Gambling Tips >General Casino

The Easiest Ways to Lose Your Shirt in a Casino

By Henry Tamburin

Don’t teach them how to win; show them why they lose!”

I once received this discerning advice from a friend of mine 10 minutes before I was to give a “How to Win” seminar to a convention group numbering 200. “Why”, I asked,

Would I want to doing something like that? These people want to know how to win, not why they lose.”

His response hit me like a brick. He said, they might not believe you when you tell them how to win, but they will surely remember the reasons why they lose.”

So, for all you casino players reading this article that seem to consistently lose on your casino trips, here are some guaranteed ways to continue that losing streak.

Keep Playing Casino Games with the Highest Casino Edge

This one is a no brainer. The higher the casino’s edge the more you will lose. Most players understand this basic concept but don’t have a clue which casino games have the highest casino edge. So, if you’ve been playing one of the games listed below, you now have a pretty good idea why you are losing your shirt.

Worst Casino Games


Big Six Wheel


Sic Bo

Caribbean Stud Poker


Let it Ride

Blackjack (without basic strategy)

Video Poker (without basic strategy)

How bad a beating do you take playing these games? Let’s see.


You figure to give the casinos about 25% of what you bet every time you make a keno bet. Keep this up and in no time you’ll go broke.

Big Six Wheel.

This is a familiar game to most players (just like betting on the carnival wheel at the shore) and a damn easy way to blow it all. There are a bunch of bets on the layouts; all of them bad, but the worse are a bet on the $20 or on the joker/casino logo symbols. The casino’s edge is a bankroll busting 22-24%.

Keep Playing the Slots

I probably touched a few nerves here. I haven’t yet found a non-progressive slot machine that is programmed to pay over 100% in the long run. I don’t think in your lifetime will you ever find one either. The bottom line is that yes, we all know that slots are fun to play, but that entertainment comes with a price. And a pretty steep price to boot. How much? That depends on the location of the casino and the denomination of the slot machine. Playing slots in a trendy Las Vegas strip casino that caters to tourists, for example, will make losing your shirt easier then say playing in a locals casino located on the north side of town. Slot players in Atlantic City have the worse of it no matter where they play (compare the win percentages there with other gambling locations) Here’s another tip for slot players who play in the Las Vegas market. You’ll bust your bankroll even faster if you play the slots located at the airport since they are well known for their lower paybacks.

Sic Bo

If you’ve been playing this oriental game, it’s no surprise that you are being taken to the cleaners. Only one bet has a casino edge less then 7% and the rest - are you ready for this – have a casino edge from around 8 to 33%. Now that’s a bankroll busting game if I ever saw one.

Caribbean Stud Poker

The casino’s edge is 5.2% for the main game. That’s good enough to quickly bust your bankroll. Want an even easier way to lose your shirt? Go ahead and make the Progressive Jackpot side bet to boot. The casino’s edge on this popular bet depends on the amount of the jackpot but in the long run you’ll be facing a casino edge of about 26% (ouch).


For a bankroll busting game, play roulette where the wheel contains the numbers 0 and 00 (not just the single 0). The casino’s edge is about 5.3%. You can do worse by making the five number bet on 0,00,1, 2, 3. The casino’s edge for this five number combo bet is 7.9%. That will certainly hurt your bankroll.

Let it Ride

About 76% of your hands will be losers and you are more likely to get an even payoff on the hands that you do win. These results in a game with a casino edge of 3.5%, and over time a sure way to let your bankroll ride right into the casino coiffeurs. Want more? Then go ahead and make the progressive side bet where the casino’s edge is around a whopping 24%.

Blackjack – no strategy

This is one of my favorites. Theoretically, a player can face a 100% negative expectation if he keeps hitting and busts every hand (don’t laugh, I’ve seen a few players in my playing career come close to doing this). Nothing will bust a player’s bankroll quicker then to play blackjack without a clue about the basic strategy. Worse are players who follow the dealer’s strategy of always hitting on 16 or less and standing on 17 or more. This is another sure-fire way to lose your shirt.

Video Poker – no strategy

Want another fast way to make your bankroll disappear? Just play any ole video poker machine without the basic playing strategy and be sure to pay no mind to the machine’s pay schedule. If you happen to be playing a non-progressive Jacks or Better machine and want to know whether your machine is a bankroll busting one or not, check the single coin payouts for the full house and flush. If the pay schedule shows a six or seven coin payout for the flush and five for the full house you’ve found the ticket to losing your shirt.

Sometimes a fairly decent casino game has some really bad bets associated with it. I’ve listed some of these ‘bad bets’ below. If you’ve been prone to make these bets, you shouldn’t be surprised that you are losing.

Bad bets Casino Edge

Tie Bet – Baccarat 14.1%

Any 7 – Craps 16.7%

2, 12 – Craps 13.9%

3, 11, hard 4 &10, Any Craps – Craps 11.1%

Blackjack Side bets (Super 7’s, 8-14%

Royal Match, Pair Square, Over Under)

If you really want the worst of it try making a bad bet in a bad game such as the Tie Bet in Casino War. The game is bad because of it’s speed (see below) and the house edge on the tie bet is 18% (double ouch).

Play Fast Games

Here’s another way to lose your shirt even faster. Don’t just play any high percentage casino game where you have the worst of it, but play one that has a lot of decisions per hour (i.e. a fast playing game). Casino War is one of the fastest games you’ll find in any casino. A dealer can complete a hand in seconds. Likewise mini-baccarat is also a f-a-s-t game with many decisions per hour. If you play the slots and play them fast (like hitting the credit button non-stop, sound familiar?) or worse play two (or more) machines at the same time, the number of handle pulls per hour can reach super sonic speeds. So will your bankroll as it gets sucked into the bowls of the slot machine. If blackjack is your game and you play by hunches, then you can lose your bankroll a lot quicker if you play heads up with the dealer (more hands per hour) rather than playing at a crowded table (less hands per hour). Better yet play on a table that has a continuous shuffling machine (CSM’s) where there is no break from the action. Remember the more hands per hour when the casino has the upper hand, the faster you’ll lose your shirt.

Use a Gambling System

Here’s a tried and true way to bust your bankroll. Try one of these destructive betting systems. They are usually disguised in How to Get Rich mail order systems and they all boil down to the same thing – using some kind of progressive betting system to overcome the casino’s edge.

Believe in the Law of Averages

This has probably busted more bankrolls then anything else. It is the misconception by players that an event is likely to occur because it has not occurred in a while. After losing several bets in a row, the player will eventually increase his bets because according to the Law of Averages things have to even out and the player is ‘due to win’. Unfortunately, the dice or wheel or slot machine has no memory and could care less whether or not the previous results were losses (or for that matter wins). Believing in the Law of Averages is another sure, easy way to bust your bankroll.

If using a gambling system in a fast game with a high casino edge still isn’t a fast enough way for you to lose your shirt, then by all means throw in a few of the bad ideas listed below. It will make losing your bankroll that much quicker and easier.


Go to the Casinos Expecting to Lose

Don’t Spend Any Time Learning the Basics of Casino Gambling

Make Sure You Are Tired When You Gamble

Make Sure You Drink a Lot When You Gamble

Never Set a Gambling Budget

Gamble Non-Stop

Don’t Set Any Stop Loss Limits

Keep Playing After a Big Win

Gamble More to Earn a Comp

Gamble More than You Can Comfortably Lose

Gamble Big to Impress a Friend

Play With Scared Money

Borrow Money to Gamble

Increase Bets to Get Even

Play Hunches all the Time

Believe that Gambling is all Luck

Ask Your Spouse to “Give You Back The Money You Told Her Not To Give You Back.”