I have a friend who lives near the Winstar Casino in Australia. He works as a telephone psychic. According to him, he’s able to communicate with the dead with 87.5% accuracy. (I’m not making that number up. That’s exactly what he told me.)
I’m really fond of my buddy, and I think he believes that he has some kind of unique psychic gift. I don’t believe in psychic phenomena, though—so if you came here hoping that I could tell you how to tap into your powers to get rich, well… sorry.
I’ve read that some skeptics categorize psychics into 2 categories—eyes-wide-open psychics and eyes-shut psychics. The ones with their eyes wide open know that they don’t have any supernatural abilities at all. The ones with their eyes shut think they’re gifted with supernatural powers.
My guess is that most psychics belong in the former camp—their eyes are wide open. Too much of what’s required to pull off a psychic reading requires skill and practice. I suspect it’s rare to develop those skills without realizing what you’re doing.
But even though I don’t believe in psychic phenomena, I can share some tricks with you that can make you SEEM like a psychic in a casino or other gambling setting. The same tricks that work for professional psychics can also impress the people you meet in a casino.
My buddy, in fact, does great with the ladies. Apparently, a lot of them are impressed with his “abilities.” Keep that in mind next time you’re chatting up a young lady in the casino bar.
How to Do Cold Readings
I’ll start this discussion by explaining the basic strategy in a psychic’s repertoire. This should work on almost anyone except a non-believer. Depending on where you live, the probability of finding a non-believer might be low. In Oklahoma and Texas, lots of people seem to believe in the paranormal.
A cold reading is actually an entire set of tactics that psychics or stage magicians use to make it seem like they know things about people they couldn’t possibly know unless they had some kind of supernatural insight.
Some psychics claim to be able to just pick up impressions by reading your mind. Others claim to have contact with spirits on the other side. Many do both.
You can use cold reading techniques in a casino or a bar when you’re talking to a stranger. The first thing you do is hint that you have psychic abilities of some kind. You can be as subtle about this as you like.
My friend, of course, isn’t subtle at all. He has business cards and a website. A lot of folks are intrigued by a psychic with business cards.
The next thing is to be modest about your abilities. I read about one online psychic who claimed to get all his information from a French spirit he’d gotten to know.
But since the “spirit” was French, he could claim that the spirit had used a French word he didn’t know. This would explain why he was sometimes (often) wrong with his insights.
One of the first steps to doing a cold reading is to get some buy-in from your subject. Explain to him that sometimes the impressions you get are vague and that if she can help you clarify what they mean, that would be helpful.
The next thing to do is start off with vague statements. For example, you’re talking to a woman in a casino, and you notice she’s wearing a necklace. You might say something like,
Most women who wear jewelry got it from someone important. Most gamblers in casinos have good luck charms of some sort.
Even if you’re wrong about the necklace being a gift, you can do a quick save by pointing out that the necklace is going to bring the wearer luck over the course of their casino visit. Everyone wants to believe they’re going to be lucky.
Here’s another example.
Most women have women friends. And it’s almost certain that at least one of their women friends is pregnant. She’ll be amazed when you mention that you see someone in her life that’s about to have a baby, even though this is true almost all the time.
If she doesn’t know someone who’s pregnant, shift the questioning. Maybe someone she knows has recently given birth?
You might also mention that the person has an older mentor figure in her life who cares about her very much. This is true for everyone, especially women. (Most women have older, male, mentor figures.)
This person might be deceased, but if the subject is working with you, they’ll tell you the name of that person without a lot of prompting.
Keep things vague, and keep asking the subject for more information, but in a leading way. When she says something that seems important, say yes, like you’re agreeing with her and already knew it.
Another popular tactic is the “rainbow ruse.” This is when you tell someone something about themselves—a character trait—but also mention that the opposite is true. This almost always works. Here’s an example.
Most people have insecurities, and they often feel shy even when they’re not. I’ve rarely used that line on a person who disagreed with that assessment.
Make a few more of these statements, and the person will believe that you know them really well, when in fact, you’re just saying stuff that could be true of anyone.
Here’s another example.
Some people who are intuitive and a little out of touch with reality do cold readings all the time without realizing they’re using a technique. These folks are deluding themselves.
I don’t think you get points for being dishonest, even if you’re including yourself in the list of people who are being fooled.
But if you want to impress people by acting like a psychic when you’re gambling, you’re probably not doing much harm. You can even come clean with them about how you did it later if you feel like it.
By then, you’ll probably have built enough of a rapport with them to enjoy their company at the machines or the tables.
Counting Cards in Blackjack
Another way to impress a new friend in a casino with your psychic abilities is to count cards in blackjack. If you’re doing it right, no one should know that you’re counting. You’ll be raising your bets when you have a better probability of getting a natural (a blackjack), which pays off at 3 to 2.
Here’s how card counting works.
You don’t actually need to memorize which cards have been dealt already or figure out which cards are left in the deck. You just need a way to roughly track the ratio of high cards to low cards still in the deck.
You do this by assigning a point value to the high cards and low cards and updating your count mentally as those cards come out of the deck.
One of the easiest and most common card counting systems is the hi lo technique. The cards have the following values when using this method.
- Aces and 10s are worth -1 point
- 7s, 8s, and 9s are worth 0 points
- 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s are worth +1 point
Every time a low card comes out of the deck, the ratio of high cards to low cards improves. That’s why you add 1 to the count. Every time a high card comes out of the deck, the ratio of high cards to low cards worsens. That’s why you subtract 1 from the count.
If you’re demonstrating to your new friend how psychic you are, you make a production out of raising your bet when the count is positive. If you just win the hand, which happens often enough, you can say, “I knew it.”
If you get a blackjack, which pays off at 3 to 2, you can make an even bigger deal out of it. Occasionally you’ll lose, too. That’s okay. You should let your subject know that you’re not always right, but your accuracy is usually pretty high.
You want the casino to think that you really believe you have psychic powers. Most pit bosses aren’t superstitious, but they have little trouble believing that you might be.
This brings me to another important point about counting cards. Casinos don’t like it. If you’re going to spend some time counting cards at the blackjack table, do it using a hit-and-run strategy. Don’t play for more than 45 minutes or an hour at the same table.
If the pit boss or dealer catches you counting and backs you off the game, you can use this as evidence of your psychic abilities. Your new friend might think you’re psychic even if the casino management makes it clear they know you’re counting.
In fact, most casino staff don’t mention card counting when they back you off. They usually just explain that you’re too good a blackjack player, and you’re welcome to play the other games in the casino, but they can’t afford you at the blackjack tables.
Claiming you have psychic abilities at the poker table can have multiple benefits. The sharper players at the table might underestimate your poker skills. Most of the wise old rounders I know don’t believe in psychic phenomena.
If you can convince them that you do believe, they’ll probably think you aren’t much of a poker player.
If you’re playing poker with a new friend at the table, one who’s convinced that you have psychic powers, you can use some basic knowledge of poker tells to make correct guesses about what’s going on with the other players.
Sometimes a tell can be something they’re aware of, but if you know what you’re doing, you won’t be fooled by a poker player’s act.
Here’s an example of a poker tell.
If someone’s hand is shaking when he puts money in the pot, it usually means he has a strong hand. Some people misinterpret a shaking hand as a clue that someone is nervous or fearful because they’re bluffing. The opposite is usually true.
In fact, most of the time when you see an opponent’s hand shake when he places a bet at the poker table, he probably has a monster hand. It’s easy to look psychic when you know that someone has great cards.
You can also get a general idea of how an opponent plays poker by his dress and how he stacks his chips. Players who are conservatively and neatly dressed often play a conservative game of poker. If he bets, he has good cards.
Organized stacks of chips are another sign that someone plays a solid, tight game of poker.
Most poker tells can be summed up by saying strong is weak and weak is strong. Players who want you to think they have a good hand act like they’re excited about their cards. They might try to stare you down, for example.
This usually means they’re hoping you’ll fold. On the other hand, a player who acts like he’s not sure about betting or raising usually has the goods.
Dice Control in Craps
Believing that dice control in craps can work requires a certain willingness to throw reason to the wind, anyway. I have my doubts that influencing the dice when you throw them is possible.
But better minds than mine have expressed interest in the possibility that you could set the dice before throwing them in such a way that your probability of crapping out is reduced dramatically.
It’s hard not to see the application of this technique for the aspiring casino psychic.
In craps, the shooter’s goal is to avoid rolling a 2, 3, or 12 on his first roll. If he rolls a 7 or an 11, the basic bet in craps (the pass line bet) wins immediately. If he rolls any number besides those 5 numbers, he sets a point.
He gets to keep rolling until he rolls the point again or rolls a 7. If he succeeds in rolling the point first, the pass line bet wins. If he gets a 7, the pass line bet loses.
Dice setters and dice control enthusiasts aren’t so interested in rolling a specific number. They’re more interested in AVOIDING certain numbers. They do this by putting the dice in their hands in a certain manner and then throwing them as softly as they can get away with given the casino’s rules for throwing the dice all the way to the back wall.
One of the reasons I’m skeptical about dice control is that casinos seem to have no plans or countermeasures in place to prevent dice control specialists from winning a lot of money.
Contrast the behavior of the staff running the craps table with the behavior of the blackjack dealers.
If you’re even remotely suspected of counting cards in blackjack, the casino will start to shuffle the deck between every hand to eliminate any possible edge.
The trick to getting good at dice control is practice. You need to be willing to get a casino-size craps table installed somewhere in your basement or your garage. Then you need to start practicing. You also need to keep detailed records of your throws over the course of thousands of repetitions.
You want to be statistically confident that you’re actually able to change the odds of rolling certain numbers. This also means buying a lot of casino-quality dice to practice with.
Influencing the outcome of a roll at the craps table involves 3 sub-skills.
From the materials I’ve read on dice control, you should use as loose and delicate a grip on the dice as possible.
When you line the dice up with the table, you know you’ve succeeded at that part. The goal is for the dice to land with a thunk instead of rolling around multiple times. That means the dice should be roughly parallel to the table throughout their flight. You can only do that if you start out parallel to the table.
Delivering the dice means throwing them to the back wall. Some dice control specialists use a little bit of backspin to make the dice land more or less the way they want them to.
You can learn more about dice setting by reading our craps guide. I wouldn’t bother to claim any psychic abilities when dealing with them, though.
If you can win consistently at craps through this method, it’s an easy thing to convince your subject that your winning is related to your psychic abilities.
Guesswork in Roulette
The great thing about roulette is that the odds of winning a lot of the bets are pretty good. In fact, at an American roulette table, your probability of winning an even-money bet is 47.37%.
If you have enough confidence and swagger, you can make it look like you’re guessing right more often than not at the roulette table.
My dad and I visited Reno close to 20 years ago. My dad’s a cool guy, but he has no experience with casino gambling. He watched as I played video poker until I was up about $50.
“Watch this,” I told him.
I then bought a $50 chip at the roulette table and bet it on black. (I’m like Wesley Snipes; I always bet on black.)
That’s one of the strategies that work best at the roulette table, in fact. It’s called the “maximum boldness” strategy. If you want to double your money at the roulette table, the goal is to make as few bets as possible. The more bets you make, the more likely you are to lose before you hit your goal of doubling your money.
Here’s an example of how that works.
You have $500. You can choose to place one bet for $500, or you can place 2 bets of $250 each. Which of those 2 options is more likely to double your money?
The odds of winning an even-money bet is 47.37%, so you have an almost 50% chance of doubling your money on a single bet.
If you place 2 bets of $250 each, you must win both of them to double your money. The probability of winning both bets is the product of the probabilities for each bet.
In this case, it’s 47.37% X 47.37%, which is 22.44%.
If you’re trying to impress someone with your psychic abilities, make a bet or a handful of bets at the roulette table. Just remember that the more bets you place, the less likely you are to walk away a winner.
I wish I could tell you how to gamble like a real psychic.
The problem is that there’s no such thing as a real psychic. So it’s impossible to gamble like one.
The best you can do is make some claims that you can support by deceiving the weak-minded. This might be fun and entertaining for both you and your subject.
But I think the ethical thing to do is explain your deception to your subject afterward.
Beware, though—some people might not believe you when you explain that it was all trickery. The desire to believe can be powerful.