Everything in this article is absolutely true (meaning absolutely false) and the words come from the mouths of casino gamblers – adult casino players, not kids. However, the advice and opinions offered go from just bad to just horrendous and everything in between. 

Too many casino players just have totally wrong opinions, and yet on some of these opinions those players just can’t let them go. Indeed, all the more horror for them if they cling to such falsehoods because it costs them a lot more in losses than they need to experience. In general, casinos don’t have such real horrors in their thinking for casinos it is just money in and money in.

New Betting System?

Joey: I’ve been playing for five years once a month and let me tell you I have the best method for my play. It works most of the times. That it does. You can’t ask for anything more than that. It is called the Martyrdale (sic) and it is a very old way to overcome a game that has a house edge. I have taken away the house edge by playing this way folks. I’ll share with you for free.

After every loss, you double your previous bet. Just about every time you lose you will win an upcoming bet and make all your losses back. What could be simpler than this? I am surprised that other players don’t play this way. Maybe because I am new to casino playing and I have fresh eyes and also that other players just haven’t given the games much thought. There would be no casinos if everyone played as I do. So maybe I should be happy and stay quiet.

Frank responds: Joey, nope and nope again, you will lose a few times here and there and guess what? You will be blown away those few times and your losses will be gigantic as you try to recover the previous bets you lost.

The betting system, by the way, is called the Martingale and it is one of the most dangerous methods of playing casino games. Play it enough and you will take a brutal beating. The house edge is working there bright and brutal and it will bounce on you all over even though you think you have a winning method. You don’t.

Collecting Comps

Nanny: Roulette is a great game and I am thinking of playing it. I look at the wheel and it has all those numbers, sure, but what if I bet all those numbers at once? I have to win on one number, right? Therefore, I will always break even on every spin of the wheel, right? Can you imagine the comps I’ll get because of that? I could probably live off them. What a life! The casinos will be paying for me to live like a billionaire.

Frank responds: Nanny, I’m shaking you now to wake you up. There are three different roulette games out there right now and all of them pay a winning number 35-to-1. Sounds good, right? But one game has 38 numbers (1 through 36 and a 0 and 00) and is known as the American game; the other game has 37 numbers (1-36 plus a 0) and is known as the European/French game; and the third game, the newest and the worst of them all, has 39 numbers, 1-36 plus a 0, 00, and 000. No country has taken discredit for that game.

If you bet all the numbers you will win on every spin, yes, but that win will not cover the losses you have on every spin too. So, you will, pardon my wording, go down the nastiest longest losing streak drain in history and find yourself landing time and time again quite hard. 

Trying to figure out a way to out beat the casino is difficult, almost impossible. Take that truth to heart. Some very few (very, very few) methods have been developed to beat the house that work but those methods are hard to learn and execute in the casinos and the casino knows those methods and can usually spot a player attempting to use one. So, let caution be your buzzword. 

Just for your information: The American game has a house edge of 5.26%, meaning a loss of $5.26 per $100 wagered. The European/French game has a house edge of 2.7%, meaning a loss of $2.70 per $100 wagered. 

And that third game? The “untitled” game has a house edge of 7.69%. Yuck! Yuck! You can figure out what the house wins easily now…right? I have an easy way to do this figuring. Just dip into your purse or pocket and all that money will be theirs if you insist on playing this game the way you suggest. We roulette players have to hope the “Yuck, Yuck” game will fade out before we do.

Blackjack table

Baffled by Basic Strategy

George: I looked at the “what is called basic strategy” for blackjack and some of the moves do not make any sense at all. I’ve got to think that the casinos have put out this strategy to cost the players a lot of money if they bet this way.

Okay, look at the player hand of 12 going up against the 2 or 3 dealer up-card? What the heck, the basic strategy says to hit your 12, seriously? Oh, come on, really? How about that bad hand of a 16 versus a dealer 10 up-card? Take a hit? Oh, man, idiotic. 

Now, you have a blackjack and the dealer is showing an ace. That dealer could also have a blackjack. But the idiot basic strategy says to just stay on your blackjack and not insure your hand which gives you an absolute win. What gives? You are giving up a guaranteed win by not insuring. Nuts!

There are many more examples but you get the picture. The basic strategy has been sold to us by the casinos. Every blackjack player should see that truth.

Frank responds: You are wrong George. In every way. The casinos did not invent “basic strategy,” they would prefer if the casinos players just played their own made-up (and wrong) strategies. 

Every hand you discussed; you will be playing incorrectly if you make the decisions you suggest. You will lose more and win less – simple as that. 

One on One and Done

Unless you can practice an advantage-play technique such as card counting at blackjack or dice control at craps or you own the luck-goddesses of the universe, you are ultimately doomed to lose to the casinos in your contests with them. 

It’s in the cards, and the ball, and the machine, and the dice. No way around that unless we win our first bet or session and quit forevermore. Then we are long-term winners even if our long term is just one bet or one session. 

I do not think any casino players think differently. Oh, perhaps some have the idea that without a stroke of massive luck, they will still beat one of the most successful industries on the planet based on their betting styles. These players are poor losing souls indeed.

Okay, forgetting buckets of magical luck washing over you and seemingly endless hours of learning hard-to-learn advantage-play techniques, what is the best way to play the games without getting hammered over any prolonged period of time? I think I can answer that question.

Saving money is a good thing when you play casino games. I think you can actually be just as thrilled when you know your play is somewhat thrifty. Being thrifty will not reduce your chances to win some money. And a chance to win is always the reason we feel that delightful sense of anticipation as we wait for the next decision.

Get ready for my secret ... here it comes – play only one bet at any game you enjoy playing. One bet at a time! Let’s look at some of the games and see how this idea works itself out.

Craps table


Craps is a game with multiple bets, most of them simply awful, with house edges way, way up there in double digits. What’s worse is that craps players delight in making multiple bets at the game, some good, many rotten with those rotten ones usually taking away any chance that the players will be ahead – even today or tonight. Many craps players need truly good or great shooters to bring home the money to them.

Stop betting multiple bets. Stick with the following bets – only one of them:

  1. Pass line or come bets taking the odds when these bets are up on a number. Make sure the odds bets are big and the line or come bets are small. The odds bet has no house edge attached to them. The formula is small line and come bets, highest odds you can afford or are allowed.
  2. Play at tables that are crowded. The more players, the slower the game. The slower the game, the better for the player. The game will seem fast but being at an empty or relatively empty table will make the game much faster against your bets.
  3. If you are a don’t player (a darksider) the advice is the same – one bet with the laying of odds. Full table or close to it. No place bets.
  4. Do not make any place bets except (maybe) the placing of the 6 or 8 on the rightside of the game. Just one of those numbers.
  5. I do believe in tipping the dealers but make your tips reasonable in relation to the size of your bets. Do not tip away your profits.


This the most popular table game and a cash cow for the casino against the players. Play one-on-one against the dealer and you are looking at over 100 decisions (or more) per hour. Yikes. Many blackjack hands come out to be more than one hand; doubling down, splitting pairs, with some of them really poor bets. 

Here are your rules of play:

  1. Play at full tables.
  2. Only play one hand; do not spread to two hands, unless the basic strategy calls for it.  
  3. Go to the bathroom during playtime, not during the shuffles. That bathroom time does not risk any of your money. Relieve yourself without worrying about the casino relieving you of your dough.
  4. Play perfect basic strategy and do not (do not) listen to the pundits who don’t think basic strategy is the proper way to play.
  5. Tip in relation to your bet sizes. Do not go overboard if you are having a hot night.


The oldest game in the modern casino – brought to you by none other than Blaise Pascal, a brilliant philosopher and scientist of the 1600s. This is a game with many opportunities to make many different kinds of bets. You can make any one of these bets – but just one bet, no more. But I do have my recommendations here as well.

  • Do not play straight up by putting one bet on one number on the main layout. The chances of hitting that one number for a 35-to-1 payout will have you see many losing streaks, some of them very, very long losing streaks. 
  • There are three roulette games in today’s casinos, the single-zero game (0); the double-zero game (0, 00); and the triple-zero game (0, 00, 000). All the payouts for straight-up bets are 35-to-1 but the games get worse from one-zero to three zeroes. 
  • The house edge on the single-zero game is 2.7%, on the double-zero game is 5.26% and on the triple-zero game the house edge skyrockets to 7.69%.
  • I recommend that you only play the even-money bets of red/back, odd/even, or high/low. The payouts on these bets are one-to-one but you will not experience losing streaks that are monumental as they can be with straight up bets on the main layout. You will win 18 times and lose 19 times on single-zero; win 18 times lose 20 times on double-zero; and win 18 times and lose 21 times on triple-zero. 
  • Only make one bet; do not spread out as other roulette players will do. It is a bad strategy and wastes a lot of your (hard-earned) money.
  • Again, tip in relation to your session bankroll.

Do not play longer than you normally would even when situations look promising. This strategy is called one-on-one. Using it will not cost you as much money. Thrift is a good thing.

Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.