We’ve all made mistakes. If I recall correctly I made one in 1968. The casinos can be a world of mistakes because casino gambling opens up the lid on the “let-me-do-this-dumb-thing” jar of the “I did what?” reflection.
 
So just in case you are occasionally making mistakes in your casino play I am now going to give you the 8 major mistakes casino players make and the ones you should obviously avoid. You might be guilty of one or two of them or you might be guilty of (horrors!) all of them.

MISTAKE 1 - WINNING IS THE MOST FUN... EXCEPT

You are hotter than something that is hotter than hot. You can’t seem to lose. You strut by the roulette table, throw a bet on James Bond’s number 17 and (of course) it hits, paying you 35 to one. You bounce over to the craps table; throw out a bet on the six and (bingo!) the six rolls right away. You collect your winnings and smugly make your way to the blackjack table where (naturally) on your very first hand you get a blackjack.

You are having a great night as you bask in the fact that you have made Lady Luck and her twin sister Dame Fortune your double dates for the evening. Ah, but there is one thing you have forgotten, these ladies are a fickle twosome and they enjoy knocking you off the mountain top just as you think you are invincible.

Poker Moves

So if you keep throwing the money out there the likelihood is that at some point things might turn around; yes, they might go sour. To prevent that is actually quite simple; always take some of your winnings and put them aside. If you are up 500 units (you can decide what denomination a unit is) then take 300 of them and say to yourself (and mean it too): “I will never touch that 300 units.”
 
Too many players have fallen into the valley of bankroll death by not realizing that good luck might eventually turn.

MISTAKE 2 - BETTING INTO A LOSING STREAK IS A "NO, NO"

This is the reverse of “winning is the most fun” so I guess you can call it “losing isn’t the most fun!” (Well, something such as that.)

If you take a bit of a beating (or a large beating or a medium beating) do not fall into the trap of raising your bets in order to recoup you losses quickly. Keep in mind that the casino has that edge working on every bet you make so increasing your bets is just increasing the amount of money the house edge will hungrily sniff.

The biggest mistake players who are losing make is the thought that the losing streak must end. Theoretically, yes, it must but that could be after you lose a boatload of money you might never recover.

So if you have taken enough of a loss you have two options: Stop playing or bet lower units. I prefer the “stop playing” method. It helps to clear your mind.

MISTAKE 3 - SAY "HECK NO!" TO THE MARTINGALE

Oh, you know this strategy; you might even have thought you invented it --- the Martingale. It is based on simple logic. Since you have to win sooner or later then after every loss you double your bet until you win.

Makes sense. You bet five units; lose, and then you bet 10 units. If you win, you get 10 units. You’ve made up for your five unit loss and you are now up five units.

Wow!

Pow!

The casinos all have maximum bets above which you (usually) cannot go. So, let us say the max bet is 500 units and your first bet is a mere five units. Watch what can happen:

Decision Number Amount in Units Loss in Units Total Loss in Units
One 5 5 5
Two 10 10 15
Three 20 20 35
Four 40 40 75
Five 80 80 155
Six 160 160 315
Seven 320 320 615
Eight Cannot bet more than 500 units 0 615
Total Loss for seven decisions 615 units    

There you have it. On the eighth bet you can’t continue the Martingale because you’d be over the house limit!

Most of you reading this have easily had many seven bet losing streaks; such streaks come with the territory. You play that Martingale and you are betting increasingly large amounts to win – what? Five units!

Poker Playing

MISTAKE 4 - OVERLOOKING THE HOUSE EDGE CAN BE COSTLY

Too many players have no idea of what the house edge means. They make bets that are almost the equivalent of mailing a check to the casino with the words “cash this!”

If you play a game where the house edge is five percent your losing expectation is five units for every 100 units you wager. If you bet the Pass Line at craps your expectation is to lose 1.41 units per 100 units wagered. The Any Seven at craps will lose you 16.67 units per 100 units wagered. American roulette will lose you 5.26 units per 100 units wagered. (You’re getting the graphic picture, right?)

So before you play a game know what the game will cost you. Not to be aware is…well, you know what it is; you’re putting your head into the lion’s mouth.

Roulette Wheel

MISTAKE 5 - OVERLOOKING THE SPEED OF A GAME CAN ALSO KILL YOU

The house edge is one major thing but the speed of a game, meaning the number of decisions per hour, is the second major factor in understanding just how dangerous a game can be.

Roulette is a slow game, maybe 40 decisions in an hour; while mini-baccarat is a fast game as in 150-200 decisions per hour. The fact that mini-baccarat has low house edges on its two prime bets of Bank or Player does not mean a clobbering can’t come your way. With 200 decisions in one hour even a one percent edge can be a danger.

Blackjack one-on-one against the dealer is a fast game. Blackjack at a full table is a moderate game. Craps can be slow, moderate or fast depending on how many and what types of bets you make.

BlackJack Table

MISTAKE 6 - FRIEND WHO PLAY FOOLISHLY SHOULD ONLY BE MET FOR MEALS

Look, it’s great to have friends who also enjoy casino gambling. But if you have a friend who is --- how shall I say this? --- a ragging lunatic when it comes to how he plays then perhaps you should not go to the tables with such a person. Why? I’m glad I asked myself that question.

Even as little tykes the tendency on the part of humans is to imitate what our friends do. If you have a lunatic player for a friend there is a chance that he might concert you to his style of play. Be aware that none of us is immune to temptation when we play casino games. We may all be Sampsons waiting for our Delilahs.

MISTAKE 7 - DON'T BE A BLABBERMOUTH!

The 1950’s American sitcom The Honeymooners expresses the philosophy that all of us should have when we are in a casino --- and that philosophy is to be friendly but to keep your mouth shut concerning how other players play the games.

Ralph Kramden (played brilliantly by Jackie Gleason) expressed this best when he said about his nosey mother-in-law: “She’s a blabbermouth! A blabbermouth!” He even expressed his chagrin at himself by admitting, “I have a BIG mouth! A big mouth!”

Blackjack

In short, don’t tell someone how to play. I’m paid to be a blabbermouth but in a casino if someone asks me how to play a hand at blackjack or which is a good bet at craps, I refer them to the dealer. “He’s the expert,” I say.

MISTAKE 8 - DON'T SHARE YOUR GREATNESS

We all want everyone to know how terrific we are but casino gamblers, especially those who have lost, do not want to hear how Lady Luck is your woman tonight. So if someone asks you how you did (that someone being someone you don’t know) just say, “Oh, okay” or “Just what you can expect.” Don’t brag.

A word to the wise!

About the Author
By

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. 

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