6 Things Casinos Don’t Want You to Know About Your Odds

Women at a Casino© Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Thinkstock
Think you can beat the odds? Think again. Here are a few insider secrets to keep up your sleeve the next time you’re ready to try your luck.

  • There’s a difference between the true odds of your winning any particular bet and the odds the casino actually uses to pay you if you do win. That difference is always in the casino’s favor and it’s the reason casino owners (always a government agency in Canada) are rich and you’re not.
  • Because of the house edge, the casino will always win in the long run, no matter how smart you are, how good you think your system is, or how lucky you are. The Las Vegas strip is paved with the losses of innocent fun-seekers who don’t know that.
  • Some of the games have a much smaller house advantage than others, so your chances of walking away a winner after playing them are higher. This assumes, however, that you play the best strategy and that you’re able to walk away while ahead.
  • If gamblers only played blackjack, mini-baccarat, pai-gow poker, live poker, the sports book, and bingo, they’d lose a lot less money. Those are games with a house edge of less than 3 percent.
  • The casino loves to see you playing games like Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, Red Dog, single-deck 21, and those undignified spectacles like the Big Wheel or Wheel of Fortune. The house edge on these is astronomical.
  • Playing keno is the equivalent of making a charity donation to the casino ownership. Yes, the young keno ladies are friendly and they need the tips. And yes, it’s simple and kind of fun to try to divine some numbers while you’re at the coffee shop or buffet or bar. Just be aware that the house advantage in keno can run as high as 50 percent. You’re better off playing the state or provincial lottery — it’s essentially the same game, but at least you’re donating your money to the public good instead of business magnates.

Plus:
13 Ways Marketers Try to Get Your Money
10 Things Your IT Guy Won’t Tell You

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

49 thoughts on “6 Things Casinos Don’t Want You to Know About Your Odds

  1. Casinos are evil, I’ve been trying for 6 years to find or develop the best system to legally take them down, and I might be getting close by experience

  2. Here’s a good tip.  Never, ever, absolutely never, play a slot machine that has more than three reels or a video game that uses pennies as its denominations.  These video penny machines seldom cough up a big win.  Another tip:  Stay away from casinos, absolutely.  All the fun and excitement has been snuffed out by the bean counters in the last 8 years.  I used to get a buffet for $5.99 or a breakfast for $1.99.  No longer.  A buffet now cost $25.  

  3. Surprised you didn’t include craps in the group with odds under 3%. Craps played with only pass line wagers with odds behind the line is less than 1% against the player. But even so give the table enough time and that 1% will still do you in.

  4. “…live poker… Those are games with a house edge of less than 3 percent.”

    You’re playing against other players, not the house when playing poker.  The casino/poker room rents the chair or rakes the pot.

  5. The are some incorrect statements in this story. For example, the house edge on single-deck blackjack is not astronomical. It could be as low as one-tenth of one percent. It all depends on the rules of the game.

  6. Also, the odds are you will never see a clock on the wall at a casino.  They don’t want you to know what the time of day (or night).  They hope you lose track of time while you are gambling.

  7. The European Commission has something to say about EU countries that make the “public good” argument about gambling: they order them to stop doing it, as it is a violation of EU competition regulations.  In the USA, the problem is the roughly half of the states deliberately make their income tax laws on gambling winnings and losses non-compliant with Federal law.  Some are doing it for extra cash, but some are doing it as a back-door attempt to bar high-stakes gambling by their residents, which Federal and a string of Federal court cases forbid them to do directly.

  8. Interesting you did not mention the Crap Table. I was under the impression Craps had the best odds. The odds can improve if you play properly. Knowing when to quit is important, because if you pick up bets, that is less you lose on that roll. Part of knowing when to quit is like the song said, “The trick you said, is never play the game too long.”

    I beg to differ on the comment on no Hot & Cold, and No Luck involved. I have had a number of Hot rolls, rolling the dice for as much as thirty minutes. That has to be Luck! The odds would say you are going to throw a seven long before that. How much you win is also determined by how much yu bet. I do not bet as much as some. On a Hot roll I may win hundreds of dollars, while others at the table are winning thousands of dollars.

  9. Casinos should be required to post the odds of winning at each game so that we customers can determine the true likelihood of winning.  However, that is apparently too much to ask!  We would not be suckered into taking ridiculous risks if this requirement were enforced!  HOWARD B A  

  10. Really? “SIX things……?!”  All you need to know is ONE thing….Your odds aren’t good, period. I’ve lived in Nevada, Las Vegas and Reno, most of my life, and if you gamble, that’s the best information you’ll ever get regarding your chances at winning in any casino.

  11. That is why my vice is pornography.  I get to look at some pretty ladies and although I am not getting screwed by a casino, I still get a happy ending.  :-)  LOL

  12. You mention single deck blackjack as bad. If they pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks this is true but if they pay 3 to 2 it is a great game with close to -0-% house edge depending on options available to the player. The 6 to 5 game is very bad for the player. Knowing the proper strategy is super important in this game.

  13. You forgot craps. If played properly, by backing your bets with the free odds at a 5x or 10x table, can lower the house advantage to nearly nil. And the house advantage at roulette is ridiculously high.

  14. Here are some more things that casinos don’t want you to know.  First, casinos have a gross profit of 99%.  Second, the new penny machines that so many casinos have installed rarely hit a big jackpot. You have to bet too many lines which can be as much as $4 per spin.  Third; if you play the slots, play only three-reel slots.  Your chances diminish if you play 4-5 reel slots or higher. Fourth, never, ever play any table games, at all.  Casinos have a name for table players:  They call them suckers.

  15. Thanks Readers Digest for throwing a bucket of ice water on yet another subject. 

  16. The reason Casino’s win, as Obama would say, is: It’s Bush’s fault.  Everyone has to blame someone else for their own stupidity.  Gambling is simply stupid.

  17. Most folks who participate in gambling don’t have limits. For ‘successful’ gambling a lower limit is the smart play so you know your losses in advance. But more so is to have an upper limit; if you win a certain amount, STOP.

    1. As a high stakes gambler I can tell you your advice thinks and I will tell you why.  First, you are suppose to set a loss limit. In my case I bring 50K to the craps table. If I get to 15K i leave for the day. I do not set an upper limit because there has been many times where I won maybe 75K, lost 30 of it, then hit for another 100K. You have to play until you dont feel it anymore or you get tired. Now, I will never turn a 100K win into a loss. Ill leave up 15-30, but I am willing to lose some of my winnings trying to make a monster win. Last 3 years up a total of about 900K

  18. Gambling should be approached as entertainment.  My son, who is a good poker player, approaches it like this: he sets aside a certain stake for gaming, say $300.  He sets a time frame either in hours or a “quit and go home” time.  He quits when he loses his $300 or the time expires.  He considers the $300 his entertainment budget for the trip to Las Vegas.

  19. Gambling should be approached as entertainment.  My son, who is a good poker player, approaches it like this: he sets aside a certain stake for gaming, say $300.  He sets a time frame either in hours or a “quit and go home” time.  He quits when he loses his $300 or the time expires.  He considers the $300 his entertainment budget for the trip to Las Vegas.

    1. This is presumably referring to the fact that many single-deck tables now pay 6:5 on a blackjack instead of the normal 3:2.  This makes a *huge* difference in the house’s favor, and you should never play on a table that pays 6:5 on a blackjack.

    2. Yes, this is a HUGE tourist trap and the reason why most casinos, especially on the strip, are adding single deck 21 games like crazy.  They only pay out 6 to 5 on blackjack, instead of the normal 3 to 2 (so for example, if you bet $100 and hit a blackjack on single deck, you will win $120 while on normal blackjack it’s $150).  Also, they restrict the number of hands you’re allowed to double down on, such as only on a total of 9, 10 and 11 (normal blackjack you can double down on any hand).  Some single deck 21 games also do NOT let you double down after splitting cards, so essentially single deck 21 can be as bad as slots.  People think that playing single deck is good because one deck is better than 6 or 8 decks, but in reality the rule changes that I’ve mentioned make this game HORRIBLE.  Do NOT play single deck, play regular blackjack and make sure it pays out 3 to 2 and has “normal” rules that I’ve mentioned.

      1.  I work at a casino in MI.  We have single-deck BJ and we do pay 6 to 5.  However, we let you DD on anything including splits.  We also let you split up to four hands, even aces.

  20. This article is completely bogus. It simply parrots the reasons CASINOS provide for not gambling to excess. The real reason the house always wins has little to do with odds. they could offer odds that favor the gambler and they’d STILL win big. Why? They have a LOT more money than you do. You winnings (and losings) will go up and down over time, varying by how ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ you are. So does the house – but the house VERY rarely goes broke. With gamblers, it’s a different story. you go broke, you’re done.

    1. Clearly the comments of an ignorant person who has never taken statistics. There is no ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ in the math that determines odds.

      1. Actually, I TAUGHT statistics. In every probability sequence, improbable things happen. People win 3 times in a row, for instance. An improbable thing, yet it happens. People also LOSE 3 times in a row. One is a ‘hot’ streak, one is a ‘cold’ one. The house has enough money to lose until you hit your ‘cold’ streak but when YOU lose all your money you’re done. Next time you call someone ignorant, you might want to consider whether maybe you’re just too stupid to understand what they’re trying to tell you.
        Dunce.

        1. Then I’m glad I didn’t have you as a teacher.  You’re 100% wrong.  As the number of trials approaches infinity, the party with the positive expectation will win.  In general, this is the house.  There are a few ways for the gambler to win (counting cards at blackjack, finding a positive expectation video poker game, etc.) but those are the exception and few people know of them or are sufficiently knowledgeable about statistics to care.

          Additionally, the article doesn’t mention craps, where- if one plays wisely- the house edge can be made to asymptotically approach zero.  Yeah, go look it up.

          Dunce.

          1. EXACTLY the point the other gentleman was making.  “As the number of trials approach infinity.”  The casino can afford to do that, a normal player cannot and thus will not often win even with a “positive expectation”   They will run out of money on a long losing streak (very probable to occure eventually even if the player has a “positive expextation” when “trials approach infinity”) and thus loose their money even if playing well.  And yes, there most certainly ARE high probabilities of long losing streaks (“cold”) or long winning streaks (“hot”) in the math that that determines odds.  Odds are when approaching infinity, the casinos can afford to approach infinity, most players cannot.

          2. So you’re saying that Donald Trump can not be beat in the high roller no limit table of black jack……?

        2.  You are an idiot – the laws of probability and the math both predict the coin coming up heads 3 times in a row.  But as a thinking person knows odds are made over time not three tosses.  Over time the odds are what they are.  And you are a moron and a liar.

          1. I don’t like all the name calling, so I won’t get into that.  But Louis is wrong, Cynicaljim is right.

            Louis:  what you are saying, in effect, is that if I had as much money as the casino, it would even-up the odds, because then I could stay in the game as long as they could.  But, the amount of money I have in my pocket when I walk in the door has NOTHING to do with the odds on the roll of the dice or the turn of a card.  The odds are the odds.

          2. I don’t like all the name calling, so I won’t get into that.  But Louis is wrong, Cynicaljim is right.

            Louis:  what you are saying, in effect, is that if I had as much money as the casino, it would even-up the odds, because then I could stay in the game as long as they could.  But, the amount of money I have in my pocket when I walk in the door has NOTHING to do with the odds on the roll of the dice or the turn of a card.  The odds are the odds.

      2. He didn’t say that Math could go hot or cold but the dice thrower certainly can…

  21. Neither the “downtrodden Native Americans” nor the Guido Squad are in business to send your kids to college!

    I’m not against gambling–I support your right to throw money away!

    Disclosure:  I’m a horseplayer who makes a modest profit.

  22. Neither the “downtrodden Native Americans” nor the Guido Squad are in business to send your kids to college!

    I’m not against gambling–I support your right to throw money away!

    Disclosure:  I’m a horseplayer who makes a modest profit.

    1.  The comments I’m reading here suggest the Casinos are beatable. I’m surprised I don’t read break the bank stories every other day. Casinos win because they have the edge, they must play correctly, they’re well financed, they don’t get plastered, and they let you “Experts” be know it all’s, till you’re broke. 

  23. “but at least you’re donating your money to the public good instead of business magnates.” These companies create jobs and pay taxes. I have no idea why some foolish folks actually believe “giving” their money to the government is better than giving it to a job creating and tax paying business.

  24. You forgot the most important thing about Canadian gambling, whether casinos or VLT lounges. The odds the government sets are not even close to Vegas. I was told by a VLT programmer that the house takes 25% from VLT’s, (and that was years ago, I’m sure it’s even worse now). That means for every hundred dollars you gamble you will lose $25 over the long run. In Las Vegas, competition keeps the casinos reasonably fair – you still won’t win, but you will lose less in the same amount of time. The government has a monopoly and can do whatever it wants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy