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The house charges a vigorish (commission) in some games, such as sports betting. (Check out Chapter 15.) I In many games, the casino doesn’t pay out true odds. In roulette, for example, there are 37-to-1 odds of guessing the right number But if you win, the payout is only 35 to 1. This difference may seem small, but that discrepancy actually gives the house one of the biggest edges in the casino. (Refer to Chapter 3 for an explanation of true odds and Chapter 9 for more info on roulette.)

I The casino has a house edge — a mathematical advantage over the player in any game. Throughout the casino, players must overcome odds that aren’t favorable to winning. (Read more about the edge in Chapter 3.) Your goal is to find games where the casino has the lowest edge. Craps is a great example. This fun, exciting game offers great odds — if you stay away from the bad bets. I explore craps in Chapter 8.

To get the lowdown on house edge in other games, check out the indi- vidual chapters in Parts II and III. Protecting your money with a plan For most people, developing a strategy for doling out their gambling bankroll can keep them out of serious trouble. Set a budget and stick to it. Consider contingencies (such as losing your bankroll in the first few minutes of your visit) and know how to respond when your wallet gets whacked.

Your strategy, however, is only as good as your willpower. Nothing jacks up casino profits faster than undisciplined gamblers. If you’re an impulsive type, then gambling may leave your bank account looking like it just went 15 rounds with a heavyweight boxing champion. (Refer to Chapter 4, where I dis- cuss important money-management issues.) Now, it’s certainly true that most people can save their money by avoiding casi- nos altogether. So, the best advice I can give to folks who don’t want to lose money is simple: Don’t gamble! But the conservative and prudent path in life isn’t the only choice (and that would make for a very short book). Gambling can be a great way to spice up a vacation and break out of a boring routine. Gambling is all about taking a risk — exposing yourself to a chance of loss.


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