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Top secret: what the casinos don’t want you to know

Pai Yao
Written by Pai Yao

This article first appeared in the Jul/Aug 2010 issue of World Gaming magazine.

It was a cold and windy night. The lightning lit up the sky and the rain came down in sheets. A secret meeting had been called and attendance was compulsory. There was an important project to be undertaken that might change the face of gaming forever. It was a project they knew only as: TOP SECRET!

In a dark room they started to appear. There were candles burning on the walls and a musty smell in the air. This was a special place shrouded in mystery; a place where no one would find or disturb them. Pai Yao sat at the top of the table nervously waiting. The Panda was the first to arrive brushing crumbs out of his fur. The Stallion galloped through the doors, even though he looked a little tired after a long night out on the town. The Tiger stalked in looking ready for business and The Dragon swooped down from the heavens ready to take his place. The ‘gang’ was joined by the rest of the World Gaming team who between them had over 200 years of gaming experience.

The door was bolted and the crew hushed as Pai Yao began to speak.

“I have called you all together for a very important mission. No one will leave this room until we agree on all the ‘secrets’.”

Everyone looked at each other and no one uttered a word. Finally it was The Tiger who asked the obvious question.

“What ‘secrets’ do you speak of boss?”

Pai Yao paused dramatically before speaking to the gang.

“We are going to look at the eight betting options we all love to bet on and we are going to come up with the five most important secrets that any player needs to maximise their chances of winning.”

The Panda was next to speak up.

“But… you speak of the secrets that the casinos don’t want the players to know about.”

“That’s right!” yelled Pai Yao.

“The time has come that World Gaming readers discover the secrets of winning!”

Everyone sat in stunned silence until Pai Yao started to laugh. Then everyone joined in as they knew that the vault was about to be unlocked. No one knows how long it took them but as soon as the door was unbolted the secrets were recorded and have been given to World Gaming readers so that you can now give yourself a better chance of winning.

Betting on Baccarat

Baccarat is the hottest game in Macau. For every $1 invested in all the other games put together then there is more than $7 spent on baccarat. This ancient card game that rose to popularity in France centuries ago has found its home in Macau and the art of squeezing is one that is much heralded. Let’s have a look at the top five secrets to baccarat.

  1. The best bet is always the banker if you are paying 5 percent commission on all winning bets. Not only is this the best bet in baccarat it is one of the best bets in the casino..
  2. The best bet is the player if you are playing no commission but only get paid half on banker wins on six. This is not as good a bet as the bank in a 5 percent commission game so if you have the choice play a commission game in preference. The ‘player’ bet doesn’t change between the two versions of the game.
  3. The Tie is not always a great bet: Use it sparingly; the rewards are big but the risk is also large. Read the article about the tie in this copy of World Gaming magazine.
  4. Make sure you join the players’ rewards club. Free food, prizes, hotel rooms and comps mean you would be crazy not to sign up. Make sure you take advantage of the rewards the casinos want to give you for showing your loyalty.
  5. No one baccarat system is necessarily better than another. If someone tells you they have a secret to beat baccarat don’t believe them. If you want to ‘follow the dragon’ or play ping pong it’s up to you. There is no right or wrong way. If in doubt go with the best value, otherwise follow your instincts.

Betting on Football

Football betting is big business. Be it the World Cup or the English Premier League there is no other sport in the world that comes close to football when talking about betting. So how do you win? There are other sports that are easier to beat than football but you can still be a long term winner. You just need to show some discipline and learn a good bet from a bad one.

  1. Find a good price. Make sure you have more than one account and shop around. The difference between $1.90 and $1.95 might not seem like much but if I told you it was like getting your 10th bet for free then would you be interested?
  2. Bet with your head and not with your heart. Lots of pro’s never bet on their own team. They know that they are passionate about their own team so they choose to bet on teams that they can look at more rationally.
  3. Try to find the best value bet, not necessarily the team you think is going to win. Don’t always bet on the favourites. The favourites don’t always win and you are always getting very short odds on the favourites. Think of it this way. Let’s say you bet on a team paying $3.00 and you do this ten times. If you bet $100 on this and you win four out of ten then you will turn a profit of $200. If you pick three out of ten you will only show a very slight loss. Compare that to how many favourites you have to back and you will find out that you are always better to look for value.
  4. Do your homework. With the internet you can always search around for the information that you need. Take the time to look around. Study the changes in price, study the changes in teams. Does your team play well on the road or are they better at home? The more you know the more you will win.
  5. Always look for an edge. Maybe it has started to rain and you get on the total goals under before the market has a chance to respond. Maybe you have a friend who really knows his stuff and you bet on his tips. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you win in the long run.

Betting on Blackjack

Blackjack can be one of the best games in the casino to play if you know what you are doing. However, be warned as if you don’t know what you are doing then you can easily get destroyed playing this game. It has a much higher skill element than most other casino games.

  1. When the dealer has an Ace never take insurance or even money. You can’t lose with a blackjack against the dealer’s ace and you have a 69 percent chance to get 6/4 about your bet so be strong and let the bet ride. Also never take insurance. Don’t throw good money after bad. Who knows? You might win the bet anyway and there is nothing worse than taking insurance to see both the insurance and the original bet lose.
  2. If the dealer’s upcard is between a 2 and a 6 then never give yourself a chance of busting. Once you reach a total of 12 or more stand. If the dealer has a 7 or better then continue to draw until you reach 17 or better before you stand. (exception: hit 12 if the dealer has a 2 or 3).
  3. Always double down when you are on 10 and 11 and you have more than the dealer. The only time you don’t double down on 11 is when the dealer’s upcard is an ace; and with 10 you only skip the double versus a picture card or an ace. Doubling down is a great way to maximise your profits so make sure you always have enough money to take advantage of this play.
  4. Never split 5s or 10s and always split 8s and Aces. . Splitting like doubling down is another very important part of the game. People often get splitting wrong. Remember these four combinations and at least you will be on the way to understanding this part of the game.
  5. Never stand on a soft 17 or below. A soft total is one that has an ace in it that can be 11 or 1. So for example an ace and a 6 is called ‘soft 17’, but you can also hit and then choose to count the ace as 1. The great thing about this hand is there is still plenty of room for improvement and you can never bust by drawing another card.

Betting on Poker

Poker is the casino game that requires the most skill and the least amount of luck. Good players win and bad players lose, it’s that simple. Poker is a game that requires minutes to learn and a lifetime to master but along the road you will find that your game constantly improves the more time you spend working on it. Poker is a test of patience and learning and is a game that can be very kind to you if you respect it and take the good with the bad.

  1. Learn, learn, learn! Poker is a game that requires you to learn different skill sets. Here at World Gaming magazine we will teach you about different aspects of the game. Read as much as you can and research the best way to play and over time your skill levels will increase.
  2. Practise, practise, practise! It’s a bit like learning to play golf. You can get a master golfer to show you how to hit the ball but if you never practise then you will forget the lessons very quickly. Play as much as you can. Play against your friends, at the casino or online and keep polishing the skills you have learnt.
  3. Bankroll management. Bankroll management is a very important skill to learn. You need to be able to roll with the swings of poker. Some nights everything will go well and you will win plenty. Other nights everything will go badly and whatever you do, no matter how far in front you are, you get run down. You don’t want to go broke on a bad night so you need to be able to stay in the game.
  4. Find a game you can beat. If you sit down in a really big poker game without much experience then you are nearly guaranteed to lose. You need to find the right game to suit your level. You need to become a winning player at the lower levels before you move up to the bigger stakes.
  5. Learn both ‘tournaments’ and ‘cash’ and work out which suits the style of your game. Some of the great poker players dominate in both poker disciplines, tournaments and cash. These players, however, are few and far between. Some of the greats are excellent at one and not so good at the other. As a new player enjoy both aspects of the game but find out which you enjoy and even more importantly which one you are better at and try to focus your energies in that direction.

Betting on Horse Racing

Horse racing is one of the oldest established betting industries. All over the world people love betting on race horses. There is something about this sport that is truly awe-inspiring. It is also very hard to be a successful horse racing bettor because the industry people tend to know more about the horses than you.

  1. Study the form. Learn how to study the racing form and find bets that you think represent good value. This is not an easy skill as there are many variables that you need to be able to take into consideration.
  2. Be prepared to listen to other peoples’ advice. We aren’t suggesting that you back every tip you are given, especially from someone at the track or your mate down at the bar, but there are certainly tipsters and form analysts that can give you very good advice. Sometimes is can even be worth paying for these services.
  3. Don’t always back the favourite. It’s easy to fall for the favourite but this can be a treacherous pastime. The favourite might technically be the best horse, but the best horse doesn’t always win. The other thing is that there is always less value with the favourite and on many occasions you should be looking towards a horse that represents better value.
  4. Jockeys and trainers play a very important role in any horse’s chances. Following a good jockey and strong training stables can be a very good way to bet as the best jockeys and trainers tend to be involved with the best horses.
  5. Some days will be better than others. The nature of horse racing is such that you don’t have to win every day. If you have a great day where you back a 10/1 winner and an 8/1 winner then you are going to be well in front for the day. You can afford to have losing days because your winning days will sometimes be huge.

Betting on Slots

Slots are a difficult area in which to give advice. Many will argue that there are no secrets when it comes to playing slots and that you just have to rely on Lady Luck to be with you. Our team has come up with some good ideas that are certainly not going to hurt when it comes to choosing and playing the right machine.

  1. Playing the electronic table games is a great option. You will find the odds on these are very good and they let you enjoy all your favourite table games like baccarat, sic bo, roulette and blackjack. They have a much lower house edge than traditional slot machines, and allow you to play for just a fraction of the outlay required for table games. They are also more private and you can nearly always get a seat. This is the way of the future and these games will become more and more popular.
  2. It is better to play every line at a lower limit than to play only a few lines at a higher limit. Many of the machines offer bonuses that require you to play the maximum amount of lines. To give up these bonuses seriously hurts your bottom line.
  3. Watch the progressive jackpots. Nearly all casinos that have slots have jackpots. Most jackpots will be payed to the player between two predetermined figures. If that jackpot amount is getting high and close to its maximum payout then you know that it will only be a short period of time before some lucky player has a big payday. This is a great time for you to be trying your luck.
  4. There is a theory that the machines close to the doors and at the end of the rows near walkways payout at a higher percentage. The argument is that the casinos want players to see people winning lots of money. It is impossible to know if this is true, but many ‘lucky’ players swear by it. At the very least it can’t hurt to play these machines and in the worst case you won’t be any worse off (unless the casinos start to put the poorer payout machines there!)
  5. Join the players’ rewards club. Casinos are always looking to get you in the door to play their slots over their competitors. This is a great thing for the player as you will be able to get free rewards from meals and rooms and a whole host of other special benefits. Some days they will have double points or special promotions so be on the lookout because you might as well take advantage of what the casino has on offer.

Betting on Mahjong

Mahjong is one of the world’s most popular games. It isn’t a huge casino game but no one could doubt the impact that this game has when it comes to gambling. It is a huge game throughout Asia and even though different rule sets are played there are certainly some golden rules when it comes to gambling on the tiles.

  1. Know the game. There are as many mahjong rule variations as there are tiles in the deck and you need to know all the ins and outs of the game you have chosen to play. That means learn all the hands, learn how to score, and learn the customs before you get into a serious game.
  2. Don’t look back. There are more choices in each hand of mahjong than almost any other game in the world. Sometimes the decisions you make are not going to work out for you. One of the most important things in this game is to not dote on the past. Wait until the game is over to start analysing your play. For now, focus on the tiles at hand.
  3. Don’t try to win them all. There are four players in most games of mahjong. No one player is going to be able to win every hand. Learn to read your opponents and know when they are ahead of you. In most hands only one or two players are going to have viable hands. If you see two opponents going at it, it’s probably a good idea to get out of the way.
  4. Fold without flaw.When you decide to give up a hand, GIVE IT UP! The worst thing you can do in mahjong is discard another player’s winner when you have no way to win yourself. If you’re going to give up a hand make sure you can do it. If you don’t have enough safe tiles to fold, then don’t give up your own hand. Your own hand is always your first priority. If you do decide to fold, watch your opponents’ discards and don’t make guesses.
  5. Don’t play favourites. Mahjong is extremely visual. The tiles are beautiful, the patterns are pleasing to the eye and matching the marks is fun. Make sure you know which hands are realistic and which are not given your current deal. Seven honour/terminal tiles is not likely to turn into a 13 orphans hand, so don’t push it.

Betting on other Sports

Sports betting is a growth industry in the gaming world. People love watching sport and they love betting on sport. There are plenty of bookmakers out there so there is plenty of competition which means you can pick up some great prices if you look around. With cable television there is always plenty of sport from across the globe for you to take advantage of.

  1. Become an expert on a few sports. You can’t follow every sport on the planet. It’s simply impossible to be an expert on every sport. Pick a few sports that you really love or are very familiar with and stick with them. If you spread yourself too wide you will give yourself a headache and you’ll end up losing.
  2. Find the right bookie for the right sport. Some bookmakers offer extensive markets on some sports but not on others. This is understandable because they cater to a certain market. The secret is to find a bookmaker that specialises in the sports you are interested in.
  3. Futures bets are a good way to make money. A future bet is for a team to win a competition not a particular game. Unlike a bet on a game which is over in an hour or two, a future bet takes weeks or even months to play out. Look for a team that you think will at least shorten in the betting. It’s a bit like buying a good stock; you can always sell your bet later at a profit if it shortens.
  4. Multi bets are not the best way to bet. The only time you should ever be taking a multi bet is when you take two teams only. If you are taking more than a two leg multi you are giving away too much percentage. You are much better in the long run to take single bets and increase your stake as you win.
  5. Manage your money. Don’t put all your money on one bet. You can never guarantee a result. If you think a bet is a very good one then invest more than your normal amount but you always want to be in a position where you control how much you bet. Start smaller and when you start to win increase your bet size. Never, ever bet more than ten percent of the money you have set aside for sports betting on a single bet, and even then such a huge bet should only be reserved for bets that you believe are in the top few percent of your bets as far as value goes. Many pros have an average bet size of about two or three percent of their sports betting bankrolls.

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