I’ll admit it: I used to hate casinos. I’m frugal with my disposable income, and I never understood the appeal of sitting in a smoky, windowless space, throwing away perfectly good money and — more often than not — getting nothing in return.
However, after a few Vegas vacations with friends who love the thrill of gambling, my view of casinos has evolved. As my friends demystified the table rules and strategies, I’ve learned to see that gambling, when pursued wisely, is comparable with other entertainment expenses like going to a nightclub. And though I’d still rather hit the pool parties and the shows, I’ve learned how to have fun on the casino floor on occasion as well.
Gambling revenue in Vegas has declined since its peak in 2007, but it’s still multi-billion-dollar industry. A trip to Vegas, Atlantic City or Macau is far more enjoyable if you know your way away around the casino that you probably have to walk through just to get to your room. These tips will help the casino-clueless enjoy themselves and not bottom out their budgets too quickly.
It’s common knowledge that the odds are heavily stacked in the house’s favor. So don’t step foot in a casino without knowing the exact amount you’re willing to spend, and the mindset that you probably won’t be getting it back.
Understanding table limits is also key to not blowing your budget immediately. The table minimum is the lowest amount of money you can bet for each round, and it will usually be clearly posted on a sign by the table. A lower table minimum means you can maximize the amount of time you spend gambling. You can often find lower table minimums during non-peak hours like mornings and at off-the-Strip hotels.
Slots require the least amount of effort or skill on the part of the player–just feed in some money, push a button and find out if you won or lost. But if you’re like me, you’ll quickly grow bored with them and want to have a bigger hand in your fate. Then it’s time to head toward the roulette wheel.
Roulette is an easy initiation to table games, and few things are more iconically Vegas than the anticipation of watching the white ball skip across a spinning roulette wheel. Like slots, there is no skill required. Just place some chips anywhere on the board and hope the ball lands where you picked. But in the beginning, all you need to know is that placing a chip directly on a number (an inside bet) is the riskiest strategy with the biggest payout (35:1). Betting on a color, even/odd numbers or other broader categories (an outside bet) yields better odds but a smaller payout.
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