Smart Casino Gambling: How To Protect Winnings and Limit Losses

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Casino gambling is a business for the casino owners. Like any other business, a casino is supposed to make money for its owners and it does, lots of it. Now how does a casino make money? Its simple, when you and I gamble in a casino and lose our money, that money minus their operating expenses becomes the casino's profit. So, can we say a player's loss is the casino's gain? Absolutely. The casino owners, managers, supervisors, dealers, catering staff, none of those people are our friends. They are all just trying to act friendly while their sights are trained at our wallets and our ATM cards. They will earn their bread and butter only and only if you and I lose our money gambling in their casino. And the casino owners' idea of running a casino is not only to earn their bread and butter, their idea is to get rich. Consider this: Sands Macau, the first American-owned casino in Macau that started in 2004, fully recovered the cost of building the project from its first year's profits alone. So my dear friend, should you and I continue doing our best to make them rich? Keep reading...

Winning In A Casino

At this point, I would like you to read a few lines from a movie that I have quoted in another article of mine in this blog. Clicking the following link will open that page in a new tab so that you can read those lines and come back to this page: Goa Casino Guide. If you do not wish to open that page now, its OK. The essence of what I wrote there is this: They want us to keep coming back to the casino and keep gambling for as long as there is some money left in our pocket or even in our bank account.

I assume it is clear that the goal of any business is profit-maximisation. Let us take the example of FMCG companies who sell toothpaste. It is an open secret that one simple tactic used by FMCG companies anywhere in the world is to increase the nozzle diameter of the toothpaste tube so that the consumer will end up using more toothpaste than necessary and finish the tube faster. Now imagine what all tricks a casino will be using to maximise their profit.

Is There Anything Like 'Smart Casino Gambling'?

For a casino, making money is a game of psychology. They know the player's or the gambler's psychology very well, and therefore, everything in a casino is designed to exploit that psychology. Here are a few simple facts of the gambler's psychology:

1. Gamblers aim for big wins such as jackpots
2. When gamblers win some money, they want to win more
3. When gamblers lose money, they want to recover their losses

In short, the gamblers do not know how to play smartly, how to protect their winnings, and how to limit their losses.

Let Us Turn The Tables

Let us think for a moment if it would be possible for us tiny creatures to use the casino owners' psychology against them? There may still not be a way to be sure winners but over a period of time, we might be able to take home more money than we lose in casinos.

If we decide to reverse our 'loser' psychology, all we need to do is to ignore the tempting jackpots, protect our winnings, and limit our losses. A confession here: I am not writing this article only for my readers, it is for myself too because I go to casinos very often and surely need to remember a few things about winning money.

Smart Casino Gambling Is To Aim For A Large Number Of Small Winnings

Jackpots in casinos are the real devil's temptation. They require additional bets, big bets, and people rarely win them. Hence, jackpot bets make a lot of money for the casino. Let us include all big bets in this analysis. Big bets work psychologically against us because, as you and I know, our bankroll (the money we have with us to play) is limited.

  • When we bet big money on a single game, we get worried about the possibility of losing that money. 
  • Worried people are not happy people.
  • Happy go lucky.
  • Unhappy go back to the ATM to withdraw more money.
Why Small Bets Are Smart Bets

All games in casinos are designed so that the win-lose odds always favour the casino. Fortunately, the official odds of winning for the casino are not so huge. Take the example of Blackjack: If a player makes all the decisions while playing Blackjack according to a method called 'Basic Strategy', the casino's long term winning odds get reduced to less than 1%. The odds work over a large number of games, not just over a few games. You will read in many online articles on Blackjack that players should divide their money so as to be able to play at least 100 hands. So if your bankroll is INR 20,000 you should bet only INR 200 on each game.

The Psychology That The Casino Uses Against Us

When a player wins on a bet of INR 200, they sometimes take that win as a loss. They think that if they had bet a higher amount, say INR 1000, they would have won INR 1000 instead of just 200. What they do not realise is that betting INR 1000 on each game would give them only 20 chances before their bankroll would be all gone. Whereas, betting INR 200 each time gives them a minimum of 100 chances and it is entirely possible along the way that the player would be in a surplus.

A Winning System

By betting INR 200 each time, playing as per the 'Basic Strategy',  increasing the bet by INR 100 after each win and coming back to the starting bet of INR 200 after each loss, can possibly all result in a decent amount of surplus with the player. Remember, when betting small amounts we will have no worry of losing too much. We will be happy and thus a lot more likely to win.

Knowing When To Quit

For a winning system to succeed, the player must know when to stop playing. Say, the initial bankroll that I brought to the Blackjack table has increased by 50%, it is time for me to get up and go. The odds of the game do not continuously work in favour of the player. Remember the cardinal rule of the casino business: 'The longer they play, the more they lose'. I have seen it many times, when a player starts winning, the dealer at the table will suddenly ask: "Sir, would you like a drink?". That is actually a ploy to keep the player longer at the table. Everyone working in a casino knows one thing, sooner or later, the player's luck will run out and they will lose everything back including some more money from their pocket. That brings us to the second stage of using the casino owners' psychology against them.

Protect Your Winnings

Let us see some statistics here. 70% of the people who enter a casino win some money initially. Later, 90% of those 70% lose it all back.

Adding up, there are those 30% who start losing right away and the 63% (90/100 of the 70%) who lose eventually, we get a number of 93% which is the percentage of gamblers in a casino who are going to lose their money on any particular day. Only 7 out of 100 people will eventually go home with some winnings in their pocket. This is the reason why the casino industry is prospering everywhere in the world. I happened to speak to two guys from a bank in Goa, whose job is to refill currency into the ATMs installed in a large floating casino. Those guys told me that they refill around 25-30 lakh Rupees (INR 2.5 to 3 million) each day in the two ATMs installed in that single floating casino. That means, our 93% losers are not just losing the cash they bring along with them to the casino, but even some more that they withdraw from their bank accounts using the on-site ATMs.

If you remember what I said earlier in this article, aiming for a large number of small winnings is the smart strategy for a casino gambler. On the contrary, even after big wins we often lose everything back. I will give an example from Three Card Poker or Mini Flush Games. Several times we see players winning big hands on these games, like 'Straight Flush' in Three Card Poker and 'Three of a Kind' in Mini Flush. These hands pay 40 and 100 times the original amount of bet respectively. But how many of us get up and leave that table after winning that big hand? Very few. We always play a few more hands hoping for another lucky break. Many times, the winnings are all lost back. I also come across gamblers in Goa who have won a jackpot in slot machines some day in the past and subsequently lost several times of that win waiting for another jackpot.

The design of the casino games is such that a long term winning percentage in favour of the casino is guaranteed. On top of that, many of the players make mistakes while playing due to the lack of knowledge about the right strategies related to each game. Then why, even in the remote chance of winning some money in a casino, we do not want to take our winnings home? Just understand this: The casino business is designed to take away our money from us, and so whenever we get a rare chance, we should not hesitate in taking away the casino's money. And I mean all legally of course.

Limit Your Losses

This is very important. Just as we need to protect our winnings, we need to keep our losses to the minimum. Playing at low bets is one way. I like playing at minimum bets. I have personally experienced playing  Blackjack at minimum bets of INR 200 in Goa. Sometimes I win. But whenever I tried playing at the so called 'VIP tables' where the minimum bet is INR 1000, I start losing. I use the same 'Basic Strategy' on both the tables. Then why I lose on the VIP table, because I know that I cannot afford to play Blackjack at INR 1000 per bet. This INR 1000 Blackjack is not a game for me that I can just play for fun. It is serious gambling.

How To Contain Losses

We need to decide why we are playing or gambling in a casino. If we are playing for fun, then our bets should be only as much as we can afford to lose without affecting our lives in any way whatsoever. That is fun. If, on the other hand, I know that the money with me is what I need to spend on my personal or my family's living expenses for the next few days, can I really have fun gambling with that money in a casino? The truth is, if money is a problem for me, going to a casino will only compound that problem.

Quit Early On A Bad Day

When I sit on a gaming table and lose 10% of my bankroll quickly, I should leave that table and take a break or go to another table or another game. It is obvious that something on the first table is not working for me. Losing 10% of the initial bankroll quickly should be taken as a stop signal. If one ignores that stop signal, the subsequent losses are quick and total.

Trying To Recover Past Losses?

Another big reason behind someone's mounting losses in casino gambling is when that person is trying to recover past losses. This past loser is increasing his bet amounts because the losses that need to be recovered keep increasing with each new trip to the casino. In the meantime, the casino has issued a 'VIP' membership card to this player who now regularly comes, sits on the same table, orders the same free drinks, plays according to the same old strategy, and hopes for a better result. The losses never stop. Now how smart is that? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result! Its a vicious circle, this is what results in people selling their properties and other good assets to fund their casino losses. Past losses cannot be recovered by laying higher bets. Higher bets just result in more stress in the mind of the player and he or she ends up losing more money.

There is a better way to recover past losses. Throw away that VIP membership card, keep your bets small, and learn to walk away when you are winning some money. You may have to visit a casino more number of times but this stress-free gaming will put an end to further losses and eventually a portion of the past losses will also get recovered.

Do Not Ape The VIPs

There are several rich players, called 'high-roller' or 'VIP' in casino parlance. These people have just too much money but do not know what to do with it. Gambling in a casino gives them some sort of a kick. They do not care about winning or losing. They just want to be on that table laying high bets and ordering drinks and snacks while everyone around them at that time does not have any doubt about their being rich and powerful. That matters to them. But that sort of gambling is not really for you and me. This article is not meant for such players.

Gambling Cannot Be A Means Of Livelihood

Playing professionally in a casino, meaning making gambling a means of earning livelihood, is not easy. There are very few people in the world who are able to do that. With everything designed in a casino to take away the players' money, earning one's livelihood from a casino is a near impossibility. Trying out such a thing will most probably result in huge losses.

To conclude, I would like to give a note of caution. Casino gambling is a vice more than a hobby or a means of entertainment. In the beginning, everyone feels good going there, but later, after a visit too many, it all becomes less entertaining and more stressful. Money matters to us and to our families. We need to provide for our children and for that we will need the money that we have worked so hard to earn. Let us not just hand it to the casino owners. They don't deserve it.

I know reading this article up to here will have given you a headache. But thanks for reading.

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Posted by Narinder Singh

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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh. (Email:


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