About Casino Gambling – Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, Slots & Craps

Casinos… Think of Las Vegas or Monte Carlo, bright lights, ritz, glamour, people winning money, but mostly people losing money! You may be intrigued by the idea of going to a casino but don’t really know too much about them – please read on to learn more about the fun of a night out to a casino…

According to Princeton University’s ‘Wordnet’, a casino is ‘a public building for gambling and entertainment’. Don’t be overawed if you do go, relax and enjoy. You will most likely have the chance to play slot machines or one-armed bandits as they are commonly known and perhaps other games of chance and some skill. One major thing that you do need to be aware of, is the way that a casino will look to tilt the odds in its favour, which is more commonly known as the casino’s “edge”. However, some games such as poker are played with players versus players and in this case, the casino cannot get an advantage as it is not effectively playing. In these circumstances, the casino will take a “rake” on the bets that players make against each other.

If you have ever been to Las Vegas and gone to one of the casinos there, the first thing that you will notice is the fact that they more often or not have the slot machines (otherwise known as ‘one-armed-bandits’ or ‘fruit machines’) right as you go in. This is because they really don’t require too much understanding to play and it’s not uncommon to see people playing these machines for hours on end. The slot machine will typically involve a lever on the side (the one arm!) and three reels with patterns of symbols on, located in the centre of the machine. The reels revolve as you pull the lever and the idea is to generate rows of matching symbols to win, having paid your required stake via the slot usually on the front of the machine.

There may be times when you will play on a machine which will have extra options available for you to use, often giving the illusion that you will have more control over the reels and a better chance of winning. This may be the case over the short-term, but always remember that playing in casinos is fun, but the house always has the long-term advantage. To give you a quick example…if you were to play a game where you had to bet on what number would lie face up after the roll of a die, then you would expect to see the casino pay six times the amount bet for a win, but in fact the casino would pay five times to maintain its advantage.

This system is often found in famous casino gambling games like Poker, Craps, Roulette or Blackjack.

Blackjack has always been played in casinos because players will play their chips against the House dealer with the successful gambler being paid against pre-determined odds (ie by getting a true ‘Blackjack’ which in other words is a two card combination adding up to 21, the House will pay you 3:2, or 1-1/2 times your initial wager). If you play fair, the chances are that you may end up with a profit, but more often than not, the casino will win, unless you count the cards. Card counting is a black art as far as casinos are concerned and if you are caught, you will be blacklisted worldwide! Effectively, because the playing cards are only used once and then discarded, anyone with a good memory and a highly analytical mind can determine their own odds that a certain card will or will not appear again, tilting the odds in his favour.

Poker is one of the most played games in the world. Its popularity has grown massively over the past couple of years and many casinos would not offer a poker game due to the fact that they were limited to taking a rake (as discussed previously). You may be aware that poker is essentially a playing card game were players are dealt poker cards face down, and then take it in turns to place bets (represented by poker chips with a specific value) based on the strength of the cards that they hold, combined with other community cards placed face up in the middle of the poker table. The player with the strongest combination should win what’s known as the pot (the combined bets of all the players for that hand), however one of the reasons that poker is so popular is the element of ‘bluffing’ where a player may actually have a poor hand, but believes that he can make his opponents believe that he has the strongest combination by means of subtle psychology! This can be as subtle as staring one’s opponent into ‘folding’ his cards, or by moving his entire stack of poker chips into the middle of the table – what’s known as ‘going all in’.

Roulette is a classic casino game, whereby a croupier gently spins a perfectly balanced, wooden roulette wheel with either 37 or 38 recessed ‘pockets’ along the bottom edge of the roulette wheel. As the wheel begins to spin, the croupier will roll a small white ball the opposite way with the intention being for the ball to bounce of raised points on the wall and to finally come to rest in one of the numbered pockets. In European casinos, the wheel’s layout features pockets numbered 1 – 36 and alternate between red and black with the number one, coloured red and zero being coloured green. However in American casinos, you are more likely to see a second double-zero 00 pocket also coloured green.

Again the House pays out against set odds displayed on the cloth covering the roulette table. Typically this will offer 35:1 for single number bets where you bet on one number to win, 2:1 for any column of numbers, and evens for any red, any black, odds or evens.

Craps can be the most fun to play and certainly watch. It’s also the fastest game in the casino with often more than 60 bets per hour. Players will wager bets against the casino on the result of a roll of a die, or the series of rolls of two dice. The great thing about craps is that you don’t have to be rolling the dice to bet, you can bet on how lucky you (hope) the guy rolling is going to be, which is why it can be so entertaining. Essentially, the guy with the dice is called the ‘shooter’ and the basic bet in craps is called the ‘Pass Line’ bet, and by rolling a 7 or 11, the shooter will roll a pass line winner, and can play again. If he rolls 2, 3 or 12, these are known as craps and this is a pass line loss. Any other number becomes the shooter’s point and he continues. It really is a fascinating game with many more rules and options.

At the end of the day, a night out to a casino can be wonderfully entertaining, but casinos have learnt over hundreds of years how to make their games very, very addictive. They are quite happy to let you win a little here and there, but they know that in the long run, it’s you that’s going to be making them happy – do take care!

The Best Roulette Game in Las Vegas – Why and Where to Play Single Zero Roulette

We have all seen a roulette wheel. Some of us have even played it in a casino. While all roulette games look the same at first glance, small variations in the winning payouts and even the wheel itself can lead to sizable differences in the expected outcome for both the player and the casino. In this article, we will show you the three main roulette games available in American casinos. We will take a deeper look at the underlying mathematics of each game to determine which variant of roulette is best, and why. Finally, we will help you track down the best roulette game in Las Vegas!

If a roulette wheel had only 36 pockets (the little slots on the side of the wheel into which the ball eventually drops) the game would be truly fair. The 1-in-36 (2.78%) chance a player would have to win 35-to-1 would exactly offset the 35-in-36 (97.22%) chance he or she would have to lose.

Casinos, of course, are in the business to make a profit. The money to buy the liquor they serve for free, to build and maintain the dancing fountains, and to pay the wages of everyone from the bellhop to the pit boss to the celebrity headliner has to come from somewhere. A lot of it comes from the house edge, which is the mathematical advantage over the player that is built into every game the casino offers.

In most roulette games offered in American casinos, that advantage is provided by the green 0 and 00 pockets both on the wheel and at the top of the layout. Instead of 36 pockets, a typical American roulette wheel actually has 38: the numbers 1 through 36, 0, and 00. The presence of the 00 pocket leads to American roulette sometimes being called “double-zero roulette.” In double-zero roulette, the player now has only 1 chance in 38 (2.63%) of winning 35-to-1; the probability of losing has increased to 37 out of 38 (97.37%) Even the most math-averse reader can see that this setup is disadvantageous to the gambler. More specifically, the 2 extra pockets give the casino a house edge of 5.26%. Over the very long run, for every $10,000 the casino collects in losing wagers, it pays back only $9474 in winnings. It should be pointed out that all bets available on double-zero roulette–except one–have the same house edge. The comparative payouts and probabilities for straights, streets, corners, and splits, as well as the lower-paying bets on the outside of the layout, are all structured to have this same house edge of 5.26%. The one exception is the “basket,” which is a wager on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. This wager pays 6-to-1 and has a house edge of 7.89%.

Serious roulette players who want to minimize the house edge should track down and play single-zero roulette. In single-zero roulette, the green 00 pocket is missing; the wheel has only 37 pockets. This is as close to fair as the wheel can get. The player has a 1-in-37 chance (2.70%) of winning 35-to-1, and a 36-in-37 chance (97.30%) of losing. This is only a 7 one-hundredths of a percent increased probability of winning on any particular number, but it has a significant effect on the house edge. Single-zero roulette has a house edge of only 2.70%, compared to 5.26% for double-zero roulette. That works out to an extra $256 in winnings per $10,000 collected.

Some single-zero roulette games offer another variation on their payouts. If a player wagers on one of the even-money outside bets on the layout (even, odd, red, black, 1-to-18, or 19-to-36), and the ball lands in the 0 pocket, the casino collects only half of your losing wager. For example, if you wager $10 on black, and the ball lands on 0, the house only takes $5 of your wager.

In an even rarer variation, the dealer may give you the choice of either losing only half your bet, or putting your bet “in prison.” Here’s what happens when you go to roulette jail:

1) The dealer puts a marker over your bet (the full $10 bet from before) that says en prison. You can neither add nor take away from your wager for the next spin.

2) The dealer spins the roulette wheel again for the next round.

When the ball finally comes to rest, one of two things will happen. Again, let us assume we have a $10 en prison bet on black.

1) The ball lands on black. You do not win anything, but it is like a jailbreak for your wager. The en prison marker is removed and you are free to do what you wish with your $10. Effectively, you get your money back.

2) The ball lands anywhere else (red or 0). You lose.

The en prison or “half back on even money” option cuts the house edge on these bets to a meager 1.35%. All of the other bets on the layout remain at the usual single-zero house edge of 2.70%. As far as I know, no casino offers this option on double-zero roulette. If one did, the house edge on these even-money wagers would be 2.63%.

By this point, we have shown that single-zero roulette is the more advantageous variation to play. It is the standard roulette game across Europe and Australia; a double-zero roulette game in Monte Carlo would be practically unheard of. You will also find single-zero roulette in many casinos throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim.

Single-zero roulette is significantly harder to find in the United States, but it is out there. Many of the larger, higher-end casinos on the Las Vegas Strip offer it in their high-limit gaming sections only. A few of the more “European-themed” hotels are rumored to even offer the en-prison option.

If you lack either the bankroll or the stomach to wager $25, $50, or even $100 per spin, head to Las Vegas and visit Caesar’s Palace, Mandalay Bay (on weekends only), The Mirage, Monte Carlo (Friday and Saturday nights only), Nevada Palace, Stratosphere, and The Venetian.

Note that at Caesar’s, The Venetian, and Mandalay Bay, while their regular roulette tables may not technically be “high-limit” tables by their standards, they may still have a $15 minimum bet.

Several Las Vegas casinos reportedly offer single-zero roulette in their high-limit areas only. Other casinos not listed here just might offer it if a known high-roller requests it. Las Vegas casinos that limit their single-zero roulette to their high-limit tables include Bellagio, Golden Nugget (at high roller request only), Las Vegas Hilton, Luxor (weekends only), MGM Grand, Paris (at high roller request only), Rio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

A few of these high-limit tables even offer the favorable en prison option. Gamblers have reported playing en prison at the high-limit tables of Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Mirage, Rio, and Wynn Las Vegas.

Several casinos in Atlantic City offer single-zero roulette in their high-limit areas only. I have heard of none that offer en prison. You can play high-stakes single-zero roulette at Tropicana, Showboat, Harrah’s, Caesar’s, Trump Marina, and Trump Taj Mahal.

These lists of casinos will no doubt change as time goes on. Some games increase in popularity while other tables have no one but a lonely dealer at them at 10 o’clock on a Friday night. In the time between this article was written and is now being read, some casinos may have expanded their single-zero roulette games or gotten rid of them entirely. An attempt is being made to keep track of all active single-zero roulette games in the United States at the Single Zero Roulette Squidoo Lens at [http://www.squidoo.com/singlezeroroulette/].

We have shown that single-zero roulette offers substantially better odds for the gambler than does the more common double-zero American game. The gambler will ultimately lose money over the very long run at any roulette game. Because of the lower house edge, however, the gambler has a better chance of winning money in the short run at the single-zero tables, particularly if the game offers the en prison option. Any roulette enthusiasts who want to maximize their wins–or even just minimize their losses–would do well to find and play the more advantageous, single-zero roulette game.