At Casinos Time Usually Means Less Money

In the movie Casino there is a great scene where Robert De Niro fakes a broken private jet to keep a high roller in town for another night knowing that he would lose back the money he had just won.  This is a perfect illustration of a rule that everyone in the casino industry knows to be true -> more time at the tables = more money for the casino.

It is simple math – if every game has better odds for the house than for the players then the longer you play the more money goes into the vault.  The dealers and pit bosses know this fact and they almost always will give you the advice to take your winnings and run before you give it back, even though they know you probably won’t listen.

I’ve known this to be true since I first started playing blackjack, but it has consistently been the hardest thing for me to get right.  A perfect example is my last trip to the tables when I won around $1000, but came home with only $500 because I was too stubborn to step away or at least change tables when I was ahead and the momentum started to turn against me.

The worst part of my mistake is that I knew the cards had gone cold, the dealer knew my luck had turned, there were plenty of other tables available, and I had no one to blame but myself.  This was a self-inflicted loss and it is hard enough to make money playing blackjack so you can’t help the casinos and expect to end up on the right side of the balance sheet on a regular basis.   

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