There was a time when visiting Las Vegas was all about gambling. Today, gambling is probably a part of a vacation but it isn’t the only reason to visit Las Vegas. This might sound obvious, but gambling is the most fun when you’re playing and hopefully winning.
Of course, casino games are designed to make money for the casino operator. Every game on the casino floor has a built-in advantage for the casino called the “house edge.” Some games like roulette and slot machines don’t take any skill to play and will always have the same house edge for the casino. There are also some games of skill, like blackjack and video poker, where your abilities can make the house edge better or worse.
Playing casino games that involve skill can be a challenge. The better your skills in the games the longer you’ll be able to play and the more opportunities you’ll have to win. Likewise, if you don’t play these games with the correct strategy, you have a better chance at losing quicker.
Getting The Best Return From Blackjack
Blackjack is the most popular game in casinos for many reasons. Besides being fun to play it can have a very low house edge. This gives gamblers the opportunity to play longer than other games. However, you have to play a game with the best rules and use perfect basic strategy to attain this very low house edge and play for a long time. Every wrong move increases the house edge for the casino. That 1% house edge can explode if you make a series of wrong moves.
The best blackjack rules start when you’re paid 3:2 when you’re dealt a natural blackjack. It’s advantageous to have the dealer stays on soft 17. When the player can able to double on any two cards or double after splitting a pair is also beneficial. If you don’t make the correct move on every hand you’ll be giving away the benefit you receive from playing the best game.
There are a variety of ways to use basic strategy for blackjack. The easiest way to know when the correct moves is to have a basic strategy card. This is exactly what it sounds like. The card tells you which hands to hit, stand, split, double, and surrender. These cards only cost a few dollars or can be printed from a computer for free.
The basic strategy cards are great. They give the correct moves so you don’t want to study and learn how to play blackjack. You’re allowed to reference the physical card when you’re sitting at the blackjack table. Sorry, technophiles, you’ll have to print the card because you still can’t look at the card on your mobile phone at the blackjack table.
If you prefer to learn basic strategy you can practice playing on a computer or mobile app. There are games that will tell you when you’ve made the wrong move and assist with making the correct move. This reinforces playing with the correct strategy.
I use the Oddcase lite blackjack training app to keep my blackjack skills sharp. The free app also offers practice for card counting if you’re looking for an even better advantage. When sober I’m probably a 95% accurate blackjack player. This allows me to get the biggest bang for the dollar playing blackjack.
Everyone’s skills decrease after a few drinks. Keep that in mind for playing games that involve skill. It may not make sense to play too much blackjack if you plan on drinking.
Understanding Video Poker
Much like blackjack, video poker can have a very low house edge. There are even a few casinos in Las Vegas that offer games with an edge for the player. Of course, the best returns are only for players that know the correct moves for every game and every pay table. Similar to blackjack, the lower the house edge, the longer we can play.
There are many different variations of video poker and each game has its own strategy. In fact, each paytable for each game has a slightly different strategy. I use vpFree to find the best video poker games in the casino. This is a good start to maximizing the video poker experience.
Learning how to play video poker correctly isn’t easy. Some of the correct plays go against the intuition of many live poker players. This makes it even more important to practice making the correct moves.
A baseball coach told me that “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” Practicing a skill the wrong way will only teach us the wrong technique. It may not actually improve the skill.
There are many different video poker games available online and for mobile devices. Most of the websites and apps have games that are “for fun” and offer no help making anyone a better video poker player. I avoid these games because playing video poker “for fun” isn’t actually fun for me. I want to make myself better if I’m going to spend my time playing casino games.
There are some video poker games online and apps that will recommend the correct moves. I paid for the WinPoker app about eight years ago and have easily made the money back more than 100 times. The game informs of incorrect moves and offers multiple options for the best moves. Pay tables are flexible so you can practice the worst bar top game or the game with the best returns.
There are free games available online but I rarely play games on my computer. Mobile apps are more convenient for me so spending money for an app made sense. I’ll probably never be perfect but my Jacks or Better and Bonus Poker skills are about 97%-98% accurate. I’m currently practicing Double Double Poker where my accuracy is only about 95%.
More Time Gambling Means More Fun Gambling
Gambling is entertainment for the majority of people visiting casinos. Most of us aren’t perfect players and many don’t care if they are perfect. Practicing some casino games in your downtime can make you a better player. In turn, you can potentially play longer even if you only correct one mistake.
Perfect play doesn’t happen overnight but every little bit helps. A little pre-visit work will help make the gambling experience more fun if the goal is to play longer and get the best bang for the buck. Don’t we all want a little more fun in our lives?