This question may seem silly. Everyone who gambles hopes to win.
But the truth is most players say they want to win but don’t do the necessary things to make it a realistic possibility.
The fact is you can be a winning gambler if you pick the right games, play them in the right way, and use everything the casino gives you. You just need to know how to do it.
You’ll learn all of the important steps required to be a winning gambler on this page. It’s up to you to follow through on what you learn to start turning the tables on the casinos. It all starts with one question.
Ask yourself; do you really want to be a winning gambler?
If you really want to be a winner, keep reading to find out how to get started toward winning.
Decide to be a winning gambler
While it’s true that casinos, poker rooms, and sports books are designed to always favor the house, the truth is a small percentage of players win on a consistent basis.
Most players win from time to time but lose in the long run. You can use simple mathematics to show why this is the case for most gambling activities.
Here’s an example:
If you play a slot machine that has a 5% house edge, which is fairly typical of slot machines, over time you’re going to lose an average of 5% of every dollar you play.
In the short run you can win sometimes and lose more than 5% sometimes, but the longer you play the closer your actual results are going to be to the expected loss.
If you wager $1 per spin your expected loss is .05. In other words every time you bet $1 you only get back .95.
It may not seem like much to lose a nickel per spin, but when you start to consider how quickly this adds up it becomes scary. It’s not uncommon for a slots player to take 400 to 600 spins per hour. So let’s look at the math.
$1 per spin at a 5% house edge at 500 spins per hour is an expected hourly loss of $25. If you play 10 hours at this rate your expected loss is $250. It just gets worse the more you play.
So what does this have to do with deciding to be a winning gambler?
The casinos want you to mindlessly play slot machines and games like them because this is how they make money.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can’t find ways to break even while gambling or make a long term profit.
The most important step is deciding that you’re going to do whatever it takes to be a winning gambler. This is important because it’s not always easy to find and play with an edge. It’s easier to just have fun and forget about being a long term winner.
This is why 95% of the players lose in the long run. It’s easy to lose.
We even tell ourselves that it’s ok to lose in the long run because it’s a form of entertainment. If we went out to eat or to a show or movie we have to pay, so gambling is just another form of entertainment expense.
But isn’t it better to break even or win while gambling?
If you can simply break even you can play as much as you want and be entertained for free.
When you decide to really work at being a winning gambler you can use the rest of the strategies on this page to start on the path to profit.
Play only games with the lowest house edge
The next step is to focus on games that have the lowest house edge. Some games have such a high edge for the casino that no matter what you do they drain your bankroll.
Slot machines and keno are two of the worst games you can play. Most slot machines have somewhere between a 5% and 10% house edge and keno often carries a 25% edge. American roulette has an edge of 5.26% and Caribbean Stud poker has an edge of 5.22%
All of these games should be avoided. You can’t overcome a 5% or higher house edge.
The good news is you can actually play a few games and get a long term edge. When you add in a few others that you can play with a low enough edge to break even when getting comps or bonuses and you have plenty of choices when it comes to game selection.
The most common gambling activities of players who win in the long run are poker, like Texas holdem and Omaha, sports betting, and blackjack.
Games where you may be able to play at close to break-even including comps or bonuses include 9 / 6 Jacks or Better video poker, not so ugly ducks, or NSUD, Deuces Wild video poker, and Spanish 21.
Finally, if you’re willing to play with a small disadvantage including comps and bonuses, you can play baccarat and certain craps bets without paying too much in the long run.
We’ll look at each of these games in the next section.
Learn the best strategy for each game you play
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of games you need to figure out how to keep the house edge as low as possible. The only way to do this is learn the best strategy for each game you play and make sure you always use it.
Each game has a single best way to play each situation. This can be as simple as choosing the correct bet in games like craps and baccarat, or more complicated in games like blackjack, Spanish 21, and video poker
The best strategy can be even more difficult in sports betting, Texas holdem, and Omaha.
Notice that the few activities where you can actually gain a long term edge also have the steepest learning curve for the best strategy. This isn’t a mistake. The casinos don’t want anyone to find an edge, so they make it difficult to do so.
Texas holdem and Omaha – The way the casino room poker room makes money from Texas holdem and Omaha is by taking a percentage of each pot. This is called rake.
This means if you can play better than most of your opponents you can win in the long run. You simply have to win enough from your opponents to cover the rake.
Sports betting – Somewhat like poker, sports books make money by charging a fee of some sort on each bet. When you have to bet $110 to win $100, the $10 difference is the built in profit for the sports book.
When you win you get your $110 back, but when you lose the book keeps your $110. If the book has a player place a bet on each side of the game they lock in a profit of $10 per every paired bet. This works out to roughly a 5% fee. If you can pick your bets well enough to overcome this 5% you can be a long term winner.
Blackjack – The blackjack games with good rules often have a house edge of less than a half percent as long as you use perfect strategy. When you combine this low house edge with a decent comps program you can come close to breaking even.
But if you learn how to count cards you can actually play with a small long term edge against the house. Counting cards effectively isn’t easy, but it’ a skill most players can develop if they’re willing to do the work.
If you simply track the ratio of aces to fives and adjust your best accordingly you can play a break even game of blackjack in the long run.
Spanish 21 – Spanish 21 is a variation of blackjack played with a deck where all of the 10’s have been removed. The rules are favorable to the player so if you learn the best strategy you can play with a house edge less than 1% and less than a half percent if the dealer stands on soft 17’s.
You can even learn how to use car counting while playing Spanish 21, but it’s a little more complicated than learning to use while playing blackjack.
Jacks or Better and Deuces Wild video poker – If you play on a 9 / 6 Jacks or Better video poker machine and use perfect strategy the house edge is only .46%. When you combine this low edge with comps you can play roughly a break even game in the long term.
If you play online and get a bonus that lets you play video poker it can be slightly profitable in the long run depending on the bonus terms and conditions.
Not So Ugly Deuces Wild also offers a house edge of less than a half percent with perfect play so it can provide the same returns as Jacks or Better.
Baccarat – The banker bet in baccarat has a 1.06% house edge. Even with comps and / or bonuses you won’t be able to break even in the long run, but you can play with a low expected loss. This is much better than the games listed above with 5% or higher house edges.
Craps – The don’t pass line bet at the craps table offers a 1.36% house edge and the odds bets have no house edge. Just like baccarat, you can’t overcome this edge in the long run but your long term expected loss is low when you receive comps and / or bonuses.
Join the players club and / or get a bonus
Player’s clubs are so common in the casino industry that I won’t play anywhere they don’t offer one. Rewards can be in the form of free play, cash back, free meals, free rooms, free flights, show tickets, merchandise, and just about anything else of value you can think of.
The more you wager the higher your rewards, because they’re all based on what the casino expects you to lose. Each casino has their own system for determining how much they give, but common returns usually equal somewhere between a quarter and half percent
Even if you only get free meals or rooms it’s the same as money. Any comp you get that gives you something you were going to have to spend money on effectively reduces your expected loss.
Here’s an example:
If you play Spanish 21 for four hours and lose $50 if you don’t get comps you lose $50. But if you get two buffet dinners comped and the buffet costs $15 per person you effectively only lost $20.
The other thing that can be used to reduce your expected loss is bonuses. Most online casinos offer bonuses when you make deposits. This is free money that you can use to gamble with.
On the surface this seems like a great way to play with an edge, but the casinos make the terms and conditions so it’s hard to gain a long term edge. But it’s often possible to use bonuses to play a break even game.
And many of the same online casinos have player’s clubs, so it’s possible to gain comps while clearing a bonus. Just make sure you read and understand the bonus terms and conditions before you make a deposit.
Manage your bankroll
You can’t use a bankroll management system to beat a casino game, but you can easily use a poor bankroll strategy to destroy any chance of being a winning gambler.
Casino games are games of chance. The outcomes can be determined for the long run, but over the short run anything can happen. Even the best poker players experience losing streaks and blackjack car counters often lose when they have an advantage
This means you have to use your bankroll in a way that you don’t risk going broke because of short term variance. In other words you need to have a large enough bankroll in comparison to the size of your bets that you don’t get wiped out by a run of bad luck.
Beginning sports bettors should limit their individual wagers to 1% to 2% of their entire bankroll until they’re able to develop long term winning systems. And even with a winning system you should limit your bets to 5% or less of your bankroll.
Poker players need to have 20 to 30 times their standard buy in to be safe. Advantage blackjack players work with such a small edge, often less than 1%, that they need to have a huge bankroll to stay alive during own streaks. A $100,000 bankroll with maximum bets of $1,000 is probably the lowest I’d consider safe for blackjack, and twice that is better.
These suggestions may seem high, but the fact is if you run out of money you can’t continue playing. If one bad streak puts you at risk you need a bigger bankroll.
You also must realize that if you’re not a long term winning gambler that no bankroll is big enough. Playing games where the casino has an edge will always reduce your bankroll. In this case you either run out of money r have to keep adding money to keep playing.
Have a plan
What we’ve been talking about forms the basis of a strong plan for a winning gambler. Start by focusing on one or two games and learn everything you can about them.
Learn how to play, the best strategies, and make sure your bankroll is big enough to let you ride out the ups and downs
Use everything on this page to give yourself the best chance of success. Develop a plan an get started today.
Never deviate from the plan
I love to play Let It Ride. For the most part I avoid games where I can’t get an edge, but I have a weakness for this game.
But it doesn’t have a place on my plan to be a winning gambler so I have to avoid it in the casinos. To get my fix I play for free online from time to time
The point is if you really want to be a winning gambler you can never deviate from your plan. When you put all of the work into finding the best games and learning how to play them to the best of your ability you can’t take the chance of ruining everything by doing something that isn’t on your plan.
If you’re like me and have a weakness, you have to plan for it. You can set aside $50 or whatever you’re comfortable losing and play a bad game until you lose the $50. But this amount can’t come out of your bankroll and you have to limit your play on bad games.
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