Gaming Guru - by "Vegas Vic" - Victor H Royer
OUR INSIDER'S TIP OF THE DAY: Don't play 6:5 Blackjack.
Why? When receiving a "natural" - 21 - consisting of two cards, an Ace plus a 10-value card, such as King, Queen, Jack, or a 10, the best-paying tables pay 3:2 for this hand. This means that if you wager $10, you will now be paid $15 win (plus you get to keep your original wager, of course).
But if you play on tables where Blackjack - the "natural" 21 - pays only 6:5, this means that for the same $10 bet, you only get a $12 win. So, you are actually giving away to the casino $3 of your money - money which is rightfully yours, and would have been if you played on a table where the pays are at 3:2 for the Natural 21.
Blackjack tables that pay 6:5 are there only because they make more money for the house. This one rule adds about 1.4% to the house edge over you. So, if you know your Basic Strategy, and play it well, normally the house would have an edge over you of only 0.5%. But on tables where the Natural 21 only pays at 6:5, that house edge now climbs all the way to almost 1.9% (1.89% exactly) - and that's if you play perfect Basic Strategy.
So what's the Insider Tip here?
Stay away from such tables. Look at the table layout - it says it right there, in front of you. If it says: Blackjack Pays 3:2, then this is the "good" table. If it says "Blackjack Pays 6:5", then this is the "bad" table.
But be careful - other changes in Blackjack rules are also possible, especially on games with this 6:5 pay table for a Natural 21. So look, learn, and understand. For more information, you can always check out the book: "Powerful Profits from Blackjack."
Casino Q & A
receive many emails from readers of my books, or viewers of my videos, and
subscribers to the Newsletters for which I provide content. In each email there
is usually a question, or more than one, about gambling, or the casino games,
or something related to gaming.
I always reply individually to each
person who writes me. Sometimes these questions are particular to the specifics
of that writer's experiences, and sometimes they are more general. Over the
years I have answered many hundreds of them. In recent times, it occurred to me
that I can post some of these answers here, in this forum, so that everyone can
benefit from the information shared in this correspondence. Naturally, I will
not post any personal information - only the relevant answers to the questions I
I think of these pages as a companion to my Casino Blog -
which is a video blog on my channel - as a means where I can more quickly share
some of these questions and answers. I hope you will enjoy reading them. And, if
you have a question you'd like answered, write to me at: VicNVegas@aol.com
For more information, and other great deals and offers - and casino
deals from Las Vegas - you can also subscribe to the Insider Advantage
SIMPLE WAY TO PLAY CRAPS
I recently received another email from a reader with whom I have corresponded before, and he asked me a question about how to play Craps. Here's his message:
"Hello Victor, I've asked you about baccarat in a prior email. You were very helpful. Now I'm asking about the best craps strategy. What is the best method to play craps? Thanks for your help! ~ W.D., Maryland"
Here's my reply:
Craps is an interesting animal. It can be very simple, or quite complex. In simple terms the best way to play Craps is to make just three bets. Here are two examples:
Bet the Passline, and then take at least double-odds once the point is established. Greater odds if you can afford it. So, if you bet, say, $5 on the passline, then bet at least $10 in free odds once the point is made ($15 if the point is 6 or 8).
After the point is established, Place both the 6 and the 8 in increments of $6. And that's it. Just these three bets.
If the point is either the 6 or the 8, then Place the other one. In this case you can also Place either the 5 or the 9, but here you are facing a higher house edge.
Do the same as above, EXCEPT instead of Placing two bets on the 6 or the 8, now make two Come bets. Then take at least single odds on the Come number, once it is rolled. So, if your Come number will be, say, the 4, then take at least single odds (double odds preferred, same as for the passline bet with free odds).
And, if the come number is either the 6 or the 8 (or both), then take at least single odds (in this case $6, but double odds minimum is again preferred).
The Come bets work the same as passline bets, so that's easily understood.
These two versions of the 3-bet method is the simplest and easiest way to play Craps, and offers you the least house edge on all of these bets, individually, as well as combined.
Other Craps bets, and betting methods, can be much more complicated - and, sometimes, perhaps not as good. But there are many ways to play Craps, to be sure.
Is there a Stragegy for Baccarat?
That was the question recently asked by one of the viewers of my videos. Writing from Maryland, this player had recently become interested in Baccarat, and asked the question: Is there a strategy for Baccarat. Here is the answer I sent to him:
"Good to hear from you, and thanks for the kind words! I am pleased to know
that you have enjoyed my videos, and the information I share in them.
Baccarat is - intrinsically - about as simple a game as it gets. There are
only three bets: Player, Banker, and Tie. The house edge on Banker hands is
slightly less than on Player hands, and that's why casinos usually charge a 5%
Vig on the winnings. The "tie" bet has a house edge of about 14%, so that's the
highest house-advantage bet in the game. Sometimes there is a "pair" bet, but
The differences in 8-deck and 6-deck shoes aren't that great. Player hands
face about 1.06% house edge, while Banker hands face about 1.24% house edge.
There is, practically, no strategy. While some players have learned to
count down the decks, the overall rate of difficulty to do so, relative to the
profits gained, is minuscule. It's simply not worth it, really.
Some players also try to spot and bet "trends". While betting on trends is
OK, in the short term, in the long-term it will make no difference to the math
of the game. The house will always win that percentage of the house edge on all
This is because Baccarat, like all the other casinos games - except live
poker - are house-banked games, and as a result the house always has an edge,
and will always grind out that percentage. The very fact that casinos offer
players the tracking chart should tell you that they are not afraid of offering
the players some form of perceived advantage. It's all really nothing more than
a cosmetic Band-Aid, to make the players feel better.
If this chart actually WAS of advantage to the players, the casinos would
most likely BAN it, instead of giving it to players as an incentive. The proof
is as clear - and as recent - as what happened to Phil Ivey. While casinos are
perfectly OK with having a huge edge over the player, when Phil Ivey found a way
to turn the tables and gain about a 6% edge over the casino, he was sued and
charged with cheating. This is hugely hypocritical, of course, since Ivey did
nothing whatsoever that the casino itself didn't allow, permit, and expressly
agreed to when he made the requests he did. Read the details in this article at
Is Winning at Baccarat Possible?
So - under the standard rules as offered in casinos everywhere - is it possible to win at Baccarat? Yes, of course it is. Winning is possible on all casino games, regardless of the house edge or odds against you. The question is simply when, for how much, how often, and how much it will cost you to get that win.
Baccarat is played mostly by high-rollers, who wager in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per hand. At these rates, huge swings are common. Sometimes the casinos can lose millions of dollars very quickly. And then again they can win that much, and more, just as quickly. These swings often have an impact on the casino's bottom line, and even the stock price, depending on which way that swing was in that particular month.
The best way to strategize in Baccarat is to see very short-term trends - and by that I mean VERY short. A few hands at a time, and so on, while betting carefully, mindful of your bankroll. And when you have a win, get up and leave. The longer you stay playing Baccarat, the easier it is for the house edge to grind away at you. This applies to all forms of gambling on house-banked games, with a mathematical edge against you.
But - like in slots - it is possible to win. All it takes is skill, discipline, observation, and dedication. Sometimes it might require a longer stay. At other times, a very short stay. These are skills that can't be readily taught. It's kind of like having a third-eye, or a sixth sense. Once you have it, you'll "know" - most of the time - when to stay, what to do, for how much, and when to go. And if you learn to listen to this little voice of experience, observation, knowledge, and discipline, then you'll be able to play not only well, but with a winning record.
I have written more extensively on Baccarat, and Mini-Baccarat, in the book: Powerful Profits from Table Games. This book has been updated, and is now available as an eBook.
Incidentally, if you're interested in some great stories from the world of gambling, including some true stories and events about Baccarat, I have written about some of them in my book: Great Gamblers: True Stories and Amazing Facts.
I hope this was helpful. Best of luck! ~ "Vegas Vic"
Winning at Keno - an Odyssey of Numbers
Over the past several years I have been corresponding with a player who likes Video Keno. As most people who know me understand by now, Video Keno is my favorite casino game, outside of Live Poker. I have written a very popular book about Keno - the Live Keno game as well as the Video Keno games - which has recently been updated and released as an eBook. It is called: Powerful Profits from Keno.
My fellow Video Keno enthusiast and I have exchnaged many emails about the game over the years. Here's his most recent question, and the answer I sent to him:
"I was in Vegas this past weekend, and I have a very simple question: What
the hell is going on?
I took your advice and my friends and I spent a day at Green Valley and The
M. I found the 2 cent multi card games. Full pay I had the most fun I have had
in quite awhile playing keno. I used your patterns along with some of mine. I
had some 8 of 9's a 7 of 7 and a number of 7 of 9's and 6 of 7's.
These machines played like the machines I remembered. I tried multiple
machines at both paces with the same results. Needless to say I had a good day.
There is something going on and I do not believe that it was just my lucky
day. These machines spit out the numbers differently than the ones on the strip.
Do they buy a different RNG in their machines? I played the same patterns on the
strip on nickel and quarter multi card. I was lucky to get a 5 of 7 or a 6 of 9.
These machines are skewed on the strip. The machines almost never cluster
numbers and if they do it is only once. I will never play keno on the strip
again. I am actually thinking of staying at either the M or Green Valley next
Here is my answer:
"Good to hear from you. It was great to hear you had success with the
numbers. And yes, you are right about the machines - up to a point. The casinos
you described are more liberal with their games because they are more local's
oriented, like Green Valley, or are too far away from the regular Strip crowd,
like the M Resort, and so they also rely a lot on the Henderson local's traffic.
But it's also a case of being played more. In casinos like Green
Valley, and the M Resort, more local players come to visit, and they know how to
play Keno, and why it's a good game. They also have more time, and more
patience, to play the game.
On the Strip, there are more tourists on
brief visits, and they want to do everything all at once, and don't have the
time, or patience, to invest in Keno. They are trying to cram as many
experiences into their 3 night visit, or weekend trip, as they can - and as a
result, the video keno machines don't get as much play.
Also, the pay tables on the Strip are traditionally lousy, especially in
the past few years, when casinos had to tighten up all machines to squeeze as
much out of players as they could, to pay off their massive corporate debts.
So, you see, the experiences and observations you reported are based in
facts - although with a little more explanation required. It's not so much that
the machines are "set" differently. It's more the result of the combined factors
as I outlined. For more details, check out my book on Keno."
I wish you more luck with the Keno numbers I gave you. ~ Vegas Vic
Are Slots Really Random?
I have been writing a column on casino games, and slots, for the past 28 years, in continuous publication nationally, and Internationally. Over these many years, I have received hundreds of letters from readers from all over the world. And, over these same many years, it seems that the Number 1 question I am always asked is: “Are Slots truly random?” -- MORE
Secrets of Blackjack – Part One
Over 40 million visitors come to Las Vegas each year. Just about all of them will either play Blackjack themselves, or know someone in their group, or among their friends, who does play, or will play Blackjack. That’s a lot of Blackjack players. Most of them think it’s an easy game, and to a point they’re right … BUT – there is a big difference between “thinking it’s easy” and “making it easy”. As the saying goes: “Gambling is a tough way to make an easy living.” Blackjack looks easy, and can be, but it is not. If you play well, it can be beat. Even today, with all the tricks the casinos use to get your money. So, what are these tricks? And, how should you play? What does it all mean? You’re in the right place …. Read on … MORE
Secrets of Blackjack – Part Two
Continuing on from Part One – What are the two really bad things that are now being done to the game of Blackjack? Those that eat your money? Those that cost you money? Those that make the game really, really BAD? This time it’s not the players who are playing badly, but the casinos. What are they doing? Read on … … MORE
Secrets of Blackjack – Part Three
Continuing on from Part Two – What are shuffling machines and why are they bad for Blackjack? Are all shuffling machines really bad? Yes, and no. Here’s why … MORE
Insider Secrets of Keno
If I were to ask you: Which is the best casino slot machine of all time? Would you answer: Video Keno? Probably not. It’s a sad fact that most people just don’t understand this game, or realize how good it is. It’s a very misunderstood game, not only by players, but also by the manufacturers of slot machines, and even the casinos themselves. What’s the secret? Let me tell you … MORE
Insider Secrets of Keno – Part Two
Ever since my book on Keno was first published in 2004, I have corresponded with enthusiastic keno players from all over the world, and many parts of the United States. In particular, with the rise of video slot machines, quite a large number traditional slot players have become interested in video keno – which is also my personal favorite game to play. I am glad to have so many converts to this great game, which – when played well – can indeed be quite profitable. To advance this discussion, here in this article, and in subsequent parts, I have included some Questions & Answers from my most recent correspondence with a few fans of video keno. As I am often fond of saying: “There’s gold in them thar keno numbers, pardner!” Here’s the story: … MORE
Insider Secrets of Keno – Part Three
This article is a continuation of the discussion we began in Secrets of Keno – Part Two. Here’s the story: … MORE
The Big Fix – Or Is It?
Are slot machines “fixed”? Are they “rigged”? Are casinos actively doing underhanded things to their slot machines in order to defraud their players? Is this possible? Here’s the story … MORE
Best Places to Play in Las Vegas
I am often asked: Which are the best place to play in Las Vegas? It’s a simple question, but one to which there is no simple answer. You see, as with all things in gambling – it depends. It depends mostly on money. What is your budget? How much did you bring with you? How much of that are you allocating to gambling? What do you hope to accomplish – pure entertainment, or gambling to win? And much more, of course. These are not simple questions to answer. But, there is a way … MORE
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