Smart gamblers look for ways to lessen the house edge

Nov 13, 2012 3:07 AM

Walking into the casino we know we’re set up not to win and are okay with it. It’s not much different than going to the mall with our significant other. We know we’re going to spend money, but don’t know how much.

Both malls and casinos are businesses set up to make money. You know the old saying: “Those casinos in Las Vegas don’t build themselves.” Almost every game in the casino is setup for the house to have an edge and for the player to lose. Some games have a smaller house edge than others but in the long term the house is always looking at the advantage. That’s fine since most of us only gamble recreationally.

Smart gamblers are often looking for ways to lessen the house edge by playing perfect blackjack with favorable rules or maxing the “free odds” in craps. These will certainly lower the house edge, but they don’t put the odds in the player’s favor. Still, there are a few games in many casinos that will put the edge in the favor of the player.

Some casinos use slot machines as promotional games to draw players into the casino and will designate those games as having returns greater than 100%. Returns greater than 100% mean that the edge is now with the player. For example; when the player inserts $100 into that machine, theoretically, they’ll see returns of more than $100. That said, these returns are over time (usually set by the month) and there are peaks of winning and valleys of losing.

One of the things many players don’t like with slot machines is they have no control in the results. The slot machine’s random number generator decides exactly what you’re reels will show when they stop as soon as you hit spin. The rotation of the reels is just there as an illusion so you think something is happening.

On the flip side, one of the things video poker players enjoy most is they, in a way, control their fate. Many video poker players play the game because there are many games that have a low house edge or none at all. Using the $100 example, the 99% video poker game will return $99 for every $100 you put in. This is assuming you play the game perfectly.

While the low house edge of most video poker games is great, you can still expect to lose a little over time, even with perfect play. However, there are a handful of video poker games that return over 100%! These games include different versions of Deuces Wild and Bonus Poker.

One of the best resources for finding the best video poker machines is vpFREE2.com. This website has a simple goal of providing a complete inventory of where to find the best video poker games available. Their database is free and maintained by volunteer video poker players across North America. The vpFREE database covers over 400 casinos in the USA and Canada.

GI Joe tells us that knowing is half the battle. The Internet and smart phones make it easy to find the best video poker games in any casino. Even if you’re not at a casino that has video poker games that return over 100%, you can find the games with the best return to minimize your losses.

Contact Marc at [email protected].

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