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Gambling Grade School - Part 124 December 2004
I recall the old television commercial that ended, "An educated consumer is our best customer." Some modern-day casino executives might not agree with that dictum, but it is as true for the casino gambling industry as it is for any industry selling a quality product. The more the customer knows, the better for the customer and the better for the company - in the long run.
Some casino executives think that truly savvy casino players, while not a threat to the bottom line, do not enhance the bottom line enough. They think that because an educated consumer of casino games doesn't lose as much on a given night as the "flaming meteors" do that this is bad for the casino.
In fact, it's a good thing and here's why. Casino players who play poor strategies at the games and the machines often get burned out, often within a year to three. Losing time and again is not fun and the losing player, having had his head handed back to him on a platter night after night, will eventually seek other outlets than gambling for his hard-earned bucks. The unschooled gambler may have burned brightly on the casino radar for a short while but eventually he disappears and needs to be replaced by another "crash and burner" for the casino to make any profit.
However, gamblers who learn the best strategies and have their share of winning nights begin to look upon casino gambling as a pleasant way to utilize their discretionary income - and they plan accordingly. The also become loyal customers of the casinos for years and years, and decades and decades, visiting them often and losing far more over those time periods than the crash and burners who have to be constantly replenished. But to the savvy, steady gambler the losses are not that hurtful because they have budgeted their money with casino gaming in mind. Indeed, the savviest of gamblers usually open 401G accounts (the "G" stands for gambling) where they put their gambling funds - money not to be used for anything but the pursuit of Lady Luck's largesse.
And most casino games do not require a high degree of skill on the part of the player in order to play skillfully. Games such as Three-Card Poker, Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud and most of the newer table games have simple strategies that, if adhered to, will keep the house edge as low as it can go. Those strategies, coupled with a disciplined money management system, can make a player last for a long, long time. A long, long time of fun in pleasant surroundings.
Games such as craps require only that you learn to utilize the best bets and eschew the high house edge bets - and, of course, learn how the game is played. Even though at first glance craps is a confusing game, it is, when broken down into its essentials, as easy as one, two, three.
Of all the table games, only blackjack presents us with a strategy that does require some intense effort on the part of the player to learn. Called "basic strategy," it is the computer-derived play of every player hand against every possible dealer upcard. It usually takes a good 10 to 20 hours to memorize it. Of course, if you are not the memorizing type, all you have to do is pick up a strategy card from a casino mail order firm or photocopy the strategy from a book (one of mine preferably) and you are in business. When confronted by a hand that is puzzling you, just look at your strategy card and it will tell you what the right decision is. Simple!
Now, the first goal of all good gamblers is to cut the house edge to a minimum on the games you like to play. If you are just deciding which games to play, then you should first take a look at the games where the house edge can be kept under 2 percent. This dictum holds true for table games and for all machine games as well.
Once you have learned the strategies and games that keep the house edge at bay, then you must look at the speed of the games. Some games are very fast and some games are more or less leisurely. Machine games have whatever speed you want them to have. There are also some games where your money is at risk on each and every decision and some games where this is not so. For just about all gamblers, the slower a game is played the better. This dictum has one exception and that concerns players who actually play with an edge over the house, then the faster the game the better for them.
The next series of articles will take us back to grade school. If you have been wondering how the various games are played, what are the best (and simplest) strategies to learn, and how to manage your money effectively, then make sure you read the next series as I will tackle just about all the games and all the issues that surround the games, such as money management, progressive and regressive betting, streaks and, yes, luck.
I'll even discuss comps, how to increase them without increasing your risk, and how to handle the casino caste structure that has grown up around comps.
There are 51 million adult Americans who visit casinos on a regular basis - that's 26 percent of all the adults in the country. Many of them will continue to do so year after year because they have mastered the games and themselves. Others will come and go. Which type are you?
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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