LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Millions of people are spending billions of dollars every year at local casinos. The casinos are big business for gamblers on both sides of the river. So how do you walk away with the money you walked in with and maybe even a little more? Experts say although it's the casinos that usually come out on top, there are ways to turn the tables.
"You can win money at a casino, on occasion," said Steve Bourie, professional gambler and author of "American Casino Guide," an Amazon best seller.
Bourie said the best way to maximize your chance of winning is to minimize the casino edge, which is the statistical advantage the house holds over a player. You do that by sticking to games that have a casino advantage of one percent or less like blackjack.
Winning at blackjack means always following basic guidelines about when to hit, stay or double down.
"Sometimes you can find little strategy cards they find in gift shops," Bourie said. "You can find them on line. You can buy them on Amazon."
We even found one here.
Also pay attention to the house rules. Does the dealer stand on a soft 17, with an ace that can be counted as one or 11? If they do, your chances improve.
And how many decks is the dealer using? Less is better. Follow the basic black jack strategies and you cut the casino advantage to .05 percent. And don't forget to pay attention to how much the casino pays you, if you get that all important blackjack. Some casinos have gone to a smaller payout, more than tripling the house advantage.
Video poker is another game where learning the basics greatly increases your chances of winning.
"There is such a thing as being a good video poker player because there's a skill involved," Bourie said.
You can try video poker for free, here.
Skill is only half the secret with video poker. Bourier said you can walk around a casino and search for the machine with the best pay table, or percentage of money paid back to the player. The higher the percentage, the better your chance of making money.
Bourie said find the right video poker machines and you could have a pay table of 99.5 percent or more. But remember, the pay table is calculated over the long term. So you could end up losing money at first, before the pay tables turn, and you start winning.
Roulette can be a tough game to win at with a casino advantage of more than five percent. But you can cut the house advantage in half by finding single zero wheels. And in Atlantic City, they only take half your money if the wheel stops on zero for an even money bet, like red or black.
So what are the bets to avoid? Nowhere is the casino advantage higher than at the slot machines. As much as 15 percent on some penny slots.
For more on roulette, click here.
With bets named "High Horn," "Hard Ways" and "C&E" it's a game that intimidates a lot of players. Bourie said the good news is you should avoid all those fancy bets in the middle of the table because the casino advantage is as high as 17 percent.
The simplest bet, the pass line, cuts cut the casino advantage to 1.4 percent and that lets you make what's called an "odds bet" - the only play in the whole house that has no house edge at all. You can learn more about those bets by clicking here.
As for one of the most popular games out there, Hold 'em Poker, casino's win either way since players are trying to take each others money while the casino gets a cut of the pot.
That means your odds really depend on who else is sitting at the table with you. So Bourie said unless you're an expert, be careful. Especially in Las Vegas.
"Don't play much poker in the poker rooms, because they'll skin you alive," he said.
The most important casino tip may be the one we haven't mentioned yet. Don't lose more than you can afford to. If you need help with a gambling addiction, click here.
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