Gambling Basics

Gambling is all about mathematics. The laws of probability underlie everything that happens. Unless you take your play to expert levels, such as card counting in blackjack, the odds will almost always be against you. The casual player will win some and lose some but the more hours spent playing the greater the probability of a net total loss.

Although the odds are almost always working against the player the good news is that by playing smart the player can cut down the house edge to very minimal levels. For example the Las Vegas single deck blackjack player can expect to lose only 90 cents per hour betting $5 a hand (based on typical single deck rules and 100 hands per hour). The Tunica craps player can make a bet of up to $100 on the odds after a $5 pass line bet at an expected loss of only 7 cents per bet resolved. Furthermore the player can earn room, food, beverage, and entertainment comps that well exceed his expected loss. After considering the value of casino comps the player can easily come out ahead. How can the casinos afford to do this? Easily, because most players play foolishly and leave plenty of money behind. If you are willing to take the time to learn how to play proper strategy you will let the bad players subsidize your free comps and almost free gambling.

The Mathematics of Gambling

Most casino games are perfectly suited to mathematical analysis. Only games with a human factor like poker and sports betting present a problem. Every game that is player against dealer can be analyzed perfectly broken down into the odds. In these games there can be only one right answer to a strategic question. There are no gray areas or matters of opinion. Yes, sometimes two sources may disagree on a play or a number. This is sometimes due to honest mistakes, and I make no claims that I am perfect in this area. However sometimes simple mathematical ignorance leads to a disagreement.

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Despite my exhaustive efforts to present to you the best strategies for each game I encourage you to work out the math as much as you can on your own. It is one thing to accept my advice but you will feel much more comfortable and confident if you can work out the odds yourself. Any introductory book on probability should provide the basic tools to understanding the odds behind the games. Casino game analysis can range from the very easy games like roulette and craps to the very difficult like blackjack and pai gow poker. For more information on how the odds were calculated I encourage you to visit the appendices on my web site at www.thewizardofodds.com. In the future I may write another book focusing on basic probability and its application to casino gambling.

Money management

What I have to say on money management can be summed up in one word, moderation. Don't bet anything that would put you in an uncomfortable situation to lose. Gamble only with money you would normally devote to entertainment. Don't play tired or drunk. Do other activities besides gambling.

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