Personal Finance

How to Walk Out of Vegas a Winner. Seriously.

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Every year, millions of people flood the strip of Las Vegas with a dream that their life could change for the better if they come out winning big. With the Affiliate Summit (a conference for bloggers), which is held in Las Vegas about a month away, there’s a very good chance I will be one of those people. Of those millions, you might find a few hundred that actually accomplish this feat, although there’s a good chance that these “winners” are hooked on the gambling drug and promptly go back to the casino’s “please return all winnings” booth while making a quick stop at the “deposit savings account here” stand.

If you've ever worked at a Casino before or known anyone that works at a Casino, they all will tell you the company motto: "If you've got a system, we'd love to see it". That's because from a mathematical perspective, there is absolutely no way a gambler with a system can consistently come out ahead. Having a system usually requires a long series of play, meaning your continued odds are always rising in the house's favor. The most common system for an amateur gambler (Yes I did say amateur because there are some that are good enough to make this a profession) is the Martingale system, named after a man that does not exist.

The Martingale System is a basic double up system in which a bettor brings a large amount of money to a game with generally two possible outcomes, like roulette. A bettor would then place $10 on red and if he loses would place $20, then $40 and so on always doubling his wager. Ultimately, the system is flawed for two reasons.

  1. Every casino has a limit of how much can be wagered on any one spin. A general maximum would be $5,000, making the total number of wagers in the system 10. The system is infallible should the amount of money available be limitless, but your wallet and Vegas casinos make that an impossibility.
  2. No game against the house is 50/50, so the odds of you losing in this system are even faster than they should be. In American roulette, you only have an 18/38 chance of hitting on your color because of the two blasted green numbers, zero and double zero.

And ultimately, every other system created by wannabe winners is flawed for the same reasons. The longer you play, the longer your 47%-49.5% chance of winning a single outcome will catch up to you. So how can you maximize your chances of walking out of Vegas a winner? I'll give you three!

  • Don't Beat The House / Beat the Player- You might be thinking "How do I do that?" and I don't blame you. The age old game of poker allows you to test your wits and skills against other people just like you, and Vegas simply deals the cards for a small fee of every hand. When you break down how much of your money the casino receives, it's a pittance compared to the odds they have in their favor for slots and table games. Why let the casinos take other people's money when you can do it yourself?
  • Be Prepared To Lose It All In 1 Second - When you have a 49% chance of winning a throw of the dice by playing the pass line in craps, that's as good as it's ever gonna get for you. Can you imagine if every bettor in Vegas took the money they put aside for gambling and put it down on one roll? 49% of them would walk out big winners and probably would not have played long enough to be addicted or want to try it again. I can dream ... I can dream ...
  • Don't Play At All - I know it's cliche, but there's so much to enjoy about Vegas other than gambling that you should still have a blast. When you remove gambling from the equation, Las Vegas becomes a fairly inexpensive trip, and if you're really looking to come out on top you can take after my mother. While my father was at the tables, my mother would walk through the casino with her head glued to the floor looking for loose change and dollars near the slots. At the end of the day my father would be ahead or behind, but my mother was always $10-$100 up. Be careful though, because she was actually tossed from two casinos!

Do these three methods guarantee that you’ll have trouble getting through security with all of the cash coming out of your pockets? No. Truth be told, you know as well as I that all of those beautiful hotels in Las Vegas tell us that there are few ways to walk out of Vegas a winner, and you’ve just read them.

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