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Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

This is not mine, the creator of this is u/enderpiet

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.
Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up $1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.
Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.
Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.
Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.
Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.
6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.
5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.
4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.
3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules:https://prnt.sc/olct6g
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.
Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.
2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.
But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1
Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.
The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.
But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato
1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around $100,000 in value.
So don't forget your daily spin, it's definitely worth your time.
2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.
And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.
Cliffs:
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (https://prnt.sc/olct6g).
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.
submitted by sircore to gtaonline [link] [comments]

Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.

Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up $1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.

Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.

Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.

Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.

Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.

6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.

5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.

4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.

3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules: https://prnt.sc/olct6g
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.

Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.

2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.

But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1

Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.

The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.

But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato

1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around $100,000 in value.
So don't forget your daily spin, it's definitely worth your time.

2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.

And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.

Cliffs:
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (https://prnt.sc/olct6g).
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.
submitted by enderpiet to gtaonline [link] [comments]

Has anyone here with a rough past of gambling on slots/in the pits been able to successfully kick the problem and stick to 100% playing poker?

Long read incoming...
I started dabbing in online poker a couple years before Black Friday happened. I was a losing player, but I was determined to change to that. I never did turn it around before Black Friday though. But this didn't stop me from giving up on my poker dream, I started buying poker books and reading strategy articles online. I was 20 when Black Friday happened and I convinced myself that I was going to take the live poker scene by storm when I turned 21. On my 21st birthday I went to the casino and won. And the next couple of sessions after that I won too. I was on top of the world, I truly believed I was going to be the next Tom Dwan. And then reality hit me, I lost a few sessions and before I knew it I was right back where I started.
I always knew that playing in the pits was -EV and that you're never supposed to do it, I picked that up from multiple books/articles over my reading when I was 20. But one day when I got to the casino there were insanely long lists for poker, so I told myself that just this once I was going to try blackjack, what's the worst that could happen? So I sit with like $40 bucks or something and turn it into almost $500. It was an amazing feeling, I could play poker for hours and hours and hours, but I just had my biggest one day score to date, and it wasn't in poker, it was in blackjack in less than 30 minutes.
So I still played poker, but from time to time I would play blackjack too. Of course I lost back what I won that first day on blackjack and then some. I would try to be disciplined and grind at poker, but if I took a bad beat or had a losing session I would always end up chasing my losses in blackjack. Eventually the poker playing was less and less and the blackjack playing was more and more. It got to the point where I basically quit poker altogether. Every time I would save up a few hundred in cash tips at my job, I would drive to the casino after work that night and play $25/hand blackjack. This went on for a couple years and overall I was down close to 15k before I decided enough is enough and that something needed to change.
So what did I do? Started working at the casino as a blackjack dealer. I couldn't play there anymore, and the next closest casino was 2 hours away. I also had hopes that being around so many miserable losing players would shake me of the habit. Well of course that was not the case. I think of it like the prison analogy, someone goes in a small time offender and comes out a seasoned criminal. That was exactly the case for me. I studied wizard of odds every day, I was obsessed with learning all of the odds for each casino game. I knew basic strategy for blackjack like the back of my hand, I learned how to count cards, I learned about games that prior to working there I didn't even know existed. And eventually of course I started making the 2 hour trips to the closest casino, placing bigger and bigger bets as time went on.
Eventually I got promoted to a poker dealer. And at least where I worked, that's like the holy grail of casino jobs. You make more money, you get to sit instead of stand, and degenerates aren't allowed to blow smoke in your face for 8 hours a day. And also this was like the rekindling of my poker dream. I got to watch players make bad plays for 8 hours a day and see firsthand what works and what doesn't. I started obsessing with poker again. When I wasn't at work I would come home and watch poker videos, read about poker, take 2 hour trips to the casino on my off days and play poker, I learned about 2+2 and posted hand histories for the first time ever...I feel like I became a much better player during this time than I ever had been before. But I could still never kick the table games and chasing losses problem. From my time as a table games dealer, I learned that baccarat was the best odds for me for what I was trying to accomplish, and that is chase losses at as close to neutral EV as possible in as quick an amount of time as possible. And I also learned about the martingale betting system. This, combined with the fact that I'm making more money now than I was before...I think you can see where this is going.
So fast forward about 5 years and that's where I'm at now, except the betting amounts have gotten higher and higher, gotta keep chasing that high. I still study poker on my time away from work quite a bit, and I still take long trips to the casino a few times a month. But I have never been able to kick the habit of chasing losses that I developed when I was 21. Take a bad beat in poker? Fuck, let's try to get it back in baccarat. Damn, 4 players in a row. How the fuck did I let a $500 loss in poker turn into losing another $3000 at baccarat. And then I tell myself I'm done for good, but the thoughts always creep back and eventually I give in. I have an off day from work so plan a trip to the casino, go to the bank and take $6000 from my checking account, drive 2 hours to the casino to play one hand of baccarat, win or lose. And there's no explaining the feeling i get in my chest once I start getting close to the casino, and eventually once I sit down as the dealer is counting out all that money, and the floor starts frantically panicking once I tell them I'm not using a player's card. They get on the phone, have a little meeting with another floor, keep eyeballing me. And then finally the bet is placed and I get to peel both the cards and see if I win or lose. I've never done drugs so I can't compare, but I imagine this is a similar feeling. But I've gotten to the point where I've placed so many big bets that most bets do nothing for me anymore, and I don't have a job where I can regularly place bets big enough to do anything anyways (and even if I did, I'd probably just keep going bigger and bigger until those bets did nothing for me too).
The most degenerate thing I've ever done is plan a last minute one day flight to Vegas. I was going to place a $30,000 Superbowl bet on my favorite team. I was so fucking over gambling, I just lost one of those big baccarat bets and was hating life. I wanted to empty my checking account so I couldn't fucking chase anymore, and what better way to do it then in one last ditch effort to win back all the money I've lost gambling over the years and then some, all while rooting for a team to win the Superbowl that I was going to be rooting for anyways. So on the flight out there, of course I get the genius idea to use that $30,000 to martingale 2 hands of baccarat, just under 75% of the time I'll have $10,000 and a Superbowl bet slip as opposed to not martingaling 2 hands of baccarat, where 100% of the time I'll have $0 and a Superbowl bet slip. So of course I martingaled and I ended up winning, but the original goal of being broke so I couldn't chase anymore was gone as now I still had a bankroll.
If you look up the definition of a compulsive gambler, it's basically me. I scored 18 out of 20 on these questions (and it would've been 20 out of 20 if given the opportunity). I remember reading a passage in one of the poker books I had when I was 20 and it has stuck with me all this time, it was something along the lines of "if you have a gambling problem you should put this book down and give up poker now, or else you'll be in for a long life of misery". With every passing year that is looking more and more like it is the case. The past 10 years of my life have been spent on this never ending cycle of trying to separate poker from my gambling addiction, and rest of the misery that comes with it.
So that brings me back to the original question. Has anyone been able to successfully kick a gambling problem and stick to 100% playing poker? Does anyone have any tips/advice or questions for me? Does anyone relate in any way to anything I said? And if you don't want to post it here, please PM me instead because I really want help. I want to be able to quit gambling on everything except poker, but if the past 10 years are any indication then that might not be possible for me.
submitted by Eze_69 to poker [link] [comments]

Martingales: The House Goes Bust

Martingales
Part One: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Part Two: Instruments of Darkness
Part Three: Absolute Zero
Part Four: All Sevens
Part Five: Whale-Watching
Part Six: On the Shores of Oblivion
Part Seven: Ante Up
Theme
“Okay, what the hell is this?” Martin’s confusion is evident in his tone as he takes in the sight before him, slowly stepping out of the elevator as he does so. Rather than the sumptuous yet gaudy building he’s been used to, here it looks like he’s entered into some ancient Greek temple. Worn columns reach to support a supposed ceiling, and rather than carpet, colorful flecks of tile make sweeping images that spread across the floor. The walls are stone as well, daubed in paint and carved with expressions of stern individuals, and of others kneeling before the banks of a snow-white winding path. No, not a path, a river, Martin notes as, upon closer inspection, he sees hands reaching into the depths, and others raised before mouths.
“Welcome to the Executive Level, Mister Gale,” A smooth voice says from beside him, causing the boy to jump a solid foot. An immaculate looking man in black suit and tie stands beside him, his face masked with an inscrutable mask of tragic woe. “Your friend mentioned that you were having troubles with your memories; please, allow me to be of assistance.”
Martin turns to look for Anthony, but only an elevator door is to be seen, the lift hidden behind twins doors of steel.
“Come now, Mister Gale, let’s have a conversation, you and me. Are you thirsty, hungry?” The masked figure saunters deeper into the room. Beyond a fountain of oily black water and that looks like its offering liquid snow, there sits a stone table, a pair of chairs on opposite sides. Well, a throne and a chair; the one beside the fountains is tall-backed and imperiously proud compared to its counterpart. Settling into his throne, the man gestures to the chair across from him. Martin’s teeth gnaw at his lip in concern, but he gradually makes his way into the room. As he does so, he notes the ceiling, where two figures are coiled overhead. Each is the mirror of the other, one dressed in white and with platinum tresses, while one is dressed in the inky coils of night. They stare down from overhead, neither lesser than the other.
“There we are.” The man says as Martin settles into the chair across from him. A gloved hand sweeps across the table in a casual grandness. What Martin thought was just a stone table bears second inspection, as it turns out to be tiled with squares of obsidian and some white stone-
Howlite, his mind supplies, though he hadn’t had a clue the word existed until that moment.
-Obsidian and howlite. On the table, a richly lacquered box rests. The figure across from Martin opens the lid, and begins to pull piece after piece from within. A chessboard, with pieces of onyx and moonstone.
“Do you play, Mister Gale?” the man asks.
“I- uh, I don’t know, but I-!” The confusion of this situation is all encompassing; whatever Martin had expected up here, it was not a chess game with a masked individual in what looks like a forgotten ruin. He begins to protest, but is cut off by one gloved finger being raised. The figure, whomever they are, commands authority to silence with even just a gesture.
”Right, I should’ve guessed. Well, let’s see what you remember, then. I find it easier to talk while my hands are distracted. Memory goes first, and the House responds.” The gloved hand goes from interdiction to encouragement. Martin looks down to the pieces, but his gaze lingers for only a moment before he’s back and focused on the stranger across from him. Another stranger and place he doesn’t understand, again!
“I don’t even know who you are,” Martin glowers at the tragic mask sitting opposite. “Why should I play?”
“You’re right, you’re right of course, Mister Gale. How about this then; we’ll include an ante for each piece taken. With each successful capture, the loser shall answer the question of the claimant, and do so truthfully. And as a show of good faith, I’ll give you an answer unbidden.” The woe-struck mask leans across the table, looking at Martin with a misery that he can feel deep within his chest. Pinpricks of red light can be seen within the depths, but anything remotely passable as eyes cannot be seen.
“You may call me Stamatios the Tragic,” a sibilant hiss of a sentence comes from behind the mask. It takes all of Martin’s effort to avoid shivering, but the displeasure must be clear on his face as Stamatios leans back into his throne.
“And now that we’re acquainted, Mister Gale, let us begin the game.”
Black 1; White 0
“First piece to me, Mister Gale,” Stamatios notes as a bone-white pawn goes back into the box. It was bound to happen, Martin figured. It had to be done to succeed down the road.
“How is your head feeling? Anthony had mentioned that you were still dealing with one doozy of a migraine when we talked.”
“It’s… better,” Martin says guardedly. He’ll play by the rules of the game, even the added ante, if it means getting some iota of knowledge from the stranger across from him. “But I still can’t remember much.”
“Well, I’ve always found that a little bit of knowledge can be a most dangerous thing…”
Black 1; White 2
“Well done, Mister Gale,” Stamtios says approvingly, “in just a few moves, you’ve claimed a pair of pawns. Have you had time to think of your questions?”
“What is this place is my first one.”
“Good, good. This room is a penthouse suite for my brother and myself to reflect and separate ourselves from the world. Just as the Lotus is a place of refuge for some, we need that ourselves.”
“A brother… Do I have any siblings, then?”
“A sister, that I have been told of; my brother would know better,” Stamatios sighs. Martin is hooked though. What he couldn’t get from Anthony in the terms of answers has been claimed here in just minutes! And what’s more, that proves the dream was right! A sister, a father and mother, cousins and uncles; a whole family is out there waiting for him!
“Can I-” He begins to press his advantage, but a warning finger is raised again.
“Questions, questions Mister Gale. If you want answers, you must play better.”
Black 3; White 3
A pair of white pieces return to the box soon after, along with an ebony as well.
“Two for me, and one for you, Mister Gale. You seem to have come off a little rougher on this exchange. I think I will hold onto my questions for now; feel free to ask yours, though.”
“Can I talk to your brother?”
“I certainly believe you could, yes. But he is not in currently, and I have no way of contacting him that you can use, I am afraid. Do not worry though, Mister Gale. If he wishes to talk with you, he will make himself known to you.”
Black 4; White 3
“”Mister Gale, what do you think of Anthony?” Stamatios the Tragic asks as he a white rook finds its way into the box.
“I… I don’t trust him. I think he’s lied to me about a lot of things here. I think I trust you more than I trust him,” Martin admits. “At least you didn’t try buddying up to me as a friend.”
“Hmm, I see… It’s a shame that some people have such disreputable motives. Taking advantage of someone’s memory lapses like that; simply boorish behavior.”
Black 6; White 3
“Mister Gale, you simply need to play sharper, you won’t get any answers at this rate.” The pieces are definitely looking lopsided in their box, with ivory outnumbering ebony by a significant amount.
“How does it feel, knowing nothing of yourself?”
“It’s… it’s not something I like. I feel like someone took five different puzzles and tossed all of the pieces together. Just when I think I’ve got the frame completed, someone goes and messes it up.
“Truly unfortunate to hear; it sounds miserable.”
“I… I wouldn’t say that,” Martin muses. “There’s nowhere to go but up, isn’t there?”
“Isn’t there?” Stamtios echoes. If a mask hadn’t been between them, Martin would swear that an eyebrow was being raised with the mirrored question.
Black 6; White 4
“Did I know Anthony before he found me?”
“No, I highly doubt it. He’s been a long-term resident of the Lotus for quite some time, and it’s a shame to hear that he’s being… casual in his approach to things. I take it he didn’t offer you anything to eat, did he?”
“I- Wait, you didn’t take a piece here, I don’t have to answer,” Martin retorts. The synapses in his head went into overtime now, dealing with that bit of information. Anthony had never known him, and he had stayed at the Lotus for a while. Nothing he said is true, nothing.
So… Where does that leave him?
“You’re right of course, Mister Gale,” Stamatios inclines his head in a slow nod. “Shall we continue?”
Black 6; White 6
“Is my name Martin Gale?” Martin asks.
“My answer will be a history lesson for you, Mister Gale.” Stamatios begins, as Martin takes another pair of pieces. The board has thinned considerably, with roughly half the soldiers and nobility on each side of the board. “In eighteenth-century France, gambling parlors were home to a particular theory of betting, and by extension, probability. Do you know what that is?”
“No…”
“I’ll tell you, then. If you bet fifty dollars on a hand of poker and lost, how would you go about recouping said loss?”
“I’d bet again,” Martin notes, wondering where this is going.
“But would you bet the minimum, or fifty dollars? How safe would you be, and how brave would you be in going past a point of safety?”
“I, uh…”
“Enter the Martingales; those supremely brave and supremely foolish gamblers who, when faced with loss, doubled their efforts. If you lost fifty dollars, you bet one-hundred. Down one million, you’ll bet two million; so on and so forth. I doubt you need more explanation than that.”
“That’s a terrible idea though, why would anyone do that?”
“Well, if you win, you aren’t out anything at all, of course. Someone can go from serfdom back to their lordship.”
“And a lord could be made a pauper,” Martin counters. “I don’t know how this connects to me, though.”
“Well, Mister Gale…. You may not be the Martin Gale, but you are certainly a Martingale, at least in our eyes.”
“What does that even mean?”
“Questions, Mister Gale. I have answered what you have asked. Keep playing.”
Black 4; White 7
“Why do you think I’m a Martingale?”
“Because Mister Gale, I know you.”
Black 8; White 8
“Here we are, on the crossroads; halfway between existence… and oblivion,” Stamatios intones as Martin rolls his eyes.
“A bit melodramatic, huh?” He asks, and Stamatios shakes his head.
“Not at all, Mister Gale. There’s a tipping of the scales that one can only see when they’re perfectly balanced; your cousins know that better than most, I’m sure.”
“Wait, you know my cousins?”
“Only by reputation; and no, I won’t tell you their names. Focus on the game, Mister Gale.”
Black 9; White 10
“How can I get my memory back?”
“There’s several ways, I’m sure. Time would probably be the most effective method, I would say. Certainly the safest.”
“What happened to me?”
“I cannot say, for I was not a witness. I can only offer a guess, but that would not help your situation, I fear. Mister Gale, how does that make you feel?”
“Why are you trying to psychoanalyze me?”
“I’m not; I’m trying to understand you. If you want help, you need to be understood. And unfortunately, there’s not much for me to understand yet. Like you eloquently said, you’re like a bunch of puzzles put together. We can each put together a different picture, and what I think you are may be very different than what you think you are.”
Black 12; White 12
“And now we’re in the endgame, Mister Gale. May I say, this is a most admirable game. I daresay you could even give my brother a run for his money as well; we’ve had ample time to practice together, and it seems like you would fit in quite well.”
“What do you mean?” Martin asks.
“Well, quite simply, you would be a natural fit to join my brother and myself in our day to day operations. The Tragic, The Comic… The Cynic?” He offers in a lilting voice. “It’s not like anyone except for me has given you the truth so far. The Lotus-Eaters down below hardly care about you, Anthony is a tool that I would leave to you to take care of as you’d like, and you’d have quite a bit of autonomy to pursue your own endeavors.”
“That’s… what’s the catch?”
“Hmm… ask a different question for now, I’m not sure how to properly answer it for you yet, and don’t want to lead you astray. I’m not a proverbial snake.”
“Then what is Camp Half-Blood?”
“...I see you are recuperating more than Anthony would have led me to believe.” Stamatios’s voice is guarded, for the first time since the game of chess and questions began it actually sounds like he is on the defensive. “I am bound by my word though, Mister Gale. It’s a Camp, one for training people such as yourself to fight and survive a world that would have you dead. A Camp that you left of your own volition, I might add.”
“Why would I do that?”
“Because you’re a Martingale, Mister Gale. First for a claim, then for family, then for fraternity. And everytime its cost you something more; your normalcy, your innocence, and now, your memories. Eventually you won’t be able to pay the costs… and what then?”
Black 14; White 13
“One minute from doomsday, Mister Gale,” Stamatios notes. “And with myself right behind.”
Martin’s eyes scan the desolate board. If this were a literal battlefield, it would be clogged with blood and corpses. Here, on immaculate howlite and obsidian, it’s an austere representation of the battle of questions between them.
“...Why did this happen to me?” He asks as the seconds transform into minutes of silence between them. The question had been building for some time in him, and now seemed as good a time as any to ask, with an onyx bishop and ebony rook, staring down the gleaming bastion that his own rook provided against, as Stamatios had put it, oblivion.
“I mean, why me? Out of everybody in the world, why am I the one who has this lot?”
“Because we needed someone like you. Someone intelligent, and enduring. Those qualities are rare to find together, and even rarer when you look for the other conditions as well. Not many people would be willing to play a twenty-hour game of chess for answers.”
“Twenty hours?!” Martin exclaims. It had hardly felt like twenty minutes, let alone twenty hours. No twinge of hunger, no parched throat; nothing to indicate that this had been going on for the better part of a day.
“Well, in here, I suppose it seemed a little faster,” Stamatios admits. “I can only imagine how it went outside of here… But yes, you have the patience to see something through to the end, that’s another thing.”
“I- I don’t care about that, I just- I don’t want to be a toy to you, or to anyone else!” Martin protests, pushing his chair away from the board.
“Mister Gale, I do have an alternative for you, if you’ll hear me out? ….Good, thank you.” He adds as Martin, halfway to his feet, settles back into his chair again.
“You’ve been hurt by everyone you know, and forgotten everyone else you knew. You don’t even know what your life was like before the Lotus Casino took you in… So why risk the outside being worse?” Stamatios asks. From within a pocket of his suit jacket, he pulls out a small earthenware bottle with a wooden stopper.
“I can make the pain stop for you, in all ways. You just need to drink of the Lethe, Mister Gale. One mouthful, and you’ll forget everyone that’s wronged you, every pain that’s hurt you, everything that’s happened to you; just let the River consume it all.” With a free hand, he points up to the ceiling. Martin’s eyes follow his hand, and he stares up at the figures, astounded to see them slowly revolving around each other. More shockingly, they each look wounded, hurt. Cuts, scrapes, and bruises mar their body and clothes, looking as if they spent the past twenty hours on the chessboard’s battlefield rather than the pieces.
“Existence is a terrifying thing,” Stamatios continues. “And I can offer you a reprieve. Think of it, oblivion. You don’t have to worry about knowing anything, you just get to be! There’s no expectations, no obligations, you will just get to exist, in the truest sense of the word! This is a brand new start, Martin; very few get an opportunity to travel this particular road.”
Martin’s eyes drift to the clay bottle. It looks so plain, how can it do what he’s promised? There has to be a catch.
“There has to be a catch,” Martin echoes, an observation which Stamatios rewards with a nod.
“Astute. With this option, we would like you to become one of us; a Brother of Oblivion, a member of our dear little cult. And no-” he stops the protest. “I won’t tell you who or what we serve; it’ll be a waste of my breath if you do choose the option, and I do hate repeating myself.”
“And if I don’t take your option? Am I free to go?”
“I don’t know about free, but you will be able to leave, yes.” Stamatios muses. “We’ve found you before, we will find you again. I doubt you’ll like what happens when we find you again. I daresay you’re running out of limbs and friends to save, at this rate. We won’t kill you, but everyone else… well, if Peleus didn’t hate dogs so much, we would have already solved this problem.”
“I… are you-”
“Yes, that’s a threat, Mister Gale,” Stamatios sighs. “I rather thought you’d pick up on the inference, honestly. You were much sharper with all of your memories, you know.”
DWOOOOoooooom-
With a droning noise being the only alert, the lighting of the room vanishes in a trace. Martin’s eyes dart from side to side, looking for the source. His own eyes widen as they settle in on Stamatios’s eyes glowing red in the depths of his mournful mask.
”Please do not be alarmed, guests. We are currently on emergency power due to an unscheduled power outage. Concierges, please guide guests back to floors ten and up and explain the compensation package at their convenience. Also, inform them that any damage due to flooding on floors one through nine is covered by our comprehensive insurance plan. Mister Dhark, to the basement level ten. I repeat, Mister Dhark to basement level ten, please.”
“Damn it…” The expletive drips like poison from behind the mask. Stamatios rises to his feet, staring down at Martin and their board.
“Stalemate it is, Mister Gale. You have a choice before you now. If you are here when I return, we will welcome you into the Brotherhood. If you are not, then my brother and our agents shall plan our next move. This elevator is set to run on emergency power, so your escape will be guaranteed in these conditions; I doubt my brother or I shall have time to hunt you for quite the foreseeable future…”
“But when we do, I shall see you skewered on a dozen spears and force-fed the waters of the Lethe, so you only can remember the agony of pain without the reason why… Keep that in mind during your thinking process. I shall return within the hour.” And with that, the pair of red eyes vanish. Martin stands from his chair, looking around the room. The only measure of light comes from the elevator’s readout, otherwise the room is in complete darkness. Martin looks down at the chessboard, his eyes looking for any sort of answer that may be hidden in the battlefield.
It’s a stalemate game; neither of us would have won this. Just where this innate knowledge of chess comes from, he has no idea. The same thing happened with the game of Mythomagic on the main floor, though… Just a sense of how things work in terms of logic and tactics.
That’s neither here nor there, though. What matters now is the impasse that Martin finds himself in the twixt of.
If I drink the vial.. I lose sight of who I am, but the people I left behind will be safe… But I’ll never remember them again. He grabs the vial from the table and bounces it experimentally in his palm. It’s such a light object, to hold such weight in his mind.
“But if I go without, I put everyone in danger… But I could remember who everyone is… maybe,” his thoughts turn into words as he weighs the option in hand.
Which is better to choose? Should I be turned into one of them to protect others? Or should I be myself, and live with the consequences and dangers that such a choice brings?
“What would Father do?” He asks aloud, with only the babbling of the fountains available for reply. He sighs, looking down at the phial in his hand. Slowly the gears begin to turn in his head, as a plan begins to form.
Thank you for your patience, Lotus Hotel and Casino Patrons. We are now pleased to announce that our temporary power issue and flooding has been corrected. You are now free to return to the lower floors, where we will be offering free games for the next two hours! No risk, only reward as our way of thanking you for your patience! Thank you, and remember, when you stay at the Lotus; a weekend stay is like a year’s vacation!
Hundreds of people slowly return to the lower main floors of the casino. Bell-bottoms, poodle skirts, three-piece suits; all walks of life push against each other, eager for the opportunity to let their wallet’s feast on fortunes that they cannot understand… or care to, for that matter. Waitresses flit from table to machine with serving trays filled to the brim with ambrosial lotus flowers, ensnaring their prey just as surely as a spider pounces on the fly already ensnared within its web.
Martin notices none of this as he pushes out from the crowd, shoving his way through to a direction that nobody else seems to care to go; the exit.
“Excuse me sir! The game floor is-” The woman behind the check-in counter begins, but her words die in her mouth as she sees him effortlessly walk through the revolving door. In the past year that she’s worked the welcoming counter at The Lotus, she’s only seen two other groups do that. One pair with a lawyer towing them out, and the others after causing a scene and leaving after a few minutes. Never someone just by themselves.
“Have a-” She can’t even remember what she’s supposed to say when someone leaves the Lotus, it’s such an intermittent occurrence. Instead, she presses a button on the phone resting on her desk. She knows what she's supposed to do when it happens though, the laminated sheet of paper by the phone ensures that A few seconds of ringing, and a click is heard as the second line connects.
“Mister Dhark, the House has went bust. I repeat, the House has went bust.”
“So, both of you have lost your shirts in this little thought experiment, I see.” A man dressed in an impeccable charcoal suit and a mask miming comedic joy. Before him kneel two other individuals, each wearing masks of tragedy, one with hunched shoulders and a cloak, while the other wears a suit that is a twin of his comedic twin.
“Dear brother, it is not our fault; Anthony threw the game before we even had a chance to turn him to our side,” the Tragic protests.
“And who is Anthony’s handler, kind brother?” The standing Stamatios asks, being rewarded with a slumping of his twin’s shoulders.
“But, Lord Stamatios, we aren’t… aren’t done yet.” The hunched figure wheezes. “He’s… he’s hardly left…. Left Vegas. I can, with Skilos… I can catch him.”
“No.” The word is absolute, a glacier that signals the finality of all life that dares defy its passage. “He beat the pair of you, as I thought he would. He deserves the reprieve. I take no satisfaction in taking a piece off the board when it’s broken.” Stamatios the Comic turns from the kneeling figures, crossing back to the stone chess board where his Tragic brother and Martin had played their game. Kings and rooks and bishop still stand tall upon the board. Idly, he flicks the ebony king, sending it toppling to the floor with a clatter.
“And he managed this without only instinct… He did not know of Athena or his gifts, and he still put you to a stalemate, kind brother? Surely, you were humoring him?”
“...No, dear brother. I played my best game. We took twenty hours, which the Casino took as twenty weeks. The House always-”
“Don’t you dare say that tiresome cliche, kind brother, or else you shall find yourself as a fountain ornament before the month is out.” the smiling Stamatios notes. “Though, you did well enough to stall for time. My agents have found several leads that we have been looking for for some time. We shall prepare to move when we are able.”
“And what of us, dear brother?”
“You, kind brother, will see to the Casino. Make sure that there is no lasting damage from the power outage. And see to the rainwater that poured in; I swear we’ll have to get that carpet torn out and replaced. It absolutely reeks of seawater, dead fish, and failed ambition down there.”
“And me… Lord?” The Oathbreaker heaves the question. Stamatios the Comic turns to him with his forced smile.
“You, my loathsome abomination, will be going to New York. If our Martingale ups the ante, then take him out, but not before. Skilos is yours. And if you fail or kill him before his time… You’d best hope he remembers how to kill someone like you first. His mercies will seem like a mother’s compared to what will await you should I get my hands on you.”
“...Yes, Lord.” He gasps his assent as he rises to his feet. From within the depths of the cloak, he draws a crystalline whistle. Pulling the mask up to his nose, he brings it to his exposed mouth and blows. Nothing happens for a heartbeat, then two. On the third, a bounding hellhound leaps from the shadows.
“Skilos… bring me to New York.” The Oathbreaker commands as he clambers up the monster’s back. Once he is firmly seated, the pair bound into the shadows and vanish once more.
“Dear brother, I do not trust him… I believe we were rash in elevating him,” the Tragic intones.
“I do agree, kind brother. Consider this our third test of Mister Kaufmann. If he finds a way to remember that he is in fact Mister Kaufmann, then he will be rechristened in blood.”
“I remember our game on Tetepare, when you thought Mister Cleary would be Mister Kaufmann’s equal. Do you stand by that?”
“No,” the Comic smiles, and based on the tone, a genuine one hides beneath as well. “I do not believe we’ve met his equal in many, many years, dear brother… We will either enter true existence once more, or final oblivion. We stand-”
“At the Crossroads.”
“At the Crossroads, yes. And Mister Kaufmann shall dictate the path. Now, go get that carpet dried. Oh, and have a long talk with Anthony about his… thoroughness when it comes to preparing our guests.”
“...Yes, dear brother.” Rather than rising to his feet, Stamatios the Tragic sinks into the shadows pooled around his feet. Stamatios the Comic looks up at the slowly spiraling image of the mirrored women on the ceiling and sighs.
“You really only have one hope, you know.” He pauses, then adds. “Each of you, I mean. Either I shall win, or Mister Kaufmann will… Best of luck to both Memory and Oblivion, may the true grandmaster win.”
The world is dark outside the bus depot, as dark as Vegas can manage with all of the neon and gaudiness. By contrast, the depot is threadbare and boring; Martin can’t think of the last time he’s been somewhere that’s felt half as comfortable. The light up display board he has been watching updates, with the second bus listing ratcheting up to the top of the board. A screech goes up through the building’s speaker system, followed by a scratchy voice.
Now boarding, Las Vegas to New York City. Please have your boarding ticket ready, and begin forming to board. Now boarding, Las Vegas to New York City.
Martin settles near the front of the bus, a small bag filled with toiletries by his feet. The card that had been handed to him by the concierge in the Lotus seemed to have a few uses outside of the casino, it seemed. Beyond the necessities, there were just a few other items; two to be exact. The first, the logo of the shirt he had found in the suite’s hamper. And two, wrapped within the cloth, a stoneware bottle that sloshes ever so slightly when it is moved.
Wait, what? A third item, a box the size of a pencil case stamped with a Caduceus stares up at him. Curiosity getting the better of him, he gingerly opens it. Nestled on a fitted interior rests a bronze ring, and a matching bracelet. Tucked into the side of the box, a small note is hidden. Unfolding it, his heart begins to tap away at a faster speed as he reads the contents, one part typed, the other handwritten on the bottom.
Dear Mister Gale,
We at the Lotus Hotel and Casino wanted to say we appreciate the opportunity to cater to you, and hope you enjoyed your stay with us. Please find enclosed a lost item that was recovered in the flooding, as well as a token of esteem from one of our patrons. We do hope that you will consider the Lotus in the future for all of your celebration and relaxation needs.
The Lotus Hotel and Casino
Well done, Mister Gale. Enjoy your reprieve before the game begins anew. Olly olly oxen free.
“You got cleaned out too, huh kid?” A man in his late forties settles into the spot behind him. Peeking over his shoulder, he shakes his head good-naturedly. “How much did they take you for?”
“...Everything.”
“Damn, at least you thought ahead enough to have your ticket home and souvenirs prepared. Me? I had to call up my wife and ask her to wire me some money. I’m just glad we have a comfy couch; I’ll be sleeping on that for a while, I think. Fuck Vegas.” Regardless of the expletive, he still seems in good spirits as he laughs at the thought.
“Fuck Vegas,” Martin echoes, though no laugh follows. The air brakes hiss as the bus lurches forward. Turning his gaze to the window, Martin watches as the bus garage is left behind, and soon enough Vegas itself fades away. Before his eyes drift closed, he sees one last thing.
“WELCOME TO FABULOUS LAS VEGAS, NEVADA” the iconic sign greets the departing demigod.
“...Fuck Vegas.”
[Storymode]
Total Time in the Lotus: 28 Hours (6 on the casino floor, 2 unconscious, 20 in the Executive Level)
Total Time Elapsed: 26 weeks.
submitted by SuperEnergeticNow to CampHalfBloodRP [link] [comments]

Today Ends My Week of Degenerate Gambling At Sea

Hey folks!
Today I returned to the US after a week aboard the Oasis of the Seas gambling at the single zero roulette table. If you're interested, you can read the original story here where I kept day by day notes in the comments about my winnings and observations. Finished ~$2500 ahead Martingaling for a week.
Cruise Background
I wanted to vacation in Vegas this fall, my wife wanted to cruise again, so I spent a few months searching cruise lines, looking for a single zero roulette table with at least an 8-bet min/max spread. As it turns out, there are thirteen cruise ships in the world that fit that profile (that I discovered), and after checking all of them against NovembeDecember departure dates from CONUS, I downselected to the Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean for a 7-Day Caribbean cruise, booked it, and thus it was so!
The Game
For the duration of this cruise, I played single zero roulette and nothing else. The casino on board the Oasis of the Seas has four roulette tables; two American roulette tables on the smoking side, and one each American/European on the non-smoking side. I use the word "European" loosely because while it was single-zero, it had no European rules on it. All four tables were $5 - $100 on the inside, and $5 - $1000 on the outside. I attempted to make arrangements before the cruise as well as with the casino manager during the cruise to raise the limits for my gambling to no avail since I didn't have an established play history with Club Royale. I also requested La Partage be put into effect during my session play without luck - but that was a long shot anyway; the only single zero table I know of in the US with a minimum bet lower than $25 is the $10 - $3000 La Partage table at the Soaring Eagle in Michigan (sorry guys, terminal games don't count!)
Single zero roulette tables have a 2.7% house edge; down from the scandalous 5.4% house edge of American roulette (let alone the scammy triple zero crap that Carnival Cruise lines and the Venetian in Vegas are doing); La Partage lowers it to a magnificent 1.35%, but alas - I was destined to go without.
My Bets
Most of you are probably familiar with a martingale) series bet. For anyone else; on a $5 - $1000 table, $2,000 can bankroll a 8-bet sequence where I double my bet each time I lose, restarting my bet sequence each win. Due to chip denominations, my martingale progression is $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, which I find more reasonable than 5/10/20/40/80/160/320/640 due to the typical chip denominations 1/5/25/100/500/1000. In a tip of my hat to superstition, my increases from $10 to $25, $100 to $250, and $1000 to $2500 where applicable are my way of "punishing" the casino for making me leave the comfort zone of the outside minimum bet. Mock me if you must; its my personal flair - if my bets grow that high I "deserve" to win more than my base bet for the stress of having to bankroll the roll.
The chances of heads or tails on a coin flip are 50% for either outcome. On a single-zero table without La Partage, the equivalent bets - black/red, even/odd, 1-18/19-36 is ~48.6%, with the other 2.7% representing the green zero, or house edge - creating a theoretical loss probability of 2.7% of your bet per bet over time.
While the probability of an individual spin being black or red in my case is ~48.6%, the martingale betting progression ties your bets into a session, such that on the table I'm playing on, as long as I don't guess wrong 8 times in a row, I always win. On the off-chance that any newbs are reading this, this is NOT a "strategy" or "guaranteed way to make money." Martingale betting is a low risk, low reward means of using a large sum of money to win a little sum of money - pretty much the opposite of what people go into casinos to do. In statistical terms, the chances of me guessing wrong 8 times in a row in an 8 spin series is three tenths of one percent...but no one sits down for 8 spins and leaves - so my gambling is that when the house spins my losing sequence...I'm not there. =D Such is gambling.
Goals!
I've learned over the years that if I don't sit at a table with a fixed goal of when to leave, I will get bored and start making side bets (other even money bets or thirds) - more ways to win also mean more ways to lose, and when I am gambling, I am heavily socializing and drinking; I can't keep track of all of it at the same time. My goal is thus to always leave with 120% of my bankroll.
This trip was a bit confusing for me because I couldn't reconcile what my bankroll was. Not knowing whether the table limit would be fixed to $1000, or be able to be raised to $10,000 I brought $5,000 in cash with another $35,000 available as credit - I'd wrongly assumed the casino would at least double the table min/max to $10-$2000, and had been hoping they would leave the minimum and double the maximum, adding a one-bet buffer to my 8-spin series. With a $1,000 bet maximum, I stopped bringing more than $2,000 to the casino. If my bankroll is $2,000, I aim to leave with $2400. If my bankroll is $5,000, I aim to leave with $6,000. With $10,000, I aim to leave with $12,000.
I initially hoped to turn $2,000 into $2,400, but after doing that the first night gambling and the prospect of the rest of the cruise being bereft of gambling, I decided that since I'd brought $5,000 to gamble with, even if I could only play with $2,000 of it, my 120% goal meant I wanted $1,000 in winnings or bust.
On day two when I realized how stingy Club Royale was, and that I'd be buying my own drinks, I shelled out $360 for the liquor package, and adjusted my winning threshold to also cover the liquor package. Then there was a $300 spa treatment. Then an $1800 studio photography session since my wife wanted some nice pictures - something we've not done in a decade.
With these confusing inputs leaving me unsure of how to decide if I was up or down, it came down to the fact that while the casino was generally open 8-12 hours a day, the lone roulette table with the single zero didn't open until 8:00 PM - about when the cruise shows started. I did some begging and pleading to have it opened earlier every day to mixed success - a bit on the first day and on the last day, with nothing in the middle. They really wanted people on the American tables - which I had to resist, since for much of the cruise, it was American roulette or nothing. I contented myself during those periods with drinking, socializing with other gamblers, watching, drinking, and trying to find people who didn't have the booze package so I could buy them drinks.
Fun Facts
Anyway; it was a blast - but I'll probably go to Vegas for my next vacation instead of cruising. I want to gamble during the day, and go to shows in the evening, not wander around during the day, then have to decide whether I want to gamble or watch shows in the evening.
edit And here's a picture of me at my remote office aboard the cruise ship in case anyone was wondering what your mean old /gambling moderator ShelixAnakasian looks like.
submitted by ShelixAnakasian to gambling [link] [comments]

A week of degenerate gambling on the Oasis of the Seas comes to a close!

Hey folks!
Today I returned to the US after a week aboard the Oasis of the Seas gambling at the single zero roulette table. If you're interested, you can read the original story here where I kept day by day notes in the comments about my winnings and observations. Finished ~$2500 ahead Martingaling for a week.
I called out 14 crew members that I thought were exceptional; 11 of them in the casino - the crew were amazing everywhere. The ship itself is probably due a refit. Elevator buttons broken, chairs broken, everything looking a little run down and scuffed. I won't dig into the ports because everyone in here probably knows their way around the Caribbean by now. =D
Cruise Background
I wanted to vacation in Vegas this fall, my wife wanted to cruise again, so I spent a few months searching cruise lines, looking for a single zero roulette table with at least an 8-bet min/max spread. As it turns out, there are thirteen cruise ships in the world that fit that profile (that I discovered), and after checking all of them against NovembeDecember departure dates from CONUS, I downselected to the Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean for a 7-Day Caribbean cruise, booked it, and thus it was so!
The Game
For the duration of this cruise, I played single zero roulette and nothing else. The casino on board the Oasis of the Seas has four roulette tables; two American roulette tables on the smoking side, and one each American/European on the non-smoking side. I use the word "European" loosely because while it was single-zero, it had no European rules on it. All four tables were $5 - $100 on the inside, and $5 - $1000 on the outside. I attempted to make arrangements before the cruise as well as with the casino manager during the cruise to raise the limits for my gambling to no avail since I didn't have an established play history with Club Royale. I also requested La Partage be put into effect during my session play without luck - but that was a long shot anyway; the only single zero table I know of in the US with a minimum bet lower than $25 is the $10 - $3000 La Partage table at the Soaring Eagle in Michigan (sorry guys, terminal games don't count!)
Single zero roulette tables have a 2.7% house edge; down from the scandalous 5.4% house edge of American roulette (let alone the scammy triple zero crap that Carnival Cruise lines and the Venetian in Vegas are doing); La Partage lowers it to a magnificent 1.35%, but alas - I was destined to go without.
My Bets
Most of you are probably familiar with a martingale) series bet. For anyone else; on a $5 - $1000 table, $2,000 can bankroll a 8-bet sequence where I double my bet each time I lose, restarting my bet sequence each win. Due to chip denominations, my martingale progression is $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, which I find more reasonable than 5/10/20/40/80/160/320/640 due to the typical chip denominations 1/5/25/100/500/1000. In a tip of my hat to superstition, my increases from $10 to $25, $100 to $250, and $1000 to $2500 where applicable are my way of "punishing" the casino for making me leave the comfort zone of the outside minimum bet. Mock me if you must; its my personal flair - if my bets grow that high I "deserve" to win more than my base bet for the stress of having to bankroll the roll.
The chances of heads or tails on a coin flip are 50% for either outcome. On a single-zero table without La Partage, the equivalent bets - black/red, even/odd, 1-18/19-36 is ~48.6%, with the other 2.7% representing the green zero, or house edge - creating a theoretical loss probability of 2.7% of your bet per bet over time.
While the probability of an individual spin being black or red in my case is ~48.6%, the martingale betting progression ties your bets into a session, such that on the table I'm playing on, as long as I don't guess wrong 8 times in a row, I always win. On the off-chance that any newbs are reading this, this is NOT a "strategy" or "guaranteed way to make money." Martingale betting is a low risk, low reward means of using a large sum of money to win a little sum of money - pretty much the opposite of what people go into casinos to do. In statistical terms, the chances of me guessing wrong 8 times in a row in an 8 spin series is three tenths of one percent...but no one sits down for 8 spins and leaves - so my gambling is that when the house spins my losing sequence...I'm not there. =D Such is gambling.
Goals!
I've learned over the years that if I don't sit at a table with a fixed goal of when to leave, I will get bored and start making side bets (other even money bets or thirds) - more ways to win also mean more ways to lose, and when I am gambling, I am heavily socializing and drinking; I can't keep track of all of it at the same time. My goal is thus to always leave with 120% of my bankroll.
This trip was a bit confusing for me because I couldn't reconcile what my bankroll was. Not knowing whether the table limit would be fixed to $1000, or be able to be raised to $10,000 I brought $5,000 in cash with another $35,000 available as credit - I'd wrongly assumed the casino would at least double the table min/max to $10-$2000, and had been hoping they would leave the minimum and double the maximum, adding a one-bet buffer to my 8-spin series. With a $1,000 bet maximum, I stopped bringing more than $2,000 to the casino. If my bankroll is $2,000, I aim to leave with $2400. If my bankroll is $5,000, I aim to leave with $6,000. With $10,000, I aim to leave with $12,000.
I initially hoped to turn $2,000 into $2,400, but after doing that the first night gambling and the prospect of the rest of the cruise being bereft of gambling, I decided that since I'd brought $5,000 to gamble with, even if I could only play with $2,000 of it, my 120% goal meant I wanted $1,000 in winnings or bust.
On day two when I realized how stingy Club Royale was, and that I'd be buying my own drinks, I shelled out $360 for the liquor package, and adjusted my winning threshold to also cover the liquor package. Then there was a $300 spa treatment. Then an $1800 studio photography session since my wife wanted some nice pictures - something we've not done in a decade.
With these confusing inputs leaving me unsure of how to decide if I was up or down, it came down to the fact that while the casino was generally open 8-12 hours a day, the lone roulette table with the single zero didn't open until 8:00 PM - about when the cruise shows started. I did some begging and pleading to have it opened earlier every day to mixed success - a bit on the first day and on the last day, with nothing in the middle. They really wanted people on the American tables - which I had to resist, since for much of the cruise, it was American roulette or nothing. I contented myself during those periods with drinking, socializing with other gamblers, watching, drinking, and trying to find people who didn't have the booze package so I could buy them drinks.
Fun Facts
Anyway; it was a blast - but I'll probably go to Vegas for my next vacation instead of cruising. I want to gamble during the day, and go to shows in the evening, not wander around during the day, then have to decide whether I want to gamble or watch shows in the evening.
And here's a picture of me at my remote office aboard the cruise ship in case anyone was wondering what your mean old /gambling moderator ShelixAnakasian looks like.
submitted by ShelixAnakasian to Cruise [link] [comments]

Martingale

Is the martingale betting system legal in the US? Cupboard I go to Vegas and play roulette with it? Seems like I couldn't lose as long as my pockets are deep enough.
submitted by tayezz to gambling [link] [comments]

I don't count cards

I also use the Martingale system.
I know what you're going to say...you can't win, you'll lose eventually, betting strategies don't work, etc.
But, results don't lie. I'm up quite a bit from living in Vegas (and my overnight stay in Reno, when I moved to Portland).
A couple of things:
1) I don't always use Martingale. I'll look at the cards to see what's trending. Most of the time, I'll bet one unit (I usually play lower minimum tables).
2) When I do, I'll max out at four units. Most of time, I'll get my money back.
3) I play single deck games, although I wish that the game would move along faster.
So put your pitchforks away!
submitted by koreancowboy to blackjack [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA- Casino Manager, I've seen everything, AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2012-05-15
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Are you hiring? I'd love to move to Canada. Absolutely, We are looking for several positions and if you are sincerely looking for a job, message me :)
Does being a Casino Manager makes you keep your distance from gambling? AMAZING question, It actually makes it worse. I had never gambled a day in my life until I took that position. It is the same across the board. Never met another manager that doesnt gamble.
Will you quit this job if you had given the choice? I could not ask for a better job. Excitement every single day. Learing to control personal demons such as gambling and alcohol is always a fighting battle given the situation.
You are 100% right. U of Waterloo in Ontario conducted a study and they concluded that "casino employees exhibited rates of problem gambling that were over three times greater than rates that past studies have found in Ontario’s general population." -Link to uwspace.uwaterloo.ca. I know my stuff ;). It's a weird feeling.
What do you play, and wht stakes do you play ? Also.. Does your entire salary go straight back to the casino after payday? I like to play 1$ slots and blackjack for the most part. On blackjack my average bet is probably 60-75$. My salary does go back, but a portion of it does. I am pretty good at controlling myself, gets better by the year.
How is your daily routine in the casino?Do you get any perks? They pay my cell phone bill. I get paid any expenses you could imagine. I get free tickets and merchandise all the time. Golf passes dinners etc.
Have you ever caught someone counting in blackjack? Several times. With the security features we use, shuffle machines and cutting off 2-3 decks from the back, it's nearly impossible. Hell we will even teach you how to do it if you'll stay a while ;)
How did you get into the Casino business? I applied to become a dealer, years ago. I just worked my way up. Its an amazing business.
Ever had somebody die on your floor? Or at least horribly injured? Yes 2 people have died, one from a massive stroke, and another from a heart attack. We have had at least 25 heart attacks since I have worked there.
Do heart attacks happen more often when people win big or lose big? There has never been a direct correlation between winning/losing big and our patrons having heart attacks.
Interesting. Thanks for the response. Anytime :) I cant believe the responses already!
Statistically, you have the best chance of surviving a heart attack in a casino. The average response time drops from like 15 minutes in your home to something absurd like 30 seconds. We are very quick to react. This and we have first aid training as well as AED on site.
What the highest single bet you have witnessed? Here in Alberta, the maximum per spot on blackjack is 1000. I did witness a total table wager( by one player) Of 15,000. This was after he split 6 times and doubled once. He won evry wager on that hand.
Whats the luckiest person/win streak you have seen? (Not just 1 win but someone winning for a while or doing something crazy and it working) I watched someone win 24,000 on a slot machine. I reset his machine and he won 24,000 the next spin. I had the machine investigated by AGLC and all was well. He was 80 so I don't think he could cheat. Lol.
Do Casino's pump high levels of oxygen into the gambling areas, if so is that allowed? Have you ever caught anyone having sex or masturbating in the Casino? Do the Slot Machines ever get tampered with by cheaters? What is the penalty for tampering with slot machines? No we do not pump oxygen into the casino, It is not allowed. I had to fire an employee for masturbating in the customer bathrooms. Slots are rarely successfully tampered with, but it does happen quite often. The penalty is a fine and up to jail time. You can get in a LOT of trouble for trying something that is nearly impossible, like cheating a slot machine No problem :)
How...did you catch the guy spanking it? I fear to know yet I must ask for I can't think of a logical, sane way you caught the dude. I walked in to the washroom to check on the status of the last cleaning, and I caught him beating it with the stall door open... he forgot to lock it. was very obvious and he didnt even try to deny it.
Nobody forgets to lock the door when they are wanging it. He was off shift in 45 mins too... just couldnt wait.
It isn't illegal, what can the casinos do? We reserve the right to remove any patron at any time for any reason.
Do you still have to cash their chips if you kick them out? If they did not steal them, then Absolutely.
What is the best and worst part of your job? The best is seeing a person win big. The worst is seeing someone leaving in tears and me knowing they are broke and have kids.
Have you ever cut someone a break? Several times.
You've seen everything, have you seen Casino with Robert DeNiro in it and how accurate is that film? I have seen it, and I have yet to see a movie that ACTUALLY portrays a real casino whatsoever.
Most movies don't portray anything realistically. Good point. Casinos seem to be reallly far off though.
What about Croupier with Clive Owen.. good film.. Cant say ive seen it. Will watch.
What's the most desperate attempt to cheat in a casino you have ever seen? A guy in the middle of a hand, did not agree with the way a dealer "flipped" their hole card so he took his bets off the table (approx 1400$) and tried to pocket them before we could count what he had bet. He then tried to replace his bets after we asked with about 800$. It was very very easy to catch the amount that was originally on there. Cameras/pit boss/dealer all agreed to the exact amount. He was later found trying to cash out $600 in chips (after losing) lol.
That actually sounds pretty clever. He should have just gone for a smaller amount though. It wasnt bad. But he was on a high limit table with a lot of people watching
Any pranks you or your employees pulled? Yup, I am known as the prankster. I like to send new employees looking for left handed roulette balls or polish for the blackjack shoes. After they waste an hour or so I tell them. And they are laughed at by patrons and employees. Its all in good fun. Never had a complaint.
What happens to a cheater once you found them out? Is it just a case of the cops getting called straight away? I review the situation, and If I deem it cheating, a review is sent to AGLC and the patrons information gathered along with a police investigation. They will be prosecuted.
Do you catch cheaters? What were some cleveinvolved cheating schemes? I have caught cheaters, almost always at blackjack and threecard poker. The most common way they cheat is called "pressing". Having a partner distract the dealer for a second while they use slight of hand to add chips. Some people are very good at this, so good its tough to see on camera even.
To be clear.. what they do is when they have a good hand, someone distracts the dealer and the guy with the good hand attempts to increase his bet? What do you do when you catch something like that? We ban them Immediately. And other casinos recieve the memo an do the same.
Have you ever caught prostitution going on in the casino? What is the process of banning someone? Do they get put into a system? Do you have a banned wall? Yes we catch dirty prostitutes all the time. The ban process is easy. We take what info we have on them, take a recent photo from a surveillance screenshot and then post it to the banned wall :)
How is the security in the casino? Edit: no i'm not planning a robbery... The guards are pretty well trained. Also we have over 200 cameras. You are on camera within 1 KM of the casino. Also, all doors locked with special proxy cards that only have access to certain rooms, depending on position.
ONE KILOMETER? Are you kidding me? This is very secure, oh my. Cant tell if sarcasm. Detector is broken.
No sarcasm. This blows my mind. I always thought you guys have over the top security, but such a radius around your casino is mind blowing :). Great AMA btw, thanks for your time! I love the response im getting! This is awesome!
What is the process in working your way up from dealer to casino manager? How long did it take, what kind of background did you have prior to becoming a dealer? Also did you have to take any classes or anything like that either at an outside school or a company school to teach you all the ins and outs of the job? Did you ever think you'd be doing this or just sort of fall into it? What kind of responsibilities do you hold? I saw in your other posts that you mention throwing out people masturbating on the clock, helping people with gambling addictions and catching cheaters, but what is an everyday entail for you? I imagine you have to be a man with many hats (VIP guest liaison, worker ally, eyes for the bosses etc) Also last question I swear, what do you think of organized cheaters and the exposure they are getting such as Bringing Down the House/21 or the History Channel show on Breaking Vegas? It took me 4 years to get where I am. Went from dealer to pit boss to pit supervisor to games manager. I haven't taken any special courses really. Some training sessions but that's about it. You need to have the gift they say. As for responsibilities. I am in charge of running every department when I am on shift. And I am in charge of all the money. The movies have not done anything except make us money. People come in all the time thinking they will count cards and win, and we smash them.
In my expeirence, the 'Summon Technician' button rarely works. Thoughts? In my casino, it is attended to immediately. We are the only casino that I am aware of that does this.
Are employees allowed to gamble in the casino where they work? Or is just the manager that is allowed - I noticed you say you gamble off the clock. I live in England and am sure this is against nearly all casino policy. Only waitresses and guest services may gamble in our casino. No gaming worker is allowed to gamble in their own casino in alberta.
Any moral qualms sometimes? Never, Its a persons choice on what the wish to gamble.
Give it a few more years. I've got over that a long time ago. During my dealing days.
a follow up, sorry for that.. How do your co-workers react to yout gambling, does this make it awkward in any way? Actually, I tend to go to different casinos with my co-workers, awkwardness is never an issue.
Since you know a lot about security and cheating, do you know any loopholes in your or any other casino? Our casino is very secure. Some of the other casinos on the other hand..
For example? That I can't really disclose. Although. It's quite funny which one is the worst. I will leave it at that. I'm sure that comment alone will help some people.
Many years ago my mom had a gambling addiction. We werent sure how severe it was, we just thought she would go to the casino and have some fun and risk $200 or so. The casino hooked her in with the whole VIP treatment and rewards as an incentive to come back. One weekend she lost all her life savings ($300,000) It impacted our family a lot, as we were pretty much broke after she lost all our money. Even to this day we havent recovered, i missed out on college to work instead and been on my own since. My mom whos supposed to be close to retirement age is still working to support herself. I know casinos are for entertainment, but more often than not stories like this happen. How do you feel when a family is affected deeply because of gambling problems? Honestly that is the only hard part of the job. But after the years, I've become mostly desensitized to it.
Have you ever seen Ocean's Eleven? Did you just laugh and laugh and laugh? Not a fan of those movies :(
Have you ever been to Montecarlo? Do you think there are many differences between the european casino scene and the US/Canadian scene? Never been to Montecarlo, but from everything I have learned about it, It is very similar to our casinos in Canada (barring a few different table games). They have a lot of the same slot machines and their security is VERY high.
So, do you get hookers? Not once in my life.
Is there a certain amount of time that people are allowed to gamble before some sort of intervention takes place? (e.g. can't gamble for more than 24 hours straight, etc.) Our casino is only open for 17 hours at a time maximum. That is the law in this province. But under certain circumstances, we do offer help to people we notice becoming chronic gamblers.
What Kind of help do you offer out of interest? I get that the human factor is probably the reason its offered as the business side must actually like chronic gamblers. We offer councelling (not directly, but sources) and different programs such as VSE. VSE= Voluntary Self Exclusion. You will be excluded from gaming in ALL of Alberta. If caught in gaming facilities you can be arrested.
Favorite Ice cream flavor? Vanilla for the most part. Although I do like neopalitan.
Have you ever caught your employees stealing chips? Edit: i cant spell. I try to hire employees that I trust with the chips so that I dont have to worry about them. It has never happened to my knowledge.
You mentioned that you try to hire employees that are trustworthy with the chips etc. Do you have to run any criminal history checks, bankruptcy checks etc before you hire people? Do you use continuous shuffle machines to deal blackjack or do you deal from a shoe? If from a shoe, how many decks? How do you combat card counters? What is the food chain like? Here we have Dealers < Floor managers < Pit Bosses < Duty managers < Casino manager. Where do you fit in? How do the high rollers rooms work? Can someone walk in and flash cash to get in or do you need to gamble a certain amount first? What perks do high rollers get? Yes background checks and credit checks are run on ALL employees. We offer both continuous shuffles and shoes We use 8 decks and cut 3 off the back, as well as use a shoe cover. Very hard to count cards like that. In our casino I would be considered 2nd in line. High rollers are treated very well. Comped tabs etc. free trips to shows and all that jazz.
Have you ever seen a man eat his own head? Nope!
Ever seen a card cheat get his hand smashed by a ballpeen hammer ? Never had to use violence for a cheating patron. Drunk patrons on the other hand....
Great AMA! You answer almost everything! Thanks! I try to answer everything, I know i miss stuff but you guys comments lots! hard to keep up!
Here's my question: How do your responsibilities differ from a Pit Boss? Are you in charge of the food and alcohol people, too? How much time per shift do you spend on the floor and how much time do you spend interacting with individual guests? I am in charge of all departments when I am on shift. Pit boss is strictly in charge of the pit. I am always on the gaming floor interacting with guests. Its the best part of my job :)
Any suicides? I live near Niagara Falls and we hear stories all the time of people who blow it all in the casinos and take a dive over the falls. Yes unfortunately. :(
Are you from Edmonton by chance? If so care to comment why CH is still allowed to play in the poker rooms after being caught ripping off casinos with his bad beat scam? Not from edmonton, but I do know who you are talking about. It is the discretion of the casinos. He should be banned but they have failed to file charges.
They are still aware of what he did and as a pretty frequent player it sort of sucks having to sit at a table with someone you know was using dealers to set up bad beats.... You play at yellowhead?
How does the casino decide what background music to play? do you hate those songs now? I ususally pick it. I pick it depending on the majority of the crowd. (old people = classic rock, young people = new music.) We have lots of playlists it doesnt really get too bad.
I notice a lot of times my favorite slot machines are removed from the floor and never to be seen again. Do you guys store them in a basement or sell them to other casinos? Recycle them for parts? Machines are regulated by AGLC, they send us new ones and take old every week.
How long does training for croupier last? Are there opportunities for college students? Training is usually a month long. Its easier to get a job as a dealer if you are young. Young people seem to learn a lot easier.
What is the longest you've seen a customer play a machine? Any 24-hour slot machine marathons? Open to close 4 days in a row. (17 hours a day)
What is your coin-in on an average Saturday night? Biggest New Year's Eve coin-in you can remember? What's the average toke rate? Over 1.5 million. Best tip rate for a week was 30 ish.
How much do you make? What's your educational background? Edit: saw that you can't answer how much you make. So how'd you get into the job? I walked in an applied for dealer. They loved my attitude and hired me on the spot.
So you were hired as a dealer and then moved up in the ranks? Sounds like a sweet job and a managerial position involving actual job duties. Absolutely.
Just curious (and maybe you don't know)-- how exactly is the software sold for the newer digital games? Order "Three of Game A, three of game B" and remain stuck with it? Order them configured one way, but the software can be replaced for a token sum? If so, is it an in-house operation, or a "vendor service has to be called? They can load any firmware specced as compatible with the box? I notice there's always one or two machines in a bank of (physically) equivalent units which have an unpopular game (like the one which starts belting out Dean Martin songs at 600 decibels in attract mode) so they sit relatively unused, but they never change them. Is it laziness, cost, or technical limits? I dont deal with the digital games sorry!
The Ontario Lottery Corporation is in the process of rolling out an online casino. From an industry persepective, what are your views on online casinos? Is the software designed to give you gains but take back once you win-loss ratio is too high? Online casinos (legit ones) Run by pretty much the same stats as a real casino. Same odds of winning almost exactly.
Can you see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Its magically delicious, or wait.. damn lucky charms
What's a good starting job to get at a casino that will eventually get you into a managing position? Dealer is the absolute best.
Thanks for the swift response. No problem.
Just in case you are still answering at all...what's te stupidest/seemingly impossible thing you've seen/heard of a dealer doing? Most awesome/badass? I had a dealer deal a full table of blackjack entirely fucking backwards. I almost pissed myself no joke.
If some patron is winning a lot of money, would you kick them out? Say for instance a guy is playing Blackjack and went from 1000 dollars to 100000 dollars and wants to continue playing. He is literally just owning the table winning 9/10 hands. Would you kick this guy out or let him keep playing? Nope, its good in house advertising to have big winners :)
Not sure if this was asked already, but is there really oxygen pumped into the casinos like people say there is? Or is it just the shiny lights and excitement that will keep you going all night? No oxygen pumped in. Its the lights and atmosphere.
What was the most someone won in one night? 1.1 million dollars.
If I were looking to move to Vegas, how difficult do you think it'd be to get a decent paying job working in the casinos? I have a friend who moved there and is looking for a roommate, but I'm nervous about taking the step without a job lined up. As long as you have a good head on your shoulders and the motivation, its pretty easy to get into the business.
What''s your salary roughly? Thats actually the only thing im not willing to disclose. Sorry pal.
Who is your favorite porn star? Hootie McBoob.
Do casinos usually offer part-time jobs as croupiers? Always have part time positions open. Especially for weekends.
I saw that you didn't like Ocean's Eleven, but how did the guys get all those hooker flyers into the vault? Lol your guess is as good as mine ;)
1) How's the pay? 2) You already mentioned that you worked your way up from a dealer. Is there much higher that you can go? 3) How has the economic downturn affected business? The pay is great You can go to managing a whole casino, given time Business has actually gone up. Alberta isnt very effected by it.
How often do you feel like De Niro? Every day.
Are there or have there been times when you know someone is cheating or doing something "unethical" but you just can't get the evidence? If so, do they still frequent the casino? do you feel like they do it on purpose to piss you (the casino) off because they know that you know? I dont need evidence, if someone is suspected of cheating they are gone. AGLC backs us 100%
I live in vegas and recently a guy robbed a casino and stole like 100k of chips, whats the process of making sure he isnt able to cash those chips in. (He was wearing a mask) So does the casinos like remake all new chips or what? We track our 100$ chips very carefully. when people cashout 100 or more, we know about it. If we dont see them playing, we watch that person closely.
What is the best way to get a room comped for a weekend (I always seem to get Sun-Thur offers)? What is the average bet / hours required of play (assuming black jack)? Is it true you should expect 30% of your losses returned in the form of comps? I wouldnt count on getting 30%, maybe 5-10%. Average bet should be about 50-60$
Lots of questions have come up about players cheating, but what about the house? I know people who have seen casinos get busted for rigging games. I have certainly played at blackjack tables where the dealers seemed to have an uncanny ability to predict hands, I even once had a dealer reveal a blackjack without using the little peek thing. Dealt, asked for insurance (with great intensity), told us we should have taken the hint and flipper her card. Have you seen any cheating by the house or have any reason to think it happens? Never have I seen cheating by the house. I guarantee it doesnt happen in any legit casino in Canada. There are inspectors at all times. I truly believe that it doesnt happen. As a dealer myself I could "predict" my handsquite often. Because you do it so many times in one day you are bound to get it right.
How many bones have you witnessed being broken? or families ruined because of gambling everything away? a lot or a ton? Maybe 5 broken bones, probably 50 families :(
Have you ever felt the need to tell some poor old folks: "Take your welfare checks home." ? Nope, they usually play small just to pass the time. They are very nice.
How prevalent is patron on patron theft? For example, leaning over and grabbing a few of someone else's chips while they're not looking, or tapping their stack with a drink (which happens to have tape on the bottom) or things like that? Doesn't happen very often chip wise. But it does happen if people leave credits in a machine, drop money on the ground, or leave money in an ATM. We will hunt the patron down and force them to pay back the money.
Why do Asians gamble so much and where the hell do they get all of that money? I dont want to speculate where they get it..
What would be the best way to go about robbing a casino? Not trying ;). No one gets away.
What do you do with underage kids or kids with fake IDs? do they ever show up? Kick them out and file a report. If they have fake ID, file it with the police.
I went to the casino for my first time last week. Slots are boring as shit. Do you recommend a black jack guide to get the hang of things? Thanks. Always good to go in knowing basic strategy. check out wizardofodds.com.
How much do you earn on average yearly? Cant disclose that :(
What's your take on Scorsese's 1995 "Casino"? :D:D. Would watch again.
Did you read the novels by Mario Puzo about the inner workings of a casino? Would you say that they are accurate? Not yet, in process.
What's your favorite Canadian province besides Alberta? Ontario.
My question is why did you use a combination of Photoshop and real-life obfuscation for your badge? Carefully torn and placed pieces of pink and black tape, then some kind of 1990s-era Photoshop airbrushing around the perimeter... I was looking for something quick. And I never really used a site like this. I know, I suck.
What are your thoughts on the Martingale method of gambling on Red/Black in Roulette? I have had moderate success waiting for a run of 4 of one colour, then betting $25 on the opposite colour, then doubling each time until I win. Its a very bad system for the most part. you risk a lot to win a little.
How often do customers claim the dealer misheard/misinterpreted what they said to do? E.g.. the customer was playing blackjack, didn't want to hit, but the dealer misheard them and dealed them a card, which caused them to bust. 5 times a day at least. I usually give them the benefit of the doubt.
Are there any games that people can beat long run other than bj? You can't beat BJ in the long run. There is no way to make money.
Since Counting cards isn't illegal, if you catch someone do you still black ball them and tell all the other casinos? No. Unless they actually cheat, they aren't black balled.
What is the craziest thing you've seen? I answered this a little further down bud.
Have you ever seen a guy eat his own head? Hasn't happened to date..
Have you seen a live unicorn? Nope, it was dead.
What's the largest sum of money you've seen someone lose in one day? 100K on blackjack.
So you admit that you are a liar? EDIT: I do believe this means you have to forfeit your casino to me. Rules are rules I guess :(
Have you ever seen a queen in her damned undies, as the feller says? Once back in 06.
Last updated: 2012-05-19 15:36 UTC
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Martingale Betting System in Roulette - YouTube

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