Gaining and Keeping a Competitive Edge on Sport Betting

When it comes to sport betting, each player must be aware about the nonexistence of a certain kind of formula for winning. Unless the player chooses to involve in trickery, then there is really no given method to secure winnings. However, there is a way for every bettor to gain an advantage in this field. Although sport betting (by its very nature) is very reliant on chances, players can actually increase their chances of winning by getting a full grasp on the unfamiliar (or even unspoken) yet altogether important law in sports betting.

Instead of looking for that magic winning formula, it’s best for every bettor to keep in touch with reality and get ahead by knowing how the entire sport betting system works. Since there are only a limited number of people who know about this particular sport betting law, players who’ll take the time to understand this will definitely have an edge among the others.

Just in case you’re one of those bettors who want to gain an edge over other sports bettors, here’s what you need to know:

Sport betting (or even gambling in general) operates under a certain type of principle. However, this law simply operates in order to guarantee all casinos or any betting establishment to profit regardless of whether its players win or lose.

So how does this so called gambling law works in particular? Simple. The person in charge of coming up with the rules and odds of the game basically controls the outcome, and makes the money. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Players can use their knowledge of this law to their advantage.

To get ahead of the game, bettors can seize control of the rules and odds by simply keeping track of the perfect timing to place a bet. Players increase their chances of winning by choosing to bet on the right situations and employing only the right wagering strategy. That’s basically all the player needs to do in order to get an edge over other players and the game books itself.

Where I Play Blackjack in Las Vegas, NV and Why

Blackjack routinely offers the lowest house advantage over players as compared to all other casino games off the top. Players can enhance that inherent gambling advantage further by applying very accurate basic strategy play and insistence on playing only those games that offer player-favorable rules. There’s a plethora of variation between game rule-sets and table conditions and these directly affect the mathematical player expected value (EV) which ultimately translates to enhanced winnings / minimized losses over time. Proper game selection can easily reduce house advantage to.5% or less for the conscientious player who employs accurate basic strategy decision plays for a specific game and set of rules. Blackjack also provides one of the best venues to accrue comps for gamblers interested in playing the comp game; wise use of certain comp accrual tactics can increase real dollar value expectation and provide a means to keep losses to a minimum when including the values of potential awarded comps.

It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of learning basic strategy for those interested in enhancing the value of their blackjack experiences. It’s the foundation of all efforts to beat the game for both novice and professional players. Basic strategy play is based on literally billions of computer simulated hands to arrive at proper hand play decisions regarding standing, hitting, doubling, and /or splitting pairs against a given dealer’s upcard. Those players who might be interested in becoming serious students or professional blackjack players will learn that further advancement in learning advantage play methods (eg card counting) is pointless without a solidly grasped knowledge of basic strategy. Memorization of specific basic strategy play is not difficult, especially for those who are interested in increasing their expectation at the blackjack table. As a new player in the process of learning these systems, basic strategy charts (specific for specific games and rule-sets) are available in countless books and on the internet; these are also available at most casino gift shops and or player’s clubs in Vegas. Using these at a live Vegas blackjack table is perfectly acceptable and common and is encouraged for novice players. With minimal time and effort at using and memorizing these basic strategy hand decision play charts, proper play will become second nature. Remember that there are some variations in given basic strategy play depending on the number of decks in play and the specific rules in force at a given table. There’s also a “generic” basic strategy chart that is utilized to cover all games and rules; this version is not as accurate as specific charts for specific games and conditions but is far superior to those proverbial “gut” play decisions. Keep in mind that use of perfect basic strategy play will not put players in a position to have an advantage over the house; the casinos will still have an edge over players in virtually all games except a few 3:2 payoff single deck games (which are beyond scarce in Vegas these days).

What are the blackjack rule sets / table conditions that enhance player expectation? I routinely play 6-deck (6D) shoe games that don’t utilize continuous shuffle machines (CSM’s) with $5 – $25 dollar minimum bet conditions. Keep in mind that games with higher minimums ( $25 and up) MIGHT have comparatively better rule sets for players than lower minimum tables; players should scope the better games out at all denomination minimums. The minimum rule sets / conditions (ultimately rendering a house edge between.25 and.42% off the top in 6D games and involving accurate basic strategy play) that I seek out in Vegas include..

Base games = 6D shoe games, $5 – $25 minimums, 1 – 12 bet spread variation (x minimums), 75% penetration, no CSM’s; 2D pitch games, $5 – $25 minimums, 1 – 6 bet spread, 60 – 65 % penetration.

Rules Lowering House Advantage / Increasing Player Expectation (EV) :

– Insist on 3 : 2 payoffs on naturals (blackjacks); adds + 2.5% EV; players cripple their blackjack expectation off the bat if they play tables with either 6 : 5 (there are tons of these in Vegas now, particularly 1D games) or even money payouts on naturals. One of the single biggest errors unknowing, average players make is electing to play these games if they’re concerned about value.

– DAS ( doubling bets allowed after pair splits ); adds + 0.14% to player expectation. There are plenty of games offering this rule in Las Vegas.

– S17 (dealer stands on all soft seventeen hands, eg A, 6 etc.); adds + 0.20% EV vs H17 games (dealer hits all soft seventeens); there are a few Vegas casinos who offer this rule, though most games are H17.

– LS (late surrender offered; allows player to surrender hand and half their original bet with certain 2-card totals against specific dealer upcards AFTER dealer checks for blackjack ); adds + 0.075 % EV. There are a very limited number of games in Vegas that offer this rule, but they’re locatable. Often this particular rule is not posted at tables so ask when you approach for play.

I don’t play 6D blackjack games in Las Vegas unless it offers all the above rules unless there is a specific set of other rules or promotions that drives the house edge down. Obviously, the above games are few and far between and you may consider this an anal approach…I just adhere to this axiom ( you don’t have to ). I agree that blackjack should be an enjoyable, “fun” experience; it’s simply neither of those for me if the house advantage off the top is insurmountable over time. I have found the above 6D rules / games with some consistency at the following Vegas casinos ( keep in mind that you may have to play $15 – $25 dollar minimums to collectively locate the above rules at a given table; additionally some of the properties may require these minimum bet levels for players to even get rated for table game comps, which can potentially add significant real dollar value to player expectation / EV) :

– MANDALAY BAY (Strip)

– MGM GRAND (Strip)

– MONTE CARLO (Strip)

– TREASURE ISLAND (Strip)

– TROPICANA (Strip)

– RED ROCK (Off-strip)

Notice there are no Harrah’s properties on the above list. Be aware that there are changes to blackjack game rules with some regularity which requires players to seek out current info just prior to a trip and then scout and confirm derived information upon arrival. Excellent sources (modest subscription fee required) for blackjack game conditions in Vegas (and elsewhere) is Current Blackjack News (CBJN) or Trackjack. Be advised that the above 6D games are typically easier to find and play during the day on weekdays than on more crowded weekends. When conditions are more crowded for any reason, the better games are more difficult to find and obviously more difficult to find a seat at. Further, the casinos traditionally increase table minimum bet levels as demand increases and on evening shifts.

There are other additive rules ( in addition to and including S17,DAS, and LS rules) that some casinos offer that reduces their advantage and increases EV;

-RSA (resplitting of aces after initial split ); adds + 0.06 % EV; variations are RSA3 (resplit only once to make three hands) and/or RSA4 (split twice to make 4 hands total). The designation UR refers to unlimited resplits.

-D3 (player allowed to double down on first three cards ); adds + 0.23% EV.

Casinos that have recently offered S17, DAS, RSA, and LS (all at $25 dollar minimums or less) and house edge of.26% include;

– MANDALAY BAY (Strip)

– MGM GRAND (Strip)

– MIRAGE (Strip)

– MONTE CARLO (Strip)

– RED ROCK (Off-strip)

– TREASURE ISLAND (Strip)

– WYNN (Strip)

Two “sister” off-strip casinos that offer H17, DAS, D3, LS, RSA3, and UR with initial house edges of.25% are;

-BIGHORN*

-LONGHORN*

* Note that the current rules at the above two locales involve H17 (dealer hits soft seventeen); the cumulative advantage gained by including RSA3, D3, and UR more than offsets the H17 disadvantage (vs S17) to arrive at a playable house edge with accurate basic strategy play. It should be noted that the above two off – strip casinos offer exceedingly minimal glitz and glamour (like..zero) but they do offer decent blackjack rules and very low minimums. I like them both even though I realize Bruce Willis or Britney Spears won’t be there.

Other rules that can enhance player expectation but are seldom (if ever) found in Vegas casinos are;

– DSA (doubling after ace splits); adds + 0.10% EV

– 21S (suited blackjack pays 2:1 ); adds + 0.56% EV

– BJ2:1 (all naturals pay 2:1 ); adds + 2.28% EV

– 6 (player’s unbusted 6-card hand; automatic winner even against dealer blackjack); adds + 0.10%

– ES (early surrender allowed; allows player to surrender hand and half of original bet BEFORE dealer checks for their potential blackjack ); adds +0.63% EV; this rule hasn’t been offered for several years, beyond rare.

As mentioned earlier, more decks in play results in increased house advantage over players. Single – deck (1D) games in Vegas with reasonable rules and 3 : 2 payoffs are extremely rare these days and essentially nonexistent on the strip. In times past, a player could play even or have a slight edge over the house in 1D games with 3:2 payoffs, reasonable rules, and application of basic strategy. In Las Vegas presently, most 1D games offer 6 :5 payouts on naturals; you might as well ride up the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel and toss cash off the observation deck. My most current info indicates there are 4 downtown (on Fremont street) casinos that offer single deck games with 3 : 2 payoffs;

– EL CORTEZ

– BINION’S

– FOUR QUEENS

– WESTERN

The 1D games at the above downtown locations are all H17 but due to use of single decks ( though they usually only deal out about a half deck before reshuffling) the house edge for all these games is 0.18% and thus playable for a basic strategy player. As a sidenote, if any players employ any type of advantage play techniques (eg card counting, etc.) the pit and eye-in-the-sky surveillance crews may ask them to leave at these games (or any game, anywhere if they’re not adept at camouflage / disguising play). Just be aware. The El Cortez has been referred to as The Sweaty Spaniard for years and there’s a reason why.

There are some playable two-deck (2D) games in Vegas; simply playing a 2D game vs 6D adds.25% EV off the top. Theoretically a player can sacrifice some other rules as a tradeoff to arrive at a reasonable / playable house advantage range. A 2D game with base rules of S17 and DAS only provides a house edge of.19%; two strip locales where these games have been offered recently are;

-MIRAGE*

-LUXOR*

*both have $25 minimums

Recently the following off-strip casinos offer 2D, H17,DAS, and RSA games for $2 -$10 minimums and a house edge of.35%;

– ARIZONA CHARLIE’S BOULDER

– STATION CASINOS (BOULDER,TEXAS, SANTA FE, PALACE, AND SUNSET STATIONS)

– GREEN VALLEY RANCH

– RED ROCK

– SILVER NUGGET

– WILD, WILD WEST

Player expectation from blackjack play can be enhanced by taking advantage of short-term promotional games / buy-in incentives, blackjack matchplay or free ace coupon plays, and by employing comp accrual tactics. Info regarding blackjack promotions may be found in casino newsletters / mailers for players club members or on Las Vegas gambling info websites. Some occasional short-term blackjack promotions include 2:1 payoffs for naturals, payoffs on tied blackjacks (vs dealers; normally a push), increased payoffs for suited blackjacks (usually 2 :1 or 3 : 1 payoffs) or specific card combinations for player 21’s (eg 7-7-7 or 6-7-8). Blackjack matchplay coupons (usually 5,10,or 25$ denominations) are historically worthwhile to low-midlevel gamblers and usually valued at approximately 50% of face value for basic strategy players. Free ace coupons are also a valuable coupon to collect and use; player’s club ‘funbooks’ are available at many casinos and can reduce expenses (and thus add to EV ) if players put these to use. These coupon and funbook sources can significantly enhance EV particularly for low- moderate level gamblers. Contact me for some info regarding coupon / funbook sources if interested. Additionally, accruing comps at blackjack can at times mean the difference between winning vs losing sessions or trips depending on bankroll and wager levels. Signing up for player’s clubs and casino e-mail website subscriptions is a must for being able to obtain awarded comps. Specific tactics to employ at the tables include enhanced initial buy-ins (buying in for more than you intend to lose or gamble with), increased wagers when pit crews or floor people are watching / recording your gambling levels during actual play, and any number of methods that slow down the speed of the game and thus the number of hands / wagers per hour. Additionally, it’s suggested that players develop a relationship with a specific table host at specific casinos where they choose to play; often it’s good to select a host of the opposite gender in my opinion. At some casinos (usually not at Harrah’s properties), floor reps and pit bosses can award meal comps for table play. Developing a friendly, “ask-for” relationship with blackjack pit personnel and previously mentioned hosts can go a long way toward enhancing real-dollar value of player expectation when playing. Some of these casino staff members are people, too.

Any discussion of blackjack should at least address bankroll management elements. Play with money that won’t affect your daily life if you lose it. Staying too long at any table to recoup losses is both common and foolhardy. I seldom stay at a given table beyond 1 hour for several reasons; this time is extended only when experiencing a particularly good winning session or other important factors. There is a plethora of info regarding what’s known as Risk of Ruin (ROR) charts which outline betting ramps and bet levels with a defined starting bankroll. Some of these aspects are quite detailed and are usually restricted to use by serious, professional players. If players are interested in becoming a serious student of the game, there’s a massive amount of pertinent info on the web and within the pages of many books. Avail yourself of this info and over time you will be able to discern the credible info sources (there’s some misleading and inaccurate info out there, of course). For those interested, contact me and I’ll provide a decent info starter list.

The present economic downturn Las Vegas is enduring has resulted in a general trend of lower table minimums to a noticeable degree in several casinos. We could speculate that, in order to attract more patronage, the gaming entities might offer more short-term promotional games with player – favorable rule sets in addition to these observed lower table minimums. We’ll see.

Cheers..

Charles Higgins

Casino Comps: Not Only For High Rollers – Everyone Can Get in on the Game, Here’s How It’s Done

Players that often visit casinos are aware that many patrons are comped during their stay. Regulars receive free or discounted rooms, meals, show tickets, free play, etc. Many average players that wager on penny, nickel, or quarter slot machines, bet $5 or $10 per hand at table games, think that the freebies are only for the high rollers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

How Casino Comps Work

Comps (complementaries) are valued at a portion of a player’s expected loss to the casino over time. This is called the house edge. For example, the house edge on Blackjack is about 0.5% when perfect basic strategy is used by the player. This means that a player’s theoretical loss is about 50 cents for every $100 bet. Players can win too, but that’s gambling. However in the long run over time, the house always wins, and comps keep players coming back.

How to Get Casino Comps

Sign up for a Players Club card without hesitation. All casinos offer them at no charge. Each time you use it at a slot machine or table game, you build up points. Of course the more you play the more points you earn. Depending on where you play and your level of play your points can be used towards meals, hotel stays, exclusive event invitations, show tickets, cash back and more. Rewards vary between casinos and are liquid (change often). Always check with the Players Club associates for specifics.

How Comps are Determined

Points on your card are determined by the amount of credit (coin in) at any machine game after you insert your players card in the appropriate slot. The amount you play is not as important as length of time you play. For example, If you put $20 in a quarter slot machine, and you play for an hour or so with it, the amount of coin in could be $100 or more. The amount through put is what counts.

If you play table games, place your card on the table with your cash when you buy-in. The dealer will give it to the pit boss who will record it. The card will be returned to you promptly. Your average bet will be monitored and recorded from time to time during your session.Once again, how long you play takes precedence for comp rewards.

Once you’re established as a steady player you’ll receive offers in your mailbox(snail mail and/or e-mail).

If you’re a table game player that wagers $25 per hand and higher, ask the pit boss to rate you. S/he will keep track of your average bet size for as long as you play. If you play for two or three hours always ask if you’re entitled to any comps.

For table games,the comps players receive depends on the game you’re playing. For example, three hours of Blackjack at your theoretical loss of 0.5% will earn you less in rewards than three hours of Caribbean Stud Poker, where your expected loss is 5.2%.

The same applies to slot and video poker machines. For example, three hours of video poker play will earn you less in comps than the same time at a slot machine, because video poker has a skill element to it, whereas slots do not.

Where you play is also a factor. Playing as a Vegas locals casino could earn you more generous rewards than playing the same amount of time at the upscale Wynn and Bellagio resorts.

When to Talk to a Host

If you’re planning to stay for a few days call the casino and ask to speak to a casino host. S/he can offer you special room rates and will book your room for you. Tell the host what games you play and what your betting level is. You may also want to enquire about making an upfront cashier deposit. For example, if you’re staying for four days and deposit $2,000, you can draw out $500 a day to prove your betting level. If you’re playing tables get to know the pit crew(s). This can go a long way with your host relationship.

Remember, always be a responsible gambler. Always let the casino comp your play. Never play just for comps.

Good Luck!

Online Gambling Basics

Poker, black jack or any other casino game with a real fancy name, any lay man acquainted with the web knows that these are only a click away. Online gambling industry today is one with the highest growth rate. However which site to choose is definitely the biggest problem that one faces when seriously thinking about gambling online. With sites by the dozen offering “online gambling” there are other hundred offering you to start your own site, the scene can get a lot confusing.

Though site offer all traditional card games like poker and black jack and other casino games like roulette and slot machines, but the roots of internet gambling still centre around sorts betting and horse racing.

The concept is quite sensible considering that not everyone is comfortable with the terms and other nitty gritty of various dice games, while the picking the scores of a super bowl game is relatively easier.

According to various stats as published in Sports Illustrated sports betting touched as much as 1 billion $ which is 10 times the figures placed with traditional Nevada sports books. Betting on horses is also hugely facilitated by theses sites as while all major races are broadcasted on major television channels and other programmes cover highlights of the races, but getting on the tracks can get difficult, if you do not live in a state where the tracks are located.

While the federal wire act1961 made it illegal to use telephone to place bets, thus driving the prospective gamblers from other states out of luck, however the arrival of internet on the horizon changed the scene.

Popularity gained by poker in the recent years has been another reason for the success of online gaming in the recent years. Te success of the Travel Channel’s World Poker Tour program and ESPN’s World Series of Poker, have pushed other channels also to start airing these shows.

Poker though may easily be the most successful online gamble game but sites are trying to popularise the real games like black jack and slots by vigorous advertising which includes bulk email advertising. The emails sent by Golden Palace.com, one virtual casino offers as much as 58 casino games, meanwhile offering chat rooms and other premium services.

Interestingly online betting is not the only way to spend money. There are industry sites such as the River City Group, based in Missouri open for subscription starting from$245.Those not ready to spend money right away there are fee software to be downloaded to play poker or other games. There also are free practise areas to learn and play for free. However the catch lies in the fact that success in these free areas are a sure invitation to the real gaming world, where however winning is not so easy. The odds might be against you but in the world of software tricksters it’s always easy to make a winning way out. So online gambling in fact a contest between the owner and the player. But in either case it’s the winner who gets it all.

Poker Calculators and The Sklansky Group Hand Rankings

You may have noticed that while using your poker calculator it displays your hand odds while also using terminology like “hand rank”, “group”, or “group rank” all of which in some way or another refer to author David Sklansky’s Group Hand ranking for hold’em poker. Originally described in the classic book, “Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players”, Sklansky rated all the starting hands and put them in groups according to their similar win rate.

By clustering hands based on win rate and strength, it’s easier to keep track of basic betting strategies associated with each individual hand. For example, in Sklansky Group 3 hands you will find 99, AQ, ATs, and JTs among others. The best cluster though is Sklansky’s Group One which includes AA, AKs, KK, QQ, and JJ. They are going to show very high percentage win rates on your poker calculator as well as “raise, and re-raise” recommendations.

In adopting the Sklansky Group of Hands your poker calculator could in effect make you a “book player”, because many, especially the mathematical poker calculators don’t take other factors into account at the poker table. However, as a guideline, your poker calculator is going to have the exact odds, and correct mathematical indication served up for you, David Sklansky style.

Poker calculators have adopted this because, well they are just software designed by programmers, and not necessarily poker enthusiasts, but Sklansky is a Poker icon, educator, and author. I have had several poker calculators running at the same time for testing, and have found very similar results and percentage recommendations, because they generally use the same statistical backbone as Sklansky Group of Hands.

The difference between them lie in how their other features are factored in, such as how it monitors your position, how many players in the pot, how many tight or aggressive players, stage of a tournament, and if a player’s stake is up or down significantly.

Although published years ago, by using The Sklansky Group of Hands, poker software offers credibility to the ranking system, although it sure didn’t need it. Professional players have known these rankings and what to do with them for years. Seasoned opponents will also know how to use them against you, if you are an obvious book player, so mixing it up is always a good idea.

Some other books published by David Sklansky include The Theory of Poker, Tournament Poker for Advanced Players, and Hold’em Poker.