The Complete Guide to Casino Gambling

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The Complete Guide to Casino Gambling

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PostPosted:16.07.2005, 10:06 Reply with quoteBack to top

The Complete Guide To

Casino Gaming

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Table Of Contents

How To Play Baccarat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

How To Play Blackjack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

How To Play Craps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

How To Play Big Board Keno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

How To Play Roulette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

How To Play The Slot Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

How To Play Casino Poker/Texas Hold’em . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

How To Play Video Poker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27


By: Victor H. Royer

As with all table games, you begin by changing your cash money into gaming chips. In Baccarat, these gaming chips are quite a bit bigger than the regular casino chips. There is absolutely no reason for this other than the aura of special importance that Baccarat seeks to cultivate. Perhaps the casinos think that players will feel better about betting large amounts if they have big chips in their hands. But no matter how big these chips are, they function in exactly the same way as any other gaming chips in play throughout the casino. They can be changed for cash if you wish, or for regular casino chips.

At the Baccarat table it doesn't matter which seat you take. Unlike Blackjack, in which position selection can be advantageous in a game with more players, in American Baccarat you are not playing against the other players, or against the House. Your betting action is against the cards. It therefore makes no difference what the other players bet on, or how much, or what order the cards are dealt in. In Blackjack, for instance, other players at the table ahead of you in the turn of dealing can affect what cards you will

receive when it's your turn to draw. Which is why position selection can be so important. But in American Baccarat this doesn't matter.

Even if a designated player at the Baccarat table does draw the cards, no player decisions are involved. Whether any additional cards are drawn depends entirely on the strict set of rules governing the draw of such extra cards. Consequently there is no possibility that a player in the position in front of you will receive the cards you would otherwise have received.

Chances are that if you sit down at a Baccarat table the game will be already in progress. Very rarely are Baccarat tables unoccupied. Many casinos in fact employ House players, called "shills", a couple of whom are often seated at the Baccarat table so that potential customers won't have to be the first to sit down or play alone.

The shills are paid employees of the casino, and they play with House money; they don't get to keep any winnings, but they don't lose either. Shills in Baccarat are just there to occupy seats. When a sufficient number of customers arrive, the House players leave, returning only if the table becomes empty again.

Unlike in Poker, Baccarat shills have no effect on your hands. If, however, you feel uncomfortable about knowing whether or not there are any shills at the table, just ask the casino pit boss if there are any at your table. By law, casinos must identify shills if asked.

Baccarat is played with eight standard decks of cards, no Jokers, all shuffled together. When the game is at the point of a new shuffle -- either at the very beginning of the game or when the cards dealt have reached the cut card, as in Blackjack -- one of the dealers will out "shuffle" and begin to shuffle the cards.

When the shuffle is completed, one of the customers will be asked to cut the deck and the cut decks will then be placed in the shoe, ready for dealing. At this point one of the dealers, usually the one who did the shuffle, will turn up the first card out. Whatever the value of this first card is, this indicates how many cards will be burned. If, for example, this first card out is 6, the dealer will burn six cards, none of which the players see, placing them in the discard tray along with that first card out. The game is now ready to

be played.

The shoe which contains the eight shuffled decks is called "The Bank". It is so called because in European games the person holding it actually has to back all the bets and therefore really is the banker. This is not the case in American Baccarat. In American Baccarat the player holding the bank has no specific advantage over players.

The player holding the bank does not win any more money, does not have to bet on the Bank hand, is not responsible for paying winning bets, makes no choices affecting the draw of extra cards, and will not collect any losing bets. This action is merely a cosmetic copy of the European version of Baccarat.

Unlike in European Baccarat, where players can play for or buy the Bank, in American Baccarat the Bank is simply given to the player seated immediately to the right of the dealer [position 7] at the beginning of the new game. Each player at the table is then given the Bank in turn, and can hold the Bank as long as the Bank wins. Once it loses, the Bank moves to the player on his or her right, counterclockwise, and so on.

Before any cards are dealt, all players at the table make their bets and dealing takes place. The player holding the bank deals out four cards, two sets of two cards, with the first and third cards going to the official Player's hand, and the second and fourth cards to the Banker's hand. The Banker's hand cards are tucked under the side of the shoe by the player who holds the Bank and is dealing, while the Player's hand cards are given by the Caller, using that odd paddle, to one of the other players who made the biggest bet on the Player's hand.

This designated player then picks up the first two cards, looks at them, and tosses them faces up to the Caller, who then arranges them in the center of the table in a special area marked on the table layout as "Player". Now the player who holds the Bank picks up the two Bank hand cards he had tucked under the side of the shoe, looks at the Bank hand cards, and also tosses them over to the Caller, who arranges them in that same special area in the center of the table marked on the layout as "Banker".

This area is directly above the one marked "Player". Again remember that these two areas are separate from the betting areas also so named; they are located in the center of the table layout and used only to differentiate between which cards have been dealt to which hand.

Although these moves in Baccarat make the game seem complicated, I wish to point out one more time that they are really quite unnecessary and have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the game. They are just a relic from European Baccarat in which the Banker and the Player in fact do control the cards and decisions for drawing cards and standing. Not so in this American version, where the hand's final values would be exactly the same even if none of these moves were made by the players, but were simply dealt by the dealer.

Players can make bets at the conclusion of any hand, or after a new shuffle. There are only three betting areas available, each clearly marked and displayed on the table layout in front of each player position. These are bets on the "Bank" hand; on the "Player" hand; or on the "Tied" hand. To make any one such bet, you place your gaming chips in the area so marked. You can make any one, two, or all three bets at the same time, but to bet all three is to automatically lose at least one hand, and more often than not two hands; this is therefore not a good idea.


The object of the game of Blackjack -- in which you are first dealt two cards and subsequently permitted to draw more -- is to put together a hand whose card values, when added together, will total 21, or as close as possible to 21 without going over. At the same time, of course, the object is to win, and to do this the value of your cards must be higher than those retained by the dealer. There are many different ways of dealing Blackjack and many rules particular to the casino you are in that determine which game is best.

In Blackjack all cards are counted at their face value, with the exception of the Ace. Simply put, cards whose printed numerical value is 2 through 10 are counted as having precisely that value. Therefore, if you are dealt one 2-value card, one 8-value card and one 9-value card, your total is 19. Face cards -- Jacks, Queens and Kings -- are counted as having a value of 10. Therefore if you are dealt one Queen and one 8-value card, the total value of your hand is 18. The Ace card is different. This card can have, at your discretion, either a value of 1, or a value of 11.

The best possible hand in Blackjack is a combination of an Ace with a 10-value or Face card. This is an automatic 21, when counting the Ace as an 11, and is called Blackjack, or a "Natural". It cannot be beaten, unless the dealer also has the same combination, in which case the hand is a "push", a tie.

When you first approach a table you have the choice of sitting in any available seat. If the game is already in progress with other players present, sit at any open seat of your liking. When the hand they are currently playing is over, you can ask the dealer for "change" and push your money in the bet spot in front of you. If you do this, chances are the dealer will assume you are making a cash bet, known as "money plays", and will deal you cards before you have a chance to ask for change. If this happens, you are stuck, and all the money you placed on the table will play on the hand you are dealt.

After asking for change, the dealer will then give you an assortment of gaming chips with which to play. Depending on the amount of currency you are changing, dealers will mostly anticipate the kind of bets you will make and give you gaming chips accordingly. But you can ask the dealer for any combination of gaming chips you like.

After you are given change, you select the amount you wish to bet on the next hand. This has to be at least the minimum bet amount for that table and can be up to the maximum bet amount for that table.

The maximum and minimum betting limits are displayed on a sign, usually at the dealer's left, player's right, and normally it will say something like: "Minimum $5 Maximum $500". These limits vary from table to table, and from casino to casino. Simply put, this tells you what level of game this table is set up to play. If all you want to play are small bets, say, $1 to $5 per hand, don't sit at a table whose sign indicates limits higher than that. You could get caught in a game whose stakes are higher than you can afford.

After you have received your gaming chips in exchange for currency, place the chips you wish to bet on the next hand in the spot in front of you, and the dealer will deal the next hand. All cards are dealt left-to-right of the dealer, player's right-to-left. You will receive your cards in turn with the other players on the table, depending on which position at the table you are sitting in.

The first position at the Blackjack table is called "First Base", and it is the seat immediately to the dealer's left. It is so called because the player sitting in that position will always get the first card out. The opposite side of the table, at the far end and dealer's right, is called "Third Base"; this is so called because the player sitting in this position will always get the last card dealt to players in the round of dealing, and the one just before the card that the dealer deals to himself. The Third Base position at the

Blackjack table is important because the player in that position controls, to some degree, which cards the dealer will receive in the event that the dealer must draw more cards. The Third Base player's decisions in how he plays his hand can, therefore, determine if the rest of the players at the table, including himself, will win or lose.

If you approach a table where there are no players, you can sit at any seat. Don't be afraid of sitting at a table where there are no players. Many players make this mistake and often try to crowd into a Blackjack game already in progress. Safety in numbers may be good for other games, such as Craps, but not for Blackjack.

If you can get a one-on-one game with the dealer, these are the best odds you can hope for in this game. Casual players are often intimidated by the prospect of sitting at an empty Blackjack table. Don't be. When you approach a new game, as an empty table is called, the first thing you will probably hear the dealer say is: "Shuffle". Dealers say this to let the Pit Boss know that a player has sat down at this game and that a new shuffle is about to begin. After the cards are shuffled, the dealer will ask you to cut the cards.

For this you will be offered a colored piece of plastic the same size as the playing cards. These "cut cards" are just plain pieces of plastic cut in the same shape as the rest of the cards so they fit in the deck. Mostly they are red in color, but they can be yellow, or any other color. They are used only for three purposes: one, to cut the deck; two, to place within the freshly cut deck to indicate the next shuffle point; and three, to place at the bottom of the deck so there is no possibility of dealing cards from the bottom. To "cut" the deck means to place this colored cut card somewhere in the deck, after which the dealer moves the stack of cards above the cut card to the bottom of the deck.

He then "burns" [sets aside] the top card, places the colored cut card into the deck about one-third of the way from the bottom, places an extra colored cut card at the bottom of the deck, and begins the game. During the course of the game the dealer will eventually reach the cut card he had placed in the deck. At this point the cards now dealt will be the last hand before the next shuffle.

The point of "burning" the top card is to avoid so-called "funny shuffles", or cheating, and to take that card out of play in case some players have caught a glimpse of it. Some casinos in fact burn several cards, all dealt face down in front of the dealer for that reason, and then placed into the discard tray, where all exposed cards are placed after each hand. When Blackjack games were still being dealt first-card-to-the-last, card counters took advantage of knowing which cards were left, so this rule, and others like it, were

introduced to combat this player advantage. But in the current way of dealing Blackjack this burn card, or cards, have little effect, especially so to the casual player.


Craps looks like a very complicated game, and indeed it can be. But, as you will shortly find out, it can also be a game as simple as you want to make it. The casino game of Craps is played with a set of two perfectly balanced dice, red in color, each die with six faces numbered 1 through 6 by means of white dots. The game is played by tossing both dice from one of the short ends of the table to the other, making sure that both dice hit the opposite side wall of the table; payoffs are made based on the number combination displayed when the dice come to rest. The inside walls of the table are covered with a kind of serrated egg-carton foam, designed to make the dice bounce around to assure randomness. Each throw of the dice is called a "roll". Players take turn rolling the dice, clockwise around the table, and the player rolling at any given time is called the "shooter". When a new shooter is given the dice, his or her first roll is called the "come out" roll. This begins a new series of rolls by that shooter, and lasts for as long as that shooter continues to make winning rolls.

A new game in Craps begins with the come out roll. A come out roll can be made only if, either, the table is empty and a new player, or players, just walk up, or, if the game is already in progress, when the previous shooter fails to make a winning roll -- more correctly known as "not making the point", or "seven out". A new game then begins with a new shooter. If the current shooter does make his point, the dice are returned to him and he then begins the new come out roll. This is a continuation of that shooter's roll, although, technically, the come out roll identifies a new game about to begin.

When the shooter fails to make his or her point, the dice are then offered to the next player for a new come out roll, and the game continues in the same manner. The new shooter will be the person directly next to the left of the previous shooter. This person could be you right away, or not, depending which position around the table the dice are in when you come into the game.

On the come out roll, the pass line bet wins if the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11. The bet loses automatically if the shooter rolls 2, 3 or 12. This is known as "rolling craps". If the shooter rolls either 4 5 6 8 9 or 10, winning your bet now depends on whether the shooter will roll this same number again before rolling any 7. Rolling any of these numbers on the come out roll is called "establishing the point". Any number so rolled is thereafter referred to as the "point". Establishing a point is an event that happens as the immediate result of the come out roll, unless that come out roll results in 1, 11, 2, 3 or 12, in which case more rolls must be made until a point is established.

It now becomes important to mention a device that looks like a hockey puck, called "the puck". It is white on one side and black on the other, and is used by the dealers to identify the point. Once the point is established by the shooter, the dealer will move this puck to that point number and turn it the white side up. The puck stays on this point until the shooter either makes his point, or until he sevens out. When this happens the puck is moved to the don't come bar 12 area, and turned black side up. The significance of this device is only in tracking the game. White side up over a point indicates the game is in progress and that this box number is the point. Black side up means a new come out roll is about to take place.

As with all table games, you begin by changing your cash money into gaming chips. In Craps you do this by throwing your money on the table and yelling "change". If the table is playing well there will be a lot of people crowding around and a lot of noise, so make sure you yell out. Also it is a good idea to wait and ask for change between rolls of the dice.

In Craps, winning or losing depends on a variety of different possible outcomes on any roll of the two dice, and on which of these possibilities you bet. The two dice can produce many different number combinations; some can be made several ways, others only one way. For example, the number 6 can be rolled by two dice as follows: 5/1, 4/2, 3/3, 2/4 and 1/5. But the number 2 can only be rolled one way: 1/1. Numbers such as 6, which can be rolled several ways, don't pay as much as numbers which can be rolled only one way, unless you are betting that the number will be rolled in a specific way, such has 3/3, known as Hardways. All winning payoffs are, therefore, determined by the frequency in which any two-dice number combinations can be rolled. Generally, the harder the combination is to roll, the more it will pay, and vice versa.

Although really taking advantage of the many betting options can involve a considerable degree of mastery, in its simplest form Craps is a game where players bet, either, that the shooter will make winning rolls, or that he or she will not make winning rolls. Betting that the shooter will make winning rolls is called betting "with the shooter" [ also called "betting right" J, and betting that the shooter will not make winning rolls is called "betting against the shooter" [ also called "betting wrong" ].

To bet with the shooter, you place your bet in an area marked "pass line", and this is known as making a "line bet". The so-called pass line is a strip on the table layout marked by two lines roughly two inches wide and it rims the entire table layout across from the Box Man. To bet against the shooter, you peace your bet in an area marked "don't pass". This area is also a strip on the table layout, and it rims the table directly above the pass line. No matter what stage the game is in, whether on the come out roll, or in progress, you can jump in immediately and place any bets.

The only exception to this is the bet called the "pass line bet with odds", which can be made only on the come out roll. You can, however, bet with the shooter even while the game is in progress, by placing a pass line bet without odds. This is done by placing your gaming chips half-way over one of the two lines framing the pass line area.

Before the new shooter rolls the dice on his or her come out roll, there are a variety of bets that can be made. The easiest and most common bets to make are the above-mentioned pass line and don't pass line bet. But after a point is established by the shooter, you can then place an additional bet behind your pass line bet. This is called "taking odds".

In most casinos you can bet up to double the amount of your pass line bet. This is called "taking full odds". Some casinos offer up to 10-times odds, and this simply means that you can bet up to 10 times the amount of your pass line bet once a point is established.

Betting the don't pass line is the exact opposite of betting the pass line. If you do this on the come out roll, your don't pass bet wins if the shooter rolls any craps -- 2 or 3 [ties on 12] -- and loses automatically on any 1 and 11. Tying on 12 simply means that there is no decision -- your don't pass bet neither wins nor loses, merely stays in limbo till a decision is reached on subsequent rolls.

If the shooter establishes a point, your don't pass bet stays in action, but to win your bet the shooter must roll a 7 before making his point. Therefore, a don't pass bet wins if the shooter fails to make his point, but loses if the shooter does make the point. You can also take odds on a don't pass bet.

A don't pass bet is not a bad bet, but I will not recommend it for the casual player since it requires a solid grasp of odds mathematics as well as considerable game acumen. Betting with the shooter is a far easier method to grasp in a short time, and offers many more advantages. For the remainder of this chapter, therefore, I will confine all play and bet suggestions to the right way bets.

Once the shooter establishes a point, a whole range of betting options open up in addition to all the bets available on the come out roll.


If you know how to play the state lottery, then you already know the basics of playing casino Big Board Keno. Like the lottery, Big Board Keno involves betting on a single number or a set of numbers which you can choose as you wish, in the hope that your number or numbers will be selected in a random drawing, There are, however, substantial differences from the lottery -- not so much in the way the game is played,

but rather in the variety of ways you can play it. These options offer much more enjoyment, and often many more wins, than any lottery.

On any Keno game you can pick from one to twenty numbers. You do this by taking a blank Keno ticket and, with the Keno marker which is provided at any Keno location, simply marking the numbers you wish to play. The Keno ticket is about 5" square, and on the face of it is a printed grid of 80 numbers, divided into what is called the "top" -- containing 40 numbers, and the "bottom" -- containing the other 40 numbers. You can mark these numbers by crosses, or circles, ticks, or in any manner, so long as you make

it clear that you are marking a specific manner. Once you have marked the ticket with the numbers you wish to play, you mark the amount you want to bet in the top right hand corner of the ticket, where it says "Amount". Then, below on the right hand side, you write the total number of numbers you picked and take the ticket to the Keno Writer, who sits behind the Keno counter.

Since most Keno games are now computerized, the Keno Writer will generally take your marked ticket, place it over a computer display the size of which corresponds to the size of your Keno ticket, press the numbers you picked, enter the amount you are betting, enter the number of games you wish to play, and then press a button marked "Video". The computer will then print out a computerized version of the ticket you marked, which, once you've paid the amount of your bet, the Keno writer gives to you.

This computerized print-out corresponds directly to the ticket you had marked, but also includes other information such as game number, ticket code, writer's code, date and time of purchase. This ticket can also include your account number, if you are a regular Keno player and wish your action to be tracked for casino rating purposes; and it can also list the number of consecutive games played if you play your numbers for more than one game.

In the old days tickets were marked by hand using a messy black ink. This was time-consuming and often resulted in writer error. Since Keno is already a pretty slow game,

compared to other games in the casino, the advantages of computerization are obvious. It is important that you hold on to your computerized ticket. You will need to produce it in order to collect any winnings to which you are entitled.

In order to claim your winnings, you must also remember to return to the Keno Counter at the completion of your game, and before the start of the next game. Many players often stray away, distracted, and forget to claim their winning tickets before the next game. But gaming regulations stipulate that winnings must be collected on any ticket prior to the start of the next game. So, if you fail to do this, you forfeit any winnings.

But Keno also allows for so-called "multi-race" tickets. With this option you can play whatever numbers you pick on the same ticket for up to 20 consecutive games. You must however play the same numbers for each game and, of course, the cost of your bet will increase proportionately to the number of games you play. With multi-race tickets you cannot claim any winnings at the end of each game, but must wait until the final game in your series has been called. This can be a long wait, especially if you play up to 20

games in a row, which is the maximum number of consecutive races allowed on such tickets.

So, to give players the option of doing something else while playing Keno, and to combat player complaints from those unlucky lucky players who win but forget to claim their prizes in a timely fashion, a new multi-race variation often called "stray and play" Keno has been introduced at many casinos in Nevada.

This option allows players to play from 21 to 1,000 consecutive games without having to be present and with up to one year to collect winnings. You can actually go back home, then mail in your ticket a few weeks later, or even keep it and come back next year and the winnings are still yours to collect.


Roulette is an extremely simple game. A wheel with numbered pockets mounted inside the sunken dish, is spun. Then the croupier [Dealer] places a small white ball into a groove around the rim of the dish and spins it in the opposite direction to the spin of the wheel. Gravity eventually causes the ball to fall onto the spinning wheel, where it bounces around until it comes to rest in one of the numbered pockets. Winning, and losing, depends on where the ball lands and which bets players had laid prior to the spin. Each spin of the wheel is a new game.

All bets are paid before the next spin, and all new bets must be made before the next spin. However, players can often continue to make bets right up to just before the white ball drops down and starts bouncing around the spinning wheel, which the croupier will indicate by calling out "no more bets". Roulette is also the only casino game, apart from reel slots, where players are mere spectators and can make no decisions to affect the outcome of the game.

When you approach a Roulette table, the first thing you do is change your money into Roulette gaming chips. Unlike gaming chips used in all other table games, Roulette gaming chips show no denominational value. In all the other table games, if you buy a $5 chip you will get a red chip with "$5" printed on it. When you buy Roulette chips, the value of each chip is determined either by the value you specify each such chip to have, or automatically by the value corresponding to that table's minimum betting requirement.

For example, say the table minimum is 50-cent chips. This means that if you change $20, and do not specify the value of the Roulette chips, the croupier will automatically give you 40 gaming chips, each of which has a value of 50 cents. However, you can specify the value of these chips.

If instead of 50-cent value you wanted each chip to have a value of $1, all you have to do is ask the dealer for "twenty dollars in $1 chips, please." By doing this you are increasing the value of the Roulette chips from the table's minimum. You can specify that the chips you buy have any value from the table minimum up to $5 each. If you specify $5 value chips, then you will get the red chips with the $5 value printed on them. These are the same chips you will normally get in all the other table games. If you intend to bet $25

chips, or $100 chips, then the same applies.

The reason for this system is because most Roulette players will only bet $1 chips, or chips of lesser values. Of course, this does not prevent you from stacking the chips up. Even if you bought $20 in 50-cent chips, and decided to bet them all on the one number, it would be perfectly okay to do so. In that case you would just stack them all up one on top of the other, on the number you want to bet.

If you do this the dealer may suggest that you simply bet four red $5 chips instead, but it makes no difference to the game. In fact no one will bother you or question any of your decisions. All the casino requires is that you make at least the minimum bet, and from that point on if you want to bet a sky-high stack of chips it's fine by them.

Most Roulette tables in Nevada and New Jersey casinos will be at the $1 minimum value. Several casinos will also offer the 50-cent version, and a few even a 25-cent minimum. You must remember that winning amounts are calculated based on a $1 bet. So, if the value of your chips is 50-cents, any win you get will be half in total value of the amount you would have won if you bet the $1 standard. For 25-cent chips this will be 1/4 of that value.

Since Roulette chips don't have their value printed on them, the dealer tells them apart by colors. If there are three players at the table, in addition to you, and all buy in for $20 worth of $1 chips, the dealer wouldn't be able to tell them apart if they were all one color. $1 chips used in the other table games in the casino are all the same color, usually cream, or off-white. If all the four players at this Roulette table had them, how could the dealer, or the players themselves for that matter, tell who won?

In this example, you can receive your chips in, say, blue, the second player in yellow, the third in brown and the fourth player in green. This then tells you apart. The colors themselves do not matter. If you win, your colored chip will designate you as the winner, and you will be paid with chips of the same color. As long as you play at this same table, the color designated to you will be yours.

Bets in Roulette can be made in a variety of ways, and are generally divided into two groups: "Inside" and "Outside". Inside bets are any bets made inside the numbered grid on the layout, and outside bets are those made outside this grid. For example, a bet on the number 10 will be an inside bet, while a bet on Red will be an outside bet. The basic differences between inside and outside bets lie in how much you can bet and how much you can win. Table limits for inside bets are, generally, $1 minimum and $100 maximum

straight up on any single number, and up to $2,500 in overall spread, while limits on the outside bets are generally $5 minimum and $5,000 or more maximum. Inside bets pay more, but are harder to win on. Outside bets pay less, but win more frequently.

Roulette provides the House with a steady 5.3% edge over the player. This edge is constant on all bets at every spin of the wheel. It can be so constant because each new spin of the Roulette wheel is a new event. Neither the wheel nor the ball remember any past events, and therefore Roulette is among the very few games that allows for such steady House wins. This House edge is derived from the use of the 0 and 00. House numbers; since there are 38 total numbers which can become the winning number, but only 36 upon which players can bet, it is pretty clear how this comes about.

This is different for European Roulette, which only employs the single 0; in this game the House edge is only 2. 7% overall. Unlike other table games, players at Roulette have no opportunity to reduce this House advantage, such as taking full odds in Craps or playing Basic Strategy and counting cards in Blackjack. But although this information is quite important to the game aficionado, for casual play this really makes little difference.

Nevertheless, it is important that you know what you're giving up when approaching Roulette, more so to realize the odds against you; this, however, shouldn't deter you from playing Roulette since there are indeed some bets which can be very profitable in the short term.


What is a Slot Machine?

A slot machine is a mechanical device employing three, four, five or more circular reels of varying dimensions. Each of these reels has several symbols either painted on or attached to it. These symbols can be anything at all, although the most common designs are cherries, bars, and - the jackpot symbol - the number 7. Whatever the symbol on the machine, it makes absolutely no difference to how the machine will play or what and how much it will pay out. All these details are determined by the computer program

carried by a tiny chip inside the machine's electronic brain. You could put pictures of your kids, rocks, spaghetti, cheese, or anything there, and, if they lined up on the pay liner you'd win the top jackpot. In case you have never played a slot machine, or have not played some of the newer slot machines lately, I shall begin by describing how you start.

Players begin play by inserting a specified number of coins, or gaming tokens, into a coin receptacle slot provided on the front of the machine, and then pulling the handle affixed to the right side of the machine which sets the reels spinning, The reels come to a stop in order left-to-right on the display screen. The object is to line up matching symbols [matching winning combinations] on the pay line, usually a center stripe painted across the viewing screen. The schedule of winning combinations is usually displayed on the front or just above the machine, indicating the hierarchy of winning combinations and the amounts that each one pays whenever it appears on the active payline.

Instead of a handle, some modern machines employ a button marked "spin" which you press to start the reels turning, and, like the handler pressing it will spin the reels after the coin, or coins, are inserted. Most modern Slot Machines, like the Video Poker machines, also have a button marked "credit". If the player presses this button prior to inserting coins, instead of paying winners off in coins, the machine will automatically credit any winnings to a credit meter. The credited winnings appear numerically on the machine's credit meter display, and, as an option, the player then has a choice of playing these credits, or cashing them out. To play the credits, the player can press a button marked "play one credit", and for each time this button is pressed the machine will deduct one credit from the credit meter and register one corresponding coin as "coin in". The player may press this "play one credit" button up to the machine's maximum coin limit.

If, for instance, the machine you are playing takes three coins as maximum, you can press this "play one coin" button three times. These coins are then deducted from the player's credit meter, and credited to the player's next pull. When this is done, the machine will usually say "coin accepted" on the display, or, in some cases, the pay-lines on the machine's display will light up. The effect is the same as if you had put three coins in the slot instead of using the credits you had accumulated. Most of the modern machines also

have another button called "play maximum coins", sometime also identified as "play three coins" if that machine's maximum is three coins, or "play five coins" if that machine's maximum is five, and so on. By pressing this button, the player will automatically play the maximum coins which that machine takes. The player may also cash out these credits by pressing a button marked "collect". By pressing this button,

the machine will pay out in coins, or gaming tokens, all the credits indicated on the credit meter. These coins then drop to the tray mounted at the bottom of the machine.


Texas Hold-Em resembles Seven Card Stud only in that a total of seven cards are dealt out in the end, and that five of the seven cards are used by players to make the best possible hand they can make. But this is where the similarity ends.

In Texas Hold-Em -- generally known simply as "Hold-Em" -- all players at the table get two cards face down, which only they can see, but the remaining five cards are dealt out face up, in front of the dealer, and are common cards to all the players in the game. This means that if these five common cards have among them, say, two Kings, these two Kings are common to everyone at the who is still in the game at that point. All players can use these Kings to combine with the two cards they have, plus any of the remaining cards among the common cards.

Texas Hold-Em tables are usually bigger than Seven Card Stud tables, and generally accommodate from 7 to 12 players. In some casinos games accommodating up to 14 players are also offered. As in all poker games, dealing begins after the dealer shuffles the cards. The game uses the standard 52 card deck, without Jokers and no wild cards.

Following the shuffle, the dealer will burn from three to five cards, depending on House rules. He then begins to deal clockwise. Each player at the Hold-Em table is given a total of two down cards -- dealt one-by-one to each player in turn -- but only after two of the players have made their mandatory ante bets. After these two down cards are dealt to each player the first round of betting takes place. It is only at the conclusion of this first round of betting -- that the dealer burns a single card and three more cards are

dealt, face up. These three cards are called "the flop" and are common cards to all the players still in the game. At the conclusion of all betting in this round, the dealer burns another card and then deals one additional card face up and adds this to the flop. Another round of betting takes place, the process is repeated, and the final seventh card is then dealt, also face up, and added to the other four. This completes the total of five common cards. This also begins the final round of betting, and no more cards will be dealt.

At the beginning of the game, which player gets the first card out depends on the position of the "dealer's puck". This dealer's puck is a small, round and white plastic object similar to that used in Craps, except in Hold-Em it has two white sides and each side has the word "dealer" written on it. This puck moves from player to player, clockwise, after each deal. This is done so that no single player will always get the first card out, and to prevent any one player from always having to be the first one to make a bet. This is also done to make sure that all players at the table will, eventually, have to put up their mandatory ante bets.

Whoever holds the puck will get the last card dealt at each turn of the deal. The player sitting to the left of the player with the dealer's puck gets the first card, player to his left the next card, and so on. The player to the left of the player holding the puck also has to make an ante bet in an amount equal to the table minimum, and the player next to him, on his left, has to make a second ante bet equal to 1/3 of that, both mandatory bets in Hold Em. Technically, these first bets are really blind bets -- that is, bets on your own cards even before you've see them -- rather than ante bets, but they are nonetheless still called an ante.

These ante amounts vary depending on the table limits. Since the puck moves from player to player around the table after each hand s completed, eventually all players will have to make such blind bets. This double-ante requirement is there for three basic reasons: First, because players making such bets are in the favored spot, getting the first and second card out respectively; second, because the player with the higher ante bet is now able to see how all the other players play and bet before having to make any further

decisions; and third, to place some action on the table. If there is no action, and all players fold except one player, that player still gets a small win. In addition, the player who had to make the bigger ante bet also gets a chance to raise the bets at the end of the first round of betting, This opportunity to so raise the bets is called an "option".

If you do not make the ante bet when it is your turn, or call yourself out of that hand, or if you were not present at the table when it was your turn to put up the ante, you get no cards and now have to wait until the puck comes back around to you in order to be allowed to play again. You can, however, buy yourself back in the game at any time after you missed your blind bet turn, by betting both ante bets out of turn. The player making the smaller ante bet will be the first player asked to bet or fold after both initial cards

are dealt to all players, since the player making the higher ante bet is considered to already have made the minimum required bet. The first round of betting now takes place among the remaining players. When all players have checked, bet, raised and/or called and/or folded, the flop takes place, and thereafter the remaining rounds of betting, as indicated earlier.

At the final round, when all the remaining active players have called all the bets, the showdown takes place. These players turn over their two hole cards -- that is, the two down cards that make up their individual hands -- and the dealer will make the best comparison between each player's set of two hole cards and the five common cards. Whichever player has the best five-card Poker hand, using his two hole cards and any of the five common cards, is declared the winner. He gets the pot.


Video Poker is probably the simplest interactive gambling game now available. It is an interactive game because you can choose which cards you will keep and which cards you will throw away in the draw. Its simplicity lies in the easy-to-understand rules of the Five Card Draw poker game. I will therefore begin with a short explanation of Five Card Draw, and then expand on how this applies to Video Poker.

In the Five Card Draw poker game you are first dealt five cards. You then have the choice of keeping any or all of them, or throwing away any or all of them. For each card you throw away, you get another to replace it. The object is to improve your "hand" [the final set of five cards you decide to keep] and make it into a winning hand. This is the format currently used as the basis for the computer program that runs virtually all Video Poker machines.

On such Video Poker machines, you begin play by inserting your coins in the slot. Almost all Video Poker machines take from one to five coins. The only exceptions are $5, $25 and $100 Video Poker machines, which can take two or three coins as "maximum". You can only win the jackpot, the top prizes by playing the maximum coins allowed on the machine you are playing.

Once you deposit the maximum coins, the machine automatically deals you the first five cards, displaying them on the machine's screen. If you play fewer than maximum coins, you must hit a lit button labeled "deal". The machine will then deal you the same five cards you would have been dealt if you had played the maximum coins, because that set of cards is determined by the machine's program immediately after the first coin is deposited in the slot. Depositing further coins will not alter these five cards, therefore further coins are played solely to increase the potential amounts of money to be paid out by the machine if a winning hand is achieved after the draw.

After you receive the first five cards, a row of buttons on the machine lights up, usually with the word "hold" written on each button. These buttons are used to keep the cards you wish to hold. There are five of these hold buttons, one for each of the five cards you have been dealt.

Normally, these hold buttons are directly underneath each card, making it easy to see which cards you are selecting. By pressing any one of these hold buttons, the word "held" will appear above or below the corresponding card. This means that you have selected to retain this card as part of your hand, and when you take the next step in playing this hand, the machine will keep this card on the screen. In effect, you have selected to keep this card. Pushing the button simply tells the machine what your decision is.

You can hold any one, two, three, four or all five cards, as you wish. Once you have selected the cards you wish to hold, you must press the deal button to continue the hand. The machine then keeps the cards you selected and throws away the rest, immediately dealing you replacement cards for the ones you didn't hold. If the combination makes a winning hand, the machine pays you automatically and the hand is over. Most modern machines pay on "credits", with the number of credits you have won typically displayed

either at the bottom right hand corner, or the top left hand corner of the Video screen. For instance, if your win is five coins, these machines will indicate the win by displaying the word "winner" and running up the amount of five coins on the "credit meter".

After the credits are paid, the words "player paid five" will usually appear on the screen, and this message will stay displayed until the next hand is played. Of course, if you win 30 coins, this message will say "player paid 30", and so on. You can then play the next hand by using your credits. Simply press the "bet" button, once for one coin, twice for two coins, and so on; or you can touch the "play maximum coins" button, in which case the machine will automatically take five credits, the normal maximum bet for most

machines, and automatically deal the next game. The whole process is then repeated over and over each time you press this "play credits" button until your credits are gone, or until you decide to collect them.

With the credit meter option, the machine will pay the amount of your win to the credit meter each time you win. Each time you lose, the credits you used to play with are gone, lost in the same way your coins would have been lost on a losing hand if you had inserted coins in the slot. If you have credits left on the credit meter and wish to collect them, you can do this at any time after the current hand is completed simply by pressing the button marked "collect". The machine will pay you by dropping your coins in the tray mounted below the machine.

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