Don’t Let Casino Trickery Turn You Into An Irresponsible Player

Oh, those who think that casinos should run their business and still let everyone win – and still pay the bills! Human beings are becoming so entitled. If you ask casino patrons on a bad streak, they will say the casino is up to something – they aren’t winning – and it’s the casino’s fault.

Listen, casino gambling is a recreational activity, with the vast majority of games offered having a skewed advantage to the house – we all know it, we just sit at that slot machine, riding that trip down the river of denial.

An article by Dr. Harrigan, the lead researcher and contact person for the University of Waterloo Problem Gambling Research Team. His primary research interest is in gambling addictions with a focus on why so many slot machine gamblers become addicted. In his article, he deals with many factors that the “Casino Industry” is basically trying to make addicts out of all of us – real, concerning, and a serious topic for potentially addictive gamblers.

So, how do casinos entice the individual gambler into gambling more? One way, to reference Dr. Harrigan’s article, is that the casino is not truthful about how much the slot machine pays. I’ve got news for you – hold on to your hat – that’s why it’s called “gambling!”

Big Win – Everytime?

Dr. Harrigan’s article says “…..on modern slot machines, half of ‘wins’ are actually net losses. An example would be a $1 bet with a 30¢ payoff. This is a loss of 70¢, but the machine shows bright graphics and makes sounds announcing a win. Researchers call these events Losses Disguised as Wins (LDWs) and have clearly shown that players experience these as actual wins, giving the players the (incorrect) positive feelings that they are winning.”

No kidding. The invention of video slots gave the impression of lots of small hits instead of waiting longer for bigger hits in reels. Bonuses also play in this game – individual hits can be small more often due to the chance and volatility of hitting a bigger bonus. We all wait to hit THE BIG ONE! Lotteries, the worst odds of all, wouldn’t be so popular – but we want the chance to hit the BIG ONE! In the longer run, the real problem is that the payout percentage continues to be lower throughout the country. Why? Because as a culture, we still intend on being constantly entertained, so it doesn’t matter to most players. We know the games pay less – but we like the fun, so we play them anyway. Why would so many people settle for 6/5 blackjack? or 6/5 JOB Video poker? Or Keno?

Caveman Keno

Here are two rules to live by as a casino visitor:

  • The responsibility on which casino games to play rests solely on the shoulders of the gambler.
  • Gamblers that play often be responsible enough to KNOW the best games, best strategies, and the pitfalls of high casino-advantage games.

So, be aware of the “tricks” (or maybe they are just good business practice) and take responsibility for your gaming. If it’s not fun anymore, contact GA, tell the casino to not allow your entrance (which casinos do to help addicted gamblers any time you feel you can’t control staying away) and seek help.

It’s not a black and white situation. It is neither solely the casino’s fault or the addict’s – it’s a gray area, more complex than any single blog could summarize.

So, be careful, be smart, be knowledgeable, and go to the casino with a money management plan for your visit every single time. This way you limit the “trickery” of those casinos, and also help to either leave with money, or at least lengthen your bankroll’s life.

That’s all for now.


The Monday Link – Inside the Art of Casino Cheating


Have you ever cheated at a casino? If you could cheat and get away with it, would you cheat at a casino?

For this week’s Monday Link, I have a short article by Robin Kawakami containing advice from two seasoned gambling veterans – Sal Piacente, Rick Blaine. These tips apply not only to cards, but also to real life — both for spotting cheating, and how to use the art of deception in situations like negotiating.  Interesting reading. Enjoy.


Inside the art of cheating: Tips from gambling experts Sal Piacente, Rick Blaine


Rick “Night-Train” Blaine

(From ALEA Consulting Group) “Rick Blaine has been an advantage player since the 1980s. While working as an executive in the financial industry, he taught himself how to play blackjack at an advantage as a card counter. After realizing some success as a solo player, Rick was recruited into team play, and eventually used his corporate talents to lead his own teams over time. He possesses strong leadership skills, a keen eye for recognizing talent, and the ability to develop talent. Over the years, Rick has learned other advanced playing methods (shuffle tracking, location play) and incorporated them into his playbook. He continued playing and organizing teams into the new millennium, while still progressing in his full-time career in the financial world. Taking a corporate approach to teams engaging in advantage play, Rick has introduced methods to maximize earning potential, while minimizing expenses. As author of one of the top-selling books on the subject, Blackjack Blueprint: How to Play Like a Pro … Part-Time,Rick has shared many of his methods in print.”

Sal “The Hit-Man” Piacente

(From “Sal Piacente is a very talented sleight-of-hand artist and an authority on Casino Game Protection. He began his career in the casino industry as a Blackjack dealer, which eventually led him to the Game Protection business. He has spent most of his career as a casino fraud investigator. In this capacity, he has not only taught others about cheating methods, but has also offered consultation on suspect play and game efficiency for many clients, providing essential education to casino personnel. His television appearances include Good Morning America, On the Inside: Casino Tech, and High Stakes: Bet Your Life On Vegas. Author of DVD set Poker Cheats Exposed discusses techniques, devices and psychology used by professional cheats.


ZorkFest 2018 – Didn’t Go? Your Loss!

Another ZorkFest has come & gone. And once again, Michael Tragar and the TravelZork team put together a terrific event.

The many sessions covering smarter travel though better travel rewards, casino rewards programs, credit card & airline miles redemptions were all amazing. Then add legendary gamblers & authors Jean Scott & Anthony Curtis to the lineup of travel & rewards experts, and you have one fabulous weekend.

Equally important is the people you meet at these events.  Some old friends, some new friends, some for the first time. So many wonderful people with similar interests.

Jay Schwartz, one of NETimeGambling’s new friends from AC was interviewed on an impromptu live podcast of Vegas Confessions outside of Atomic Liquors, downtown Las Vegas. Due to what he has learned at ZorkFest, he admitted that he flew out out to Vegas free twice, earned free rooms, and expected free rooms on the weekend in Atlantic City. Kudos Jay, and special thanks to Eric Rosenthol, the Total Rewards Expert and now a host of Vegas Confessions with Shane & Julian, the originators of the Vegas Confessions podcast.

ZorkFest is about the people who attend, and those who attend not only become richer in knowledge and application, but richer in the friendships that grow from attending.


Meeting Jean Scott and Anthony Curtis.  I have been in contact with both through email, but meeting these legends in person was just amazing.  A brief story concerning Anthony Curtis – My wife and I had used the LasVegas Advisor coupon book for years.  I still consider it a valuable addition to my Las Vegas vacations. When M resort opened, we visited in January, but was unable to receive our coupon book.  I called LVA to see what they could do.  Sure enough, Anthony Curtis delivered it to M Resort himself so we would be able to use it.  That’s the kind of people this entire community is made up of, from the legends to the low-rollers and everyone in between.

Anthony Curtis at ZorkFest 2018

Congrats to Cousin Vito on his great opening to the conference.

Podcasters after Dark – what a great addition. All were funny, with their own usual flair. Adam, AKA Travel Fanboy, was hilarious. But my favorite will always be You Can Bet On That. Mark & Dr. Mike would be the same jovial, non-pretentious down-to-earth kind of guys you could ask to dinner at your house and they would be just like their podcast. FYI-if you do invite them to dinner, make sure it’s a quick – they HAVE to get back to the craps tables!  Great having some time with you guys.

Catherine Smalfus (Coach Kitty) – I love her perspective on video poker, and everything AC.

Meeting John Morris at the luncheon provided at Zorkfest, the incredible guy behind , a website created to show others that traveling with a disability is possible. “I’ve now flown more than 750,000 miles and visited 30 countries and territories — all with just one hand, a passport and my power wheelchair.”  It was truly inspiring meeting you, John.

Playing VP Luxor and talking Massachusetts casinos with Jeanie. Living in the Everett, MA area, she gave me a great look into the community surrounding the Everett, I mean Wynn, I mean Encore Boston Harbor resort scheduled to open in 2019.

Meeting up with birthday boy Tony Snyder, and Mark & Keren of the 360Vegas Podcast.  Vegas360 Vacation VI was starting as ZorkFest was ending – a great idea to meet more gambling nerds with similar interests.  BTW – 360Vegas is one of the most innovative podcasts with image enhanced podacasts, Vintage Vegas Bonus content and their new POV technology for their Patron subscribers.

Spending time with Amanda, Ryan and David Luke watching the Celtics (unfortunately lose) at the Luxor Racebook. David Luke, the technology wiz for TravelZork, is the foundation and co-founder that supports the buzz of the fabulous hive Michael Tragar has created at TravelZork. David, we must do that sometime again.

Finally, Michael Tragar, thank you.  Your vision of ZorkFest is building upon each of the last two events. It is a need of us have – combining both the travel world and the gambling world – that we are all the richer for, and we all look forward to the next one. Under multitasking in the dictionary is your picture. Thanks for the limo ride, Mr. Tragar.

Whenever you start to add names, ultimately you leave someone off.  With only two days in Vegas, it seems like a blur.  Time for me to take more pics on my travels.

Anyway, truly sorry for forgetting to mention some of some of you.

Tomorrow, I will write some idle thoughts about my Las Vegas experience outside of ZorkFest 2018.

That’s all for now.