So you wanna’ win money in Vegas casinos, do you? Well, we’re here to tell you how it’s done. While there’s no way to make sure you win every single time, there are some tips and tricks that can improve your chances greatly.
Let our team of casino pros share their best tips and tricks to help you beat Vegas casinos. As you’ll see, all of these are logical and sensible ideas with evidence to back them up.
How to Win Money in Vegas – Tips for All Players
(1) Understand House Edge
Do you know how many players walk through the doors of casinos in Las Vegas (and elsewhere) without a single clue about the math behind the games? We’d say it’s over 90%, and that’s one of the main reasons why casino owners are so rich.
In your quest to understand how to win in Vegas, you have to understand the numbers behind the games. Specifically, you have to understand a concept called casino house edge.
The house edge is the advantage the casino has. It’s a mathematical edge that makes it 100% certain that no matter how many players win on the night, the casino will make money as time passes by. You can think of the house edge as equivalent to a return on investment for the casino owners.
Every game has an edge, and no two games have the same edge. There are massive differences in the house edges, too. Let’s just take a quick look at the house edge of some of the most popular casino games.
- Slot machines have a house edge of between 2% and 20%, depending on what machine you are playing.
- American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. European roulette has a house edge of 2.7%.
- Blackjack has a house edge of 2.5%. However, this can be altered by skillful players to well below 1%.
- Keno has a house edge of anywhere between 20% and 35%.
Do you now see why understanding house edge is important if you want to win money in Las Vegas? The games you choose to play mathematically determine your chances of winning.
Of course, there are trade-offs to consider. While slot machines and keno have much larger house edges, they also offer much larger potential payouts.
You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to play a game with a larger house edge for a shot at a bigger payout. Many experienced players choose to ignore these games and play blackjack or roulette instead. The payouts may not be as large when you win, but the casino pays back much more money to players, so wins are much more likely.
Before we move onto the next point, let’s just be crystal clear about house edge with an example. You can think of it like this: for every $100 that players bet on American roulette, the casino makes an average of $5.26. For every $100 that players bet on some keno games, the casino makes around $35. It doesn’t always work out like that on the night, but in the long run, it does.
(2) Play Games of Skill – Not Games of Pure Chance
Before we start this section, let’s get one thing straight – every casino game involves some degree of chance. That’s true by legal definition as well as in reality.
The best way to gamble in Vegas is to play the games that give you the maximum amount of control possible. But what games are those?
Generally speaking, blackjack and poker are recognized as casino games that involve a lot of skill. When playing blackjack, a solid strategy can mathematically lower the house edge, although some edge still exists. When playing poker against other players, there is no house edge as such – the casino makes its money by taking a slice of the action.
Games that don’t involve any skill include slot machines, keno, bingo, roulette, and baccarat. Some players might argue otherwise, but trust us when we tell you that there’s little if anything you can do to improve your chances when playing these games. These are pure games of chance.
Knowing what casino games involve skill is one thing, and being skillful enough to exploit the opportunities they present is another. Before you risk your hard-earned cash in Las Vegas casinos, why not play for free online until you become a master of the game you want to play in Vegas?
(3) Pick the Right Variant of the Game You Are Playing
Another great tip for winning in Vegas is to understand the differences between the variants of each game. At some casinos, you’ll only see one or two game variants, but if you move around the Strip and play at enough Vegas casinos, you’ll probably come across lots of different variants of some games.
There aren’t huge differences between most of them, but it’s the small things that matter. We’ve already covered the differences in the house edge of some games. However, knowing the subtle difference between game variants can make a big difference when it comes to rules, too.
Here are a few examples:
- If you play Spanish 21 blackjack, all of the 10s are removed from the deck. This dramatically increases the house edge. You’re much better off playing classic blackjack. Small changes to the rules such as “late surrender” can make a huge difference.
- Some versions of keno offer instant wins when specific numbers are drawn or multipliers to boost wins. For example, when you play Super Keno, if you match the first ball drawn, everything you win will be multiplied by four. That makes this variant much better to play.
- Some slot machines have bonus games such as free spins and multipliers or progressive jackpots. These often cost the same to play as average, run-of-the-mill machines. It’s best to do your research and play the games that give you the greatest possible advantages.
If you’re already in Las Vegas, you might not have time to get familiar with all of the different variants and their differences. We suggest asking the dealers about the rules of the game they’re running. Always choose the game that is favorable to you. Remember that even when you do this, the house still has an advantage.
(4) How to Win Money in Vegas With a Strategy
The vast majority of players who walk into casinos have no strategies in mind. Then they wonder why they don’t win money in Vegas! Some players aren’t even aware that you can use strategies when playing casino games.
It’s true that strategies don’t work well on many games. However, there are most definitely Vegas games that you can improve your chances of winning with effective strategies. Blackjack is one of those games. Poker is another.
We’re not going to get into the specifics of different strategies here. It depends on what game you’re playing. Instead, use the links below to navigate to some of our best strategy articles according to the game you want to play.
Remember, even when you use strategies, the casino will still have an advantage. How big that advantage will be depends on both the game you pick and how you play. For example, if you use a perfect blackjack strategy, it is possible to reduce the house edge to 0.5%. However, with games of pure chance like keno, the house edge will always be greater than 15% and can be as high as 50% in some keno variants.
Learning casino game strategies takes time and practice. A quick Google search before you head into the Bellagio probably won’t cut the mustard. That’s why you should practice by playing free casino games online before you head to the tables in Vegas. Try these strategies at some quality casinos online here where you can bet for pennies instead of the $5 minimum bets imposed at many Vegas tables.
Even if your strategy is merely bankroll management, that’s better than playing random games with no goal in mind. If you do things that way, you’re practically giving the casino your money.
(5) Know the Tricks Casinos Use Against You
Have you ever seen a poor casino owner? We’ll bet you haven’t. Owning a casino is a license to print money, and casinos have mastered the art of keeping you in the casino to play for as long as possible. The longer you play, the more likely it becomes that you will lose, and the casino will profit.
Being aware of some of these casino tricks is a good thing. That way, you can counteract them. Do the following to increase your chances of winning in Vegas.
Wear a Watch
It’s a well-known fact that you won’t find a single clock in most casinos. There’s a reason for that. They don’t want you to be thinking about the time. They want you to get caught up in the moment, forget how long you’ve been gambling for, and bet as much as possible.
You’ll rarely find windows in casinos for the same reason. If you’re gambling the night away and it starts to get light, you might snap out of it and head back to your room. If everyone cut their gaming short by a couple of hours, that is thousands of extra bets that the casino won’t win.
Study the Layout
Most Vegas casinos have specifically designed layouts to maximize profits. For example, you’ll probably have to walk past some noisy slot machines with big jackpots to get to the cage. These are designed to lure you in and tempt you to make a bet either before you collect or after you have done so.
ATMs are also strategically placed in certain areas for the same reason. In fact, it might be an idea to leave your bank card back in the hotel room so that you have to leave the casino and take a break if you want to replenish your bankroll.
Say No to Free Alcohol
It’s a rare occasion that you’ll want to turn down free alcohol. However, playing in a Las Vegas casino is one of them. Trust us; the casino isn’t giving you free beers and Martinis out of the kindness of the owner’s heart. They’re giving it to you because alcohol makes you take risks you normally wouldn’t, helps you lose track of time, and clouds your judgement. Stay off the booze when you’re gambling in Vegas.
Casinos have all sorts of other tricks they use to tempt you to part with as much money as possible. Play them at their own game by learning as much as you can about casino tricks.
(6) Use Bankroll Management Techniques
If you want to know how to win money in Vegas, you’ll need some luck on your side. It’s impossible to be in control of every element of the games you play. However, there is one thing you can control. Your bankroll and how you divide it up is the one thing you have total power over.
Here are some bankroll management best practices for the next time you’re playing in Vegas.
Set a Budget
Casino budgeting consists of two main elements. The first is how much you want to spend in the casino in total. The second is how you will divide up your bankroll. For example, you might choose to play blackjack until you are up 20% and then risk the money you have won on a big-money slot machine. It’s up to you, and there are many different ways to do this.
The important thing is to set a budget. Even if it’s only a few rough percentages in your head, set one and stick to it. If you agree to risk a maximum of 25% of your bankroll on slots, make sure you calculate how much that is before you start betting and stick to it. Then, move along to the next objective in your gameplan.
This works the other way, too. When you have profited by a certain percentage, you should walk away. Remember what you learned about the house edge above? There isn’t a game in the casino that you can win in the long run.
Leave the ATM Card at Home
We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth repeating again. You should leave your ATM card at your hotel if it’s in close proximity to the casino. This will stop you from impulse spending if you do have a few drinks or lose control of yourself in the heat of the moment.
Even if you’re playing at a Vegas casino inside your hotel, leaving the ATM card upstairs means you’ll have to take a five or ten-minute break to go and get it. This will give you time to reflect and think more about whether you want to keep gambling. If you do, that’s fine. The point is that you’re forced to take a break and walk away from the casino floor and that you have a few minutes to cool down and think rationally.
Follow the 1% Bet Rule
Lots of experienced casino players follow the 1% rule. This rule states that you should never risk more than 1% of your total bankroll on a single bet. If you start with $100, bet $1, and either increase or decrease your bets as you win or lose. It’s not always possible to follow the 1% rule perfectly, but it is possible to roughly follow it.
Another related rule is the 20% rule. As soon as you are up 20%, take your own money off the table and start using the 1% rule on the house money you have won. Sticking with our initial $100 bankroll example, you’ll do this when it grows to $120. It may not be possible to stick to the 1% rule if you only have $20 to play with, so you can make your own mind up about how you’re going to divide that money up.
This may not be as exciting as making wild bets that double or triple your money instantly, but it means your bankroll will stretch further, and you’ll maximize the number of bets you make with your casino chips. If you’re playing slot machines, that means more spins and more chances to hit paydirt.
(7) Forget Trying to Cheat the Casino
The easiest way to win money in Vegas is to cheat. However, while there are a few ways to do so, casinos know all about them, and they will catch you 99% of the time.
There are a few examples of successful casino cheats. For example, Wired Magazine reported that a Russian crew managed to cheat casinos out of millions by using cell phones and advanced computers to detect patterns to cheat slot machines. However, they were eventually caught, and several of the crew are now serving hard time.
Another way to beat the house is to learn how to count cards in blackjack. Celebs like UFC President Dana White are known to be adept card counters, and they can make a lot of money doing so. However, casinos despise card counters, and they will ban you from playing (at best), and have the security kick you out onto the street (at worst).
You can get away with cheating the casino for a very short period of time. However, if you push your luck and deviate from the statistical losses the casino expects, they’ll start watching you discreetly, and you will eventually be caught.
In our opinion, the effort of learning how to cheat casinos isn’t worth it. It can take months or years to learn, you’ll rarely succeed, and you’ll inevitably get caught. The best way to win money in Vegas is to play honestly and get lucky!
How to Win Money In Vegas – Summary
We all have a dream to win big in Vegas, but the numbers dictate that for every big winner you read about, there are thousands of losers. The math of casino games can’t be altered, and no matter what you do, the house always wins.
However, by using the tips you’ve learned on this page, winning money in Vegas is a little more probable. While we can’t change the odds for you, we do hope that you don’t make the mistakes highlighted here and that at the very least, you make it as difficult as possible for the casino to take your bankroll and as probable as possible for you to take theirs.
Enjoy Las Vegas! It’s a great city, and a big win at the casino is just one of the many wonderful experiences it offers.
Greg has been an avid gambler for over 15 years. He loves slot machines and betting on football. He’s been writing on the subject for close to a decade now and knows everything there is to know about video slots, jackpots, and slot sites in general! He has been writing for GamblersPro.com for over five years now.