Bill Zender is the ultimate insider in gambling. Former professional card counter, dealer and casino floor manager Bill Zender shares his secrets. He also explains why the ATM is the best paying machine.

1. Identify the most inept dealers.

Zender estimates that there are less than 100 professional blackjack card-counters around the world. You might be able to get a 1.5 percent advantage if you are one of them. Zender suggests that you save your energy and instead watch out for the lazy blackjack dealer who might accidentally show the face-down card. Zender used to make a living out of this strategy, compiling a list of 35 weak dealers from 16 casinos. This strategy is known as “card holing” and can give you an advantage of 6 to 9 percent over the house. It’s like being in front of an ATM that gives you twenties! The best part? Zender states that it is legal. They may throw me out the casino but they won’t arrest me.

2. Keep your eyes fixed on the prize.

Recently, casinos have been sexing up their tables with bikini-clad dealer and pole dancers. These are known as Party Pits and look just like Vegas, with its booze, sin, and skin. You need to look closer. However, all the twirling legs will distract you from the fact that the casino has lowered the payouts at these tables. They have reduced them from 3/2 to 6/5. A $100 bet will win you $120, as opposed to the $150. This effectively doubles the house edge.

3. Learn when to speak.

Roulette has a 5 percent house edge. There is a good chance that you will win the first spin. The second. The third. The third. But, if you played roulette for ever, the house could take all of your chips. Every casino knows the magic number that guarantees victory. It is 30,000 hands. This is why they lure us back with luxury suites and lobster. So if you’re winning, stop.

4. Use the laws of nature to your advantage

The roulette wheel can be described as a mechanical instrument. The wheel can become unbalanced over time or the frets that separate the numbers may wear down. A wheel that is regularly used will eventually become unbalanced and may be biased towards certain numbers. Joseph Jagger, an 1873 gambler, found a wobbly wheel at Monte Carlo. He took home $400,000, which is $7.8million today!

5. You can go big or you’ll go broke.

Zender says that the average slot machine is two to three times more expensive than table games. These are not recommended. If you are determined to win, avoid slots that cost more than $5 and place the maximum bet. The odds of winning on penny slots are 15 to 20% higher than the house. It might be a good idea to throw those coins into a fountain. Make a wish.

6. Keno is not for you.

Don’t do it. You have very little chance of winning. Some casinos have a 35 percent advantage over the house. A 20-spot ticket has never seen a gambler match all 20 numbers. The odds of it ever happening are 1 in 3,535,316,142,212,174,336. (That’s 3.5 quintillion!)

7. Practice makes perfect.

Video poker is the exception to the rule that the house always wins. The house usually has a 0.46 percent advantage, while some versions favor the gambler. The paytable is displayed right on the machine and the payout is great. But here’s the catch. You must play at an advanced level to cash out. Video poker is a profitable business because many players aren’t skilled enough. Learn.

8. Avoid the light.

Zender states that ninety percent of people who go to a casino don’t know the odds against them. It’s not difficult to spot the worst odds if you know exactly what you are looking for. Casinos enhance the appeal of the lowest-scoring games by using flashing lights and bright colours. Craps’ wildest bets — “the Field” and “Any 7”, for example–are often the most colorful. As a rule of thumb, you should stick to the dull side of the room to improve your chances.

9. Buy a good watch.

There is a reason why you won’t be able to see clocks or windows anywhere on the house floor. Casinos want you not to keep track of time so that you can play as long as you like. For this reason, some casinos ban dealers from wearing watches. After you have gotten up, it may be time to get off the floor and treat yourself to a new watch.

10. Make your own drinks

There is no freebie on, even the free booze. Every casino has a “player investment” fund. It calculates how much money you will lose and returns a portion of it in the form comps. This is, for casual visitors, watery well cocktails. Your chances of getting a drink for free are higher if you have poor odds. Cheers!