Casino gambling is an exciting pastime, and also one which occasionally allows players to leave with a profit. However, buying into unhelpful myths and misconceptions is a sure-fire way to ruin an evening, and your chances of winning.
Below is a list of eight familiar casino myths we have debunked:
Whichever game you choose to play, believing that you're 'due a win' is a common assumption to make. Known as 'Gambler's Fallacy', the theory assumes that any bet which, for example, gives players a 25% chance of winning, must be won one in four times. With this logic, any outcome with a one in four chance of winning that hasn't occurred in more than four games is 'overdue'.
Not so. The odds of an outcome in almost every casino game are independent of the odds of that outcome in the previous round. This means that a 25% chance is the same every time, no matter what the previous results were. Players should be similarly sceptical of 'hot' or 'cold' tables and dealers, and of anyone claiming to be on a 'winning streak'.
This myth has been circulating online for years, and has absolutely no grounding in reality. Aside from the legal issues surrounding a practice which, to all intents and purposes, amounts to gassing guests to keep them playing, casinos would have to go to vast expense to fill their gaming floors with pure oxygen, which just wouldn't be cost-effective.
Although you would of course win more money by betting £100 instead of £5 on the same winning outcome, there are hundreds of ways to improve your chances at casino games. Many of these techniques can also help you to build a pot gradually, without taking big risks.
The strategy a player adopts should be based on an understanding of the odds, the house edge and, preferably the standard deviation (the variation/dispersion from the odds and house edge in a game). Of course, a good strategy based on high stakes bets is nothing to be sniffed at, just make sure you've done the groundwork before making those bets.
Counting cards is essentially keeping a mental tally of the high and low cards that have been dealt in a current hand. It's a tough skill to master, requiring quick-thinking and a keen eye, and, when used effectively, it can give Blackjack players an edge of between 0.5% and 1.5%. However, it's not illegal.
Those learning to card count are advised to do so away from the casino floor, as casinos don't take kindly to the practice and reserve the right to refuse a player's wagers. Although it's wise to be discreet, players will certainly not face legal action.
Whether playing Blackjack, Texas Hold'em, Pai Gow Poker or Baccarat, a player's luck is dictated solely by the cards. Yes, it's technically possible for a poor Blackjack player to hit unnecessarily and 'take' a card that might have helped your hand, but that's the luck of the draw and not the player's fault. In most games, other players will have no influence on your hand at all.
What is true, is that blaming other players and getting angry can quickly ruin a good atmosphere, and maybe even prevent skilled players from sharing tips, knowledge and general advice.
UK casinos, and those at all premier gambling destinations around the world, follow strictly-enforced legislation to enforce fairness. Whether it's the random-number generators that run modern video and online slots, or the checks and balances applied to Roulette tables and card games, there's plenty in place to prevent foul play.
The truth is that casinos don't need to cheat. There are plenty of players that fail to keep track of their pot, or apply basic strategy, and fall foul of the odds anyway, without casinos resorting to complex game fixing.
A recurring theme, particularly in Craps and Baccarat, is that betting on the dealer is a betrayal of your fellow players and will bring bad luck. But unless another gambler is actually threatening you, or you were hoping to hang out with some of the others at your table, nothing bad will come of backing the dealer. In fact, playing the 'don't pass' bet in Craps has a lower house edge.
All games have calculable probabilities, but that's not quite the same thing. Knowing how a deal affects your chances, and which actions can improve your odds, is all part of the casino experience. Get it right and you may be able to reduce the house edge and in turn, increase the likelihood of leaving with a profit.
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