Casinos worldwide are expected to rake in $130 billion in gaming profits in 2019 -- proving that most of the time, the house really does win.
If a Las Vegas vacation or trip to another gambling mecca is in your future, keep in mind a little thing called the "house edge." It's an advantage that gives the casino an assured return on a bet and gives the player an assured loss.
If you know which games and strategies to play, you can boost your odds of going home richer. Here’s the ultimate winner's scoop.
1. Play games with lower house edges
While casinos do have a winning edge, certain games have lower edges than others. Blackjack, poker and bingo tend to have casino advantages around 3% or less.
Another game you have better odds of winning is video poker, which gives the house an average advantage of only 0.46%.
While penny slots may seem like a cheap option, the house edge can be as high as 10%.
2. Bet big and walk away
Slot machines that cost more to play are the ones that give out the largest prizes. So, playing penny slots is just a big ol’ waste of time.
Even if you win, the longer you hang out at slot machines, the more likely you are to lose — because statistically, it is impossible to win at slots in the long run.
So if you do win something, take your money and walk away.
3. Never play Keno
“Keno” is a casino version of the lottery: You choose numbers from 1 to 80 on a card and the casino draws 20 numbers. If your numbers match the ones drawn, then you win.
The problem is that Keno gives the house a staggering 35% to 50% advantage.
Also, the odds of correctly matching all 20 numbers on a ticket come out to roughly 1 in 3.5 quintillion. (Oh, that's just 1 followed by 18 zeros.)
4. Try the old-school slots
With their flashy colors, graphics and bright lights, video slots are designed to attract your attention — but they tend to pay out lower prizes.
Meanwhile, old-school, classic slots give bigger payouts.
With their quaint looks, they attract less traffic, so casinos make sure they have higher payout rates.
5. Don’t play with the regulars
Before pulling up a chair, take a look at who else is playing at the table.
If the dealer greets a player by name, or the players look very comfortable and confident, don’t sit at that table. Those players are the casino’s regulars.
In casino towns, locals spend years playing at the tables and come to know them well enough to win regularly. So, try to find a table where the other players look about as experienced as you are. This should even the odds a bit.
6. Go all in for slots
In the casino world, more expensive slot machines have fatter payouts — particularly when you make larger bets.
Although it may seem safer to play smaller amounts on slot machines, you'll get a very low payout even if you win.
You're more likely to hit the jackpot by going all in on fewer bets than by putting pennies on a larger number of bets.
7. Learn new games at busier tables
If you're just starting out on a new game, look for a table with a lot of people playing.
When more people are playing, you’ll have more time to think before it's your turn. Plus, you’ll be able to watch and learn from everyone else you're playing with.
Winning tip: Avoid placing large bets until you really know what you're doing. Learning a new game is tough, and you’ll probably lose some money before you start winning.
8. There’s no such thing as 'hot' slots
Unfortunately, the idea of a "hot" slot machine is a total myth. In fact, each spin on a slot machine is totally random and has no relation to the spins that came before.
Machines are programmed to pay out at a certain rate, and it’s impossible to predict when that is going to happen.
Imagining yourself playing the tables in Monte Carlo? Calculate how fast you can save up enough for your fantasy vacation.
9. Try to pick out the weak dealers
Former casino floor manager and card dealer Bill Zender used to make his living tracking bad dealers and playing at their tables.
You can try this out yourself. Watch for sloppy blackjack dealers who accidentally flash the face-down card, because those are the tables you’ll want to play at.
This strategy, called “card holing,” can give you a 6% to 9% edge over the casino — numbers that beat the pants off “counting cards,” which is illegal and only gains players about a 1.5% advantage.
10. Look for dominant diamonds
The most common deviation on a roulette wheel is “dominant diamonds.” Diamonds are the small metal plates along the outer edge of the wheel. The ball bounces off the diamonds and into numbered slots.
Most roulette wheels have two dominant diamonds that the ball will hit more often than the others, making its bounce more predictable.
So, grab a drink and hang out for a while to see which diamonds are dominant, and how far the ball stops from those diamonds. If you watch closely, you might predict a roulette wheel’s bias in just 15 spins.