Lol, and you thought I was going to stop with 5 ways to lose money gambling. The funny thing about gambling is that there are about 10 easy ways to lose money for every one legitimate way to win money. Not that I have anything against gambling for fun, but it’s nice to go in aware of what works and what doesn’t work.
This follow-up to yesterday’s post consists of a mixture of general concepts and specific circumstances. The one thing these gambling mistakes all have in common is that they can quickly cost you a lot of money and lost EV. So read on if you’d like to know what NOT to do in the casino.
1. Bet With Your Heart, Not Your Mind
This is one of the most common mistakes people make at the casino. They make big wagers based on intuition, guesses and past events. Admittedly, it can be fun sometimes to straight-up gamble with your heart, but remember that this isn’t the only way to gamble.
This gambling mistake is often displayed when people fall for the Gambler’s Fallacy. In other words, people see the roulette ball land on red 5 spins in a row and then place big bets because they think the roulette ball is “due” to land on black any time now. Wrong! The little roulette is completely random every single time. It has no memory and no way to push itself into a different-colored slot.
If you really want to reduce the house advantage, it is better to use math to your advantage. I know math is boring, but you don’t need to be a mathematician to make smart bets. Just take a look at any of these gambling guides for easy, straightforward gambling advice.
2. Take Insurance in Blackjack
The casino does not offer insurance out of the kindness of its heart. The casino offers insurance because it increases the house advantage. It might be scary seeing the dealer sitting on an Ace, but you will do better over the long run by passing on insurance and instead playing according to basic blackjack strategy.
If you have a strong feeling that the casino has a blackjack and insurance is necessary, go back and see item #1 on this page. Remember: the odds never change. Insurance is a bad bet and it won’t make you any money over the long run.
In short, insurance is a bad bet because it pays less than the odds of the dealer actually having a blackjack. There are very rare situations in which insurance might be a good bet, but you have to be good at knowing which cards have already been shown and how many cards are left in the shoe. For the average blackjack player, insurance is a bad bet.
There is only one time I would recommend insurance to the average blackjack player: when your entire life savings is on the line. This is the same reason why we get insurance for our health and houses. Even though the odds of your health or house being destroyed are low, we cannot tolerate even a slight risk of something catastrophic happening.
However, this should never be the case in blackjack. If you somehow wind up with your entire life savings on the table, you went wrong a long time ago.
3. Bet Big at the Slot Machines
Slot machines are the most profitable games for most online casinos. Even though online slots may have payout rates of 97% or higher, the “churn” at these games is substantial. What I mean by “churn” is that slots are good at keeping your money moving through the system. It is very easy to place a large number of bets in a short amount of time at the slot machines.
So, a great way to lose money at any casino is to bet big at the slot machines. Get in there, activate every pay line and wager $25 or $100 a spin. The house advantage may be small on each bet, but you’ll go through bets faster at slot machines than anywhere else. Beware the one-armed bandits.
4. Bet the Basket in Roulette
The basket bet in roulette is a wager on the group of numbers 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. If you place this bet and the ball lands on any of those numbers, you will be paid 6:1. There are two things wrong with the basket bet in roulette.
First, the basket bet has a higher than normal house advantage. The house advantage of every other possible bet in roulette is 5.26%. The basket bet, on the other hand, has a house advantage of 7.89%. Every single other roulette bet is better than the basket bet.
Second, the fact that the basket bet is available means that you’re playing at an American roulette table. American roulette tables should always be avoided because they have an extra slot reserved for “00.” European style roulette tables only have a single zero slot. This results in European roulette having a house advantage of just 2.7%.
5. Gamble on Credit
Other than whipping out a gun, gambling on credit is the stupidest thing you can do at any casino. Nothing good ever comes from gambling on credit. If you don’t have the cash available right now to gamble, just wait. Seriously.
Even if you know for sure that your direct deposit will hit your bank at exactly midnight, you should never take out a loan, borrow money or open a casino line of credit. Just wait until you have the funds available. Gambling on credit leads down a dangerous road because it’s easy to gamble more than you intended and it’s easy to get stuck in a tight spot if something happens between losing your money and getting paid.
It’s also easy to get used to the idea of gambling on credit. If you gamble on credit a few times and everything goes smoothly, you might get comfortable with gambling on credit. Don’t do this. Just take my word for it and never gamble on credit.