Travelwise: Casino design and why the house always wins (3)
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Travelwise: Casino design and why the house always wins (3)

Cebu : Philippines | Aug 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM PDT
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Skooter reporting 08/30/12

Casinos creates the very rules that gamblers have to play by, so playing on psychology isn’t the only line of attack the house implements to gain an upper hand.

It depend on where you are in the world, these rules may be subject to legal regulation to guarantee that casinos don’t go beyond their limits. In the game of blackjack, for instance, players may try to check cards to keep track of the deck and verify whether the dealer or the player has the probable advantage. This is a flawlessly legal strategy, but that doesn’t mean casinos have to like it. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, the well-known US gambling destination the state law prevents casinos from without card counters, while in the other hand the state of Nevada, home base to the quintessential gaming city Las Vegas, no such law exists, therefore they can ask card counters to stop playing, or in extreme cases, proscribe them. As gaming author Frank Scoblete explains in his video tutorials, casinos anywhere can take actions to hold back card counters, such as limiting the amount of money they can bet. Many casinos in Holland, utilize continuous shuffling machines (CSM), so that dealt cards are shuffled back into the deck after each hand, in order to ward off card counting.

Generally casinos, the games have a built-in “house edge”, the gain taken from each bet. Although it differs from place to place, lottery-type games such as keno or slots usually have the worst odds, with the house advantage getting up to around 35%. Players’ odds are better in card and dice games; like for example, blackjack only has a house advantage of around 1% to 2% for skilled players and a house advantage of up to around 20% for unskilled players, while craps has a house advantage as low as less than one percent for skilled players and up to around 16% for unskilled players. Casinos don’t usually reveal odds, but in Belgium regular blackjack players have reported facing better odds, while in the Dominican Republic, keno reportedly has even worse odds than other parts of the world.

When all's said and done, the house always wins because casinos are businesses. They have to turn a profit to stay alive. While the ecosystem of a casino serves the end goal of taking gamblers’ money, players can come out on top by quitting while they’re ahead. That, of course, is easier said than done.

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skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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