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Monday, June 14, 2021
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Tadas Peckaitis has been a professional poker player, coach and author for almost a decade. He is a manager and head coach at where he shares his experience, and poker strategy tips. Tadas plays poker, mostly online, but also manages to play live events while travelling through Europe and the U.S. He is a big fan of personal effectiveness and always trying to do more. Tadas regularly shares his knowledge about both of these topics with his students, and deeply enjoys it. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or visit

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Top 10 casino tips for poker players

If you are a live poker player, most of your poker action will likely happen inside a casino where you will be exposed to all kinds of games. There are some exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority of all poker players enjoy playing the pit games, at least occasionally.

If you fall into the category of poker players who like to take their shot on games of chance once in a while, or if you have been thinking of possibly doing so in the future, we have prepared a short guide to help you out.

So, here are the top 10 tips for poker players that will help improve your odds of winning, reduce your variance, and ultimately make the experience more enjoyable when playing casino games.

10. Get friendly with the casino staff
One of the first things you should try doing in any casino, whether you are going to play poker or casino games, is to get as friendly as possible with the casino staff.

This includes all staff, from the valets to the floor managers to the dealers. The more friendships you have, the more opportunities these people can open for you. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying they will cheat for you, but if there is an edge to be had, they will give it to you rather than other players they are not friendly with.

Casino staff can provide you with free drinks, tickets to events and shows, or even free play vouchers if they want to. Being on good terms with them means you will get access to more such perks than other players.

9. Avoid sucker bets
The widespread belief that “the house always wins” is true, but there is a difference between how much the house wins in different situations and in different games.

One classic example of a sucker's bet is playing the American Roulette wheel in a casino that has a European Wheel on the floor. While roulette rules are the same for both games, the European version has only one “0” field and gives much better odds to the player, so you should always opt to play it.

While most bets on a casino floor have a negative expected value, there are vast differences between games.

A game like Keno might give the house a 20% edge while playing blackjack or Baccarat could mean you are losing less than 1% of your bets in the long run. The more you educate yourself about different casino games, the better idea you will have of which games and bets you should avoid and which will give you the best possible value.

Learning how to play video poker games should be one of the first things you do.

Learning how to play video poker games should be one of the first things you do. (photo by Flickr)

8. Learn to play video poker
There are some exceptions to the rule that says the casino always has an edge. Some video poker machines actually give you an edge over the house, while others will bring you very close to breaking even in the long run.

Learning how to play video poker games should be one of the first things you do if you want to be a savvy casino player.

Some games like Deuces Wild can actually be played with a strategy that creates an RTP higher than 100%. This means you are expected to win against the house if you play these machines.

Even the less valuable versions of video poker still have RTPs of well over 98% and often over 99%. That's higher than most casino games and certainly worth looking into.

7. Track progressive jackpots
One of the most popular ways for casinos to award their loyal players is through progressive jackpots. These can be found at slot games, video poker games, and card games.

If you keep track and know which range each progressive jackpot is likely to be triggered in, you can play that game at the right time to give yourself a reasonable chance to trigger the bonus.
Keep in mind that progressive jackpots can be incredibly valuable compared to the value of the bets you are making, which means you only need to trigger them once in a lifetime or once in many years of play.

I am not saying you should always gamble on a game with a high progressive jackpot, but the fact is that such jackpots increase the short-term RTP of the games, making them more profitable to play.

6. Don’t play slot machines
Video slots usually cover the majority of the casino floor, and most players in the casino turn to these games. They are colorful, fun, and seemingly cheap to play.

Some players can swear they know how to win at slots, but damn, I take these words with a lot of skepticism. The real truth is that slots are usually among the worst-paying games on the floor, and spins on slots tend to be very fast.

It is really hard to win a significant amount of money on slots, while the RTPs of live slot games tend to be lower than 90%, compared to over 99% on some other casino games.

Slots can be really fun to play, and betting cents at a time while having a cocktail can be fun, but playing them at higher stakes means absolutely burning through your bankroll.

I suggest only playing slot games at the lowest of stakes when progressive jackpots are up for grabs and playing card games or video poker at all other times.

5. Make full use of comps
Playing in a live casino means you will have access to the casino’s loyalty program. Different casinos have different ways of awarding loyal players, but some comp system is almost always in place.

While playing in a live casino, make sure your play at the tables is always tracked and that your card is always inserted into any machine you are playing. Over time, you will accumulate a significant amount of points, which you can use to get free stuff from the casino.

If you are friendly with the casino staff, as I suggested you should be, you may be able to get even more value for your comps, as they will be free to give you even more rewards for the time and money you spend in the casino.

Many players treat comps as a hassle and leave them behind, but if you want to be a savvy gambler, you should always make full use of all the comps and perks the casino has to offer.

4. Minimize the house edge
Some games, such as slots, have fixed odds and don't let players influence them in any way. Your final results in other games, however, will depend heavily on how you play.

If you are going to play a game like video poker, blackjack, or even learn craps rules, understanding the optimal strategy for the game in question will be extremely important.

These games can be nearly break-even propositions for the savvy players, while the bad players lose heaps of money.

I recommend taking a lot of time to learn the right strategies to apply in each casino game and find out if the odds can be influenced. If they can, don't play the game before you have learned the optimal strategy.

Treat your dealers well and tip them generously.

Treat your dealers well and tip them generously.

3. Treat your dealers well
Once you get into the pit and start playing, you will be interacting directly with the dealers at the tables. I highly recommend you treat them well and tip them generously.

For starters, it is the right thing to do! The dealers have no control over the results of any hand or spin in the casino. For that reason, treating them well is natural, and berating them when losing is simply bad etiquette.

What’s even more, being abusive to the dealers will get you barred and kicked out of the casino, and that’s the last thing you want.

Tipping your dealers when you are winning is a nice gesture that will get you some favors with the staff and will make you feel better. Remember that these people have to make a living from tips, and they are doing their best to make your stay at the casino as pleasant as possible.

2. Participate in giveaways
Most live casinos throw various promotions to get players involved and interested in different casino games.

As a savvy casino player, you should be aware of any promotion or giveaway that's happening in the casino and the exact value it has.

Whenever the casino is giving something away simply for participation, you should make sure to sign up. If there are particular terms, you should weigh the pros and cons and increase your winning odds by participating in the promotion.

In the end, all gambling is down to chance, but if you can stack the deck and give yourself an extra chance to win, you should make sure to always do so.

1. Gamble responsibly
The last tip I have to give you is always to gamble responsibly. While poker maybe your day job that pays the bills, gambling can be extremely dangerous.

While gambling movies can portray this as a cool way to make money, this is not very likely to be the result of your casino session. Make sure you only gamble with the money you can afford to lose, and never chase your losses after a bad gambling session.

You should treat pit games like any other entertainment, and don’t expect to make money. Decide how much money you can afford to lose at it, and only bring that amount into play.

If you feel like things are getting out of hand and you are starting to chase your losses, stop gambling and look for help from your friends or even professional help if you can't seem to stop playing.

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