6 Myths About Casinos You Always Thought Were True


Is there any fantasy quite so enticing as winning it big at the casino? Many of us love to think we are just one quarter away from hitting the jackpot at the slot machine. Or maybe we’re just a few poker hands away from taking home a life-changing amount of money.

It really is possible to win big at the casino and make your dreams a reality. But the biggest obstacle to winning big are the weird and misleading myths about casinos that have been perpetuated.

What are these myths and what is the truth behind them? How can you tell if a slot machine is due to pay out? Keep reading to learn the answers!

Myth: Card counting is illegal

You’ve probably viewed scenes in movies and TV shows where a character gets kicked out of a casino for counting cards. Over time, this led to the popular myth that counting cards is actually illegal.

The truth is that counting cards is not actually illegal. The practice of “counting cards” really just boils down to having a good memory and understanding basic probabilities. Neither your state nor the federal government can outlaw you using this ability.

However, casinos do reserve the right to kick out or even ban players for almost any reason, so if they suspect you are counting cards, you could still get kicked to the curb.

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Myth: Casinos pump in oxygen to keep players awake

Some myths about casinos have been around since the early days of Las Vegas. And our favorite of these myths is that the casinos are secretly pumping oxygen into the room to keep players awake. After all, keeping players awake for longer periods means they’ll end up spending more money.

The truth is that casinos are never going to pump oxygen into the room. In addition to being illegal, pumping extra oxygen into rooms would make it likelier for the whole casino to catch fire (especially if the casino still allows smoking).

Myth: You are due to win after a losing streak

At some point or another, almost everyone in a casino has engaged in the “gambler’s fallacy.” What’s this fallacy? Simply put, this is the false belief that if you have been losing for a while, you are somehow “due” for a big win.

The truth is that this just isn’t how probability works. If you’ve been playing something random like slots, then you aren’t magically going to win after losing over and over. In fact, you could win a jackpot twice in a row or you could spend the entire time losing money.

As for the games that require skill, like blackjack and poker, you still aren’t “due” to win after a losing streak. All you can really do is try to play each hand better than you played the one before if you really want to improve your chances.

Myth: Winning at cards is just blind luck

Perhaps the most consistent myth about casinos is that everything is blind luck. When a player is doing well, it’s easy for other players to dismissively say that he’s just lucky. And when players are striking out left and right, it’s easy for them to tell themselves this is just a run of bad luck.

However, the luck factor depends on the games you are playing. Things like slot machines and roulette are truly random, so winning or losing could be attributed to luck. But card games, including blackjack and poker, still require skills ranging from calculating probability to calling bluffs in order for players to win.

Myth: Slot machines are rigged

A little paranoia about slot machines may seem reasonable. After all, it’s in the casino’s best interest for you to keep sitting there pumping money into the machine. Is it really so crazy to imagine that they might rig those machines to keep you there a little bit longer?

The truth is that casinos are under intense federal- and state-level scrutiny to make sure that they aren’t defrauding players. For instance, in Las Vegas, the Nevada Gaming Commission makes it illegal for slot machines to have a lower RTP (or “Return To Player”) than 75%. That means for every $1 spent at the slot machine, 75 cents must be paid out on average.

Moreover, casinos themselves want to avoid even a hint of rigging because that could destroy their reputation and, therefore, destroy their profits. So, no, the slot machines aren’t rigged. It’s just that the random game really is random and you might go long periods without getting a win.

Myth: There is a trick to tell if a slot machine is due to pay out

Is it possible to tell if a slot machine is due to pay out? Unfortunately, no. As we noted before, a slot machine is completely random. This is due to the random number generator (RNG) in the slot machine’s computer. The RNG generates more than a hundred sets of numbers every second, even when no one is using the machine. The result of your spin has nothing to do what with what the machine spun in the past hour, day, week, month, or year.

But is it possible to improve your odds of the machine really paying out big? It’s true that the more expensive the slot machine, the higher the payback percentage is. For instance, dollar slots yield a higher payback percentage than quarter slots, which have a higher payback percentage than nickel slots, which have a higher payback percentage than penny slots. As an example, a dollar slot may pay back 95%, while a penny slot may pay back 86%.

However, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to win more money by playing dollar slots. In fact, your losses will almost certainly be much higher and add up much faster. Gambling expert John Grochowski warns, “Most sessions on slot machines will result in losing money.”

That’s why it’s important to never bet money you can’t afford to lose. If you can only afford to bet and lose $250, for instance, playing dollar slots will cut your time at the casino short very quickly. Instead, you should stick to penny or nickel slots if you want to maximize your time at the casino.