As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (i.e., a "buy") or underperform rating (i.e., a "sell") in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The No. 1 casino buy
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the No. 1 casino stock (and the top runners-up) based on the number of CAPS members who have rated the stock an outperform. Remember that only stocks rated 4- or 5-stars are consensus buys.

Company

Market Capitalization (in millions)

Outperform Picks

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS)

$18,758

1,493

**

Melco Crown Entertainment (Nasdaq: MPEL)

$2,026

1,257

****

MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM)

$4,453

1,029

**

Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN)

$10,777

748

*

Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD)

$655

363

**

Penn National Gaming (Nasdaq: PENN)

$2,175

340

**

Ameristar Casinos (Nasdaq: ASCA)

$1,007

197

**

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

More CAPS members think Las Vegas Sands is a buy than any other casino stock, but the consensus is that it's just a two-star stock. Of the stocks with the highest numbers of outperform picks, only Melco Crown gets as high as four stars.

Do you think the casino space is underrated? Do you think Las Vegas Sands should get more than two stars? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just go there to do further research on one of these popular stocks.

As for me, I've had Melco Crown rated as an outperform in CAPS since 2007. It hasn't worked out too well for me so far. You can see my entire profile by clicking here.

Anand Chokkavelu owns shares of Melco Crown. Melco Crown is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Ameristar Casinos is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.