5 Best Tips to Have a Great Casino Experience

by Gilbert Watson
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Keep these five gambling tips and strategies in mind the next time you visit your favorite casino. Make it a reward if you win any money along the way. Smart gamblers know that having fun is their primary goal. That’s because it’s almost always the edge of the casino — or house. Nonetheless, the odds of snagging a little do-re-mi from their coffers can be improved.

Know Your Boundaries

We know that money management can be a boring topic, and keeping track of your spending in the heat of casino action can be difficult, but it is imperative that you set a budget and stick to it. Before you start playing, make things easy on yourself and decide what you can afford to lose. That suggests that this should be betting cash— not the money you pay on rent, grocery stores, or other expenses. For all weekly or monthly leisure expenses (movies, nights out, a golf game, etc.) and betting are no exception. Don’t play because you can’t afford to lose it. And if you actually win, then and there, don’t be afraid to go home, money in hand. There’s always a next game!

Set time limits for your game as well, per game as well as overall. Consider having breaks, such as having a drink or having something to eat. Then, if you feel like Cinderella, stick to your plan and leave the casino when your curfew arrives. The budget will also determine the time limit: if you lose cash in an hour through your game, that’s it, better luck next time.

Make the Most Out of Your Plays

Having the full value from your bets means taking advantage of anything that the casino gives comps and freebies. Make sure you’ve entered the player’s club to buy comps and use your ticket whenever you’re practicing, even if you’re playing for just a few minutes. Use your card every time you sit down, if you’re playing at the table.

Each time you visit, check in at the player’s club desk and make sure to sign up for snail mail, email, and text notifications — this is the perfect way to receive any special deals that the casino may bring. Just a few new points could give you a free breakfast, qualify for a draw, or win you cash or a free gift. Almost every casino gives first-timers opportunities to sign up for their player’s ticket, such as x-number of points and/or cash. So don’t be shy— you want your buck to get the most bang.

It can also have a significant impact on your slot play when you get full value. You can run any number of credits, rows, and credits per row with many new slot machines. But it can be confusing, so make sure you read the info screen to see how you get to the top payout or bonus screen. You just can’t play full games often (some systems require up to 750 full game credits), but weigh the wagers against the highest payouts. Total payouts might not be your target, but make sure you’re playing enough credits to get to the bonus screen without skipping the game’s best portion.

Similarly, when it comes to max points for video poker, you may want to play just one or two coins for a couple of hours, but be advised you can’t get the big royal-flush payout without at least five (and often more) credits being played. Very often, you’re not going to hit the king, but that’s usually what people want.

Wear That Smile for the Cameras

Cameras are just about everywhere in casinos these days, or the eye-in – the-sky in casino parlance. There are there to protect the house, but if there is a disagreement over a card shuffle or payoff, there can also cover you. Keep in mind, however, that because Big Brother is always watching you don’t want to do something stupid. When it comes to your personal belongings, you should not get a false sense of security. These cameras may catch a thief on camera, but the perp will be long gone before the tapes can be reviewed by the authorities. Be careful and keep track of your purse, jacket, cell phone, etc.

Casinos do not allow their customers to take photos while they play or stroll through the property. Tell the casino owner or floor supervisor first if you and your friends want to take a selfie after a big win or bump into your poker hero and want to maintain the posterity experience.

Understand Your Games

How few gamblers follow this rule is surprising, but knowing how to play the game before placing a bet will improve your chances of having fun and scoring a win significantly. If you can’t play blackjack, why don’t you brush up on the rules before you risk your cash? You wouldn’t, after all, offer to play a little one-on – one basketball for $1,000 for Kobe Bryant. If so, probably your chances of beating him are about the same as winning a casino game you’ve never played or read about.

Bear in mind that the main bet (such as pass line at craps, banker bet at baccarat, ante bet at Three Card Poker) has the smallest edge of the house once you know a little bit about a new game. The killers are the additional bets, or reward bets. Most bonus bets have a five-time higher edge of the house. For example, the pass line bet on craps has a house edge of 1.44%, but betting on an 11 has a house edge of 11.11% (sometimes as big as 16.6%). Were you aware that the professional blackjack player plays the house at a disadvantage of about 2 percent? It’s real, but the side bet of Lucky Ladies has a 25 percent house advantage. Oh my!

Don’t be Afraid of the Tax Collector

Gambling income is income that is taxable. The casino will either delay taxes (a flat 25–28 percent) before paying you back, based on how much you earn, or you will have to report them to the IRS. The casino will also provide you with aW-2 G of wins over a certain amount (which varies on the game you played), a document that shows the sum of your winnings and what taxes are paid out if any.

Keep a diary detailing how much you pay, how much you win, and how much you lose for every trip you make to a casino to make sure you do everything up and up. If your winnings are low, there’s $25, $500, you’ll still have to report them at the end of the year— and keeping the ledger will support you with an audit. This will be deductible if you suffered a net loss for the year. Either way, it’s the only way to know if you have to send his share to Uncle Sam.

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