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Strange but True: Sometimes you can beat the odds

Strange but True offers tips and tricks for beating the house at the casino.
By BILL SONES AND RICH SONES, PH.D. Published: July 1, 2014


Q: Can you beat the odds at the casino? Maybe, maybe not, but can you at least name ways you might try?

A: 1. Exploit the laws of nature: Since roulette wheels are mechanical instruments prone to wear and tear, unbalances arise that steer the picks, says former casino floor manager Bill Zender, as reported by Jeff Wilser, of Mental Floss magazine. “In 1873, Charles Jagger found a wonky wheel at Monte Carlo and bet on the biased numbers. He came away with $400,000 — that’s $7.8 million in today’s dough!”

2. Stick to the drab side of the room. To see where the odds are the worst, look for the flashing lights and bright colors used to make those games more attractive, like craps with its crazy bets of “the Field” and “Any 7.”

3. Practice makes perfect. Overall the house wins, but one exception is video poker, with its typical house advantage of only 0.46 percent, and even shifting in the gambler’s favor at times. The payoff is high but to cash out, you need to play at an expert level and most players simply aren’t skilled enough. So study up.

4. Know when to say when. Even with the house’s 5 percent edge at roulette, you have a decent chance of winning that first spin, and the second, and the third ... but if you were to play “forever,” eventually all your chips would belong to the house. Advice: If you are winning, stop.

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