I’ve read a saying that goes something like this, “If you want to get the results someone else is getting, do what they do.”
This makes a great deal of sense, but most gamblers refuse to do what winning players do. If you want to be a winning player, you need to start mimicking the actions of winning players who gamble with real money. Another common name for winning gamblers is “advantage gamblers.”
To help you get started, I’ve explained three ways advantage gamblers are different from normal gamblers below.
1 – They’re Always Looking for an Edge
Most gamblers have a favorite game, or a small group of favorite games, and simply go to the casino and play them. They get comfortable playing these games and fall into something like a rhythm. They play the same way they always do and lock in a profit for the casino.
Casinos love players like this, because they produce profits for the casino like clockwork.
Advantage players are always looking for an edge. If their best edge is at a particular game, they stick with that game and try to maximize their returns. But they aren’t afraid to switch games or activities if something else offers a higher return.
Most gamblers find a level of comfort and stick with it. This is why they only play one game or a small group of games. Advantage gamblers don’t seem to ever be entirely comfortable. They’re always looking for another edge.
Sometimes, this is simply trying to increase their current edge by a fraction of a percent, and sometimes, it’s trying to find a new angle to produce an edge a different way or in a different activity.
How One Advantage Gambler Got an Edge
I read an interesting story about an advantage gambler and how he got an edge during a special promotion a casino was running. A particular casino had a promotion where the gambler with the most play during a set period of time got to pick a single card from a series of giant playing cards.
Each giant playing card had a cash value that the gambler won. I don’t remember the actual values, but the top prize was big enough that it made it profitable to make sure he was the top player during the promotion. It was either $50,000 or $100,000, but if he picked one of the other cards, it wouldn’t cover his losses during the contest.
He watched the area where the drawing was going to take place, and when the casino employee went to set up the giant playing cards, the advantage player took a seat where he couldn’t be seen and watched the cards being set up.
The casino employee knew the values of the cards and spent more time looking at the highest value card and fidgeting with it. He basically told the advantage gambler where it was without consciously doing so.
When it came time to draw, the player picked the card with the top prize and made all of his play profitable.
Here are three things you need to recognize from this story:
- He understood the promotion well enough to know that he could make money by being the top player if he was able to draw the top paying card.
- He figured out a way to have the best chance to draw the top paying card.
- He figured out how to take advantage of the situation while playing within the rules of the promotion. He didn’t cheat to earn the chance to draw a card, and he didn’t cheat to find out which card to pick.
When I read this story, I was floored. I’m an advantage player and always try to keep my eyes open for new ways to get an edge. But I’d have never thought about watching the employee set up the cards. This is an example of how you can use your mind to find an edge.
Even the best players miss things from time to time, but the majority of them are always willing to learn. This means they’re always looking for an edge.
2 – They Know the Numbers
If you read many articles that I post, one of the themes that run throughout many of them involves the numbers that run the gambling world. The reason for this is because numbers and math dictate everything that happens in the gambling world.
Most gamblers ignore the math, and they pay for this every time they gamble. This is the number one reason most gamblers lose. On the other hand, advantage gamblers know the math behind gambling, and know how to use it to gain an edge.
You can find all kinds of articles on this blog to help you learn more about the numbers behind gambling. I suggest finding them and reading them as soon as possible. Learn about the house edge, positive and negative expectation, and all of the math behind your favorite games.
Don’t stop until you know as much about the games that you play as the casinos do. If you’re a blackjack player, become a true student of the game. If you play poker, become a master of the game, including pot odds and expected value.
3 – They Always Have a Plan
Advantage gamblers start their gambling career like most other gamblers. They try their hand at getting lucky, but lose most of the time. Then, they realize that there are some ways to play with an advantage. This leads them to different areas, where they expand their knowledge and build their skills.
Once you become a true advantage player, you always have a plan before you gamble. You probably are willing to alter the plan when you recognize a better advantage, but you don’t gamble without a plan.
The best advantage players work with both short and long term plans. They build their skills over a long time so they can master their chosen activities in both the short and long term.
After an advantage player learns how to beat one game, they usually look for other advantage plays. Sometimes, this involves adding a second gambling activity, and sometimes, it’s simply getting better at what already works. And the best of the best do both at the same time.
I started planning how to play blackjack with an edge and developed several ways to bet on sports profitably. My main advantage play is still poker, but I’m always looking for an edge in everything I do.
If you want to be an advantage player, start with a solid plan. The fastest way to learn how to play with an edge is blackjack, and if I had to start over, that’s where I’d start.
Poker offers some advantages over blackjack, with the most important one being no heat, but it takes longer to master. Sports betting also offers some advantages, but it might take even longer than poker for many gamblers.
The best advice I can offer long-term is to make a plan and get started today. Your goal is to become an advantage gambler, and the only thing in your way is to develop a plan and get started.
Once you become an advantage gambler, you want to have to strategize every time you gamble. But you also want to keep your strategy flexible so you can find and exploit other opportunities.
If you’re on your way through the casino to the poker room and see a blackjack dealer or a Mississippi Stud dealer flashing hole cards, you need to forget the poker room and use the flashing dealer for as much profit as possible while the opportunity is available.
In order to become a winning gambler, you have to start doing things that winning gamblers do. I’ve explained three important ways that advantage gamblers are different than most gamblers. Use these three things to change the way you gamble, and start improving your results right away.