If there’s one thing that many gamblers understand, it’s that playing a game wrong hurts way more than playing correctly helps their bankroll. But overall, minimizing the house advantage is vitally important to having a healthy gambling career.
Avoid the following mistakes that even savvy casino gamblers make, and you’re going to have a much better experience. With a little luck, you might even turn a long-term profit.
Keep reading and find out which mistakes you might be making as a gambler.
1 – Playing 6:5 Blackjack
If you’ve played blackjack in a casino, you already know that most tables will pay 3:2 for a blackjack.
Unfortunately, many players fail to realize that other casinos offer games where blackjack only pays 6:5. Or some gamblers realize there’s a difference, but they don’t do the math to understand the significance of the variation.
Casinos actually try to push this on the gamblers as a positive. Of course, a simple math equation, and you’ll clearly see that 3:2 is vastly more beneficial for the player.
Suppose you’re playing blackjack for $20 per hand. On a 3:2 table, you get $30 for blackjack. On a 6:5 table, you’re only getting $24.
That’s a huge difference! The difference, when extrapolated over hours of play and thousands of hands, becomes staggering.
The house edge goes up by over 2% when you play 6:5 versus 3:2. It would be best if you avoided these games like the plague.
You’re better off playing literally any table game in the casino other than blackjack if you can’t find a table that pays 3:2.
Tried-and-true formulas for success like basic strategy are no match for the modified payout. Your only shot at turning a profit on a 6:5 table comes from hole carding.
Even with the sloppiest dealer on the planet, you’re fighting an uphill battle in 6:5 games. Pay attention to the table’s rules and avoid making this mistake.
2 – Skipping the Casino’s Loyalty Program
Signing up for the casino’s loyalty program is one of the simplest and most effective methods for helping your bottom line.
These players’ cards can be obtained basically as soon as you cross the threshold of any casino you visit. It’s almost more difficult to not sign up for the card; you’ll be asked by every dealer in the casino for the card.
You earn fantastic perks and comps by swiping the player’s card each time you sit down to play a game. The casino tracks what games you prefer to play, your typical bet amount, and how long you spend gambling each session.
The casino rewards its players by offering perks like rebates and free play vouchers. Top players can even earn hotel rooms for future stays or trips if they’re betting often enough for enough money.
Don’t think that the high rollers aren’t taking full advantage of the loyalty program for a second. The cashback rebates can be a phenomenal way to offset losses incurred at the games.
By the same token, it can serve as a great tool for increasing your wins. The loyalty program doesn’t care if you’re losing or winning.
The house edge will eventually catch up to anyone. So, the casino only focuses on how much you’re betting and how long you’re playing.
As soon as you get to the casino, stop and sign up for the rewards program. Sometimes, you’ll even get a decent gift or bonus for signing up.
3 – Buying Into the Martingale or Other Betting Systems
The Martingale System is a betting system that sounds great on paper.
The premise behind the Martingale is that by doubling your bet after a loss, you can always get back to even.
For example, imagine you’re playing real money roulette for $5 per spin and betting on “red.” The first round lands on black, and you lose the $5 bet.
You’d double your bet to $10 for the second spin and bet on “red.” If the second spin also lands on black, you double your bet again to $20.
If you win, the bet amount goes back to your original amount, and you start back at even. However, if you lose, you continue doubling your bet until you finally win.
There are a few fundamental problems with the Martingale. For starters, it automatically awards you an infinite bankroll.
You don’t have to go on all that terrible of a run before the wagers get pretty large. Let’s say you start at $5, here’s how that looks if you lose eight consecutive hands:
You’ve already lost $1,275, that’s in under 20 minutes. So, if you’ve got $2500 to spare, let’s hope the 9th spin comes up as a winner for you.
There’s hardly a faster way to lose your entire bankroll than by doubling your bet after every loss. Unfortunately, I lost a substantial wad of cash as a 20-something looking to get rich quick.
The only thing that came about quickly was my exit from the casino. I hadn’t even got my second drink before I was sleeping away my sorrow in my friend’s truck.
That’s right, and I didn’t even have money left for a room.
The more glaring problem for most gamblers is the table limit. There aren’t many tables where you can start at $5 per hand and go up to $2,500.
So, even if you have a massive bankroll, you’re eventually going to be stalled by the table limits.
Stay away from betting systems. If there were a way to beat the casinos, everyone would be doing it, and the casinos would be forced to close shop.
Don’t confuse the basic strategy for blackjack with a betting system. You should always play blackjack with basic strategy, but make sure to keep your bet amount consistent.
4 – Gambling With Money You Don’t Have
Look, if you’ve got $2,000 in bills and living expenses coming up and your bank account has $2,020, you’ve got $20 to gamble with.
Even the fact that the $20 is in your checking account raises the alarm for me. You should only gamble with money you’ve specifically set aside for gambling.
I am amazed at how many casino patrons I’ve spoken to through the years in full-on panic mode when they realize they’ve just blown their mortgage payment on the progressive slots.
I genuinely don’t know what comes over people. They justify the insanely reckless behavior with the most offbeat reasoning.
I had a friend that gambled away his rent money, car payment, and every other penny he had to his name. When I confronted him as to why he’d do something so damaging, he informed me that he planned to win and pay his car off and buy a house.
He had allowed hope or greed to cloud his judgment so badly that he was convinced he couldn’t lose, and his money woes were behind him for good.
Of course, his money troubles were only beginning. Within two years, he had filed for bankruptcy while still in his 20s.
This brings me to my next point: Never borrow money to gamble. If you don’t have the money to go to the casino, you can’t afford to go to the casino.
I know you’ll pay your mom or friend back with all of your winnings, plus interest. Casinos are massive pillars of luxury for a reason—your money.
The Las Vegas Strip wasn’t built from selling $20 buffets. If you’re short on funds for gambling, postpone your trip until you can save up a decent bankroll.
Finally, don’t loan money to others for gambling. I mean anybody.
I’ve had some uncomfortable conversations with friends on the casino floor. I’ve also given a few gifts if the person was close.
However, a gift and a loan are two entirely different things. Under no circumstances should you make a loan to anyone at the casino.
5 – Betting With Your Heart
One thing I see veteran gamblers do consistently and fail almost every single time is betting with their heart. This is the same thing as “going with your gut.”
When savvy gamblers stray from their basic strategies or bet in contrast to what their brains tell them, they’re doomed to fail.
It can happen on any game on the casino floor. I’ve watched players at the roulette make even money bets all night. Then, they get a “hunch” and bet all of their winnings on a number.
Suddenly, their 1:2 odds go to 1:33. Why?
I believe it’s a product of boredom. Playing a solid game in the casino can be monotonous, even when you’re winning.
Nay, especially when you’re winning.
You see fellow gamblers making high-risk bets, and though they lose a vast majority, there’s the occasional winner. The excitement entices us to leap headfirst into the loser pool, and many jump.
The other side of the betting with your heart comes from desperation. I see this all the time when it comes to betting on sports. A punter is on a horrible run and is willing to do anything to stop the bleeding.
They see UTEP is playing Georgia in a bowl game and remember a friendly encounter they once had with a flight attendant from El Paso (or was it Albuquerque?). They take UTEP +4, and Georgia hangs half a hundred on them in the first half.
Stick to what the information in front of you is saying. When you begin betting with your heart, you’re in for heartbreak.
Do everything in your power to avoid the gambling mistakes that even savvy casino gamblers make. You’re going to be in the casino longer, and you’ll leave happier.
Even if you don’t go home a winner, you’ll be much better off by steering clear of the pitfalls I’ve listed above.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …