Gambling FAQ

Michael Shackleford: Hi, this is Michael Shackleford with the website and I’m here in the casino with the lovely Angela Wyman who has some gambling questions for me.

Angela Wyman: Hi

Michael: What would you like to know?

Question 1 - [00:17]

Angela: Alright. My first question is when we talk about casinos you hear that the house always wins, the casino always has a niche. If that’s true, what’s the point gambling?

Michael: That’s a good question. I always tell people that gambling should be thought of as a recreational activity, like going to the movies or going bowling. You should think of it as something fun to do, you should do it in moderation and try to do it as well as you can. Try to play the good games, try to cut down the house advantage as much as you can which is what my website is all about but ultimately the reason for gambling should be entertainment. And if it’s not and you are not a professional gambler, you should pause and reflect about why you are doing it because if it’s not fun you shouldn’t be doing it at all.

Question 2 - [01:08]

Angela: I couldn’t agree more. It should definitely be fun. So, while you are figuring out your budget for fun, how do you come up with a number? How do you know what your bank gambling role should start at, how to manage it, how do you take care of that kind of thing?

Michael: Well, there’s a lot of other gambling writers that go into great detail about what is called money management, about how you should manage your money and in my opinion that subject is very overrated. First and foremost, for a recreational gambler you should only be betting with entertainment money. For example, consider that a high-end Las Vegas show, a ticket is going to be about $120, you know a high-end dinner is probably going to run like one to two hundred dollars per person. So correspondingly, if that is what you normally spend at entertainment then that is what you should probably bring to the tables to bet with. You should not be betting your child’s tuition money, food money, you should only be gambling with what you can safely afford to lose and I think a good rule of thumb, is that if you are coming to Vegas for a weekend and let’s say your gambling budget is $1000, divide that by say 40 which would be $25, right? That would be a good bet size to play with. I don’t recommend making enormous bets at one time. Let your money last a little bit.

Question 3 - [02:49]

Angela: Once you’ve figured out the amount of money that you can comfortably spend and how you are going to puzzle that off in your bets, how do you go about finding a game where the house has the small advantage or even a game or maybe the player has an advantage?

Michael: Well, I could talk about that all day and that’s what my book and website are all about but briefly the best bets in the casino are blackjack, craps and video poker. But that doesn’t mean you can walk up to the table and play and expect to get credit points, no, you need to do your homework first especially with blackjack and joker poker. Those games are easy to play but they are hard to play well. And my website and my other videos will help you a lot in that area. There are some bets in the casino that have no house advantage at all for example in craps here, if you take the hots bet, that has zero percent house advantage. There are some video poker games that have a doubled up feature with zero house advantage. There are some forms of video poker that if played correctly, actually have a small player advantage.

Question 4 - [04:02]

Angela: Alright. So, once you’ve found those games, what do you feel about the variants on the sides? Every time I sit at a new black jack table or a new poker table, it seems like there’s an extra side bet, are those generally good bets, player advantage or poor bets? Whatever [unintelligible 00:04:16]

Michael: Side bets are sucker bets. I mean the casinos would not put them there if they were not profitable for them. There’s no equivocating about it, they are lousy bets. Stay away from them.

Question 5 - [04:36]

Angela: What about if I walk up to a roulette table and I look at the display and the last ten numbers have been read, I mean it’s got to be black, right? It’s the same kind of thing. It’s due to come up. Yes?

Michael: No and this is something that I know a lot of people disagree with me about but anyone who has even the most fundamental knowledge of probability will tell you that in games of independent events like roulette, the past does not matter, period. If the last ten numbers on a feral led wheel, the last a hundred numbers couldn’t have been red and the odds of the next number is going to be red or black are still exactly the same. So, it does not help you to sit there tracking the colors and the numbers and looking for a pattern. Carol Segen once said that human beings are significant to junkies. They were always looking for a meaning to everything. But for the casino, for the most part the past has no meaning. It’s just the past, it’s over, it doesn’t help you. Live in the present.

Question 6 - [05:50]

Angela: Does that apply to progressive jackpots? I’m not exactly sure how those work. It seems to me that if any one of those get large enough that’s due to it, or is that a whole new different thing?

Michael: Well, number one, progressive jackpots the odds are always the same and for example Caribbean Stack Poker has progressive jackpot for hitting a royal flash. It starts at 10,000 and usually when you walk around a casino, they could be anywhere between 10,000 to a little over 100,000, it’s usually where you see it. Depending on the pay table if it gets to about 260,000, then the odds will swing to the players favor. And same thing with the megabucks. At a certain point that will become positive but that does not mean that it is more likely to hit. The odds-on games like card games and on slot machines, the odds are always the same, the jackpot is never overdue.

Question 7 - [06:55]

Angela: Alright. So, I come to Vegas and I know this. I’ve read your website and I figure all that out but I don’t have time to memorize every system and look at every single machine I sit down at. What’s wrong with gong to the internet or picking up a book for $10 that has a guaranteed, sure fire, cannot loose, I can beat the casino system? What do you think of those?

Michael: Those are all scams. There is no easy way to be at the casino. If there were, everybody would be doing it starting with the guy who wrote that worthless system about how to win millions from the casino that’s he’s kindly selling for 20 bucks. No. There is no easy way and most of the so called get-rich quick schemes involve what I call ‘betting systems’ and that means they are usually based on craps that are red and it says start with this bet and if it loses bet this much and if it loses again bet this much. And you follow some scheme of how much to bet according to the pattern of past bets. These things are all absolutely worthless. Every day people are always writing to me about, ‘what’s your opinion of this new betting system?’ and my answer is always the same, all betting systems are equally worthless. If you remember just one thing that I say in this video, it should be that betting systems are absolutely bunk.

Angela: Wow. So that new book that I just got I wasted my $10?

Michael: Yes.

Question 8 - [08:31]

Angela: Alright. Can you give me $10 worth of advice for sports betting? I’m completely a little new to it so I really don’t understand the abdicate of it. What can you give a down and dirty course on that?

Michael: Two words for you. Actually, just one word. Underdogs doesn’t make any difference what the sport is, your odds are better betting on underdogs. Why, you might ask is because the general public has a lot of what are called the square betters. There are sharp betters and the square betters. The sharp betters are the smart ones; the square betters are the ones that are the opposite. They tend to like betting on the good teams but when you bet on the good teams, when there is a lot of demand on the good teams, the casinos are trying to balance their actions so they favor the points spread, they move it in favor of the bad team to try to attract action on the other side. I’m not saying that you will have the advantage just flat betting underdogs but if you look historically, say betting on the under fill, if you just flat bet every underdog against the spread, you would be right around great even, maybe, at a small disadvantage but it will be very thin. So again, underdogs are the way to go. And also about sports betting I recommend just the simple bets just going against the points where you can’t go wrong with that. Betting underdogs on the money line also a good bet as a rule of thumb I recommend against anything exotic like parlay cards. There are exceptions. Sometimes they’re good. There’re sometimes ways of gaining an advantage from them but it’s complicated. As a rule of thumb. I would avoid anything with a card where you have to [unintelligible 00:10:30] numbers.

Question 9 - [10:32]

Angela: So, after I’m done for the very first time placing my first sports bet on the underdog or whatever is going on, and I wonder out to the casino floor for the first time what are some of the easiest things for a newbie to sit down and pick up for this as far as the etiquette of the table and that type of thing.

Mike: Yes. I asked that a lot. “Mike, I don’t have time to study your whole website. Just tell me one good game to play that has good odds. It’s not complicated to learn.” Craps. Craps is one of the best games you can play, and I know there’s a lot of bets on this table, on top understand all the rules is pretty complicated but you don’t need to understand all the rules to play it. You really just need to understand the pass line on the odds which I’m going to get into in another video.

Angela: [laughs] and we thank you very much.

Mike: Well, thanks, Angela.

Angela: I appreciate the crash course.

Mike: Okay. All my pleasure.

Angela: [laughs].