Everyone wants to know how to win at gambling. Some might even say that the fun in gambling comes solely from winning, although that’s debatable.
If you only had fun at the casino when you walked away a winner, the casinos would go out of business fast. 80% of the time, the average gambler goes up after booking a loss at the casino.
When you eventually learn how hard it is to win at gambling, it might seem like the appropriate approach is to put next to no effort into trying to win.
After all, what’s fun about learning how to count cards in blackjack? How is folding 75% to 80% of your hands in Texas holdem a good time?
In this post, I offer some ideas on how you can win at gambling and still have a good time at the casino.
The Casino’s Practically Unlimited Bankroll
If you’re gambling in a casino, whether physical or an online casino, you need to understand that the casino has 2 weapons it uses against you to win your money.
Any time you deal with random events, like gambling games, you’re going to see occasional streaks that don’t mirror the probability. You’ll see winning streaks and losing streaks. Some of these will be short, but others will be long.
You might think it’s next to impossible for the ball to land on black in roulette 8 times in a row, but it happens at least once a day in every casino.
What this means for the player, though, is that they’ll almost always hit a losing streak that’s long enough to make them go broke.
The casino never runs out of cash to pay players with when a player gets lucky.
But when the casino gets lucky, the player just doesn’t have the money to continue and catch up.
Here’s how they do that: the house edge
The Casino’s Other Weapon Is the House Edge
EVERY game in the casino, and almost every bet in the casino, carries with it a mathematical edge for the casino. That edge is, in most cases, impossible to overcome in the long run. That is why you see online casinos give out such large bonuses.
One of the marbles is red, and the other is black.
You bet on black, and you – without looking – grab a marble from the bag.
If you get the black marble, you win the amount you risked.
But if you get the red marble, you lose the amount you risked.
This is called an even-money payout, and it’s also a break-even game.
In the long run, you’ll lose just as much money as you win, so you won’t see a profit or a loss.
The Difference between the Odds of Winning and the Payout Odds Give the House an Edge
But suppose I put 3 marbles in the bag – a black marble, a red marble, and a green marble.
You bet on black, and 1 out of 3 times, you win. But 2 out of 3 times, you lose.
Keep doing that repeatedly, and eventually, you’ll run out of money.
You can change the number of marbles and reduce the size of that mathematical edge, but it’s still there.
In this situation, out of every 5 bets, you’d win 2 bets and lose 3 bets.
This is almost exactly how the game of roulette works, but instead of marbles, you have a spinning wheel with 38 numbers on it, 18 of which are black, 18 of which are red, and 2 of which are green.
Over 38 spins, you’ll win an average of 18 times and lose an average of 20 games.
Understanding that the math is against you is the first step to enjoying your casino gambling despite the likelihood that you’ll walk away a loser.
How to Overcome the House Edge
In most casino games, there’s no way to overcome that mathematical edge in the long run. You can overcome the house edge in the short term, though. That’s called “getting lucky.” It’s also called “variance.”
One way to win at gambling is to put yourself in a situation where you can capitalize on variance. The way to do that is to embrace the short term.
If you want to win at a casino game, usually, the best way to do it is to make one big bet and get lucky. Then quit. Forever.
I’ve written about this before. It’s called a “maximum boldness” strategy.
It’s fun for a particular type of person, like Ashley Revell. He bet $135,000 on a single spin of the roulette wheel and won.
I’m not suggesting you do this, but if it sounds fun, I won’t blame you for it.
When you bet on black in roulette, you have a 47.37% probability of winning even money.
But that’s the probability of winning a single bet.
And the more bets you make, the likelier you are to lose more bets than you win.
Another Way to Overcome the House Edge
Another way to overcome the house edge in the casino is to choose a game where some kind of advantage gambling technique works.
An advantage gambling technique is a strategy for playing a gambling game that gives you a mathematical edge over your opponent.
This makes the casino the ultimate advantage gambler.
The classic example of an advantage gambling technique is card counting in blackjack.
The house edge in blackjack is less than 1% if you play with perfect basic strategy, but that still won’t let you win in the long run.
Even if you play every blackjack hand mathematically perfectly, you’ll lose all your money if you play long enough.
It’s easier than you think, too. I’ve written other blog posts on the subject, so I won’t go into detail about it here.
Gambling with Other People Can Offer Profitable Situations
You’re not limited to gambling at casinos. You can also gamble against individual opponents. If you want to buy a roulette table and offer to let some folks play at your house, you can have fun and win at the same time.
You’re not limited to opening a casino, though. You can also start playing poker. Since you’re competing with other poker players, you’re not dealing with a situation where your opponent has a mathematical edge against you.
There’s a catch, though:
For you to have a mathematical edge at poker, you have to be a more skillful player than your opponents.
If they’re better at the game than you are, you’re still fighting a mathematical disadvantage.
If you don’t understand the role that skill makes in poker, let’s take a hypothetical player who has a weird strategy quirk.
He always folds any pair of 10s or higher preflop.
Can you see how such a Texas holdem player would almost certainly lose money in the long run with such a strategy?
Luckily, you can read books, participate in forums, and get coaching and mentoring. Becoming an expert poker player isn’t any easier than becoming a card counter in blackjack, but it can be a lot of fun.
Don’t Cheat, Though
You might think it would be a fun way to win at gambling to start cheating.
And I’ll point out that real cheating is illegal at a casino.
You can (and probably will) go to jail if you try to cheat at casino games.
Tommy Glenn Carmichael knows.
He’s a legendary slot machine cheater who has served years in prison for his activities.
If you think cheating at the casino is enough fun to warrant spending part of your life in prison, go for it.
But I can’t see that being an even trade.
Yes, you can win at gambling and still have fun.
But you must understand that no one wins all the time.
In fact, if you’re playing in a casino, you’re probably going to lose most of the time.
But you can learn advantage gambling techniques that will help you win consistently at gambling in the long run.
It just takes some effort.