How to get an edge when gambling at the casino

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To paraphrase Bob Stupak, a former casino operator in Las Vegas, the goal of any casino is to extract as much money from the customer as they can, and send you home with a smile on your face.

If, like me, you believe this motto, then you easily grasp that casinos are green-felt jungles, and you are at war.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that the casino can and will win every battle.

The way you fight back is by only making bets that have a 2 percent house advantage or less. By becoming what I call a 2 percent foot soldier, you’re on your way to becoming a true Guerrilla Gambler.

Only then do you have a good chance of turning the tables in your favor, staying in action longer, start smiling and, yes, stopping the flow of your hard-earned cash going to the opposing forces (aka casino owners).

Casinos do offer some decent wagers. Certain games, like blackjack or video poker, involve some skill. Others involve placing the correct bet in the right place on the layout.

Identifying the good wagers is step one. Now, it becomes your responsibility to play your favorite game or bet as smart as possible.

Below are games and wagers that most — if not all — Guerrilla Gamblers are playing.

Blackjack: Blackjack is very popular game that many play, but so few play well.

Solution: Learn perfect basic strategy. Basic strategy is nothing more than how you play your hand against the dealer “up card.” Playing each hand correctly will bring the house edge down to well under 1 percent.

Do’s: Comparison shop for the best rules and playing conditions. Use a strategy card right on the game for those uncertain scenarios. Set loss limits and win goals.

Don’ts: Avoid all gimmick bets, and any game that offers 6/5 for a blackjack.

Summary: All players should know the rules before they sit down and play. If you don’t know the rules or any of the playing strategies of blackjack, learn the game on a 25-cent video blackjack machine. A $10 blackjack game should never be your classroom.

Craps: There is no need to be intimidated on a craps table, as you only need to learn two wagers. A pass-line bet, and placing the 6 or 8. Both have a house advantage of lower than 1.5 percent.

If you are a newbie to the game, just ask your dealer how to make these wagers.

Do’s: Become acquainted with a pass-line bet, placing the 6 and 8, educate yourself about odds, and finally, familiarize yourself with the don’t-pass bet with odds.

Don’ts: Don’t consider any of those proposition bets (hard ways, field bets, one-number rolls, etc.) that the stickman with a rattan rake in his hand is barking out. Some can have a house advantage as high as 16 percent. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Summary: Do not deny yourself what many consider the most engaging, exhilarating game the casino has to offer. Just stick with the above mention wagers, which can easily be learned in under two minutes.

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