16 Casino Do’s and Don’ts For the New Recreational Gambler

Casino Entrance sign

So, your friend or family member offers to take you to a casino for your very first time.  But, never having been before, you haven’t a clue about what to do when you get there.  So, here are 16 Casino Do’s and Don’ts to enjoy your recreational visit to the casino.

Bankroll, Game Rules and Rewards Club

1) Know how much money you can wager and lose.  Yes, that’s right, lose.  Know your Bankroll. Approach it as entertainment first. Remember, if you’re not an Advantage Player looking to make a living, it’s recreation.th (33)

2) Know the rules of the games you might play.  If you can, get a free app on your smart phone or tablet and play a little before you go.

3) Decide if your trip is for gambling only, or it’s to enjoy all that the casino experience can  offer. You can spend sometime dining, shopping or watching live entertainment. These are good activities too. Just don’t gamble in casinos to make your trip productive.

4) Sign up for a rewards card.  You may get a free slot play bonus, or get freebies for eats later on. You could get free tickets to a concert, and if you play enough to raise your level of card, you could get additional things from a special parking area for your card level, to entrance into a VIP lounge.  th (26)

5) Be contented with small casino wins. First timers usually lose more in casinos. Breaking even in casinos is generally considered a win.

Casino Do’s and Don’ts – Online Resources

6) Check the local newspaper for advertisements, or check the web on the best deals in casinos.  netime-logo NECANETimeGambling often lists promotions and New England casino news on Twitter and Facebook.  Sign-up bonuses, double points, giveaways, dining deals – they’re all for the taking.  Go where the whole experience will be great, not just the gambling.

7) Don’t believe in superstitions like “hot machines” or “it must be time my luck changed’ or, “surely it can’t be red again” because each bet is an event of it’s own, with no connection to the previous event.  As soon as you realize this, the easier it will be for you to understand the gambling experience.  Repeat after me – “The House has the advantage.”  Good! Now go out there and enjoy it, win or lose. Be prepared ahead of time and be knowledgeable.

8) Do drink alcohol responsibly when gambling.  Excessive alcohol will inevitably cause you to accept losing beyond a “healthy situation.”

9) Do Bring a watch and your cell phone.  Casinos show no clocks, and don’t provide windows Wrist devices like FitBit or Apple Watches can signal you with incoming messages by vibrations or sounds that you can feel or hear above the cacophony of  noise in the casino and prove invaluable.

Be Aware Of the Little Things

10) Casinos convert your cash into chips at the tables. Simply said, this is so you lose the sense that this is really money. Remember chips ARE money.

11) Don’t be afraid to ask staff for help.  Remember, the casino is built on getting you there (or should be) and so there are many people who are there simply to help you as a hospitality service.th (1)  Don’t be shy.  If you are new (or not) to the game, please ask the dealer for advice. They want you to win! The more you win, the more likely you are to tip, however tip for their helpfullness and entertaining personality – they have nothing to do with your winning.  Don’t worry about taking a little longer. Everyone starts as a beginner, and most will appreciate your attempt to make the correct play.
12) Don’t hand dealers chips or cash – they are not allowed to handle it directly.  The “Eye in the Sky” is watching your play and their work. Put the chips or cash on the table. They will not accept it any other way.

Non-smoking, Tipping, and pictures

13) If you smoke, be aware of those around you. If you are a non-smoker in a smoking part of the casino, be flexible.  Reach a common ground that you both can be comfortable with.th (16)
14) Take a walk around when you arrive.  In this day and age, make sure you know your nearest exits if new to that property. Get acquainted with your surroundings. Casinos can be difficult to navigate through.  That’s the way they want it.
th (2)

Tip your waitstaff, especially if you request specific items.

15) Carry dollar bills for tips. In most casinos, complimentary beverages are served, but the wait staff is usually expecting a small tip.

Related Post – Tips on Tipping

16) Be aware of the casino’s rules concerning using your phone for taking pics.  Each casino has different rules and it is important for player to be aware of them.  Hey, SELFIE-ADDICTS – Taking pictures in a casino or talking on a cell phone can get you into big trouble if it breaks the rules.  Some casinos allow some picture taking, like when a jackpot is hit. But don’t be surprised when you asked to put your phone away. SELFIE STICKS aren’t tolerated by both the casino staff and the patrons.  Remember, many visitors would prefer not to be in anyone’s picture – especially those Advantage Players that make a living in anonymity.
Finally, have fun.  It’s social, it’s entertainment.  Let’s just leave it as that.
That’s all for now.
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The Ultimate Truth About Casino Players Cards & Slot Machines

  players-clubIt amazes me to see people sinking their money into a machine with out having a card inserted in the card reader. So, here is the Ultimate Truth About Casino Players Cards & Slot Machines. There are appropriate times to not your rewards card, but we’ll save that for a future post.

I sometimes ask people why they don’t use a card and have received several interesting answers. One day, someone was spouting off every slot myth in the book. He was trying to inform everyone around him, whether they cared or not.  However, his biggest sin was that he had taken out his card to “get a bonus” for nearly 10 minutes of big play.  His bet was over $8.00 a whack! Just think of the comps he missed due to his “Casino Paranoia.”

I Heard some rewards card myths

All of the following was either told to me or overheard. They are completely false and I provide an explanation why.  But some slot players build their play on suspicions and conspiracy theories.  Are you aware of that “switch upstairs.”  You know that switch, the one that changes the machines from hot to cold and vice versa. I hope you don’t believe in any of the following:

“I don’t play enough to earn anything.”  Rewards points can add up quickly, especially on multiplier day promotions. Take advantage of multiplier days to increase your points and tier status.

“When I use my card the machine knows and doesn’t pay off.”  There is no connection between the card reader and the slot machine. There is NO WAY that using a card will affect the way a machine pays. They are two separate systems.

download (4)“I don’t want to give out my address to the casino.”  The casino cannot send you any promotions if they don’t have your address.  Some high rollers play without their rewards card at tables so they stay anonymous.  But as face recognition software gets better, even that may become difficult.

“I take my card out and I get a bonus – explain that!” Again, there is no connection between the card reader and the slot machine. There is NO WAY that using a card will affect the way a machine pays. Two completely different systems that don’t communicate between each other.

“Playing with your slots club card decreases your chances of winning.” The theory is that the casinos want you to win less in order to recoup the perks and rebates that you receive from playing with the slot machine club. The reality is that the amount of money returned is negligible, and the casinos don’t mind paying it.  Your perks depends on your theoretical value.

Related Post –  Average Daily Theoretical.

More Crazy Talk -The Ultimate Truth About Casino Players Cards & Slot Machines

“When I use my card, I never win. The machine knows and it doesn’t pay off.” Although a very interesting and popular myth, this is absolutely false. The notion that using a casino club card lowers the odds of winning is a big misconception, and quite frankly illegal.  Remember, the players club software is a different system and does not have a connection to the Random Number Generator working in the machine.

download (5)“The slot machine can tell the difference between playing maximum and minimum.” That’s why I take out my card when I change my bet.”  The number of coins played has no effect on whether or not the winning symbols will line up. It only determines how much you will win or lose. Many players will vary the number of coins they play per spin because they believe there is a pattern that can make them winners. Some players will even cash out during their playing sessions so the machine will “think” a new player has started playing. Slot machines are computers and there is no way they “know” when a new player starts playing. The RNG is continuously running and is used only to select the next win or loss.

“Using a player card enables the casino to report my winnings to the IRS.” The fact is, it makes no difference. If you win $1,200 or more they will report it either way. If you have a net losing year, which you probably will, at least the casino will have evidence of it. Use your annual win/loss statements to declare offsetting loses to jackpot wins.

When Not to use your Rewards Card

When your amount of $$ played will be substantially less than a ‘typical’ day, don’t play with your card.  If you are rated based on average of $300/day, $25 on the last day only hurts your Average Daily Theoretical. But, only if you are a second tier player or higher.  Changes in your ADT will diminish your comps.

ADT has little to no effect on small stakes gamblers. If you are not going to be getting food comps and free shows anyhow, I’d recommend using your card all the time.

It’s Storytime

A friend of mine, with only a few years of casino experience under his belt made a huge mistake. He used to visit the local casino about 4-8 times per month. Most of the time, he stopped in only to play his free slot play and leave. Of course, he used his rewards card to access his freeplay.  Every month after that, freeplay diminished month by month. It was the worst use of a rewards club card.

Another friend of mine with years of casino experience will also stop by his local casino about 4-8 times per month. This guy doesn’t use his card during short plays. He plays a little VP or Keno, enjoys a drink, and is on his way with no record of small play. He otherwise uses his card all the time.

And, yes, I’m sure you have realized by now both of these are me.  Experience has a lot of worth in the casino world.

Beware of Chasing Comps

Please Note – One of the most-common mistakes in gambling involves chasing comps. Far too many players think that they should continue gambling just to earn a specific reward. A player may realize that they’re close to earning enough points for a free meal. Therefore, they continue spinning the reels two hours longer to reach this comp.

I have no problem with people continuing to play slot machines, but I hate to see gamblers play slots longer just for comps alone. The key thing to realize here is that the rewards are never worth the theoretical losses you’ll spend to reach them. You’ll rack up more losses when doing so. If you’re somebody who has trouble chasing losses and/or extending sessions too long, then you’ll likely have trouble with pursuing comps. Just don’t do anything that encourages you to gamble beyond your means.

Play sensible, play with knowledge, and play responsibly with your Players Card. For more information about The Ultimate Truth About Casino Players Cards & Slot Machines, click ob the link from Casino Player below.

Related Post – Players Clubs 101

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Four Formats For Playing Blackjack – Which is Best For You?

Blackjack Table

Blackjack Table

There are Four Formats For Playing Blackjack. Table, cards and chips – real or virtual – are the basic elements for blackjack. Blackjack has come a long way from the days when it first appeared in America as the game we know today. The name for the game however was Twenty-One which has been used in New Orleans since 1823. The game became hugely popular in France after casino owners offered amazing bonuses (for a hand of Jack and Ace of Spades the player got a 10 to 1 payout) which brings us to the origin of the name of Blackjack.

Related Post – Roll The Bones By Dr. Schwartz

Let’s take a look at the modern day formats.

THERE ARE FOUR PHYSICAL FORMATS FOR PLAYING BLACKJACK IN CASINOS:

  1. the traditional live table game with live dealer
  2. stadium game play, with a live dealer, but played with community cards by many players
  3. electronic blackjack, played by up to six players around a blackjack table with a video dealer
  4. video blackjack on a solitary machine, usually the same terminal with video poker, keno, and a few slots.

IGT video blackjack

Is it better to play video blackjack at a video poker terminal or to shimmy up to the table and play the game the way it was meant to be played? (at least before 6/5 BJ and all the enhanced house edge rules.)

It really depends on what you are looking for in your blackjack experience. There are some players out there that refuse to play a video blackjack game. (To be honest, I’d rather play keno than video blackjack.) Some players feel video blackjack can’t be trusted. But, there ARE reasons to play video blackjack?  Let’s compare:

ADVANTAGES TO PLAYING VIDEO BLACKJACK

LOWER MINIMUMS – Video blackjack machines often have a lower minimum bet as little as $1. Compared to traditional tables, even $5 seems low, especially on weekends where limits can start as high as $15 – $25.

BETTER RULES – Video blackjack games can have better rules than any live blackjack game that can be found in the same casino. Check the rules and you may find standing on all 17’s, offering surrender, doubling after the split and split up to 3 hands, better rules than many traditional games offered in several casinos.

BETTER COMPS – Comps, the free perks casinos give to players, are calculated higher for machine players. Some casinos won’t even rate you if you play under $25, and those that will rate you will give you very little in the way of comps, and making some promotions available to you that only apply to slot machines since your play on video blackjack machines will count as a slot machine.

NOT A SOCIAL PLAYER? – Many of us have played at those serious tables of NFB (No Fun Blackjack).  The dealer might be grumpy, the players may be serious strategy or card counters, and heaven help you if play the wrong way (according to basic strategy).  Some players can be very intimidating, if not down-right nasty.  It is a belief that the wrong play will effect the other players’ hands.  Over time, this has been proven not to be true.  Your next mistake may actually help them win – but you’ll never hear a thank you for that.

Stadium Gaming Blackjack

This a hybrid that that crosses all lines  First, for solitary players, being social at the table isn’t necessary. You still have a live dealer, so it’s slower than video BJ, but still faster due to automatic payouts  Having other games immediately available gives more variety and not having the pressure to play every hand. Skipping hands, or socializing with friends around you it a less-stress situation and more fun. Stadium gaming can be lots of fun with friends, something a live table game can provide also. Besides blackjack, bacarrat and roulette are also usually provided. New England casinos that offer Stadium Gaming include Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Twin River Casino & Hotel, Tiverton Casino and Hotel. Plainridge has table game terminals, but is not allowed live dealers as a slots-only facility.

RULEs and Rewards

Points accrued at a standard table game is basically earned according to the the following:

  • Amount of Wager per hand
  • Time spent at the table
  • Table game house edge being played
  • Average hands played per hour.

But any video format, including stadium gaming, is more like slots and video poker, where your play and your points are decided by the casino software.

Four Formats For Playing Blackjack – DISADVANTAGES TO PLAYING VIDEO BLACKJACK – 

NOW A WORD OF CAUTION FROM OUR FRIEND, THE CASINO ANSWER MAN JOHN GROCHOWSKI:

CHECK THE PAYOFFS –  “Given basic strategy for a single-deck game, the house edge is about 2.5 percent. If you got the full 3-2 payoff on blackjacks, it would be a 0.24 percent game, but even-money pays on two-card 21s add 2.27 percent to the house edge. That’s equivalent to a slot payback percentage of 97.5 percent, so yes it’s a higher payback than on penny slots. Returns vary from game to game, casino to casino and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but penny slot paybacks almost always are less than 90 percent.

FASTER PLAY – A word of caution: video blackjack plays a lot faster than table blackjack. The video game doesn’t need time for dealing cards to other players, settling bets, stacking chips in trays, buy-ins and cash outs of multiple players, shuffles or cuts. As a video player, you can play just as fast as you can make decisions and hit the buttons. At a full table, you might play only 50 to 60 hands per hour. If you’re betting $10 a hand, you’re risking $500 to $600. At your video blackjack game, it’s easy to get in 500 hands per hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

Your hourly wager total is right up there with the $10 table players, and you’re playing against a house edge that probably is much higher than the table edge. On a six-deck game where the dealer hit soft 17, you may double on any first two cards including after splits, may split any pair up to three times and blackjacks pay 3-2, the house edge against a basic strategy player is 0.62 percent. If your budget extends only to $1 bets and you’re going to set a low loss limit, then you can have some fun at the blackjack machines. But for extended play, the table usually is the better play.

ADVANTAGES TO PLAYING LIVE BLACKJACK

A fun time was had by all!

WHILE VIDEO BLACKJACK HAS MORE OF A BEGINNER FOLLOWING, THERE ARE CERTAINLY ADVANTAGES TO A LIVE DEALER AND LIVE ACTION.

DRINK SERVICE – If you would like good drink service, you will get served more drinks in the table games pit than you will in the slot area where video blackjack games usually are located.

BETTER COMPS FOR HIGHER ROLLERS – If you are going to average $25 or more a bet then you will get noticed in the pit and you are likely to get better comps.

COUNTING CARDS – If you are going to count cards it will be much easier to do so at the table games. It is impossible to count cards on some blackjack machines. A full table game of blackjack will likely be faster than a video blackjack game because novice players are more likely to be on the machines.

SMOKE FREE TABLES – If smoke bothers you then table games might be best for you too. Casinos will often make a table smoke free upon request. That cannot be done in the slot area.

SOCIAL – Table blackjack games also tend to be more social than video blackjack machines. No, it’s not the fun commeradeie of the craps table, but with the right people, it can bring a bit of “the players vs. the casino” excitement.

Related Post – Blackjack Not a Team Game

BAD VIDEO BLACKJACK MACHINES – BEWARE

The machines that can be played advantageously are multi seat machines where blackjack pays 3 to 2. Some video poker machines such as Game Kings and Game Makers have a heads up blackjack game on them. These are terrible blackjack games. These games typically pay even money on blackjack. They typically do not allow doubling after the split either. Some of these machines do not allow doubling at all. It is best to avoid these games. Some multi seat games are single deck games that pay 6 to 5 on blackjack. Avoid these single deck machines as well.  Believe it or not, some video blackjack terminals include even money in blackjack.

One more word of caution concerns multigame machines.  Usually, the rate of  comps depends on the game of with the tightest house edge, and that includes the rest of the games on that machine-including the rest of VP, Keno, Slots and yes, Blackjack. Find video blackjack on machines with poorer VP pay tables to ensure the highest amount of earning comps.

CONCLUSION

There are advantages to playing both live and video blackjack. Each player has their own goal as to what they would like to get out of a blackjack game. Blackjack can be fun whether it is a video blackjack game or a live blackjack game; it is up to the player to decide which they enjoy more.er hour. Even with $1 bets, you’re betting $500 per hour.

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