22 October 2016


11 ways to beat the odds in Las Vegas

Kathy McLeman

By Kathy McLeman

Kathy was one of the original pioneers of travel blogging, way back when the internet was new and smart phones were just a twinkle in designers’ eyes. A year long round-the-world tour saw her waiting for super slow broadband speeds as she painstakingly sent photos back to DialAFlight HQ to keep up her blog ‘Kathy’s Diaries’. After that, some time during her 16 years at DialAFlight, she has managed to fit in having 2 children while expertly handling the press and advertising for the company.

Las Vegas Bellagio Las Vegas Slot Machine Las Vegas Roulette

1. Know when to walk away

Casinos set minimum and maximum table limits to maximise their profitability. You should too – to minimise your losses. Pre-set a winning goal and a losing limit. If you're up, don’t get greedy. If you're down, cut your losses. In both cases, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.

2. Start small

Vegas wasn’t built in a day. Betting small early on limits the damage if the game doesn’t go your way. If you win, slowly work up to larger amounts. If you lose, return to your smaller, starting bet. And never bet more than half of the total you’re willing to risk. That way you’ll always have one more shot.

3. Don’t back a loser

All games are slanted in the house’s favour – but some more than others. Give roulette, Keno and Big Wheel games a wide berth and, instead, hit the poker, blackjack and craps tables. The odds in the latter only give the house an edge of up to 3%.

4. Know your game

People who are good at tennis tend to win more games. The same applies to gambling. If Texas Hold 'Em is your thing, understand the strategies, weigh the odds and play accordingly. That way you’re giving yourself the best chance of winning.

5. Big into Blackjack

Blackjack can make you a bundle if you play it right. Pick a version where the dealer must hit on 16 and stand on 17. Stand if your two-card total is 17 or higher. And always split aces and 8s.

6. Beat the craps out of casinos

Dice control is the key here. According to research, if a craps player learns to control the dice perfectly, and makes the proper bets, you can gain between a 2.5% and 9.5% edge over the casino. Needless to say, you’d better start practising.

7. Poker, mon!

Learn it. What makes this game different is that you’re playing other punters, not the house. Sure, the house takes a cut, or the rake, but it’s the skilled players that get the other players to pay for their holidays.

8. If you have to play slots…

They’re called one-arm bandits for a reason, even if they only have buttons these days. The odds are up to 6% in favour of the house but you can reduce the edge on higher denomination machines, which are set less in the house’s favour.

9. Get comped

Casinos reward players who spend more time at their tables. After all, it gives the house more chance to take your money. So get something in return. Comps can be free meals, souvenirs, cash-back, hotel rooms or even air tickets.

10. Be a loyal gambler

It’s not only your supermarket shopper card which rewards you. Sign up to the players clubs in the casinos. You’ll accumulate points which can get you that extra bet or that extra drink after losing.

11. Read Roald Dahl’s ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

If all else fails, find an Indian yogi who can teach you to “see without your eyes”. That way you’ll know exactly which card is coming up. Needless to say, this one is a high risk strategy!

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