Sometime in the distant future, maybe the year 3225 or so, when historians are studying ancient Western society (or what will be ancient Western society by the time), they will marvel at one particular human enterprise perhaps more than any other: the epic, money-sucking efficiency of casinos.
The way casinos have turned the act of separating us from our money into such a marvel of precision and ingenuity is every bit as awe-inspiring as the Egyptian pyramids.
“I could give you a guaranteed method to go into a casino and come out with a small fortune: go in there with a large one,” laughs Sal Piacente, a former casino dealer and security staffer who now runs UniverSal Game Protection Development, a company that trains casino staff members. He and other casino insiders know that casinos exist to not only take our money, but to keep as much of theirs as possible — both by offering games that are tilted in the house’s favor and by having air-tight security measures designed to catch thieves and cheaters.
So Yahoo Travel talked to Sal and other casino experts with decades of experience in the industry to get some dirty little secrets of casinos. Not only are these secrets juicy — knowing them might help you keep a little bit more of your money during your next casino trip. But probably just a little bit.
1. Some games are way more of a ripoff than others — even by casino standards.
It’s common knowledge that just about every game you’ll find in a casino is tilted in the house’s favor. But Sal says some games are worse than others. “A lot of these games are designed so that the player can’t win,” says Sal. “That’s why the players have to realize they need to stay away from certain games.”
The top of his list: so-called “carnival games,” which are table games other than the traditional casino fare such as blackjack, craps, and baccarat. “Three-card poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud — all these games have high house advantages where the casino has a strong edge,” Sal says. “People like these games because of the bigger payouts: They get paid 9-to-1, 8-to-1, 250-to-1. But you’re going to lose a lot more than you’re going to win in those games.”
Sal has particular disdain for Double Exposure Blackjack, which he considers a particular ripoff, thanks to strict rules on when you can double down and the fact that if you tie with the dealer without a blackjack, the dealer wins. “That’s over a 9 percent house advantage,” Sal says. “The dealer should be wearing a [robber’s] mask when he deals that game!”