Just about all games in any casino carry a certain “house edge”. That means there is a percentage built into the betting system that guarantees that as more and more bets are made at a given game, the casino will continually keep a small portion of those wagers. Over hundreds, thousands, and even millions of bets, that’s how the casinos make their money, even if they do have to pay out multi-million dollar jackpots every once in a while.
The percentage of that house edge can vary a lot depending on the game. Some games of pure chance—like slot machines—might have a house edge of 2% or 5%. So, the casino keeps 5% of all the bets made on those slots. Other games, especially games of skill where people play badly, can give the house an edge of 10%, 20%, or even more.
Even though you can win large amounts of money on any single game at any given time, most online casino games can’t truly be “beat”. That is, if you were to continue to play infinitely, you may win a large amount quite a few times, but eventually the money you have to play with would always dwindle down to zero and up in the casino’s bank account.
Strategies To Make The Most Of Your Money At Any Casino
Even though you can’t technically beat most casino games without cheating somehow, there are several different betting and money management strategies you can use to maximize both your chances of hitting one of the big prizes and the amount of time you’ll be able to play whichever game happens to be your favourite.
Before we get into anything here, let me first remind you that we are NOT saying that any of the following strategies will guarantee you a win on any game. In addition, make sure that you always play within your limits. Don’t gamble with money that you can’t afford to lose. Set a limit for yourself before you go to or login to the casino and stick to it.
1. Never Bet More Than 2% Of Your Bankroll
Anyone that deals with money in any sort of professional way will tell you this same rule. From professional gamblers to professional investors. You should never put more than 2% of your bankroll into play at one time. So, for example, if you go to the casino with $/€/£ 1,000, you shouldn’t place bets anywhere that are more than $/€/£ 20.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bet more than $/€/£ 20 at all. For example, if you’re playing two or three hands of blackjack at a time, you could bet up to $/€/£ 20 on each hand. Just don’t put more than that 2% down on any single bet. The same goes for the slots. Maybe you have $/€/£ 100 to play with, so you play two slot machines at the same time, betting $/€/£ 2 on each spin. Just keep in mind that your money probably isn’t going to last as long if you’re making multiple bets on different games.
Many gamblers will sit at a table with $/€/£ 200 or $/€/£ 300 and start making $/€/£ 5, $/€/£ 10, or $/€/£ 20 bets. It only takes a few losses in a row to empty out your bankroll, and that’s what gets most people into trouble. Nobody goes to a casino with intent of playing for 20 or 30 minutes and then leaving because they busted out—so they hit the ATM or their credit card and start playing with money they shouldn’t be playing with.
If you never lay down more than 2% of your bankroll, between all the wins and losses that will occur, you’ll be able to play until you either score a big win, or just feel like leaving on your own—and probably with some money still in your pocket.
2. The Martingale Strategy
The Martingale is probably the best-known betting strategy out there. It does work, but it can be extremely dangerous if you’re not paying attention to how much you’re betting and any betting limits that may exist at the casino, table, or slot machine where you are playing.
The Martingale system is very simple and easy to remember. You simply start out with a standard betting unit. Let’s say we’re going to start with £2. (Even numbers make the system slightly easier to carry out in practice.) The idea is that each time you lose you will double your bet until you win, and then return to your original bet. Each time you win, you’ll make back everything you lost, plus a small profit. Here’s an example:
- You bet $/€/£ 2 and lose. (Down $/€/£ 2)
- You bet $/€/£ 4 and lose. (Down $/€/£ 6)
- You bet $/€/£ 8 and lose. (Down $/€/£ 12)
- You Bet $/€/£ 16 and win $/€/£ 32
You’ve won back your original 2, 4, 8, and 16 $/€/£ bets plus a profit of $/€/£ 2. You’d then start the sequence over again at $/€/£ 2.
The danger of the system is that doubling your bet each time can turn into very large numbers very quickly. Most casinos or games also have a maximum bet. If you lose enough times and get to a point where you can’t double because of the maximum bet, the system breaks down.
For example, even starting at just $/€/£ 2, if you lose seven times in a row, which is completely possible at any game in any casino, you’ll need to bet $/€/£ 512 on your eighth wager. This may be completely possible, but if you run out of money or come up against a betting limit, you’re not going to be able to continue with the system to win back your losses.
This system works best with games that require very small wagers and allow for maximum bets that will allow you to continue when you hit a losing streak of more than just a few losses.
You can check our detailed post about the Martingale system by clicking on the respective link.
3. Always Bet On The Banker At Bacarrat
All of the bets at a Bacarrat table have a house edge, but the banker bet has the lowest at 1.06%. Many people don’t believe this because of the 5% commission that gets taken from the winnings, but if you work out all the math, it’s true.
It might be a little boring to sit at a table and just keep making the same bet over and over, but if you’re looking to hang out, talk a bit and enjoy some of the free perks the casino offers, sitting at the Bacarat table and betting on the banker is a great way to do it.
4. Take The Odds At The Craps Table
The odds bets at the craps table are about the only bets available in any casino that are 100% based on results with no house edge built-in. When you take the odds on the pass or no pass line, you reduce the house edge on the game. The higher the odds you take, the less of an edge the casino has. If you take 5x odds on the Pass Line/Come bet, it reduces the house edge to just .326%. Taking the 5x odds on the No Pass/Don’t Come bet reduces the edge even more to just .227%.
You’ll find many casinos limit the odds you can place a wager on for exactly for this reason. So, the higher the odds you can bet, the better the advantage for the player. If you can find a casino that allows it, betting 100% odds can lower the house edge to under .03%.
You can check our detailed post about How to Become a Craps Pro – and the best online casinos to get started.
5. The Labouchere Method
This method is somewhat comparable to the Martingale system, but it’s slightly less risky and slightly more complicated. Learning and working the system can, however, be just as fun as playing the casino game.
The first step is to choose a base number to be used as your betting unit size. The easiest thing to do here is just to use the game’s minimum bet. You then decide how many betting units you’d like to win during your playing session.
At this point, create a string of numbers that adds up to your desired win amount. Don’t go to crazy here. You’ll need to remember or write down these numbers so you don’t want to have more than maybe six or so.
The betting sequence works by adding the first and last number in your group together and then betting that many units. If you win, you remove those two number from your list. If you lose, you add the combined total of those numbers to the end of your list.
An example of this system in action might go something like this:
- Let’s say our target win is £18
- The group of numbers we choose to start with is 3,4,5,3,3 (18 when all added together)
- We combine the first and last number (3+3) and bet 6 units
- We win, so we cross them off and are left with 4,5,3
- Our next bet is 7 units (4+3)
- We lose on that bet so we add 7 to the end and get 4,5,3,7
- Our next bet would be 11 units and we’d continue in the same manner from there
The idea is to simply continue until there are no numbers left in the list. It might take a bit of time to get there, but, at that point, we should have the profit we set out to get.
The cons of this system are basically the same as the Martingale system. You need to be aware of how much you are betting and what the maximum bet may be. Let’s look at another example:
- We start off with 3,4,5,3,4 (19)
- We bet 7 units (3+4) and lose. That makes our new list 3,4,5,3,4,7
- Our next bet would be 10 units (3+7) and unfortunately, we lose again
- Our list is now 3,4,5,3,4,7,10
- Our next bet becomes 13 (10+3) units
Many gamblers may not be comfortable betting 13 or more units a few times in a row if they hit a string of losses that goes on for four or five games. This is not as bad as doubling the amount of our bet with every loss, but it’s still possible to reach large bet sizes quickly and we need to be aware of betting (or bankroll) limits that may prevent us from continuing.
6. Oscar’s Grind
The Oscar’s Grind strategy is what is called a negative progression strategy. It still involves increasing your bets as you go, but the progression is much slower. Many gamblers find it a much more comfortable system to work with, especially if they don’t have a $/€/£ 1000+ bankroll to play with.
Like any other system, you will have a specific amount of money that serves as one betting unit. And again, in most cases, the minimum bet is probably going to work the best for you. This system is designed more to get you as much playtime as possible rather than provide any significant profit or get past any house edge. With this system, you’ll be increasing your bet size each time you win after a loss.
The point of the system, however, is to make a profit of one—and only one—unit before repeating the sequence from the beginning.
Here’s an example of how it works:
You bet 1 unit and lose – bankroll = -1.
You bet 1 unit and lose – bankroll = -2.
You bet 1 unit and lose – bankroll = -3.
You bet 1 unit and lose – bankroll = -4.
You bet 1 unit and lose – bankroll = -5
You bet 1 unit and win – bankroll = -4 – bet becomes 2 units
You bet 2 units and lose – bankroll = -6
You bet 2 units and win – bankroll = -4 – bet becomes 3 units
You bet 3 units and win – bankroll = -1
At this point, you would only need to bet 2 to make a 1 unit total profit—a win with a bet of 2 units would take your bankroll from -1 up to 1, giving you exactly one unit profit from where you started. So you would bet 2. If you lose, bet 2 again until you win and continue the progression again until you end up with your profit.
The point of going back to 2 and aiming for a profit of just 1 unit is that if you stay with a bet of 3, and go for a profit of 2, you’re going to have to increase your bet to 4 units if you lose. This keeps you from getting into a place where you’ll be betting amounts that you’re not comfortable with.
Once you’ve banked your profit you can start over by betting one unit and just follow the sequence again.
This system has much less chance of running you into a table betting limit than the others and you won’t need to increase your bets to such high numbers as quickly as you would with the other systems we’ve outlined. It can, however, be a bit more confusing and take some practice to get it right. You’ll need to keep track of both the number of units you should be betting and how much your bankroll is up or down. In the end, though, it should allow you to play any game for as long as you feel like playing.
Again, we should make it clear that there is no “system” that can guarantee you a win on any game or an advantage over any casino. Betting systems should be viewed as a way to help increase the amount of time your money lasts at the games you play or a way to enhance your playing experience.
And again, know your limits and gamble responsibly!
Cheers And Good Luck!