As you can probably imagine, a significant part of my day is being solicited for gambling advice. I’m constantly bombarded by family, friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, long-lost relatives’ dog walkers, and total strangers.
Fortunately, most of these inquiries are pretty generic and don’t require much thought on my part, as I’ve been doing this long enough that I can spit out a bit of helpful information quickly.
One recent request got me reminiscing on the gambling tips that I most commonly give players and wondering what the first piece of gambling advice I ever gave was. My guess is that it was along the lines of “Oof, don’t do that.”
Sound advice, no doubt, but a little vague. So, here are 10 pieces of gambling advice I’m constantly repeating to novice and veteran casino patrons.
1 – Place 100% Focus on Bankroll Management
Everything you do in a casino has the potential to impact your gambling bankroll, and your bankroll affects everything you do in a casino. So, the most vital step you can take as a gambler is to learn and implement effective bankroll management strategies.
If you take time to practice a sound bankroll management system, you’ll never be in any danger of sitting on the sidelines and watching the fun pass by.
2 – Avoid Wasting Your Money on Slot Machines
I hate to constantly bag on slot machines, but the return to players in land-based slot machines makes the games worse than bad. The penny slots account for more of the casinos’ revenue than any other games in the casino.
Let that sink in for a moment. A game where you think each bet is only 1/100 of a dollar makes the casinos more cash than all other games. That’s because the house edge on these beloved games regularly jumps over 11%.
Furthermore, the games don’t provide much in the way of actual entertainment. Sure, it’s fun to spin a few reels with the possibility of hitting a life-altering jackpot.
Outside of that, the games are monotonous and grow worrisome rather fast. The horrible entertainment value on slot machines is the number one reason you should stick to table games.
3 – Spend a Few Bucks on a Basic Strategy Card
Blackjack has a house edge of only 2% on a standard 3 to 2 payout game. That makes blackjack an excellent value for gamblers; for every $100 you bet, the casino keeps $2 on average.
However, you can reduce the edge to a mere 0.5% by using the basic strategy for blackjack on every hand you play. The wonderful thing is that the casinos will allow you to use a basic strategy chart at the tables.
The house edge is so diminished when proper basic strategy is involved that you might occasionally walk out of the casino with house money.
4 – You Need to Understand the House Edge for Every Bet
You should always know precisely what you’re signing up for when you sit down to play a casino game. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you know every bet on every game in the casino, but that would be helpful.
Still, you should know the house edge for each bet in the casino games you’re playing. Some games have varying rules and side bets depending on the casino, making things more complicated.
At the minimum, you should never make a bet that you don’t know the odds.
5 – Unless You’re Card Counting, Stick to a Flat Betting Style
A lot of novice gamblers land themselves in trouble by adopting a betting system that has them wildly varying their bet size due to a previous result. You cannot go out bet the casino in an effort to win money playing casino games.
Systems like the Martingale in roulette will only need to faster more significant losses. You’re much better off sticking to a flat betting system; this will give you the most entertainment from your bankroll.
The lone exception to the flat betting approach applies only to card counters. Card counters will need to increase their average bet at an insane rate to capitalize when they have a favorable count.
6 – Find a Partner and Learn to Count Cards
That brings me to my next point. If you’re fed up from having the casino beat you out of house and home every time your gambling in the casino and want to start winning, grab a partner and teach yourself how to count cards.
Despite what you’ve seen on television, card counting is perfectly legal. Unfortunately, the casinos do not like card counters beating them at their own game and will constantly look for any tip-offs.
If the casino marks you as a known card counter, it could spell the end of your career as an advantage gambler. Casinos are easily within their rights to ban you entirely from gambling on their properties.
7 – Become an Above Average Poker Player for More Profits
I seem to know or at least come into contact with many poker players, and they all want to know how to win. I usually tell them that winning at poker is pretty straightforward.
If you want to start winning at poker, you need to become a better poker player. Poker is a game of skill, so if you were good enough to win, you definitely wouldn’t need any advice from me.
Work on your game until you’re an above-average player, and then find games with lesser skilled opponents. You’ll be able to use your advantage to gain a long-term positive expectation.
8 – Only Play Games That Give You a Fighting Chance
The blanket advice I have for most casino gamblers is to stick to the games that give you a fighting chance. Keno, slot machines, and other games that carry a high house advantage will beat you downtime and time again.
I’ve covered many of the above, but video poker is a game that can give you a positive expectation. It also has strategy cards that can walk you through every hand combination in the game.
9 – Chase Losses and You’ll Go Bankrupt
Start chasing losses, and you’re going to have a painfully short trip to the casino. Chasing losses seems to be almost a natural response some players have when the games are suddenly not going the way they had hoped.
Casino games are carefully assembled with the sole purpose of separating you and your money. Unless you’re putting in the work to become an advantage gambler, that’s precisely what they’ll do.
The notion that you can somehow double down time and again as a method for negating losses needs to be banished from your gambling toolbox.
10 – Never Take Things Too Far
Whether you’re going to Las Vegas or Louisiana, it’s easy to take things too far in the casino. Every facet of the casinos is designed to promote excess.
So, it’s easy to take things too far. This relates to partying, boozing, gambling, or anything else that may be detrimental to your health or financial security.
Keep things in perspective while you’re enjoying your casino vacation. All the poor decisions you make on vacation may not follow you home, but blowing through more money than you can afford will have fundamental implications long after the trip has concluded.
Be as responsible in the casino as you are in your everyday routine; there’s still plenty of room to cut loose within those parameters.
Bonus – Always Bet with Your Head
Okay, sports bettors, listen up. I’ve said this thousands of times, and I’ll likely say it thousands more, stop betting with your heart.
Emotional gamblers are broke gamblers. That means don’t bet on your favorite team regardless of how certain you are that they can’t lose.
The only organ that should be involved with your sports betting is your brain. Bet with your head rather than your heart to see better results.
My Final Thoughts
In these 10 pieces of gambling advice I’m constantly repeating, you’ve received a crash course on some of the most vital dos and don’ts for gambling. It’s almost like we’re family but rarely does my advice land.
So, I’m regularly forced to go back and forth with the disgruntled family member over how they didn’t listen to a word I told them. It’s incredible how my generosity can get flipped around on me at the drop of a hat.
Now it’s in print; you can’t say I didn’t warn you.