by Frank Scoblete
There are countless casino myths held by plenty
of casino players, many handed down by tradition and authority that are
indeed false, illogical and just plain dumb.
I state 10 casino myths with the
Casino Myths #1: In blackjack,
the dealer probably has a 10-value card in the hole.
Don’t bet your life on that. True, the dealer is more likely to have a
10-valued card than any other single value, but he is much more likely
to have a non-10 in the hole.
Why is that? Because in a single deck of cards, there are only 16 cards
valued as 10 (the King, Queen, Jack and 10) and 36 cards not valued as
Of course, you have a better chance of a 10-valued card coming out than
you do a 2, or 3 or 4 or Ace because there are four 10-values to every
one of any other value.
Now, here’s the really important thing to remember.
We don’t play basic strategy based on what we guess the hole card of
the dealer to be. We play it based on the face-up card. The computer
simulations that developed basic strategy did so taking into
consideration every single possible hole card the dealer could have and
in what proportions.
Casino Myths #2: Counting
cards is illegal.
A lot of people believe that this is true but it isn’t. Despite the
fact that casinos have been known to “ask” card counters to leave their
environs, or at the very least desist from playing blackjack, card
counters are not violating any laws. How could they be?
It is not a criminal offense to think. Your eyes have to look at the
cards. Your brain has to make decisions on what to do with your hand.
So why have the courts (thus far) upheld the right of a casino to
refuse someone’s action because he or she is counting cards (or was
thought to be counting cards)?
Casinos are under an ancient law/custom called the “Innkeeper Law” that
states a man’s home and, by extension, his “Inn” is his castle and he
can serve or not serve whomever he pleases. In the United States,
certain “protected” groups, such as minorities and the handicapped,
cannot be asked to leave a business establishment because of these
particulars, but if they were counting cards in a casino, they could be
booted out as well. Thus far, no court has really established that we
have a right to think.
Casino Myths #3
: If you tip
the dealers at blackjack, they’ll give you better cards.
If you were a dealer and you could control what cards came out of a
deck or shoe would you be hustling tips from the likes of you?
you tell your relatives and friends to come to the casino tonight to
clean up! Of course, if you had larceny in your heart, every relative
you have (that you liked) and every friend, would belly up to your
table and bet the table max until they wiped out the casino, or until
the casino fired you.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), dealers can’t control what happens to
the cards. In the bad old days of bent-nosed casino owners and
baseball-bat justice, some of the unscrupulous casinos hired card
mechanics who could indeed control what came out the deck. Those days
are done. Very few dealers today have an interest in cards per se. They
are just doing their jobs. Luck controls the fall of the cards. Tips
just control the possibility of a smile or a “thank you” from an
Casino Myths #4: If a craps
table has been hot, it will continue to be hot. If it’s cold, it will
continue to be cold.
Many casino players, not just craps players, look for trends and then
bet with or against the trend. It is an old law of gambling that the
“dice have no memory.” That is, what happened on the last decision has
no influence on what will happen on the next decision. That is
absolutely true as long as the game is random and no one is controlling
the outcome through physical means.
Craps is an independent-trial game and what happens now will have no
effect on what happens next. However, there is some truth to the myth
that while the dice might not have a memory, certain shooters do. These
shooters, called rhythmic rollers, might be able to influence the game
by the way they physically roll the dice thereby increasing the
likelihood of some numbers appearing and decreasing the likelihood of
other numbers appearing. So here’s an instance where a myth is false
except if it’s true.
Casino Myths #5: All casino
games are just dumb luck.
Not true. Some games are a delightful combination of dumb luck (short
run results) and smart skill (long run results).
Games such as blackjack, poker, video poker, Caribbean Stud, Spanish
21, Let It Ride, Pai Gow poker, and even Three Card Poker require the
best choices to be made on each and every hand you’re dealt in order to
cut the casino edge to its minimum and, in some cases, to turn the edge
in favor of the players.
On a given hand, on a given night, luck is the key factor, that is
true, but in the long run, how skillfully you play your cards will
determine just what the casino wins from you -- or what you win from it!
Casino Myths #6: New games are
introduced to give the players more choices.
That’s certainly how the casinos advertise it. In reality, new games
are introduced to give the casinos more of an opportunity for increased
revenues. New games are an attempt to lure veteran players who might be
bored with the old games, or introduce new players to the tables.
You’ll notice that all new table games come in with higher house edges
or faster speeds than more traditional games. Even a relatively good
new game such as Spanish 21 needs the player to memorize a whole new
basic strategy in order to reduce the house edge to around 0.8 percent.
This still isn’t as good as the approximately 0.5 percent edge a normal
six-deck blackjack game has for a basic strategy player.
And if you don’t play the correct strategy at Spanish 21, which most
people do not, you are facing edges of well over two and three percent.
Casino Myths #7: Casinos are
not interested in low rollers. To get comps, you have to bet big money.
If you play the machines, even for quarters, you aren’t as low a roller
as you think you are. Put three quarters in a machine every five
seconds and you are putting through $540 per hour. Play four hours and
you just gambled $2,160 -- wow!
The casinos will be more than happy to recognize such action with free
or discounted rooms, meals and other special promotions.
If you play table games, you might not want to be a five-dollar bettor
looking for comps in a casino where they only rate $25 action. However,
there are plenty of casinos that will gladly comp five-dollar players
if they play long enough. The bottom line is this: Most casinos want
just about all players. Find the places that give your action the most
in perks as possible...and then patronize them.
Casino Myths #8: The casino
comping formula is an exact science and is written in stone.
There is a little truth to this myth and a big untruth to it. Slot
clubs for small and medium players are an almost an exact science. You
play the requisite number of coins to get the requisite number of
points and you get the requisite number of buffets or show tickets or
discounts to rooms. However, for bigger slot players (dollars and up)
and for table-game players, the comping policies are guidelines.
If the guideline says that a $150 player who plays four hours per day
gets RFB (the highest level of comps) and Mr. Jones, a very good
customer of Luckland Casino, happens to only play three hours one
evening, do you think the host is going to say: “Sorry, Mr. Jones, I
know you’ve dumped tens of thousands here at Luckland, but tonight you
can have the coffee shop, not the gourmet room, because you didn’t play
the four hours.”
More than just a rating will often go into what an individual on the
high end might get. Such factors as the number of good players the
individual brings with him or her would be considered; how often the
person comes to the casino, and past history.
Remember that comps are inducements to play and stay at a certain place
and would any casino in its right mind say to Mr. Jones: “Buzz off, we
don’t want your $150 per decision, go somewhere else.” I doubt it.
Casino Myths #9: Professional
blackjack and video poker players make millions every year.
The number one video poker expert in the world is on record as stating
he makes about $50,000 per year playing. That’s about 500 hands per
hour at a one dollar VP game at five dollars a pop at a machine that
returns 101 percent of all the money played, playing eight hours a day
for five days a week for 50 weeks a year.
There’s no medical, no dental, and no pay if you don’t play and,
horrors, no pay many days and weeks even if you do play! And he’s the
best, mind you, the very best.
The best blackjack pro I ever met was the late PK who played five
nights a week 52 weeks a year. He earned between $20,000 and $30,000
per year playing blackjack.
He had to supplement his blackjack income with a job in a bookstore. He
was the best, mind you, the very best at what he did. For most mortals
the sky is not the limit on VP or blackjack winnings, the ceiling of a
typical lower middle-class house is.
However, for the recreational player who has no illusions about being a
“professional,” it is always better to play with an edge over the
casino than to play without an edge. Obviously, you want to play the
very best games that excite you and play them in the very best way. But
millions? I’m afraid it ain’t in the cards for the majority of players.
Casino Myths #10: The casino always wins.
No it doesn’t. On any given night, there are plenty of people who are
ahead of the game at any given time. There are also plenty of people
who are ahead when their day or evening of gambling is over.
In fact, I once read a statistic based on a survey of people at the
airport in Las Vegas that approximately 10 percent of the folks leaving
were ahead for their trip. If there were never any winners, the casinos
would go out of business.
Who would ever play if hand after hand, roll after roll, spin after
spin, time after time you lost? No one. In the long run, the casino
will beat almost every player owing to three variables: the casino edge
on almost all games, the casino bankroll that can weather hot streaks
by the players, and the poor play of many players. But the casino does
not always win.
Myths is followed by Casino Betting Names
to Gambling Tips and Strategies
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