Stickied Learning to Play Casino Games by Paying Attention to the Pitch


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Jan 17, 2015
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Ipswich Town


While I don’t get to do it as often as I would like, one of my favourite places to go for a night out with friends is to our local casino. The combination of trying out my skills at the various games, the adrenaline rush I get from time to time, and sharing in the victories of my friends (and my own) are the main reasons. The casino also has a great bar and we often end the night there recounting the highlights of the night.

One member of the group, Raheel, is our resident football expert and probably our most knowledgeable in terms of the various casino games. His mastery of football trivia is rivalled only by his fascination of gambling history. His discussions of Las Vegas history make him sound like a local rather than someone who has yet to make his first visit.

He has made a lot of comparisons between football and casino games. At first I took his comments as being the result of too many pints, but over time I have come to see that he may actually have some valid points.




I’m among the group of players that has made blackjack the most popular table game in the casino. According to Raheel, the best approach to blackjack is found in the coaching techniques of Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson’s approach to football was in the relentless practice and understanding of the basics. In blackjack this equates to using basic strategy on every hand and every play.

Many blackjack players are results oriented. Often you will see a player make an unorthodox play, like hitting on a 14 against a dealer’s 5, explaining that they “always” win on that move. This move would be the equivalent of Ferguson feeling he could kick a shoe across the training room and connect with Beckham’s face on a regular basis.




When I decide that I want a shot of fun and adrenaline, I make my way to the roulette table. I’ll admit that I’m basically a conservative player, with most of my action on the even money bets or the columns, but I do usually play a number or two and when the ball lands on mine I totally celebrate my 35-to-1 payout.

According to Raheel, roulette is the most like Manchester United.

Both games’ histories are filled with well-known personalities. Roulette is the result of collaboration between Blaise Pascal, who invented the calculator, and the developer of calculus Pierre deFermat. Manchester United has given us world renowned players like David Beckham, Nobby Stiles and Sir Bobby Charlton.

The origins of roulette can actually be traced to French inventor Blaise Pascal, who spent the majority of his life trying to create a perpetual motion machine. While Pascal never reached his goal, he accidentally created a nearly frictionless spinning wheel in 1655, which later evolved into the roulette wheel found in casinos around the world. Manchester’s Antonio Valencia is the fastest player in football, and according to Raheel is the perfect representation of the roulette wheel, past and present. Simply put, Valencia truly embodies Pascal’s frictionless spinning wheel.

Valencia’s teammate Wayne Rooney, once again according to our “expert”, is the personification of the game. Just as you know the ball is going to land on a number, you know that Rooney will soon break Sir Bobby’s scoring record. What you don’t know is what unpredictable actions Rooney will engage in next, such as controversial celebrations (like the “boxing”) or off-pitch antics, such as his cameo appearance in a WWE match.

Roulette was also a favourite game of authors, poets, business tycoons, and royalty. Once again, according to Raheel, this parallels Man U, which has remained one of football’s most popular teams for decades with the team claiming such luminaries as Megan Fox, Justin Timberlake, and Usain Bolt as fans.




Although our very own James Bond has done more to popularise baccarat than any person in history, baccarat has a decidedly European feel to it. In all fairness, the game has a low house edge and learning the game is incredibly easy, but in terms of action it is fairly slow. Bond has contributed to the high-class and somewhat aloof image of the game. According to Raheel, that means that it’s the perfect game for Arsene Wegner, whose manner and quotes often make him come across as snobbish and condescending, especially when it comes to the superiority of those from the continent.


Most of the group plays in small home game poker tournaments from time to time and a couple of us have ventured out and played some low buy-in events at the casino. Once he heard the news that Ronaldo was a serious and talented tournament player, Raheel decided to study tournament poker. His concept is that the traits that make Ronaldo a strong football player - focus, spotting an opponent’s weakness, and the willingness to exploit small edges - are the same ones that make him a good poker player. So now in addition to watching every football match that comes around, Raheel watches every poker tournament he can find.

As I mentioned, I enjoy football and casino games. The ways in which lessons from the pitch can be used in casinos and the number of parallels you can find are interesting. But I must admit I’m not at Raheel’s level where I see a casino game with every penalty kick.
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