Nick Kallos' Casino Gaming School for casino dealers in Las Vegas. Learn to deal Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Baccarat and Pai Gow Poker.

Nick Kallos' Casino Gaming school for casino dealers in Las Vegas. Learn to deal Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, Poker, Baccarat and Pai Gow Poker.

Nick Kallos was recently interviewed by Sights: Inflight Magazine of ATA Airlines.  Nick offered some excellent advice in their "Gambling Tips from a Pro" section:

The Inflight Magazine of ATA Airlines




Las Vegas is a dream world where you lose your inhibitions, trim waistline and, yes, probably money—but that’s the beauty. Resorts are mazes of restaurants and nightclubs where each turn leads to slot machines and craps tables. And the attractions change fast, because in Vegas, it’s all about the next big thing.

You can be in ancient Egypt one minute, a posh nightclub later and New York by morning. Blink, and it’s a new world. The result: There’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a spa, gaming action, a splashy nightclub or the most decadent meal, here’s everything you need to know—at least this time around.

Ante Up

DON’T BE FOOLED. All the bells and whistles—fancy restaurants, shopping, luxurious spas, flashy nightclubs—are there to lure you into the casinos so you will spend money. Slots clubs reward players with free rooms, meals and other comps. Keep in mind that the games are just another form of entertainment—not a magical fix to all your money woes—and they really can be fun. Just look at those guys high-fiving at the craps table, drinking scotch, smoking cigars and rolling the dice. When everyone’s winning, the energy is infectious. But knowing your limit is key.

Poker rooms and sports books are bigger and more comfortable than ever. MGM Grand’s (www.mgmgrand. com) sports book has 44 big-screen plasma TVs, seats with individual color TVs and second-level skyboxes for up to 10 people. Gaming instructor Nick Kallos likes Flamingo’s ( poker room for its privacy and friendly dealers. For something a little racier, Caesars Palace (  and Planet Hollywood (www.planethollywood. com) have lingerie-clad dealers and go-go dancers in their gambling pits, while the Playboy Club at The Palms ( is designed to look like Hugh Hefner’s Beverly Hills mansion, complete with Bunnies dealing high-stakes hands. But, “there’s nothing like playing at the Bellagio ( or the Wynn (,” Kallos says. Some casinos even have nonsmoking sections now, and lest you forget, if you gamble in the casino, you get free cocktails. Just don’t forget to tip the servers—generously if you’re winning.


Never play games you don’t fully understand, because you’ll embarrass yourself,” says Nick Kallos, founder of the Casino Gaming School in Vegas. He should know. After 35 years in the gaming industry, Kallos teaches the art of dealing blackjack, craps, roulette and poker to more than 600 students a year. To learn, Kallos suggests checking out the free gaming classes at the resorts—most offer instruction on table games.

The craps table is always electric. To a novice, all the colors, boxes and numbers can be intimidating. Just slip into an empty spot, put your money on the table for the dealer to cash in for chips, place a bet on the pass line, and you’re good to go. Here are the basics: Players take turn rolling the dice. If a seven or 11 come out on the first roll, the pass line wins. Two, three or 12 on the first roll, everyone loses, or “craps out.” Any other number sets the point. Once a point is established, you can’t pick up your bet; players win when that point is rolled again. If a seven is rolled before the point, everyone loses. “Don’t jump in until you understand the game,”

Kallos says. “Take the classes or go to a table early or late at night, and the dealers will help you.

Put a minimum bet on the pass or don’t pass line, and you can sit there and play the whole night. And never put your hands on the table when someone is about to throw the dice. You’ll make a lot of enemies fast.”  
And please, no blowing on the dice.  
It’s bad form.

The goal is to get closest to 21, and play is only against the dealer. Cards two through 10 are worth face value, and face cards are worth 10. An ace is worth 11 unless it causes the player to bust (over 21), and then it’s worth one. Getting a blackjack (an ace and a card worth 10 as your opening two cards) is an instant win. When the dealer gets 21, everyone at the table loses. If the dealer and players get blackjack, it’s a push (tie). Basic strategy: Below 17, hit; 17 or higher, stand.

“Get in a casino that you feel good about, nice surroundings, good dealers,” Kallos recommends. “Find a table that you’re financially comfortable with. Watch the table, see what people are playing. But don’t get too close, and never ask another customer for help.”

Keno is a fairly relaxing game because there’s really nothing to it but picking numbers, placing bets and drinking free cocktails in the keno lounge. The chances you’ll actually win money are slim. A player marks up to 20 numbers on a card that has 80 numbers. You bet that your numbers will be among the 20 drawn. After the numbers are drawn, winning tickets are paid according to a table that varies from house to house. There is no strategy—any number is as likely to come up as any of the others.

Tips from Kallos: “You have to be really, really mad at your money to play keno, because you’ll be throwing it away. The odds are ridiculous. If you’re going to play, play at the buffet during breakfast, and play the least amount of numbers. If you’re playing an eight- or 10-spot, just mail your money to me.”

The American wheel has 36 numbers plus zero and double-zero; those zeros give the house the edge. Roulette chips generally can’t be used anywhere else in the casino. After the initial bets are placed, the dealer spins the wheel. You can bet while the wheel is in motion, until the dealer says, “no more bets.” The ball either hits your number or it doesn’t. It has a slow pace and is a game of chance, but knowing which type of bet to place comes in handy. Inside bets are on individual numbers, while outside bets are on groups of numbers (red or black, odd or even, etc.)

Tips from Kallos: “There are many ways to bet, many outcomes. You’re better off with lower limits in roulette. It’s a tough game to beat, but people [play] because they know if they hit the number, they can make a lot of money. Also like craps, don’t try to touch the wheel, and if you want to watch, do so at a good distance. Nonplayers aren’t allowed at the table.”

Bright flashing lights, winning shrieks from within the casino, and those signs showing big jackpot winners are seductive. Almost every casino has moved away from coin slots: That clang-clang of coins dropping is digital. Machines only take paper money or tickets and give tickets as winnings, which you have to change at a machine or with the cashier. Machines don’t become “due,” so don’t bother waiting around for one to hit. Those with lower jackpots tend to pay more frequently. The big jackpot machines, not surprisingly, are tough to hit.

There’s no magic to them, you just have to be lucky,” Kallos says. “Always play the maximum bet, because that’s what pays out if you hit the jackpot.

If you’re not winning should you stay there? No. Get up and walk to another machine or another table. Doing something is better than doing nothing.”

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