The phrase ‘the house always wins' is thrown around almost every time people argue about casinos. In 2014, Poker's great Phil Ivey learned it the hard way. After winning $12.5 million at a London-based casino, the Club refused to pay him citing he had cheated. Ivey made an appeal and lost.
Like a few top players, Ivey had been using a unique strategy called “edge-sorting” to beat the house. Edge sorting involves using the information found at the back of the cards to gain an advantage over the casino.
Besides Ivey, many players have attempted to beat the house by exploiting its rules. A few succeed but most fail or are caught and prosecuted. How do casinos ensure they always win even when they lose?
The House Edge
Many casinos don't aim to take all the money from their players. They pay out most of the times anyway. However, the houses are built in such a way that they make more money than the players in the long-term. Known as the house edge, the casinos win by ensuring they make a profit for every bet wagered in the house.
If you make a $1 wager and win $1 in return, the casino returns your stake plus 95 cents. They keep five cents as profits. When you gamble the American roulette, your odds to win are not 36-1 as you would expect. Instead, the odds are 38-1 because of the extra numbers 0 and 00. That translates to a 5% house edge or $50 for every $1000 placed.
A high-roller player wagering $5,000 per night with the American roulette loses $250 to the house. In a different game where the house edge is 10%-15%, you could be losing up to $15 for every $100 wagered.
If you do anything that can be interpreted as cheating by the casino, just know you won’t get paid. Before a casino pays out any winnings, they evaluate your gameplay for anything that could be considered to be cheating.
In Ivey’s case, the Crockfords casino in London had already promised to pay out his winnings. But upon evaluating how he had played and won, they refused to pay him. Phil may not have deliberately cheated the house but it found a way to win.
In numerous casinos around the world, managers are investigating players who won large sums of money. Most of the cheating occurs when dealers cooperate with players to swindle the house millions. Dealers may give signs to players or allow them to have cameras that take pictures of cards.
Physical casinos install hundreds of camera to monitor every table and room in the house. Online casinos ensure players never meet with dealers. They use up to date software and suspend anyone who attempts to cheat.
Keeping you playing for Longer
All online casinos and their land-based counterparts have one goal: to keep you playing for long. No platform wants you to play one game and leave. That’s why online casinos keep investing in the best games, good customer services, and security. You get free spins regularly and multiple ways to win.
Physical casinos have more ways to ensure you stay inside the house as long as possible. First, they ensure the house looks the same at all times. There are plenty of beers, beautiful decors, and no clocks to remind you what time it’s. You can’t notice the difference between 1 pm and 1 am. Lights are ever on. The music never stops and the house layout looks impressive always. By doing all that, casinos make you forget about the outside world.
Each gaming area is designed to hook you on the spot. You can get foods, drinks, and rooms to stay. In other words, casinos are designed to give you as much comfort as possible. All casinos have one premise: a comfortable player will play as much as possible. The uncomfortable will find a way out.
Earning More Money with Hotel Room Services
Forget the gambling, the glittering lights, and soothing soundtracks. Think of how much money Las Vegas revelers spend outside of the casino. In the fancy clubs, rooms go for upwards of $20,000 a night. Drinks are sold triple their regular prices and people still buy them.
The hotel and club business side of casinos earns the clubs more money than gambling itself. In 2017, 48% of Las Vegas casino employees either worked in the dining or hotel room services. 14% were administrators while only 23% actually worked in the casinos.
The trend to decrease gaming employees have been going on for years with clubs paying more attention to revelers. With online casinos, attention is focused on personalized customer service for players willing to pay more. VVIP members often have a personal assistant and can even video chat with administrators. In the coming years, many casinos will be making most of their services for extra services rather than gaming itself.
Online casinos are more transparent than ever but that doesn't make all of them safe. Some casinos try and do everything possible not to pay out winners. One thing they do is to use unfair algorithms on their games.
In a slot game where a player should win after every 20 spins, some casino could skew the algorithm. Players will spin the reels as many times as they want but they just can’t hit the big wins. With some platforms, the cheating is more open. You can play and win but the platform refuses to pay out in the end.
Both online and land-based casinos have one goal: to make profits. As such, they design their platforms to attract players and keep them playing for long. Players are hooked with impressive graphics and free perks. The customer support is impeccable and your small wins are celebrated like big wins.
Whatever the outcome of any casino game you play, the house keeps some of your wins. In the long run, the casino keeps more money than they pay out, making them the winners.