About Victor H. Royer, Author and Casino Expert
Interview with Victor H. Royer.

I came from Hollywood. Some 32 years ago I was around a lot of the old Hollywood stars. I knew a lot of them, and even more whom I didn’t even recognize at the time. But we were pals. I used to basically go from one party to another, being invited so much that I’d sometimes not even know which party this was, or where. There were times I’d wake up in San Francisco, or New York – there was usually a girl involved in this somewhere – and I’d have to ask: “What’s your name?” and “Where am I?”

Anyway, at one of these parties a fellow I knew introduced me to a guy who said: “Come to Vegas, Kid. We’ll take care of you.” And, so I went. And I’ve been here ever since.

While I was always a writer – my magazine articles have been in continuous national and international publication since 1984 – I did spend a lot of my life as a professional and semi-professional gambler. Later, as a consultant, which is what I do now. Mostly to the gaming industry, but also financial firms, and so on.

Today, I am semi-retired, I write books, songs, music, and articles on gaming for both the gaming business, as well as the players. I’ve written 42 books so far, my latest being a Western – a work of fiction – titled: “Riders on the Wind.” You can see most of my current books at my web site: www.MoreCasinoDeals.com Just click the Insider Books tab at the top.

You’re regarded by many as a true industry expert and written numerous informative books on gambling. Tell us more about your latest book/s and what prompted you to write them?

My last two books are works of fiction. The first is an action-adventure romance, titled: “Another Day.” The second, and latest, is my Western, titled: “Riders on the Wind.”

My most recent gambling books are: “New Casino Slots” and “Great Gamblers: True Stories and Amazing Facts.”

“New Casino Slots” is just that – a book about new slots. I am presently writing a sequel to it, this one titled: “Great Casino Slots – Volume 1.” There will be others.

I also have my videos on my channel at: www.LasVegasLiveTV.com

“Great Gamblers” is a book about some very interesting people, places, and facts. Some of these are from my own life, while others from the lives of others. And the facts themselves are incredible.

All of my books are available as eBooks as well, and many cost only $1.99, so you can easily enjoy them on any device. iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you name it – they are all available in all digital formats.

For current news, information, details, and happenings, you can also check out my Newsletter, details of which are at this link: http://www.accessvegas.com/membershipvr

What’s your favorite casino destination and favorite game/s to play?

I have lots of favorite casinos. Many of them are no longer around, sadly. I used to like the “old” Vegas a lot more than the “new” Vegas. I liked the old Sands, Silver Slipper, Dunes, Desert Inn, Silver City, Stardust, and also Caesars, Hilton, Maxim, and so on. And the old Downtown casinos, before that ridiculous canopy that’s there now.

But I also like some of the “new” Vegas. The Palms, Gold Coast, Red Rock Station, Palace Station, Texas Station, Arizona Charlie’s, M Resort, South Point, and so on – mostly the “local’s” places. But I often play at the Venetian as well, and check out the other Strip casinos from time to time.

My favorite casino game is Video Keno. Other than Live Poker, that’s the game I play most often, whenever I have the time to play. These days I spend a lot of my time writing, consulting, and taking care of business. But when I do play, live poker and video keno are the two games I look for.

Why video keno? Well, there are many good reasons. I explain all of this in my book: “Powerful Profits from Keno”, which has been updated and released as an eBook, and is available now. I have also written numerous articles about this, and also posted some information on my web site.

What’s the biggest amount of cash you’ve won in a single session and on which game/s was it?

When I arrived in Las Vegas the first time, I was a party animal, and therefore did not play well. I lost a lot of money. But then I learned to count cards, took a year to learn it well, and then came back. And I won a lot. How much? Well, I won’t say. But I had cash stashed all around Vegas in safety deposit boxes in the casinos. And, I also lost it all. More than once. But in the end, it all evens out. Let’s just say that to preserve things as they are, the less we say about “how much” the better.

Have you ever been banned from a casino?

No. The “art” of gambling for profit, and professionally, is to make sure that the casinos don’t know that you’re doing it. At least not “for sure.” I did get shuffled on a lot. One time, at the old Sands, I sat at the $100 table near the Copa Room, and started to play.

Well, after a few hands, they just started to shuffle after each hand. And then they started to change the dealer and shuffle after each hand. And then they started to change the dealer, and change the cards and shuffle after each hand.

I got the message. Instead, I played elsewhere. Had the Sands not been so paranoid about it at the time, they would have got the $300,000 I lost that day. But, then, they probably would have not been happy with the $1.8 million I won from that same casino the day after … I guess it all evens out in the end.

There’s an old saying that says the ”House Always Wins”. Do you believe that the outcome of certain games (i.e. slots) are very biased and predominantly favor the House?

Yes, the “House always wins” is an old saying. But it isn’t always true. It’s all a matter of perspective. You see, more than 90% of all people who come to a casino win. Yes, that’s right. But it’s all relative. If you put $100 into a slot machine, and you get a $20 win, and cash out your $120, you just got a 20% return on your money. If this was the stock market, you’d be breaking down the door to get in on this investment.

But, in the casino, it all has a different relative value. That $20 isn’t thought of as a 20% return on your money. It’s, well, just a drop in the bucket, really. You see, people come to casinos to have a great time. And they’re willing to pay for it. So, a $20 win isn’t thought of as a “win” per se. It’s just part of the fun. And so that “profit” goes right back in the machine, or on the table games, or to the Bar, the Show, and so on and on. And, in the end, less than 1% of all casino players actually win. Why?

Two reasons:

  • One, they don’t go home with the wins. They stay and play, having fun, until it’s all gone. And then they go to get more money, lose it as well, and then get more money, lose it, and only then they go home. Happy for having had fun, but also having lost.
  • Two, every game in the casino – other than live poker – is a house-banked game. This means the mathematics of the game always assure the house of a steady win, no mater what happens in the short term. So, if a lucky player wins a lot, and goes home with it, that too is accounted for in the mathematics of the games. So, in a way, that old adage of “the house always wins” is true – relatively speaking, of course.
In your vast experience can you spot it when a game runs on ”rigged” software. If so, how will you go about it?

Today, this is NOT possible. At least not in the United States, in licensed casinos. The Internet is different, of course, because there are no specific rules governing that aspect of gambling. In the USA, those States that offer online poker right now have very strict controls, and this means no game can be rigged. The same applies to the casinos.

With tens of billions of dollars in profits already streaming in from “true” and “honest” games, why would any casino ever risk losing their license – and this cash-cow – just to eek out a few extra bucks from some unsuspecting player? If they want to get more money from their games, it’s a lot easier to simply change the pay table and payback percentage. Rigging a slot machine, or a game, is just stupid. In the USA, this will NOT happen in ANY licensed casino. Period.

Can it happen? Yes, of course it can. But such would be individual situations, made by individual persons for their own gains, and not something willingly sanctioned by any licensed casino. Anyone who says anything to the contrary is either referring to history, to films, TV, or fiction, or just doesn’t know what they’re saying.

In other countries, however, that’s a whole different thing. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t. I can’t comment. I only know that in the USA, if you’re playing in a licensed casino, the games offered there are as true and honest as any human can make them.

When it comes to women and gambling, do you think there’s been a significant increase in female players over the years? What’s the distinct difference between male and female gamblers?

Women play slots. Men play table games, poker, and sports. That’s it. Among women, ages 45-80 are the most active slot players, and they comprise 60%-70% of all casino slot players. Men are aged 50-75, and less than 35% of them play slots at some time or another. Mostly because their wives want to play, and so they just sit there and push the buttons, bored to tears, while the women have a great time.

If men play slots, they look for those that are gambling games, as opposed to the fluffy nonsense that is called “entertainment”, which many of the women prefer. But men haven’t changed much, and neither has the mix. It will always be so, up to a point.

In the near future, social gaming and mobile gaming will become more important, but the men vs. women equation will most likely stay the same, including game preferences. Men want the risk and reward. Women want the entertainment.

If you have friends visiting you, where would you take them and if gambling is on the cards (pun intended) which casino/s would you recommend and why?

Those who are tourists will want to do touristy things. I tell them which casinos I like and why, and then they’re on their own. Usually, I can’t stand it, because they play just as stupidly as all the other tourists. Which is fine when you’re in the casino for entertainment, and fun, and a visit. So I leave them alone, and either stay home, or go to play elsewhere, and the way I want to do it.

You see, it doesn’t matter if these are friends, or not. If they come to the casino for a vacation, or a visit, they are looking to experience as much as they can in the short time they have. They aren’t in the casino to grind out 12 hour days for a few percentage points of advantage.

So, for friends and tourists alike, I just say “Pick a casino – the way you’ll be playing, it makes no difference where you will lose your money. However, here are some of the better ones, cleaner, more games, better games, etc.” And that’s the best way to keep peace among friends, and tourists, alike.

What advice will you give to someone visiting Las Vegas for the first time?

Learn the games first, learn what to look for and why, and get at least some knowledge of what you should do before you start spending your money. That way you will last longer, lose less, and will have a better time.

Do you think gambling in general has a negative connotation to it?

No. Maybe in olden times but not today. Among some religious zealots, yes, of course. But those will be with us always.

I have a simple answer to anyone who opposes gambling: Don’t do it. If you don’t want to gamble, don’t go to a casino. Don’t log on to the web site. Don’t play. It’s that simple. Those of us who like to gamble aren’t forcing you to do it, so why are you trying to force us not to?

What’s the biggest mistake/s punters normally make and what advice would you give them?

“Punters” is not an American expression. In Australia, this means “sports bettor”. But I think you mean “gambler.”

The biggest mistake they make is going to the casino blind, without knowledge, skills, or even a notion of what they will find. Not to mention how to play it. Today there’s no excuse for this. When I first became interested in Blackjack, 45 years ago, there was one book. For Poker, there was also only one book. That was it. If you wanted to learn to gamble, you had to do it by trial and error. And that is expensive, and takes years – often decades – to do it well.

Today, you can Google the game, and learn all about it. Or buy a book. It doesn’t have to be my book. Pick one you think you will like. For me, if I had that available when I started, I’d be glad to pay $1.99 for the eBook. Even if it cost $6.95, or more, it would still be well worth it. Without it, millions of people go to casinos each year and they collectively lose $500 Billion on all US gambling games combined (lotteries included).

Why do you think developers can pay $4 Billion to build a new casino resort? Because the vast majority of casino players who will go there just don’t bother to learn anything.

Do Las Vegas casinos have responsible gaming policies in place and offer free counseling to problem gamblers?

Yes. It’s a fact of life. But I think it’s stupid. If you can’t handle the games, don’t come crying to the rest of us. We all started out the same way. And we aren’t any different from you. Even professional gamblers will lose more often than they win. Many will lose in the millions, and some will never recover from it. Are they “addicted”? Well, maybe. But not really. No more than you are addicted to your morning cup of coffee, or afternoon tea.

How would you like it if your government passed a legislation making it mandatory that you seek psychiatric treatment and guidance before you drink a cup of tea? Just because you drink more than one cup a day? Are you “addicted”?

Well, in a way, yes. I like my coffee. I am drinking a cup now, as I write this. When I was in Australia, I drank tea. And I like that too. So, yes, I am “addicted” to coffee and tea. But does that make me intellectually and emotionally irresponsible? Do I need a government program to “help” me with this? Heck no!

Am I anti-help for problem gamblers? Also heck no! All my writings and books and articles are there precisely to prevent any such problems for anyone who wants to read them. Less than 0.83% of all casino players can even remotely be considered as “problem” gamblers. Mostly their actual “problem” is that they never bothered to learn anything about the games, and that’s why they are losing.

Internet gambling is here to stay, to a certain extent it’s still pretty much unregulated. What’s your stance on it and have you ever played online?
Yes, absolutely. I played all the time prior to 2006, when the misguided UIGEA legislation was attached to the important Port Security Bill in the United States Congress by religious zealots, and thus killed the $20 billion in annual taxable revenue that this struggling economy could have had all these years. But I played exclusively poker. Poker can’t be rigged as easily because such things can be spotted. Online slots and casino games? Not so much. I have not played any of those for real money, and have no plans to do so.
When it comes to gambling who’s been your role models and biggest inspiration to date?

I don’t really have any. If you have seen the movie “Casino”, the last 30 minutes of that film is when I arrived in Las Vegas. And, if you have seen the movie “21”, that was me – some 25 years ago. And that’s about it.

I suppose you’ve seen it all and done it all-got the T-shirt! What’s the funniest thing/s that ever happened to you in Vegas?

Lots of funny stuff. A lot of it is in my book: “Great Gamblers: True Stories and Amazing Facts.” The eBook is only $1.99, so I’ll just refer you to it, and you can read it for yourselves.

Have you met any celebrities yet and which celebrity is the biggest gambler?

Yes. And I played with lots of them. I won’t say who. That’s a story for my other book: “Sin City: The Life and Times of Vegas Vic.” Not yet finished. The story is still being lived…