Most people seem to cast a mysterious shroud over casinos and gambling in general. I’m sure most of this is a result of the way gambling and gamblers are portrayed through television and film, but that’s not the only source of misinformation.
I meet many people who have formed their own opinions and beliefs about gambling without any formal investigation whatsoever. Sadly, they’re all too eager to share this information with fellow misguided bystanders that casually accept the statements as fact.
Today, I want to get behind 10 gambling truths most people get completely wrong. Let’s separate fact from fiction and work to correct some of the stereotypes surrounding gambling.
1 – Gambling Provides Easy Money
Many bright-eyed gamblers waltz into the casino for the first time believing their money problems are behind them. They’ve watched enough movies and heard from enough friends to be convinced everyone is a winner.
Well, not everyone, but they’re lucky. So, that’ll land them right in the middle of all the cash.
However, there’s no shortcut to winning money in the casino. Sure, you may get lucky and leave with some house money. But it has little to do with luck.
You’ve merely caught a mathematical anomaly, and the house will get it all back next time.
2 – Counting Cards Will Land You in Jail
I have an acquaintance that lives in a significant US casino hub. This friend of mine has spent the last several years traveling and making a comfortable living at the casino’s blackjack tables.
He’s not shy about what he does for a living but remains guarded until he’s sure you’re not casino personnel. Whenever he shares his profession with new friends, they’re amazed, as they should be.
Then, they almost ask if he’s afraid of going to jail. That’s where I like to insert inappropriate humor about the list of reasons he should be in jail, none of them relating to counting cards.
That’s because counting cards is perfectly legal; the casinos simply want you to believe it’s against the law.
3 – You Can Easily Recoup Losses
It hurts my soul when I see gamblers take a string of losses. Nobody likes watching someone get beaten up by the casino—especially once you’ve been in their shoes. Still, it’s even more gut-wrenching when a player begins to chase those losses.
I get the premise, but it’s flawed logic. If a player is consistently losing, it’s usually because of poor play. Sometimes, bad luck plays a contributing factor, but that’s not likely to change things for the better.
When a player begins to increase their bet amount in order to negate their mounting losses, it merely increases the speed at which their losing. So, a player that is doubling down will lose twice as fast.
Keep a single consistent bet size throughout your gambling session. And check out our blog on other mistakes that lead to big losses.
4 – The House Edge Is Easy to Understand
Many gamblers walk into the casino not knowing how the house edge works or what the advantage is on most or all games.
The house edge is carefully designed to ensure that the casino makes a profit. The casino has an advantage over nearly every gambler that walks through the door in the long term.
The exceptions are card counters, poker players, and any other advantage gamblers.
So, it allows some players to win. That guarantees there will always be more patrons streaming into the casino.
Learn to influence the house edge by diminishing it as much as possible, and you’ll become much more profitable on the casino floor.
5 – Betting Systems Can Beat the Casinos
I mentioned it briefly earlier, but betting systems are wholly useless in the casino. There’s no way of manipulating the odds by varying your bet amount.
The most popular and perhaps the most costly betting system I see in practice is the Martingale. This negative progressive betting system is commonly used in blackjack, but I’ve seen it on nearly every table game.
The system involves doubling your wager after any losing bet. So, if you lose bet 1 at $20, bet 2 becomes $40.
Players believe they can stay close to even with this method, but a cold streak is devastating. Starting with a bet of $20, your necessary bet amount would be over $600 after a string of six losses.
Many players can’t afford that action, and if they can, table limits will stand in their way. If crafty gamblers have thought of a casino scheme, the casinos have likely implemented measures against it.
6 – You Can Accurately Predict Outcomes
This misconception is especially true for sports bettors and players on the table games. If you’ve spent much time in casinos, you’ve probably seen it many times.
Players are eagerly watching the result board on roulette or baccarat, looking for patterns. They believe they can find a design in the previous results that will allow them to guess the following outcome.
Still, the roulette ball has no agenda and no memory. Unless you’re better than any “psychic” than I’ve ever met, you can’t predict the future.
7 – Slot Machines Are Temperamental
Slot machines get a wrap as being temperamental. Players will often refer to a device as hot or cold depending on how a machine does.
That guarantees the theoretical payout for the player and gives the casino a clear profit. The notion that these machines can go cold or get hot will lead to many new players losing money chasing wins.
It also affects hurting players that don’t play a decent game because some random stranger thinks a machine is cold or not paying, and is one of many debunked slot machine myths.
8 – You Can Chase the Sure Thing
Many of you have no doubt heard about the gamblers that went broke chasing a sure thing. The sure thing often comes as secondhand information from someone the gambler believes to have inside information.
This may come in the form of a tip from a trainer or someone affiliated with a sports team. The race track and the sportsbook are the two places you’re most likely to find the can’t-miss winner.
Sometimes, tout services will sell you their lock of the week, a bet that is guaranteed to win or your money back. Unfortunately, you merely get your money back for the pick and not the wager.
More unfortunate is the fact that the sure thing doesn’t exist. There have been far too many upsets for me to even count, and the list grows every day.
9 – The Many Dangers of Online Casinos
Misconceptions about online casinos are the bearer of ill will in some misinformed gambling circles. I hear people talk about online casinos’ illicit and illegal nature, claiming that every online casino is a scam or money laundering scheme.
They point to the early days of online casinos where some illegitimate sites operated off-shore with virtual impunity.
The world of online casinos is one of the most highly regulated industries in entertainment. The legitimate casinos take painstaking security measures and protect their assets, including their customers, to the highest degree.
Furthermore, online casinos are booming for the US market, where more states are opening the door for legalized online gambling each year.
Suppose you do your research and exercise judgment when using an online casino. In that case, you have little to worry about in the way of financial ruin.
10 – You’ll Never Win
Contrary to the notion that gambling provides easy money is an equally misguided section that says you’ll never win.
They fail to realize that there is the best way to play every game. If you walk onto a golf course and play the local pro without ever learning how to golf, you’re probably going to lose.
However, if you learn the best ways to play the game, you may occasionally win. The same can be valid for gambling.
Learn to play the games the best way, and you still won’t win every time, but the feeling you get when you do will keep you coming back.
Our Thoughts on These Gambling Misconceptions
Hopefully, I’ve cleared up the 10 gambling truths most people get completely wrong. Don’t believe everything you hear in airport lounges and hotel bars; they are flooded with misinformation.
Do your own fieldwork and draw your own conclusions. Gambling doesn’t suit everyone; it’s up to you to decide if it’s right for you.