Casino Gambling Is Easy
I f you have never before played a casino game, no need to fear. The games were not developed for geniuses; otherwise very, very few people would play them. Indeed, I wouldn’t be able to play any of them, as I am certainly not in the Einstein category. There are a few simple facts to know before you read about and/or learn any game. I will cover these facts in this chapter, and then you will be off and running.
Playing with Chips
Casinos want players to bet with casino chips—sometimes called “checks” or “cheese”—rather than with cash, although some venues sometimes allow cash play. Dealers will call out, “Money plays!” for a player betting cash.
To convert your cash to casino chips, wait until the dealer completes the round of play in progress, then place your cash on the layout in front of your betting spot in card games or on the layout in front of you in games such as craps and roulette. The dealer will exchange your cash for an equivalent amount in casino chips, which you then use for betting.
Protect Your Chips
It is bad enough to lose your chips to the casino, but it is far worse to lose your chips to a thief, also known as a “cross roader.” You must protect your chips. At games such as craps, where there are chip rails, put the highest-denomination chips in the middle, put the second-highestdenomination chips next to those on both sides, and so on down to the lowest-denomination chips that you have.
The Eye in the Sky
Take a look at the ceiling when you are in a casino, and you’ll notice black globes attached to it. These are spread throughout the property over all the gaming and nongaming areas, with the exception of the bathrooms. The black globes are collectively called “the eye in the sky,” and in them are cameras keeping track of everything taking place. These eyes are hooked into monitors that the security personnel watch to make sure no cheating or other criminal activity is taking place in the casino or other areas.
A table with a $10 minimum betting requirement means that a player must wager at least $10 on each hand or wagering opportunity. If a table has a $1,000 maximum, this means a player is not allowed to make a wager greater than $1,000. In some games, such as craps and roulette, a player is able to make more than one bet at a time, but in other games each player can only make one bet at a time. If you are not sure of what to do or what you are allowed to do, the best advice I can give is—just ask. The dealers and fl oor people will be happy to answer any questions you have; after all, they want your action at the table. Slot machines are somewhat different—just about everything you need to know is printed on the machine. In fact, there really isn’t too much you need to know!
Sometimes It’s “Units” Wagered
Sometimes gambling writers use the term “units” when discussing amounts wagered. The player decides what his unit will be. If you are a green-chip player and your minimum bet is $25, then your minimum unit is $25. That’s one unit. If the most you bet is $100, then your maximum is four units. However, if you are a $5 bettor whose minimum unit is $5 and whose maximum bet is $100, that maximum is a 20-unit bet. The reason for the “unit” terminology is that it allows players not to have to waste wordage going through all the various amounts a person can bet. I tend to go back and forth between units and money.
The Personnel of Table Games
Table games are played in a “pit,” and the person in charge of the pit is called (creatively) the “pit boss.” Under the pit boss is the “fl oor person” or, as some casinos call them, the floor man or floor woman. This individual is in charge of rating the players’ action (how much you bet and for how long you play) and resolving any disputes that might occur. If a dispute cannot be resolved by the floor person, the pit boss will be called in.
Playing and Betting Advice
There are three types of casino players:
- The advantage players, who have actually turned the tables or machines in their favor and have the edge over the casino. These players bet smart and know the games they play perfectly, and they beat those games.
- The smart players, who do not have an edge but play the very best bets and strategies at their favorite games.
- The poppies, who plop down at a table or machine, play stupidly using poor strategies, believe in silly gambling myths, and make the casinos enough money to build empires
The last line in the table-game hierarchy—I refuse to call it the “lowest” line, because these are the most important people the player deals with almost all the time—are the dealers. Good dealers make the casino experience enjoyable; bad dealers make it crummy.