by Joshua O’Connell

Whether you’re just beginning to visit casinos or have been going to play for awhile, it’s not unusual for players to make simple, yet potentially costly, mistakes when visiting the casino. However, many of them can be avoided simply by making a few adjustments.

Here are some common mistakes players make when visiting the casino and some ideas on how to avoid them for a more successful casino visit.

Not Using a Player’s Card

If you’re a regular reader of this site, or a viewer of The Jackpot Gents, you know this advice pretty well at this point. A player’s card can unlock a number of benefits, including:

  • Discounts and complimentary benefits at a given casino
  • Instant comps in the form of comp dollars you earn while playing
  • Return offers that can consist of free play, hotel rooms, food and beverage, and more

Not using a player’s card can be quite expensive! It’s estimated that most casinos return somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of a player’s expected losses in the form of casino comps, meaning you could be giving up quite a bit of benefit, depending on your level of play.

Simply adopting a player’s card can ensure you reap the benefits of those various offers, and if you play enough and reach a higher tier, you could qualify for even more benefits from line cutting privileges to larger discounts on food or shopping.

casino comp offers

Casino comp benefits come in many forms

Some players avoid them because of superstition, or believe the casino can control a game’s payback based on whose card is in a machine. Rest assured, this is not the case – casinos can’t adjust a machine’s payback through the players card system, and your chances of winning are identical with or without a card. With that being the case, why leave money on the table?

Not Setting a Budget

A casino is like any other form of entertainment – it has costs that can be incurred throughout a visit, and I’m not just talking the gambling. While you can win money at the casino, it’s not a guarantee, and as such it’s always wise, like any other entertainment investment, to set a budget. 

Keep in mind beyond gambling you might want to eat, partake in some other activities, and so on, and that should factor into your budget. Not all players can comp all their meals, although if you do have comp dollars you can certainly take advantage of them and factor that into your budget.

Gambling With Money Outside Your Entertainment Budget

Even worse than not setting a budget is using money that is needed for bills or other critical expenses and going to the casino and gambling with it. Some go in with the hopes that they can gamble their way out of a financial deficit, but it’s important to remember that every single game in a casino is designed with an advantage for the casino.

While it’s true that you can win in a single session at a casino, it’s just as possible, in fact more likely so, that you’ll lose at least some of the money that you’re going to a casino with, and that will just make a bad problem worse.

Indeed, it’s important that any money put at risk on a casino game is money that you can part with, or would spend on any other form of entertainment (travel, experiences, dinners, etc.). It it’s not money you can part with, or shouldn’t really be putting at tisk, you shouldn’t be at the casino.

Not Setting a Time Limit

I think this is one many of us can be guilty of, but the reality is that time is on the casino’s side. With every wager having a house advantage, the more wagers you place, the more likely things will tilt in the casino’s favor just by the nature of mathematical statistics.

If you set a time limit, it can encourage you to leave the casino with some money. You could even leave ahead! But many players who get ahead will sometimes continue to push, and then give back some or all of the money. Others not paying attention to the time will just play until they run out of money, and then wonder why it was such a bad session.

Time limits can ensure that you have the amount of fun you hoped to have, and have a shot at leaving with at least some money, which can fuel a future trip.

Playing Games With a Higher House Advantage

Casinos offer a variety of games, and they have a wide range of house advantages. Sometimes, the same game can have different advantages in different parts of the casino.

For instance, if you see a blackjack table that plays 6-5 for blackjack, and another that pays 3-2 for blackjack, choosing the 6-5 table can be an expensive mistake, raising the house advantage by almost 1.5% just by making that change alone.

Another recent development is the advent of triple-zero triple-zero roulette, which can substantially increase the house advantage in roulette, which already has a high house advantage for table games, by almost 50 percent more, vs. double-zero roulette.

A triple zero roulette game at the New York New York casino in Las Vegas

When it comes to slots, lower denomination slots will tend to have a higher house advantage than higher denomination slots, so if your bankroll allows for playing higher denomination games, it’s worth moving up to take advantage of that lower house edge over time.

Even better, you can learn how to play video poker; The Jackpot Gents offer a free 14-day trial with, which has a training tool that can help you learn how to play hands properly, and alert you to mistakes when you hold the wrong cards on a specific game (and show you what the right move would be). Just visit for your trial.

Even when playing video poker, however, each game variation has multiple pay tables, and sometimes those pay tables can differ depending on the machine you’re on in the casino, such as at a bar vs. one in the middle of the casino floor. So learning how to read pay tables on various games, such as video poker or the various table bets on games like craps or table side bets, can help you make an informed decision on which is the best game for you at the casino you’re at.

Some slot machines offer progressive jackpots that build until they are won

The one game where you can’t see the pay tables and know what a game pays over time is slots. There, you can look at casino slot machine payback reporting, such as what’s listed here on this site, to get a general sense of what a casino or region’s overall payback direction will be. In that way you can make the best choices that work for your budget, and maximize your chances on the casino floor.

Gambling While Overly Tired

While playing certain games doesn’t necessarily require a lot of brain power (slots being the obvious one), many games do require decision making, whether Blackjack or Video Poker. You can make simple mistakes when playing these games while tired.

But even on games when you’re not necessarily making strategic decisions, you can misbet by accidentally hitting max bet, or zone out and not realize that you’re burning through your bankroll. As such, it’s generally a good idea to take a break, or a nap/go to bed, if you’re feeling overly tired.

Gambling While Intoxicated

Many casinos offer free drinks to players. This isn’t just out of the goodness of their heart. A couple of drinks can loosen up players to be more adventurous with their bets, or make an accidental strategy mistake here or there, that might not have happened had the player not been drinking.

Alcohol can be a fun component of gambling, but it can also work against you, so it’s a good idea to consume in moderation, if at all, and simply be careful so the casino doesn’t get more than it deserves. Effectively, gambling while intoxicated can yield the same outcome as gambling while tired.

Not Checking the Machine’s Denomination

Most gamblers have done it at some point – they sit down at a slot machine, put their money in, hit the bet button, wonder why their money is disappearing so fast, and then discover they’re playing a higher denomination machine than they expected.


Always check the denomination of a slot machine before playing!

This mistake is doubly easy to do on certain multi-denomination machines, especially if they don’t reset back to the denomination machine after cash-out. That said, more casinos and more game makers are having machines reset to the denomination selection screen (when multi-denomination) to reduce this risk, but when machines are single denomination it can still yield mistakes.

As such, be sure to check what denomination the game is before you play, and you’ll avoid overbetting by mistake. This goes for slots, video poker or table game electronic machines – all have the propensity to offer multiple bet levels nowadays.

Not Knowing the Game That You’re Playing

Many games in the casino have a basic strategy, including video poker, blackjack, and carnival games like Three Card Poker or Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em. Knowing the basic strategy and playing them consistently correctly is important, because playing them wrong can expose you to making mistakes that can over time raise the advantage the casinos have over you.

In fact, one reason casinos can offer games that have lower house advantages to begin with, is that many players will simply play wrong, making mistakes that make the casinos more money. So they can in a way reward players that play correctly with a game that has a lower house advantage, while making more money off those who simply don’t know better.

The good news is you don’t have to figure out basic strategy – others have done the work for you. Instead you just have to learn the basic strategy that has been devised by the people who are smarter than ourselves.

vieio poker

Video poker is one of the best games to play in a casino, but it requires a strategy.

As a matter of fact FREE strategy cards are offered on this website. Just click these links to see FREE blackjack basic strategy cards and FREE video poker strategy cards. Just print them put and bring them into the casino on your next visit!

And, if you like to play video poker then you should definitely consider buying a video poker software program to help you learn the proper strategies for playing any video poker game like a pro! Learn more, here –


Avoiding these casino mistakes can ensure that your casino visits are not only fun, but can allow you to leave with money at least some of the time. Just because you’ve budgeted a certain amount, if you play to strategy, set limits and don’t gamble under the wrong circumstances, you can protect yourself from losing money faster than you need to, and even sometimes come out ahead.

Joshua O’Connell is the author of Know Your Slots, a casino website that talks about slot machines and how they work,
comps, travel, 
cruises and other casino-related topics. New and updated content is posted daily.