By Henry Tamburin
If you are one of many casino players that constantly lose every time you visit a casino and refuse to heed my advice and those of my fellow gaming writers on how to play better to improve your chances of winning, then here are some more guaranteed ways to keep that losing streak going.
Keep Playing Casino Games with the Highest Casino Edge
This one is a no brainer. The higher the casino’s edge the more you will lose. Most players understand this basic concept but don’t have a clue which casino games have the highest casino edge. Therefore, if you’ve been playing one of the games listed below, you now have a pretty good idea why you are losing your shirt.
Big Six Wheel
Caribbean Stud Poker
Let it Ride
Blackjack 6-5 games
How bad a beating do you take playing these games? It can run as how as 25-30% of al the money you bet if you dabble in keno or try Sic Bo to about 3-5% for some of the new table games. As long as you consistent play casino games where the house has a greater than 2% edge, your bankroll will disappear eventually.
Keep Playing the Slots
I probably touched a few nerves here. I haven’t yet found a non-progressive slot machine that is programmed to pay over 100% in the long run. I don’t think in your lifetime will you ever find one either. The bottom line is that yes, we all know that slots are fun to play, but that entertainment comes with a price. Moreover, a pretty steep price to boot. How much? You can expect the casinos will keep roughly 7% of what you put into a typical 25-cent slot machine in the long run. Play dollar and up machines and the casino’s percent edge goes down to 4-5% to a low of 2-4%. However, losing 4% of a buck is worse then losing 7% of a quarter. Your losing streak will definitely continue if you insist on playing only the machines.
Play Fast Games
Here’s another way to lose your shirt even faster. Don’t just play any high percentage casino game where you have the worst of it, but play one that has many decisions per hour (i.e. a fast playing game). Casino War is one of the fastest games you’ll find in any casino. A dealer can complete a hand in seconds. Likewise, mini-baccarat is also a f-a-s-t game with many decisions per hour. If you play the slots and play them fast (like hitting the credit button non-stop, sound familiar?) or worse play two (or more) machines at the same time, the number of handle pulls per hour can reach super sonic speeds. So will your bankroll as it is sucked into the bowls of the slot machine. If blackjack is your game and you play by hunches, then you can lose your bankroll a lot quicker if you play heads up with the dealer (more hands per hour) rather than playing at a crowded table (less hands per hour). Better yet, play on a table that has a continuous shuffling machine (CSM’s) where there is no break from the action. Remember the more hands per hour when the casino has the upper hand, the faster you’ll lose your shirt.
Use a Gambling System
Here’s a tried and true way to bust your bankroll. Try one of these destructive betting systems. They are usually disguised in How to Get Rich mail order systems and they all boil down to the same thing – using some kind of progressive betting system to overcome the casino’s edge.
This classic double-your-bet-after-you-lose system has claimed many a casino gambler’s bankroll. Why? Because on the surface it looks like a can’t-lose-way to beat the casino.
Say you bet $1 on red in roulette. If you lose, you raise your bet to $2. If you lose again, bet $4. Lose one more time and you would make your next bet $8. You continue to double your bets until you eventually win. And when you do win, you’ll wind up recouping all your losses for that cycle of bets plus you’ll have a $1 win to boot.
The player’s logic for using the Martingale system is that the odds of red not showing for many spins keeps getting larger and larger as the number of consecutive losses mount. Eventually, red must win and as long as they have enough money to keep doubling their wager, sooner or later they will win. However, every casino in the world has a minimum and maximum betting limit posted on every one of their tables. This prevents a Martingale type bettor from doubling up more then 7 to 9 times. And even though the odds of losing 7-9 consecutive times are high, when it does occur, the player is left with a staggering loss (e.g. starting with a $5 bet on red and losing 8 times in a row will result in a cumulative loss of $1,275. That hurts!). Plus you never know when the 8 consecutive losses will happen. It could occur after the 100th spin, the 50th spin, or heaven forbid right after the first spin.
So even though the Martingale bettor will win small amounts of money most of the time (that’s true) unfortunately when that one long string of losing spins inevitably occurs the Martingale bettor is faced with a bankroll busting, staggering loss. To put in another way, the infrequent, massive loss will more then wipe out the player’s frequent smaller wins resulting in a sure-fire way to lose your shirt in the long run.
This is another well know and equally devastating betting system commonly known as the cancellation system. It works like this.
Write any sequence of numbers on a piece of paper – let’s say 1-2-3-4-5. Make your first bet the sum of the two outside numbers, in our example 6 units. If the 6 unit bet wins, you cross off the two outside numbers and the next two inside numbers are bet (in our example it would be 2 + 4 or another 6 unit bet). If a bet loses, the amount of the bet is added to the end of the sequence of numbers and the betting progression is continued. For example if we lost the very first 6 unit bet our new sequence of numbers would look like this, 1-2-3-4-5-6, and our next bet would be 7 units (6+1). The logic of using the cancellation system is that you will win the total amount of your starting sequence of numbers (in our example 15 units) at some point before all the numbers in your sequence are canceled out.
The reality of the Labouchere betting system is the same as the Martingale. You’ll end up with a lot of small wins most of the time but sooner or later you’ll end up with that one session where you will lose all your bets in your sequence, have to start a new sequence, lose that, and if the spiral continues end up reaching the house maximum betting limit. It’s just another easy way to bust your bankroll.
Believe in the Law of Averages
This has probably busted more bankrolls then anything else. It is the misconception by players that an event is likely to occur because it has not occurred in a while. After losing several bets in a row, the player will eventually increase his bets because according to the Law of Averages things have to even out and the player is ‘due to win’. Unfortunately, the dice, wheel, or slot machine has no memory and could care less whether or not the previous results were losses (or for that matter wins). Believing in the Law of Averages is another sure, easy way to bust your bankroll.
If using a gambling system in a fast game with a high casino edge still isn’t a fast enough way for you to lose your shirt, then by all means throw in a few of the bad ideas listed below. It will make losing your bankroll that much quicker and easier.
Go to the Casinos Expecting to Lose
Don’t Spend Any Time Learning the Basics of Casino Gambling
Make Sure You Are Tired When You Gamble
Make Sure You Drink a Lot When You Gamble
Never Set a Gambling Budget
Don’t Set Any Stop Loss Limits
Keep Playing After a Big Win
Gamble More to Earn a Comp
Gamble More than You Can Comfortably Lose
Gamble Big to Impress a Friend
Play With Scared Money
Borrow Money to Gamble
Increase Bets to Get Even
Play Hunches all the Time
Believe that Gambling is all Luck
Ask Your Spouse to “Give You Back The Money You Told Her Not To Give You Back.”
Henry Tamburin has been a respected casino gambling writer for the past 50 years. He is the author of the Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide and was editor of the Blackjack Insider newsletter. You can read his latest articles on blackjack, video poker, and his personal playing experiences at