Gambling Myths: Busting the Biggest Casino Myths

Casino myths have existed since brick and mortar establishments were initially founded, back in the 1910s when gambling was first outlawed throughout the United States and its eventual resurrection in the late 1940s. Its constant partially legalized evolution would result in its activities becoming shrouded in mystery for those who were yet to experience the casino culture.  As these rumours developed and casino culture swept over societal norms, the media exposure would fuel this fire of inconsistency surrounding casinos and the games it offered. More specifically how these were played and how they would affect the average person. Here is our research into the myths surrounding all forms of casino gambling.
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Published on: 12 July 2020

1. Card Counting is Illegal

Despite the persistence of the media and portrayal of card counting in pop culture such as 21 (2008), card counting is not in of itself illegal. Casinos are known to not be particularly fond of this method of mathematical gambling however it is not a prosecutable offence. It has led to one of the biggest blackjack myths as it is primarily used by ‘21’ players. You are technically allowed to count the deck and keep track of cards for your advantage as long as it does not interfere with the gameplay. Using your own deck, for example, is highly illegal.

Casinos try to prevent this strategy by switching the dealer and thus the deck to another table ruining the players count. Card counting is also impossible when blackjack is played online as it is completely down to a random number generator. Even if the player is successful from counting cards. Casinos are counting on the players recycling their winnings at the craps table or in slot machines so more often than not, the establishment wins either way.

2. Casino Games are Rigged

Perhaps the most common rhetoric used by losing players, casino games are not rigged to benefit the house. Casino games are generally very fair as long as you play in a licensed establishment. Gambling commissions around the world are trusted to regulate all forms of casino betting and gambling to protect the player from casino exploitation. It is true in some sense that certain casino games enable the house to have the edge of advantage however most of it is down to chance and probability.

Many also make a case against online casinos being programmed to give the house the probabilistic advantage. However, these online casino games are constructed using random number generators or RNG which is present in all forms of computer-based games. It controls the probability of each outcome that a player can achieve, using real-world stats to construct these systems. So, to sum up, an individual’s success with casino games come down to the skill of the player and an element of luck rather than the supposed deviance of the casino establishment.

3. Poker Is a Game of Luck

A massive misconception with poker is that the game comes down to luck much rather than the skill and strategy of the player. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Poker’s boom of the 1970s attracted people from all over the world due to its unique gameplay and potential. After many rounds of highly effective marketing, the poker image of anyone can win was set in stone and it quickly became a gambling phenomenon. Players with a very amateur understanding of the game quickly realized however winning was not as simple as getting lucky.

In the long term, a greater understanding of the game and a substantial level of individual skill leads to greater winnings and success. Competitive poker, for this reason, has become a popular spectator sport with large scale tournaments taking place all year round. Some of the biggest and most successful poker players such as Stu Ungar and Erik Seidel spent years mastering their craft enabling them to reach the level they frequent now. Most certainly not a game of luck, one of the greatest poker myths is therefore debunked.

4. Slot Machines Are Due to Payout

Slot machine myths find themselves at the chaotic epicenter of gambling misconceptions with many pertaining to their engineered outcomes. An endless list of cases against slot machines exists, many cite their addictive nature by taking advantage of certain psychological vulnerabilities. Some people also believe that slot machines only pay after a certain number of rounds have been concluded however this is far from the truth. Each spin of a slot machine is entirely random and there is no point where the machine is programmed to suddenly payout. 

Online slot machines are no different and still follow the same pattern as their physical counterparts, as well as other casino games they are heavily regulated by national gambling commission ensuring the protection of all players. A similar myth that slot machines go on hot/cold streaks can also be dispersed on this same basis. Slot machines are completely random similar to many other casino games. This is another casino myth which has been proven to be false on many occasions.

Other Noteworthy Myths in Gambling

Someone playing blackjack.

Although we have already covered some of the most popular myths, here are some more briefly explained and debunked.

  • Internet gambling is prohibited: Although there are locations where gambling is outlawed such as China, internet gambling is easily accessible for all those over 18 in both Europe and the United States. With games such as poker and slot machines being the most popular online choices.
  • All gamblers engage in criminal activity: While this is true in some cases most gamblers stay on the right side of the law and avoid these prohibited activities. Only a small percentage of individuals attempt to break the rules such as using a tampered deck or compromising the dealer which along with many other offences are prosecutable.
  • Casinos pump oxygen into the air to keep you gambling: Perhaps the most unusual myth in circulation. No, it is not true that casinos filter oxygen to increase the alertness and receptiveness of players to keep them gambling. That is what the bar is for.

Punters Becoming Wiser

As you can probably tell from the abundance and extravagance of some of these casino myths, the house generally benefits from their existence and prevalence throughout the gambling population. Casinos love it when punters believe they have a unique advantage, these non-sensical urges that players sometimes get can be disastrous for your success and returns. But things are changing, and with the help of more widely distributed information on the technical aspects of gambling, punters are becoming wiser and debunking some of the age-old gambling myths.

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