been driven out of business long ago.

Play Smarter – Know The Difference

In gambling, the only realities are these:

  • Some players will win money
  • Some players will lose money
  • More players will lose than win.

Such is the ecosystem of casinos. Those who understand this – and use combined knowledge and skill to make smarter decisions – will not only have a higher chance of being among that first group of winners. They’ll also have the wisdom to bet responsibly and take their losses in stride.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , ,

May 22

Casino games that require skill to maximize odds of winning.

Casino Games that Require Skill to Increase Your Odds of Winning

Gambling amusements are often categorized by their characteristics. Machines versus tables is the most common. Today, we’re going to divvy them up between skill games and non-skill games; that is to say, those that give a player better odds of winning with skill/strategy applied, as opposed to those that do not.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of today’s topic, those of you seeking the opposite experience may be interested in reading the following:

Simple Casino Games that are Easy on the Brain

Casino Games that Require Skill to Win

No one has to implement a strategy to win these games. Everyone gets lucky now and again. But if you want to win more often, driving your odds to peak performance, these are the games you’ll want to learn more about. I’ve chosen to list them in order of the best payback percentage, with perfect strategy applied.

Video Poker

These can be the most rewarding games of all. The trick is to find one with the right rules and pay table. At online casinos, Microgaming’s All Aces VP (99.92%) and Jacks or Better with 9/6 Full Pay (99.54%) are about as good as it gets. A few land-based casinos – and I do mean a very rare few – still provide VP games with 100-101% RTPs. Learn more here.

Blackjack

Of course, blackjack will land high on any list of this nature. It is the most strategically driven game in any casino. Just memorizing a basic strategy for the exact rules of the blackjack game you’re going to play can lower the house edge to below 0.5%. The true RTP value depends on the rules in play. For example:

  • Vegas Single Deck 99.69%
  • Double Exposure 99.68%
  • Classic Blackjack 99.60%
  • Spanish 21 99.58%

With these high-RTP variants, players who toss in an astute card counting system at a land-based casino can swing the edge into their favor.

Pai Gow Poker

A unique, 2-handed poker game in which players receive 7 cards to set a traditional 5-card poker hand and a 2-card poker hand. The 5-card hand must be stronger than the 2-card hand. If the player’s 2-card and 5-card hands beat the dealer’s corresponding hands, the player wins. If one beats the dealer, it’s a push. A good strategy will put the RTP at 97.28%.

Caribbean Holdem

This is a house-banked poker game with dual betting rounds, the Ante and Call. It follows the rules of Casino Holdem (based on Texas Holdem), but with a different payout scheme for Ante bets and a progressive jackpot. Using the right strategy here can net you an RTP of 96.91%.

Three Card Poker

This house-banked poker game also presents two rounds of betting, based on the strength of a 3-card poker hand. What makes it so unique is the fluctuation in RTP based on your strategic decision. The Ante alone carries an RTP of 96.67%. If making the Call bet (strategy calls for a hand of Q-6-4 or better), the RTP rises to 97.99%. The Pair Plus side bet falls between the two at 97.68%.

Let It Ride

Another house-banked poker game, this one plays opposite of most. Instead of placing progressive bets (Ante, Call, Raise, etc), the player starts with three bets on the table. As the hand progresses, he can chose to pull one or two of his bets down, it ‘let them ride’. With optimal strategy, you can expect an RTP of 96.49%.

Caribbean Stud

This is a basic 5 Card Stud poker game but with the usual house-banking rules, wherein the player competes against the dealer. An Ante bet is made to start, then all cards are dealt with one dealer card exposed. The player must then fold (lose all bets) or raise (bet 2x ante) before all cards are shown. While strategy does play a big role in this game, perfect decisions will only net an RTP of about 94.78%.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

May 08

Five fast ways to ruin your chance of winning video poker.

Five Fast Ways to Ruin Your Chance of Winning Video Poker

Did you know that video poker is one of the very rare gems at a casino that can afford a house edge of less than 0.5%? That’s a theoretical return to player (RPT) of 99.5% or better! Find the right rules and pay table, and that could rise to 99.92%. Even a perfect blackjack strategy can’t harvest that kind of RTP – not without a precision card counting team.

That 99.92% RTP is about the best you’ll find online (Microgaming’s All Aces VP), but a few land-based casinos do still offer machines that pay over 100%. The highest I’ve seen is 100.76%. They are insanely rare, but they’re out there.

5 Ways to Ruin Your Chances of Winning Video Poker

As generous as some of these games can be, it’s very much possible to win at video poker. Even online, all you’ll need is a smidgen of luck to beat those odds. That is, if you don’t make these common mistakes… The following is a list of 5 easy ways to ensure you will not win playing video poker.

#1 Overlook Pay Table Value

The pay table in a video poker machine is the most important piece of information for players. It holds two key things to look for.

First are the payouts for a Full House and Flush. A Full House should pay 9, and a Flush 6/ This is called a 9/6 Full Pay. Second is the progressive value of a Royal Flush per coin wagered. Betting 5 coins should offer a payout higher than the 5x multiple of a 1 coin payout. (Hint: Bet all 5 coins!)

Win at Video Poker with a 9/6 Full Pay and Max 5-Coin Payout Multiplier

The image above shows a 5-coin wager is worth 4,000 coins, as opposed to an even multiple of 1,250. If the payout is 1,250 for a Royal Flush, or the Full House/Flush pays are anything less than 9/6, do not play the game… unless it’s got wild cards (see below).

#2 Only Play Jacks or Better

Despite popular belief, Jacks or Better isn’t the only good video poker game on the casino floor. In fact, with the right pay table, Deuces Wild, Joker Wild, Aces & Eights and Double Bonus machines can all pay over 100% RTP. And, as I mentioned earlier, the best online video poker game is All Aces by Microgaming.

#3 Ignore Video Poker Strategy

There are three basic ways to play video poker.

1) You can randomly click cards to hold.
2) You can rely on your gut instinct to decide what card to hold.
3) You can employ a video poker strategy that determines exactly what cards to hold for the highest possible odds of winning.

If you want to win, the third option is the only way to go. There are some really good hand calculator apps out there for VP strategy, too. Find one that offers the same rules/pay table as your machine, input each hand as it’s drawn, and the app will tell you exactly how to proceed. It really is that easy.

#4 Not Knowing Where to Play

Visit a casino often enough, and you’ll realize the layout rarely changes. Be extremely observant, and you’ll notice that, despite the unchanging layout, the machines themselves tend to move. The most popular games move the most, which means that video poker machine you found last month that paid so well, probably won’t be in the same spot next time you go.

Thankfully, there’s this amazing website called www.vpFREE2.com. This website provides a searchable list of casinos all over North America. It lists the video poker machines they offer, including their RTP and exact location in the casino! It’s updated daily by actual players who visit these casinos and play the games. Pretty amazing, right? You’re welcome 🙂

#5 Don’t Use a Player’s Club Card

To get the maximum value out of any casino experience, you have to join the rewards club. At online casinos, it’s usually automatic. Land-based casinos, however, require a bit of work on your part. You’ll have to visit the Player’s Club desk and give them your basic info to receive a card. Swipe this card in every machine you play before inserting money, and the casino will track your play. Doing so will earn you casino comps – everything from a free meal to a weekend stay in the penthouse suite!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Apr 20

It really is possible to get an edge at casino games.

Play Smart: It Really is Possible to Get an Edge at Casino Games

How many times have you heard that casino’s are in it to win it? That there’s no practical way to turn the tides in your favor? Or that you must have at least a little luck to walk away a winner? This is said so often because, for the majority of gamblers, it’s true. That’s only because the majority of gamblers are playing the wrong casino games.

Walk onto the gaming floor, and you’re immediately bombarded by the reverberating sounds and flashing lights of reel slots and video slots. Isle after aisle, they line the walls and gaudy carpets as far as the eye can see. The casinos would love for you to stop here – as so many players do – and start dropping your money into these machines. Those who aren’t fooled by these may still find themselves attracted to video poker, baccarat, roulette, the craps table, pai gow poker or the big money wheel.

There are so many games just waiting to take your money. And the casinos know they’re going to win, because these games cannot be beaten. A few players may get lucky and beat them, but many more players will lose, earning the casino its dues. That is, unless you know which games to play, and how to exact the ever-illusive player’s advantage at the casino.

Three Ways to Get an Edge at Casino Games

There are exactly three ways to gamble your money, and slide the advantage into your favor while doing it. Only one is found directly on the casino floor, and you can probably guess which one it is. I’m talking, of course, about blackjack.

The other two you’ll have to do a little extra walking to get too; one being the poker room, and the other the sportsbook. Unfortunately, for Canadians like myself, sportsbooks aren’t legal. You will either need to visit a foreign casino or take your wagering to international gambling websites to gain an edge with sports betting.

Blackjack Player’s Edge

The criteria for surpassing a 100% RTP in blackjack sounds simple enough. It only takes two things – a basic strategy and a good card counting technique. The strategy part is easy. You can print out a situational decision-making chart for the game and keep practicing until you get it down. Counting cards will be a bit tougher.

Being able to keep up with the count is only the beginning. You must be a able to do it flawlessly, size your bets appropriately, and be so perfectly nonchalant about it that the dealer, pit bosses and security surveillance team don’t suspect you’re doing it. Most casinos will kick you out for it, not because it’s illegal, but because they have ‘the right to refuse service to anyone‘.

Profitable Poker Pros

Casinos love to host poker games, because it doesn’t matter who wins or loses. The casino wins a small percentage of each pot (i.e. poker rake) regardless of the action on the table. Poker pits player versus player, and therefore the player who is most skilled is going to win more often. Like house edge casino games, luck can swing one players way over another regardless of skill, but in the long term, skill will prevail in any legitimate poker game.

Being the bet poker player at the table is no easy task, though, especially since the big live/online poker boom of 2003 (aka the Chris Moneymaker Effect). Its takes a special set of skills to truly excel in poker, calculating math quickly in your head, making smart value bets and accurately observing poker tells.

Sports Betting Advantage

If you’re a terrible actor and supreme mathematics isn’t your thing, how about trying your hand at sports betting? Pick a sport you follow, or want to follow, and learn everything you can about it. Get to know the athletes and/or teams. Understand outside influences that might impact a game, like weather, turf conditions, injuries or suspensions.

Having a good head for the games is just one aspect of being a good sports bettor. You have to understand the odds and different types of bets, like straight-up wagers, points spreads and over/unders, and live betting features. The more you know, the more you can slide the scales of profitability into your favor.

The average gambler relies on luck. The smart gambler doesn’t need luck. Choosing the right games and playing them with ultimate skill will produce a positive expectation for long-term profitable results.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apr 17

More online blackjack rules than you can shake a stick at!

More Online Blackjack Rules than you can Shake a Stick at!

If there’s one thing land-based casinos have taught us, it’s that all blackjack games are not created equal. To the untrained eye, all they may appear to be the same. But any veteran gambler knows there are many differences to be observed. Every rule variation, no matter how slight, will impact the expected return to player (RTP).

Most casinos know that delivering blackjack tables with an affable set of rules is crucial for attracting wise players to the casino floor. But they usually have a little extra room for those less valuable games, making them look more attractive with lower limits or special side bets – something less educated gamblers are often drawn to.

Online casinos, on the other hand, have taken this concept to the brink of RTP destruction! They aren’t bound by spacial limitations. They can proffer as many variants of blackjack as they wish, never running out of room or seats. And if you’ve visited any of the bigger online and mobile casinos, you know exactly just how many variations that can be!

More Online Blackjack Rules Than You Can Shake a Stick At!

As a quick example of what I’m talking about, let’s take a glance at the game variety provided by LeoVegas Mobile Casino. This particular operator is among the industry’s most popular, in part because it employs so many software brands; nearly 50 of them, plus its own proprietary software as the cherry on top.

Many of those big-name brands offer one, if not a few, blackjack variants. And when you put them all together as LeoVegas has, it creates a plethora of blackjack titles to choose from; all with slight (if not monumental) rule alterations. All told, this popular mobile casino currently supports 27 RNG-based blackjack titles, and no less than 9 live dealer blackjack offerings.

That’s at least three dozen ways to play blackjack. And if you don’t know what to look for – if you can’t recognize the differences in the rules and pay tables – you may be getting terrible value for your bankroll budget.

Best Blackjack Rules for Minimal House Edge

Some rules have a minuscule effect on a blackjack game’s RTP, while others can be significant. At the same time, some rules benefit the player, while others benefit the house. The following list contains all common rule variations and their effect on the casino’s edge. Note that a positive integer is good for the player. A negative integer benefits the house.

Number of Decks

The number of decks used can have a large impact on the house edge in blackjack. A shoe can contain anywhere from 1 to 8 decks. The golden rule here is to play with the least number of decks possible.

Number of Decks      House Edge Effect
1 Deck0.48%
2 Decks0.19%
4 Decks0.06%
6 Decks0.02%
8 Decks0.00%

Payout for Natural Blackjack

The payout for a natural blackjack can be one of the most significant differences in a game. A 2-to-1 payout is best, but extremely rare. You should generally look for the standard 3-to-2 payout. Anything less will decimate the house edge.

Natural Blackjack Pays     House Edge Effect
2 to 12.27%
3 to 2 0.00%
7 to 5 -0.45%
6 to 5 -1.39%
1 to 1 -2.27%
Blackjack Tie PaysHouse Edge Effect
3 to 20.32%
1 to 20.11%

Other Blackjack Rule Variations

Next up is a list of all common rule variations that don’t fall into the above categories. That doesn’t make them any less important, though. Pay close attention to all rules that deliver an added advantage to the player.

Common Rule Variations       House Edge Effect
5 Card Charlie 1.46%
Early Surrender against Dealer’s Ace 0.39%
Early Surrender against dealer’s 100.24%
Double on Any Number of Cards0.23%
Draw to Split Aces0.19%
6-Card Charlie0.16%
Double Down Rescue0.10%
Late Surrender0.08%
Resplit Aces Allowed0.08%
Late Surrender Against Dealer’s 100.07%
Split up to 3 Hands-0.01%
Double Only on Total of 9-11
-0.09%
Split up to 2 Hands-0.10%
European Blackjack (No Hole Card)-0.11%
No Double after Split-0.14%
Double Only on Total of 10-11-0.18%
Dealer Hits on Soft 17-0.22%
Dealer 22 is a Push-6.91%

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Apr 15

Exploit your swag to fleece extra casino comps in Las Vegas.

Exploit Your Swag to Fleece Extra Casino Comps in Las Vegas

Earning casino comps doesn’t have to be a long, tedious or costly process. Sometimes, playing the part of a high-roller is all it takes to generate VIP treatment. You won’t have to rob a bank to pull it off either.

Flashing just enough cash can do the trick, but only if you bring the entire package. A full high-roller ensemble includes fancy attire and a trendy hair do to match. Keep reading to learn how a sharp dressed man, or woman, can have the casinos eating out of the palm of their hand!

Fleece Your Swag to Earn Extra Casino Comps

There’s an age-old adage that says, “The clothes make the man”. If you want to get a good job, you don’t walk into an interview in jeans and a Led Zeppelin t-shirt. If you want to impress a girl on your first date, you don’t wear socks with sandals. And if you want to attract the attention of the VIP managers in Las Vegas, you never, ever show up in a polo.

If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of the usual Las Vegas tourist scene, it’s surprising how many people think quarter-button down shirts and khakis are “cool”. Maybe if you’re heading to the miniature golf course, but the Bellagio? Not even close.

The better dressed you are, the more heads you’re going to turn. You don’t even have to be a good actor. As it turns out, simply dressing in formal attire has the ability to provide you with all the swag you’ll ever need.

Don’t believe me? It’s a scientific fact!

The Science of Formal Attire

In 2015, research was conducted by Columbia University Professor of Psychology Michael Slepian. The study revolved around the impact of dressing sharply, both on the mental and physical prowess of the wearer, and his impression upon those he interacts with. The study culminated into a research paper titled The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing, published in SAGE Journal’s Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Dr. Slepian found that “wearing formal clothing enhances abstract cognitive processing.” He conducted five separate studies, concluding the donning of fancy, formal attire could be associated with…

Study 1: …higher action identification level.

Study 2: …greater category inclusiveness.

Study 3: …greater category inclusiveness.

Study 4: …global processing advantage.

Study 5: association between clothing formality and abstract processing was mediated by felt power.

According to Slepian:

The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.”

Clothing, Confidence, Cognition & Coinage

Once you’ve got the clothing, all you need is the confidence of a high roller, the cognition of a strategic gambler, and the coinage to back it up. Two of these should come naturally, as Dr. Slepian points out. The right attire gives a person confidence, and that confidence equates to higher mental capacity. The thing it won’t give you – quite the opposite if you have to pay an arm and a leg for the clothes – is money.

As I said, you won’t need to rob a bank, but you should save up a decent size bankroll before attempting to exploit the casino. You can’t possibly pull off the persona buying in for anything less than $1,000. This doesn’t mean you have to wager the whole 4-figures. You just have to look like you’re ready to do so.

Take a leisurely stroll across the casino floor. Check out the tables. Spend a few moments observing the action at various mid- to high-stakes tables, but steer clear of the VIP room. Let them feel like you’re thinking about playing, but shrug it off as something a bit too boring for you taste and keep on walking. Before long, someone should take notice and approach you. They may ask if you’re looking for something in particular, or if you’ve considered partaking in their VIP games. This is your moment!

Act interested, but disconnected. Tell them you were about to play one game or another, but you haven’t eaten yet and your throat is parched! If you can pull off the debonair of James Bond or one of his seductive lady friends, you’ll be dining free of charge before you can say “Hit me!

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,