This column is an excerpt from Bill Burton’s book, “1,000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets.” Bill is a regular contributing tip columnist for Southern Gaming and the Internet portal found at He is also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps seminars. For information on the seminars, visit

General: True Odds are determined by the probability of an event occurring. The casinos pay you less than true odds when you win. The house edge is the difference between the true odds and the odds that the casino pays you when you win.

Many players win when they are playing and then give it all back. They rationalize that they were playing with the casino’s money. Once you win a bet, it is your money, not the casino’s money. You should treat it accordingly.

Video Poker: To determine the payouts on a video slot machine, you will need to look at the help screen. If you are playing a game you have never played before, it is a good idea to spend a minute looking at the help screen so you understand the game. It will show you what each symbol is worth and how they need to be aligned for you to win. It will also explain if there is a bonus screen for the game.

Video Poker: The chance of hitting a royal flush when playing Jacks or better is about one in forty thousand. That does not mean that you are guaranteed to hit a royal if you play forty thousand hands. The odds are the same each time you hit the
button. You could hit a royal in one hand or go two hundred and fifty thousand hands without one.

Blackjack: If you are dealt a pair of aces, you are allowed to split them but you only receive one card on each Ace. This is because there is a good chance that your Ace could turn into a twenty-one with the probability of getting a ten. If your split Aces make twenty-one, you are paid even money, not the standard three to two odds, because the twentyone was not made with your first two cards. Many casinos will not allow you to re-split Aces.

Blackjack: Your two starting cards will fall into one of three categories: hard hands, soft hands or pairs. A soft hand in blackjack is a hand that contains an Ace. An Ace is worth one or eleven. A hard hand is a hand without an Ace or one for which adding a ten would put you over twenty-one.

Blackjack: You have A-A: This hand actually falls into both the soft hand and pair categories. You should always split this hand. Aces are very powerful and even though you only receive one card on your Ace, it is to your advantage to split
this hand.

Blackjack: Splitting pairs is either an offensive move or a defensive move depending on the pair and the dealer’s up card. You split to win more when the dealer has a bust card showing. You split to lose less when splitting can turn a very bad hand into a potential winner, such as a pair of sevens or eights.

Craps: The opposite sides (top and bottom) of the dice always add up to seven. One is opposite six, four is opposite three and five is opposite two. Adjacent sides never add up to seven. A die can be rotated so the one, two and three appear in succession, then turned to so the four five and six come in rotation. This is a quick way to make sure the dice are legitimate.

Craps: An alternative to betting the pass line is to place bets on the six and eight. These numbers have a low house edge. There are five ways to roll a six and five ways to roll an eight, so you actually have ten ways to win. There are only six ways to
roll a seven so the odds of hitting one of these numbers is in your favor. A hedge bet involves making two offsetting bets, one of which pays off slightly more than the other. Hedging a bet means taking a second bet on the table that will win if the first bet looses.

Roulette: Roulette is the oldest game in the casino. It originated in France and the modern layout we use today was developed around 1842. Roulette dealers are sometime referred to as croupiers (the French word for dealer.)

Roulette: All the numbers on the roulette wheel add up to 666. Two adjacent numbers of the same color add up to thirty-seven most of the time. A perfect arrangement is not possible because the even numbers add up to 342 and the odd numbers add up to 324.

By: Bill Burton