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Five stupid gamblers

Gambling draws in punters from all around the world – the chance at significant monetary gains with minimal amounts of effort required makes betting one of the most, if not the most, addictive and captivating activities humans enjoy.

But like with any activity, gambling involves some amounts of nous and strategy, and an understanding of how the games operate. And oftentimes, when you’ve made the journey to your local casino, you will come across patrons who think they know what they are doing, but really don’t have the slightest clue about the basics of Gambling 101.

So without further ado, we present to you the Five Stupid Gamblers.

1. The Double Zero Roulette Dummy – Land based casinos love to fill their floors with American roulette tables (tables and wheels that include two pockets for a zero and a double zero), because these variants instantly boost the house edge by almost double, from 2.7 per cent in the European versions with one zero pocket to 5.26 per cent. The trade off for punters is that these American tables will almost always boast lower minimum betting limits than their European counterparts, thus attracting the lower stakes players (the majority of the casino crowd).

However, patrons playing this variant of roulette will often wager more than the required minimum betting limit, be it on inside numbers or outside numbers, without realising they could place those exact same wagers on European roulette tables that boast minimum limitations lower or equal to their bets. For example, wagering $5 or $10 on any inside roulette bet can almost always be done on European tables, but players seem to be content with significantly lowering their chances of success by placing such wagers at U.S. tables.

Additionally, most brick and mortar casinos offer electronic roulette machines which are predominantly European versions, and the betting minimums at these computers can be as low as $0.50. You should always enjoy single zero roulette over the double zero alternative.

2. The Blackjack Plus High Roller – Continuing down the road of counter-productivity, we reach the punter who insists on playing hands of $20 or more on Blackjack Plus tables, when they could wager the exact same amounts per hand on the far superior regular blackjack tables (known as Crown Blackjack in Melbourne and Perth).

Blackjack Plus tables across Australia, arguably the most criminal variation of blackjack the world has ever witnessed (dealer does not bust with a hand total of 22, but instead all hands are tied), own a house edge between 2.83 and 2.86 per cent, depending on how many standard decks are used. In comparison, Crown Blackjack boasts a house edge of 0.34 per cent when correct strategy is applied.

Again, Blackjack Plus tables possess far lower betting limits than regular blackjack tables, but those playing hands of $20 or more can afford to enjoy regular games of 21 where the odds aren’t so absurdly skewed in favour of the casino.

3. The Casino War White Flag Waver – It’s a pretty simple game: if you are dealt a card of higher value than the dealer’s card, then you double your money. If you and the dealer are dealt cards of equal value, then it is called a tie, and the player can choose to either ‘go to war’ or ‘surrender’.

Going to war forces the player to put down another bet equal to his or her original wager, and both the dealer and player are then dealt another card each. If the player draws a card equal to or of higher value than the dealer’s card, he or she wins the round (a return of 1 to 2 on his or her total wager – for example, a $10 original bet, plus another $10 to go to war, and following victory, being paid $10 in profit).

While the return for going to war may not seem fair (and in the truest sense of the word, it isn’t fair), this is where the house acquires its edge. And when you consider the alternative (surrendering, which is a sure fire way to hemorrhage money), you will find that declaring war is the smarter move, economically.

Many variants of Casino War will also offer a bonus payout if the player receives another card of equal value to the dealer’s card, after war has already been declared (a payout of 2 to 1). Taking the bonus payout in to account, along with the fact that the house edge jumps to 3.7 per cent if you wave the white flag (as opposed to 2.9 per cent if you go to war), going to war is always the better option.

Note: Do not apply this rule to government policies. It is recommended only for Casino War gameplay.

4. The Blackjack Adviser – Ever sit next to someone who insists on advising you how to play your blackjack hands correctly? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.

Whether a player condemns you for sitting out one or two hands and disrupting the flow of play, or criticises you for standing or hitting as the ‘third base player’ (player dealt to last in blackjack) and negatively affecting the outcome of the dealer’s hand, you should not have to put up with such nonsense.

One person’s play, over time, has a negligible and worthless impact on the outcome of other players’ hands, and unless you are actively playing outside the rules of the game (you’d have been thrown out if you were), then there is absolutely no reason for someone to make known their frustration with how you are gambling, aside from that person being a disrespectful fool.

If you ever find yourself in this kind of situation, judge who it is that is talking to you, and if you feel he or she will heed your response and move on accordingly, note your gameplay has no influence on the results of their hands, and that this superstitious behaviour is clouding their rational thinking (if they have such a thing).

As losing is far more infuriating than winning, gamblers will often pick up on incidents that damage their potential profits, proving the well documented psychological theory that “the root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses” (Scientist Sir Francis Bacon).

5. The Drunk – It goes without saying that a drunken patron at the casino is, more often than not, an annoyance to others and an embarrassment to his or herself. Getting your ‘buzz on’ is perfectly acceptable, but if someone reaches a point where they are crashing into other casino goers and making it difficult for people to bet, it’s time for that person to depart.

Not only is that individual a bloody nuisance, but he or she will most probably, regret his or her betting decisions the very next day – a cure for a severe hangover is never a reminder that your wallet is empty, or that your credit card bill has endless amounts of $2.50 surcharges and large debit figures that should have gone to your next month’s rent and your car’s registration and insurance renewals.

Always make sure you can control your liquor intake, and always ensure you gamble smart.

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