Are You a Casino Gambling “Action Junkie?”

Two legendary professional gamblers are Stuey Unger and Archie Karras. Stuey has won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelets and is considered by many to be the greatest card player of all-time, especially Gin that was his specialty. Stuey won millions of dollars playing cards, very few could beat him. Archie was a guy who went to Vegas with $50 in his pocket, borrowed $10K and turned it into 40 million dollars. He did this by playing pool, then playing cards, then playing craps.

The problem with each of these stories is they don’t end happy (I guess Archie’s could he’s still alive). Stuey was an “action junkie.” He had to have “action” everyday of his life.

That would have been fine if he stuck to cards, but cards became almost too easy for him. He would bet on anything and everything. As quickly as he won it, he would gamble it all away on the horses or sports or whatever. Most of us would fear losing all our money because we wouldn’t have any money for a place to stay or food, not Stuey. His biggest fear was not losing the money, but not having a bankroll so he could get in on the “action.”

Stuey ended up dying in a hotel room (he was a cocaine addict and the autopsy says his heart gave out not overdose) with only a couple of hundred dollars to his name. In my mind he was the greatest card player of all time, a true genius, but unfortunately he lacked any self-discipline.

Archie turned 10K into 40 million. You know what he did with the 40 million? Your right, he gambled it all away back to the casinos. Again he was unable to discipline himself enough to put some of that money away not to be gambled.

Now lets take a look at somebody like Bob Dancer, the most well-known pro video poker player, who won over 1 million dollars over a 6 month period. Bob is extremely disciplined in his gambling. he will never play a machine unless it is in his favor (+100% payback.)

When he arrived in Vegas with 6K to his name, he would cash in coupons for an extra five dollars or look for change dropped on the casino floor. Somehow I can’t picture Stuey Unger cashing a $5 coupon or bending down to pick up a quarter, but Bob did this to survive. Any gambling he did was calculated to have the odds in his favor and there was a very small chance of him going broke, losing his bankroll. Today Bob is financially well off and has a well-rounded career.

I want to be somewhere in the middle of these three pro gamblers. I want to be disciplined in my approach, but don’t want to completely take the risk away because then it really isn’t gambling. I want to make my decisions based on sound principles, not on impulse. That being said, there will be times when I just go for it and put mathematics and statistics aside. Maybe that will be my downfall, or maybe that will allow me to make a run like Archie Karras.

Mini-Baccarat – The Unsung Hero of Casino Gambling

The European version of Baccarat has been around 150 years give or take. It’s distant cousin, Chemin De Fer, played under an entirely different set of rules is far older and was a game favored by Europe’s royalty and wealthy industrialists. This is most likely where it got the mystique of elegance as an exclusively “high roller’s” game.

In the mid 1950’s Tommy Renzoni ran the Baccarat game at the Capri Hotel & Casino in Havana, Cuba. It was said he discovered that particular variation of the game being played in Argentina at the time.

In those days the mob ran the casinos in Havana and it was a popular resort for the very wealthy and Hollywood’s elite. In 1959 when Castro overthrew the Batista regime, he promptly closed the casino doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a sweet deal for a while but all good things must end.

The timing was perfect though, because Tommy Renzoni was brought in for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, through a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Vegas that is played today.

The American version of the game is as simple as they come. You choose to wager on either the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. Pretty much a coin toss. The only other choice would be to bet on a tie hand appearing (a bet no sane person would make although I see it done all the time). It’s an even money bet on either side with the exception of a small commission charged on winning bank hands.

The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the bank hand winning slightly more often than the player hand. Without the 5% commission the outcome would be tilted toward the bank side.

The object of the game is to get closest to a 9 total. All tens and face cards have a zero value, therefore a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. There is no need to even know the rules governing the drawing of cards because they are completely automatic and procedures are directed by the dealers and pit bosses.

Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide on the amount of your wager and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.

It is the aura that surrounds the game which tends to make it seem off limits to most casino goers. It’s been portrayed through stories of high rollers and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the hero playing against the evil villain. Keep in mind, all the players are betting against the casino, not against each other. Although the roped off table areas and high stakes table limits can be somewhat intimidating.

Enter Mini-Baccarat. The casinos, always on the look out to make a buck, devised the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino patron. It seemed to work although it still hasn’t garnered the wide spread acceptance of the more well known table games.

Betting Systems

In reality, mini-baccarat is ideally suited for most playing and betting systems that do well in an even-money, win/lose environment. Because there can be only one of two outcomes, betting systems that depend on a parlay (doubling up) of wagers tend to do well.

It is common to see runs of 2, 3, 4 & 5 on either bank or player hands. I was playing the Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 22 consecutive “bank” hands. Luckily, having the sense and instinct to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I was able to capture 18 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary run but the game does lend itself well to streaks on both sides.

If you toss a coin you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling the outcome. If a player were to parlay their first win (playing for 2 consecutive wins), they have a 1 in 3 chance of winning that wager. If successful, the player would receive a 3 to 1 payoff. $10 parlayed on two wins would become $40. The odds on calling two consecutive outcomes correctly is 3 to 1.

Playing for three consecutive wins would reduce the player’s winning wagers but the payoff would jump to 7 to 1. A $10 wager would return $80.

Another sound betting system calls for a gradual increase of winning bets. This effectively takes advantage of any extended run of wins that will undoubtedly occur and protect the player’s capital if the outcome is “choppy.”
This type of betting sequence would look like this:

10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50

No wager after the second one in the series would produce a loss for the player.

Following the 1st bet the player is risking $5 and betting $15;
After winning the third bet the player is up $20 betting 25;
On the fourth, the player is up $40 wagering $30;
On the fifth, the player is ahead $65 betting $40;

A series of 7 wins would return $150 and still have a $50 wager as the next bet. All with a starting wager of $10. Following any loss the player reverts back to the starting $10 bet.

With this method the player is increasing their bets with winnings while maintaining a low minimum bet during losing hands. This is the type of smart money management used by professional gamblers that takes full advantage of winning cycles while protecting their bankroll when losing. It insures that their winning bets will be substantially greater than their losing ones.

Although the hands are dealt at a rapid pace, I consider mini-baccarat to be an excellent game, especially for the beginner. It allows them to acclimate to the game and concentrate on their playing strategy and wagers without feeling intimidated by the big money action in the regular Baccarat pit.

If you’ve read any of the stuff I’ve written you know I’m a big fan of Baccarat. As for mini-baccarat, it’s the same game, same low house percentage, low minimums and gives the player a very good chance at some big wins. It might even pay for your next trip the casino.

Best of luck,
Ray W.

The Choices in Online Casino Gambling

The development of the internet has transformed the web into a virtual casino. Players can play different games and make some money from it.

One of the conveniences that online gambling has given to players is that there is no need to travel anymore. The person can play this for hours just sitting at home.

Since there are many sites to choose from and not all play by the same rules, it is best to check these out first before deciding to play. Some sites work in favor of the player so a lot of incentives and bonuses can be acquired by just shelling out a little cash. This is something the land based casinos don’t do often which has made more people decide to play online.

Another benefit of online casinos is that the player is allowed to play for free for a few rounds. This will give the person time to get the feel of the game before deciding to sign in. Land based casinos also don’t provide that opportunity. The only thing that a player can do is watch other people play before deciding to join in the action.

There are a lot of online casino games that the player can choose to play. How the game is played is the same but the odds and percentages of wins will really depend on the site.

Here are some of the favorites and how the rules differ from land-based casinos;

A good example is online poker. In this game, the traditional rules of the game are enforced. The game normally starts with blind bets before the cards are dealt.

The difference between land-based poker and online is that here, the player does not know the value of the cards that have been issued. The game begins at this point with the objective of making the most money.

The cards are given to the players which lasts several rounds. In the course of the game, more cards are dealt. The money goes to the last player standing should the rest fold somewhere along the game or just like the regular game, who has the highest hand, wins.

One of the basic games that anyone can play is blackjack. How to win is still the same which is getting highest hand without going over 21. The rules enforced by online casinos is also different. The bonuses that are given may or may not be cashable. Some of these sites also allow the person to qualify for receiving bonuses while some don’t.

The betting requirements for this game are also different. This determines how many times that a person has to bet before being allowed to convert those winnings to cash.

A simple game that does not require the player to shell out a lot of cash is online slots. This game requires the player to put in a quarter before being allowed to pull on the lever. Slots online has changed the lever with a click of the mouse. Money has to be deposited first before the person can play.

Before playing, it is best to read the rules. Some give incentives even at the start of the game. The choice of which game to play is up to the player. After all, gambling is all about chance.