CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you haven't been to Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC in a while, or if you've never been, you may be surprised by what you see.
The casino and resort now rivals what you might see in some of the other great gambling destinations around the country. The entire property has undergone a massive renovation and rebuild to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. There's a brand new spa and a beautiful theater for concerts and other performances.
"We've always felt the need to stay competitive with other casinos out there but more than that we wanted to be able to best serve those who come to visit us," said Leeann Bridges, a marketing representative for the casino.
On a random Tuesday night in the winter when WBTV visited, the casino floor was busy, which just goes to show how many people want to win big.
"I brought $80 to play today," one roulette player told us. He comes to the casino quite a bit and says the games are a mix between odds and chance.
Greg Elder knows odds because he is what is called an "advantage" gambler.
"I only play games where I have the advantage over the casino," Elder told us.
He has written several books about it and now teaches other people how to legally work the system in their favor.
"There are some things you need to know. You'll never beat the casino but if you truly are interested in winning money and have odds in your favor you have to devote time and research into that," Elder said.
Elder says the blackjack table is the best place to start. He says most people understand the rules, and the fact that it is a mathematical game, you can bring in a strategy chart that will tell you, over time, how to increase your odds by knowing when to hit and when to stay based on the cards you're dealt.
"Next, if you're going to play video poker or slots go with video poker. Then you slowly try to learn the game and the pay tables and learn what to hold. Knowing that game, your chances are much better than regular slots," Elder said.
As for the lottery, Elder says he won't gamble on that because it has a bad payback percentage. He won't go into a sweepstakes parlor either.
"I would never enter one. They are unregulated and you don't know the payback percentage," he said.
Instead he prefers the casino, working the numbers and doing the math.
"People say to me all the time that takes the fun out of it. Well, to me, winning is fun," Elder said.
As for a seemingly safer bet like investing your money, we spoke to a financial expert. He said any type of investing is a gamble, but it will pay off if you avoid investing in only one thing, have an exit strategy, and remember that gamblers use feelings, investors use logic.
We've posted more Greg's inside information as an exclusive web extra video on this page.
If you have a gambling addiction or know someone who does, please click here for help.