The Best Casino Strategy – Don’t Play

Beneath the veneer of flashing lights and free drinks, casinos stand on a bedrock of mathematics engineered to slowly bleed their patrons of cash. Mathematically inclined minds have tried to turn the tables on these rigged games, but the best strategy for beating them remains clear: Don’t play.

In modern casinos, gambling is a large source of income, often accounting for more than 50 percent of gross revenues. Customers gamble by playing games of chance or, in some cases, skill such as roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat, and video poker. Most games have mathematically determined odds that ensure the house always has a small advantage over players, a phenomenon known as the house edge. Some casinos also take a commission on player wins, a fee called the rake.

Casinos often employ high-tech surveillance systems to monitor their premises and the activities of their patrons. These include video cameras, in-casino betting chips with microcircuitry that can be tracked minute by minute to oversee the exact amounts wagered, and electronically monitored roulette wheels to detect any statistical deviation from expected results. Some casinos offer wholly automated versions of table games such as baccarat, with players placing bets by pushing buttons rather than dealing cards or rolling dice.

Whether you want to play for fun or to win big, it’s important to keep in mind the house edge of each game and how long you plan on playing. You’ll also want to pay attention to how other players act, as some games have special rules that may differ from the ones you’re used to at home.