The New Year is only a few days old, which means millions of people all across this fair planet are working hard on personal resolutions.
The typical weight-loss challenges and commitments to break a bad habit are well and good, but for casino gambling enthusiasts, the arrival of 2019 presents a different sort of opportunity. By using New Year’s resolutions as the perfect excuse, casino fans can enhance their experience while gambling, and maybe even boost their bankroll in the process.
Below you’ll find 9 New Year’s resolutions for 2019 designed specifically for the casino gambling set, so find a few that work for you and get started on the path to self-improvement:
1 – Swap Out “Sucker” Games for Skill and Strategic Play
First and foremost, casino gambling is an endless battle between the player and the house.
You can have a blast playing table games, slots, video poker, or whatever game tickles your fancy, but in the end, the objective is to win. The only thing is, casino games are designed expressly to make winning impossible over the long-term. You might walk away a winner here and there, but over the sum of your gambling lifetime, the house’s inherent edge ensures you’ll wind up in the red.
But that’s only true if you play how the house wants you to…
Casinos rely on uninformed and inexperienced gamblers who don’t know the lay of the land. These are the tourists who show up in Sin City every year and immediately hit the penny slots, never realizing that the appearance of affordability these games offer disguise massive house edge rates. Or the regular who grinds blackjack all day while sinking chip after chip into the awful side bets.
Without an endless lineup of players ponying up big bucks to gamble on “sucker” games like keno and bad bets like the Hard 8 in craps, casinos wouldn’t be the multibillion-dollar businesses they are today.
For your first resolution of 2019, challenge yourself to play like an informed gambler who knows the score – which means leaving the sucker games for the suckers.
To give you an idea of just how bad some of the most popular games are for your bottom line, check out the house edge comparison table below:
House Edge by Game
Blackjack – single deck, basic strategy
Blackjack – 6 decks, basic strategy
Craps (pass/come with double odds)
0.5 percent to 3 percent
Baccarat (no tie bets)
Blackjack (average player)
Pai Gow Poker (ante/play)
Three Card Poker
Let It Ride
5 percent to 10 percent
As you can see, the house edge you’ll be up against can vary wildly from game to game, or even within the same game based on how the rules are set up. Find an old-school roulette table with just one green “0” space and the house edge stands at 2.7 percent. But when you play the exact same game on a wheel with two green spaces (“0” and “00”), the house’s advantage over you immediately doubles to 5.3 percent.
Let’s say you fancy yourself a proficient craps player, like so many other hopefuls who head to Las Vegas to try their hand. Well, unless you’re sticking to the best bets on the board, you’re probably bleeding money with every roll.
Take a look at the table below to see how various craps bets stack up in terms of the house edge:
House Edge in Craps by Bet Type
Don’t pass/Don’t Come w/10X Odds
Don’t pass/Don’t Come w/5X Odds
Don’t pass/Don’t Come w/3X Odds
Don’t pass/Don’t Come w/2X Odds
Don’t pass/Don’t Come w/1X Odds
Don’t pass/Don’t Come
Don’t Place 6 or 8
Don’t Place 5 or 9
Field (2 or 12 pays triple)
Don’t Place 4 or 10
Field (2 and 12 pay double)
Hard 6, Hard 8
Big 6, Big 8
Hard 4, Hard 10
Yep, you read those numbers correctly… betting on the basic Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line offers a house edge under 1 percent. Meanwhile, the suckers shooting for exotic wagers like the Hard 8 must fade an enormous house edge over 9 percent.
Know that you know the numbers, there’s just no excuse for backing bad bets in 2019 and beyond.
2 – Take Full Advantage of the Players / Slot Club Promotions
Another great way to beat the house is by accepting any and all rebates a casino is willing to offer, which is where the Player’s Club and Slot Club promotions come into play.
Remember, casinos are involved in an intensely competitive business, and while beating the suckers isn’t very difficult, beating one another is a different story. In order to stand out from the crowd and build loyalty with regular customers, the best casinos provide a subsidy of sort through their Player’s Club and Slot Club programs.
Here’s how it works…
When you sign up for a Player’s Club card, and present it to the dealer in a table game or slide it into a slot or video poker machine, the casino begins tracking your play. How long you’re there, how much you bet, and even your approach to strategic thinking are all fed into a formula. From there, the casino “rates” you as a player, and if you’re rated highly, they’ll begin lavishing you with comps and freebies.
Gamblers who know how to exploit Player’s Club promotions to the max can easily earn free weekend stays, buffet vouchers to cover the entire trip, tickets to the in-house show, and even free-play coupons good on the tables and machines. Over time, the rebates you earn through the Player’s Club can work to mitigate losses, or supplement wins, by putting cash back in your pocket.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cleaning the house’s clock with an extended craps roll, then devouring a delicious buffet meal without paying a penny. If you’re not participating in a Player’s Club program at your favorite casino, be sure to sign up and get in the game this year.
3 – Manage Your Bankroll Like It Means Something
The previous topic touched on bankroll management, so this resolution will be short and sweet – play like your money matters.
It can be all too easy to forget about what the money means while you’re gambling. Between chips and machine vouchers, gamblers can quickly become disconnected from the reality of what they’re putting up for risk.
But every bet you place is backed by your own hard-earned money, so make them count. Don’t chase losses by betting bigger, avoid the worst wagers on the floor like the plague, and never bet with money you can’t afford to lose.
When you learn how to manage your bankroll properly – approaching a gambling session as business more than pleasure – you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn just how far a few dollars can go.
4 – Shake Hands with As Many Pit Bosses as Possible
Remember those rating systems casinos use to assess players and award comps?
Well, it’s not all about formulas and calculations, as casinos rely on staff members to dig even deeper. When you see a stern man in a suit and jacket studying your every move at the blackjack table, they’re not working security. No, these pit bosses are sizing you up as a player, seeing how you play, how much you bet, and how long you stay in the game.
The pit boss is responsible for an array of duties, but chief among them is providing the casino with more personalized ratings on regular players.
Knowing this, you should resolve to become friendly with every pit boss you meet. After all, these men and women are the only thing standing between you and a higher rating, which means more comps and perks to enjoy.
It might be a bit awkward at first, but do your best to smile and shake hands with the pit boss whenever possible. Let them know you love playing at their establishment, and hopefully they’ll return that love with a higher rating.
5 – Take Care of Yourself While You Take it to the House
They call the place Sin City for a reason, as casinos are a den of vices around every corner.
All you can eat buffets, free cocktails to keep you lubricated, cigarette smoke floating through the pit – these are just a few of the health risks haunting every casino. If you’re going to spend a decent amount of time in a place like this, you must remain vigilant when it comes to taking care of yourself.
Pack a healthy meal to tide you over rather than indulging at the buffet. Stick to soda instead of vodka tonics. Find a smoke-free area in which to play.
Do whatever you can throughout the year to recognize the health risks associated with casino gambling, then work hard to mitigate those risks.
6 – Tip Dealers and Staff like You Mean It
One of the biggest misconceptions about the casino industry is that dealers and staff are paid handsomely.
On a certain level, this would seem to make sense, what with the house raking in millions of dollars each and every day at the major casino chains. But just like a barista doesn’t benefit from the massive profits Starbucks hauls in, casino dealers are essentially service workers who rely on the generosity of their customers to get by.
Most gamblers know to toss the dealer a tip after winning a big hand or cashing out for a nice score, but you’d be surprised at how stingy some players can be. Imagine sitting down with $500 to grind blackjack, doubling that within an hour, and only tipping the dealer a dollar or two. You can do better than that, and in 2019, you definitely should.
Tipping shouldn’t be restricted to winning sessions either. There’s nothing wrong with sliding the dealer a “redbird” $5 chip before placing your first bet, ensuring they get the tip they deserve regardless of how you fare going forward.
If dealers only received tips from winners, they’d barely make ends meet, so make a point this year to be the type of player dealers and staff love to see sit down.
7 – Strike up Conversations with Strangers and See What Happens
We’ve all seen them, the sullen player grinding a nub in silence, not saying a word to anybody for hours on end.
On the other hand, we’ve all seen those special folks who seem to have a blast no matter where the chips fall. They’re smiling and cracking jokes, making fast friends with people they’ll never see again, and generally making everyone around them feel a little better.
Pledging to put yourself in the second group is a great way to ensure that your casino excursions are enjoyable whether you win or lose. Obviously, winning is always more fun than losing, but if you’re able to get out there and engage with your fellow players, the blow is somewhat softened.
One of the hidden gems of the casino scene is its diversity. You’ll find 21-year old college kids playing right next to 81-year old seniors, people visiting from far flung corners of the globe, wealthy businesspeople and workaday everymen. Casino gambling appeals to all walks of life, and all it takes is a simple “hello, nice to meet you” to get a conversation started.
8 – Take Time to Enjoy the Non-Gambling Entertainment Options
One of the best parts about visiting a casino is all of the ways to have fun that don’t involve gambling.
Casinos realize that for every hardcore video poker fanatic that walks through the door, they’ll have two customers who are just along for the ride. To keep these folks happy and satisfied, the best casinos provide an all-inclusive entertainment experience.
The Bellagio in Las Vegas is known for its art exhibits and high-end retail shopping, while Caesars Palace has the world-renowned Bacchanalia Buffet. Legendary entertainers like Celine Dion maintain permanent residencies, performing to jam-packed audiences night in and night out. You can even watch the knights of the round table jousting while riding horseback over at the Excalibur.
There’s no shortage of non-gambling ways to entertain yourself while strolling through the casino, so take a moment in between sessions to smell the proverbial roses.
9 – Make the Journey to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas
Every gambler knows about the fabulous Las Vegas Strip and the Atlantic City Boardwalk, but one of the world’s most amazing casino complexes can be found in the Bahamas.
Atlantis Resort bills itself as a paradise on Earth, an entire island devoted to fun in the sun, swimming in the sea and suntanning on the beach. And right in the center of Atlantis is a full-fledged casino that rivals the best and brightest Las Vegas has to offer.
This place has it all, from a huge slot parlor to a world-class sportsbook, not to mention table games galore. As the only casino in all of the Bahamas, the Atlantis Resort truly is one of a kind, and gamblers who can afford the trip should make it a point to see this spectacular place for themselves in 2019.
The dawn of a new year is the perfect time to reset your approach to playing your favorite casino games. Casino gamblers often speak of luck influencing the outcome, but by sticking to the resolutions listed above, you can make your own luck.