While travel RVing around the country, many RVers plan their trips to include a couple of nights of casino action while on the road to their destinations. RV casino-hopping isn’t just about throwing the dice or playing the slots–not by a long shot. Casinos everywhere are recognized for good food, great entertainment, and a myriad of non-gambling attractions.Mention free overnight parking and the RVer’s ears perk up. Wal-Mart parking lots and truck stops are fairly well-known for free overnight parking–not always great options–but they are free. Casino parking greatly expands the list of free parking possibilities for the RVer. Most states allow Casino operations in one form or another. And to further enhance casino camping appeal –most casinos are very RV friendly.RVers can sign up for a player’s club card at the casino player’s club desk, or, in most cases, ahead of time online at the casino’s website. Discounts on camping, spa packages, golf privileges, gaming match play and even free buffets are sometimes offered to new players.Some folks have no interest in gambling (or gaming, as it is called these days). This shouldn’t hinder an RV traveler from utilizing the casino’s parking facilities or having a great meal in one of their restaurants.Some casinos allow unlimited free overnight parking; some limit parking to one night or three nights. There are a few that allow no overnight parking because they want you to stay at their adjoining RV park and pay their standard fee. Although scarce, some casinos have free RV dump stations and even a few have RV hook-ups at the site. Many of the large casinos have a shuttle service that runs between the RV park and the casino. As the casinos have recognized that gaming destinations have become a favorite among RVers, full service RV parks are being added every year to various casino resorts.Just be sure to call the casino ahead of time to find out what their RV parking rules entail. Every one of them is a little different regarding lengths of stay, amenities, etc.So, there’s no need to look around for a nearby campground when there are so many casinos offering free overnight parking and other attractive incentives to the Travel RVing community. If the sounds of slot machines singing or the excitement of dice rolling hold no interest for you, perhaps money you save at casino camping makes you the biggest winner of all. Betcha’ can’t argue much with that.
“These two have no idea what they’re about to walk into. Down here to have a good time, they figure ‘why not give poker a try?’ After all, how different can it be from the home game they’ve played their whole lives?”–Matt Damon as Mike McDermott in “Rounders”For most of us, our first poker experience was nowhere near a casino. Either we learned from friends or family members in home games, or we plugged into the online poker craze. Still, the idea of playing poker in an actual brick and mortar (B&M) casino, with all the attendant sights and sounds, is very tempting for most. So what do you need to know when transferring your home or online skills to casino play? There are many distinctions between online and B&M play, but two factors you may immediately want to consider are tells and casino type.1. TellsThe main concern most people have when moving from online to B&M play regards tells. A tell is a physical action a player performs that may give opponents a clue to his hand, such as putting a hand to the face when bluffing. Online, since your opponents cannot see you, physical tells are not really concern (there are online tells, but that is beyond the scope of this article). In fact, one popular poker site has an advertising campaign where they invite those players who have a “bad poker face” to join, since no one can see your face online. In the movie “Rounders,” quoted at the beginning of this article, the villain is undone by the way in which he handles an Oreo cookie depending on whether or not he has a big hand. In reality, tells are rarely this extreme. Most of the time when you play in a casino, especially a “tourist” casino (see following), your opponents are much more concerned with what they are holding than what you are. Even when an opponent scrutinizes you, staring you down while contemplating a call, they’re generally just considering how much they like their own hand. Real tell-spotting requires long, careful observation of a player’s tendencies; you’re not likely to give much away on an individual hand. Professionals like to give the impression that they can just look right into your soul and know what you’re holding, but there’s a lot more to it than that. If you’re really worried you can buy a pair of reflective sunglasses to wear so no one can see your eyes. You can also always wait a predetermined amount of time (five or ten seconds) before acting whether your hand is strong or not so strong and pick a predetermined spot on the table to stare at while waiting for someone to respond to your action.2. Type of CasinoAll casinos are not created equal. Ten years ago, before the explosion in poker popularity, most casinos did not have a poker room at all, or at best, a small section of the blackjack floor partitioned away where two or three $1 to $2 limit games might take place. Obviously, things are different now, but there are still distinctly different types of casinos where one might play poker. The first is a Card Club. These are most commonly found in places like California, where poker as a game of skill is legal, but some other gambling games are not. Although they have expanded to other games, these clubs are primarily designed to play poker. As such, you are likely to find the most experienced poker players here, although not necessarily the strongest and they have their share of tourists as well. The more common type of casino is a Las Vegas Style Casino. These casinos have made fortunes on blackjack, slot machines and roulette and did not really focus on poker in the past as it is not a big money maker for the casino. Unlike the other games, which are against the House (the casino) and are structured so that the House always wins in the long run, poker is a game where the casino only makes money by taking a percentage of each pot (called “the rake,” usually no more than $4 a pot) for themselves. Although now rare, some casinos take “time” instead of a rake, meaning every half hour a representative of the casino comes around and collects a predetermined amount of money from each player in the game.Of these Las Vegas Style Casinos, you will find what I think of as Poker Casinos vs. Tourist Casinos. A Poker Casino is one that has always had poker as part of its draw. These include The Bellagio and The Mirage in Las Vegas and the Taj Mahal and Borgata in Atlantic City. A Tourist Casino is one of the aforementioned casinos that did not have poker at all until the recent boom made it worthwhile as a draw to get players into their casino. Of course both of these types of casinos cater to tourists, but the Poker Casinos are where you are more likely to find professionals. Which of these types is more to your taste is for the individual to decide.The most important thing to remember is that whether it’s online or in the casino, poker is poker. Play a smart game and you should rake in the chips, whether they’re virtual or made of clay.