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The Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling
by Basil Nestor
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Basil Nestor incorporates decades of gambling knowledge to give the reader insight into probability, common gambling mistakes, and winning strategies in his popular book, The Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling.  Covering all the bases of casino gambling including machine games (slots and video poker), table games (blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, poker), and waiting games (keno and sports betting) the book also has sections on how to get casino comps, gambling systems, a history of gambling in the US, and much more.
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Dangerous Gambling and Bankroll Essentials

While we’re on the subject of bankrolls and staying in the game, this is a good place to discuss mental mistakes. Here are some things that will bust your bankroll faster than the worst houseBasil NestorBasil Nestor is the author of the new Playboy Complete Guide to Casino Gambling. This wonderful book teaches players how to avoid sucker bets and win more when playing gambling games.  He is also the author of The Smarter Bet Guide series for video poker, slots, craps, and many other books about gambling.  Basil's website is  odds.
Going “On Tilt”

It’s easy to slip into a bad mood or get tired without realizing it, especially in the heat of a game. Pros use the term on tilt to describe a mood that adversely affects judgment. Strategy is meaningless without good judgment. Going on tilt is a fast way to bust a bankroll.

You should stop playing when you’re tired. Stop when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re frustrated. Stop if you get the feeling that you “can’t win.”

Games should be fun. If you’re not having fun, go do something else.

Drinking Alcohol While Gambling

Drinks are “free” in many casinos when playing at the tables and machines. Gee, aren’t those casino guys nice? Toast them with a complimentary coffee or a soda, and stay away from the alcohol. Inebriating drinks cloud a player’s judgment and inevitably earn the casino many times more than the value of the beverage. Don’t surrender that edge. Stick to your strategy, win some money, and buy your drink later.

Edgar Allen Poe gambled in college with the intention of supplementing his meager allowance. But Poe was a poor player and he lost thousands of dollars. Those losses contributed to his eventual withdrawal from the University of Virginia.
Going Beyond Your Limits

We’ve already talked about setting bankroll limits. The important thing to remember here is that limits are established in advance when your mind is clear precisely because casinos can be confusing. You will be constantly tempted to bet more, play more, or wager in ways that are unwise. Never give in to the temptation. Always follow your optimal stop-loss and win-limit strategies.

And of course, never play with scared money. If you can’t comfortably afford the loss, then don’t make the bet.

Playing for Comps

Fifteen-dollar bets will get you free drinks and friendly service in a typical casino. Twenty-five dollar bets usually will result in a discounted room. One hundred dollar bets usually garner free meals and discounted or free rooms. By the time you’re handling multiple black chips ($100 units) gregarious casino hosts in stylish suits will be treating you as a respected and dear friend. You’ll be addressed warmly by your last initial, “Mr. P, it’s great to see you again!”

Yes, comps (complimentary rewards and incentives) are a nice perk if you were already planning to risk forty or fifty Ben Franklins, but it’s financially foolish to bet more money for the sole purpose of getting more comps.

The value of a comp is typically one-third or less of your expected loss. Don’t get caught up in a ridiculous system of faux status. You should establish betting levels and session lengths that suit your bankroll, and treat comps like optional icing on the cake.

Taking the Game Personally

The purpose of the game is to generate excitement. Shout, cheer, cry if you must, but remember it’s just a game. Revel in your winnings, lament your losses, but don’t take either situation personally. Streaks happen. Luck will sometimes kiss you sweetly, and other nights it will slap you down with a vengeance. Remember, it’s not about you.

Of course, there is one big exception to this last rule. If you play poorly and cost yourself money as a result, then you should take it personally! Luck is one thing; bad play is something entirely different. Learn from each mistake and resolve to never do that again.

Gamblers Anonymous has chapters in most metropolitan areas and all 50 states. You can find them on the web at, or call them at these numbers:

Las Vegas - (888) 442-2210
Atlantic City - (877) 994-2465
New York City - (877) 664-2469
Los Angeles - (877) 423-6752

Everyone needs a bankroll for gambling. A bankroll is money that is specifically designated for wagering, and nothing else.

One popular bankroll strategy used by professional gamblers is to divide a bankroll into portions that are risked during sessions. Typically, a session is two to three hours of play, once or twice a day. Whatever the length, the session ends immediately if the session bankroll dips to zero.

A rolling stop-loss is a practical way of managing your money to prevent a big loss after a big win. The system works by limiting action and bankroll volatility, but it doesn’t change the edge.

There are various ways to calculate the optimal size of a session bankroll, but a good shortcut is to always begin a session with at least 200 bets for slots or 50 bets for table games.

You shouldn’t gamble when you’re tired, hungry, or in a bad mood. It’s best to avoid alcohol when playing. Stick to your budget, and don’t play for comps.

This material is only a portion of what you'll find in Basil Nestor's Unofficial Guide to Casino Gambling.
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