I think it’s safe to say most Blackjack players have a love-hate relationship with casinos. Simply put, casinos are awesome. They’re ground zero for everything we love about the game. Home or kitchen table games are fun, but nothing beats the vibe and energy of playing in a casino. However, casinos also exist to make money off you. And nobody likes that.
It’s a fact of life: casinos are a business. To be profitable, they need to squeeze as much money from gamblers as possible. Sure, playing in a casino is super fun, and you might even win big money, on occasion. But all of that was simply designed to keep you coming back, increasing the chance of the casino making money off you. You know the old saying: the house always wins.
But don’t get me wrong. All that isn’t a reason for you to not play in casinos. Some of my best moments as a professional card player happened in a casino. And the house might not like you to know this, but you can get ahead if you play smart. But the trick is to know all the, well, tricks that the casino employs to make money off you. These tricks aren’t illegal. Nor are they cheating. But it does certain things that increase their chances of earning – or to be more blunt, increase your chances of losing.
To become a card player, you need to be aware of all the casino tricks the house employs. Knowledge of these casino secrets is just as important as knowing how to win blackjack at the casino, or knowing all the best blackjack tips and tricks. Without further ado, let’s get to my list of casino tricks!
Offering You Friendship
Like I mentioned a while ago, a casino is a business whose goal is to separate you from your money. It is not, and never will be, your friend. But to keep you coming back (and hopefully losing), casinos are pretty good at maintaining a fake veneer of friendship.
Casino staff – especially dealers – are trained to be friendly towards customers. They’re kind of like baristas in that regard. They welcome you to the table, are all smiles, and will engage you in some small talk. All of this is designed to give you a false sense of comfort. And with comfort comes complacency. And with complacency comes losses.
Being your fake-friend also removes the sting of losing. They dealer smile (casino management is big on telling their staff to always smile) and offer a few words of encouragement. Again, this is meant to do only one thing: keep you playing.
By all means, be friendly to casino staff – you want to be in everyone’s good graces while in the casino – but remember, all the niceties are just an illusion. Keep your attention where it needs to be: your game.
You’re Expected to Tip
Casinos are always out to get your money. That they make money whenever you lose is a given. But even when you do win, casinos still want to get a piece of your winnings. And they try to do that by pressuring you into tipping your dealer. Now, the pressure is really subtle, which is funny, because few things are subtle in casinos, but it’s there. The casino expects you to help pay their staff in the form of tips. When you win big, you might notice people giving you faint smiles or offering words of encouragement to “pay it forward.”
I’m a firm believer in tipping. Casino staff are overworked and underpaid. But make sure you tip on your own terms. If you win big, but need to hang on to that money, there’s no point tipping more than usual. You won it, you do what you want with it.
I firmly believe that alcohol and gambling don’t mix. You need your wits about you while playing, and alcohol dulls your senses and player’s instinct. But have you noticed that when there’s gambling, there’s almost always drinking? This is deliberate. Remember, the casino wants you to lose. Plying you with drinks is one of the best ways to keep the odds in their favor. So casinos will offer you free drinks in the guise of being friendly or hospitality. A lot of us are socially conditioned to be polite and accept drinks. But drinking while playing is a terrible idea. So try to avoid alcohol at all costs.
They Sell You Optimism
If the goal of a casino is to separate you from your money, the fact that it is still in business means one thing: players lose more often than they win. The more the players lose, the more profitable a casino is.
While most of us already know that, “Come to Our Casino to Lose!” isn’t a very potent come-on. So the casino sells you this fake optimism. They emphasize the winnings you can make, and the possibility that you could be their next big winner. Dealers and casino staff are trained to encourage you to keep playing, even after you’ve lost big time. “Who knows? You might get lucky on the next hand,” they tell us.
But to succeed at gambling, you need to be lucid, and weigh the risks versus rewards with a clear mind.
They Give You Bad Tips
Being a dealer puts the person in something of a position of authority. You’re at their table. And they’re dealing the cards. But you’ll be surprised at how little dealers actually know about the game. Sure, basic knowledge of the game is required to be a dealer, but it’s just that – basic. But even without a deeper understanding of the game’s strategy, dealers are known to offer advice. Ignore this advice as much as possible. This is bad advice. And this advice isn’t meant to help you win (after all, why would they want you to win?), it’s meant to encourage you to keep losing. So do your own research, and build your own understanding of strategy. That way, you won’t have to rely on advice of questionable quality.