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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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Top-10 things gamblers can be thankful for

22 Nov 2010

By Aaron Todd
It's the time of year when Americans start thinking about all the things that they are thankful for. Most of us, of course, are most thankful for great friends, family, and good health. But gamblers also have a lot to be thankful for at this time of year. Here's our list of the top-10 things gamblers should be thankful for.

10. Free slot play
Who ever said you can't get something for nothing? More and more casinos are rewarding players with free slot play, giving slots aficionados everywhere a chance to win without having to drop a penny into a machine. Some properties also offer matching play, whereby you are rewarded with $10 in free play after playing through $10 of your own money. Not quite as good a deal as the "something for nothing" promotion, but getting $20 in value for $10 is still a great bargain.

9. 9/6 Jacks or Better
While it's getting harder and harder to find a Jacks or Better Video Poker machine that offers full pay (nine times your wager for a full house, six times your wager for a flush), when you do find one you know you're getting a great value for your money. When playing optimal strategy, the house edge is less than one half of one percent. And while there's a small chance you might be able to find a full pay Deuces Wild machine that actually offers the player a long-term advantage, the strategy for Jacks or Better is much easier to memorize than Deuces Wild.

8. Progressive jackpots
Progressive jackpot bets are often termed "sucker bets" because of the high house edge. But they also give a gambler the chance to dream about a multi-million dollar payday on a small wager of a few dollars or less. As long as smart gamblers remember to stay within their gambling budget, taking a flutter at a large progressive jackpot — whether it be at a slot machine, a Caribbean Stud table, or in a Keno game, can be a thrill.

7. Player cards/Loyalty programs
Player cards and loyalty programs give gamblers at both brick and mortar and online casinos and poker rooms an opportunity to turn their play into something valuable. There's nothing better than building a bankroll with a few winning wagers, then cashing in your player points for a meal, a room or some great gear.

6. Cheap room rates
While the recession has been hard on just about every person and every industry, it's also dropped the room rates in casinos across the country. A smart gambler can find rooms for less than $30 a night in Las Vegas, and less than $50 a night in Atlantic City. And if you've logged time at a casino with your player card, you may get an even better offer.

5. Nevada Sportsbooks
If you live in the U.S., you know that the only place you can make a legal single-game bet on a sporting event is in sportsbooks in Nevada. And if you've ever had a chance to sit in a sportsbook and root your favorite team on with money on the line, you know how much fun it can be. While other states are trying to get in on the action, for now, be thankful that there are sportsbooks in Nevada that will gladly accept your bets the next time you're in town.

4. Double down on any two
There aren't many bets a player can make in a casino and know that he has an advantage over the house. One of those rare opportunities presents itself in blackjack, when a player can double down. Almost everyone knows the basic strategy rule, "Always double down with 11," but many players don't know that at some tables, you can actually double down with any two cards. This turns into an advantage for the player most often when holding a "soft" total with an ace. Tables where players can double down with any two cards boast a house edge about 0.2 percent lower than tables where players can only double down with totals of 10 or 11.

3. Online poker
The Internet has revolutionized the way people can play poker. Online card rooms offer a multitude of games and stakes, so virtually everyone in the world can find a game at the stakes they'd like to play, unless you live in the state of Washington. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the world's two largest Internet poker rooms, also offer endless tournament options, from turbo sit-n-goes to deepstack multi-table tournaments that can last for hours.

2. Great dealers and staff
A friendly dealer and cocktail waitress can have a player who had losing sessions walk away from a table with a smile, while the opposite treatment can even make a winner walk away with a sour face. Thankfully, most dealers and staff at casinos are friendly and accommodating. They make the experience even more fun for the gambler, and without them, there would be no game to play.

1. Endless options
Walk around a casino floor, or browse through the options available at an online casino, and you'll see that there are literally thousands of betting opportunities for gamblers to choose from. And every person has different tastes. The gaming industry has responded with games that whet the appetite of just about every gambler in the world. Keep your eye out for the game you like best.
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