6 Times Winning Isn’t the Best Goal When You’re Gambling

Casino Chips and Dice on Left with a Man Thinking on Right

What could be better than winning when you gamble? Of course, for most gamblers, winning is the ultimate goal. But winning isn’t the most important goal for every gambler.

Here’s a list of six times when winning isn’t the best goal when you’re gambling. The good news is that in some of these situations, you’re going to end up winning anyway. So pay close attention to reason number five.

If you’re not in one of the six situations listed in this post, by all means, do everything that you can to win. But don’t make the mistakes that many gamblers make and end up losing too much money too fast chasing a profit.

1 – When You Have a Time Limit

I used to spend close to two hours on the road, one way, to get to the closest casino. With a four-hour round trip, I always had a time limit when I went to the casino. Of course, I didn’t want to have a time limit when I gambled, but I had to leave early enough to get home and get enough sleep for the next day.

Now you can gamble online if the closest casino is too far away, but most gamblers have some sort of time limit when they gamble. And if you have a short time limit for gambling, your number one goal might not be winning.

I’m not saying that you don’t want to win, or even that you shouldn’t try to win. But with a short period of time to gamble, you might want to focus on maximizing your entertainment value.

For example, you can get a lower house edge playing blackjack than craps, but if you love to play craps and you’re only going to be in the casino for a couple of hours, the difference in expected losses in craps isn’t much higher than playing blackjack.

Over 1,000’s of hours of play, you can get better results playing blackjack. But in a short time period, you should have as much fun as you can.

2 – When You Want to Maximize Your Gambling Time

In the first section, you saw that sometimes you’re better off having as much fun as possible instead of focusing on winning. But what if you have as much time as you want to gamble but have to worry about your bankroll lasting as long as possible?

Of course, if you’re winning, your bankroll will last as long as you need it to last, but are you winning because you have an edge, or are you winning because you’re getting lucky?

I’m going to discuss gambling with a long-term edge in section five in this post, but if you’re relying on luck to win, you need a better plan to maximize how long you can gamble.

Closeup of a Baccarat Game

Instead of getting lucky and winning, you need to find a combination of low wager cost and low total risk per hour. For example, you can play a nickel video poker machine for a quarter a hand and have complete control over how fast you play.

Or you can play online baccarat or blackjack for $1 a hand, and you still have control over how fast or slow you play.

When trying to make your bankroll last as long as possible, winning isn’t always the best goal.

3 – When You’re Trying to Maximize Comps

Like I discussed in the previous section, if you can figure out how to gamble with a long-term edge, you can maximize your comps as much as possible because you don’t need to worry about running out of money.

But most gamblers lose a little more than they win over time, so if you can learn how to maximize your comps, you have a chance to at least earn some nice returns.

The main way to maximize your comps is to risk as much money as possible. Of course, you don’t have to risk a lot of money on each wager, but overall, the more you risk, the higher your comps will be.

The best way to maximize your comps if you’re not playing with an advantage is to find the wager with the lowest house edge and size your bets to bet as much as you can while playing for as long as you have to play.

You can also earn a lot of comps playing slots, but the house edge is high on slot machines. So video poker is a better option if you like to gamble on machines.

4 – Bankroll Preservation

Preserving your bankroll is a lot like some of the other things covered in this post, and the best ways to do it are also the best ways to maximize your gambling time.

If you want to preserve your bankroll, you need to bet the lowest amount every hour you can while making wagers with the lowest house edge you can find. The other way to preserve your bankroll is to make wagers with a zero house edge or gamble with an edge. I cover more about these options in the next section.

I’ve used many different combinations to preserve my bankroll over the years, and I’m going to tell you about my favorite. But this isn’t the only possibility, so you can find other combinations that work.

Video Poker machines on Casino Floor

I play Jacks or Better video poker on a nickel machine. I play online most of the time because it’s easy to find machines for a nickel that also use the 9/6 paytable.

I use a strategy card and either use bonuses when I play or play where I earn comps. I also try to keep my number of hands played every hour at 200 or lower.

Using this method, I can play for hours and hours on a relatively small bankroll.

5 – Playing with a Positive Expectation

If you’re gambling with positive expectation, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose right now. Winning gamblers know how to put themselves in positive expectation situations, and they know that if they keep doing it, they’re going to win.

The problem is that even when you make a wager with positive expectation, it doesn’t mean that you win the bet every time.

For example, if you make a bet that pays 1 to 1 for $25 and have a 60% chance to win, you’re going to win if you can make this bet over and over. But you still lose 40% of the time. So, in other words, every time you make this wager, you have a 60% chance to win and a 40% chance to lose.

The best ways to gamble with positive expectation are poker, betting on sports, and blackjack.

You have to learn the right tactics and strategies for each of these games, but gamblers use each of these games to make wagers with positive expectations. The secret is learning exactly how these winning gamblers play these games and doing the exact same things the winning gamblers do.

6 – Getting into the Money

The last reason winning isn’t always the best strategy is when you’re playing in a poker tournament. When I play in a poker tournament, I always play to win. But sometimes, the best way to play is to get into the money.

For example, you’re playing in a poker tournament, and three more players have to bust out for you to finish in the money. You have an average stack, so all you have to do is fold until you’re in the money.

You look at your hand and have a pair of kings. Most of the time, you want to get all-in with a pair of kings. But if you move all-in and lose the hand, you bust out with no money.

Holdem Player Holding a Royal Flush

If your goal is to win the tournament, the right play is to get all in with the kings. Doubling your chip stack will help you win. But if you can’t afford to leave the tournament without making at least a little money, you have to fold the kings.

Once you get in the money, you can start playing to win again.

Final Thoughts on These Gambling Tips

Winning always ranks near the top for gamblers in the goal department, but there are a few situations where winning is a secondary goal.

If you learn how to play with positive expectation, whether you win or lose now, you know you’re winning in the long run. However, if you’re playing in a poker tournament, sometimes you have to decide whether to maximize your chance of winning or your chance to get in the money.

Sometimes it’s more important to preserve your bankroll or maximize your comps or gambling time. Most of the time, winning might be your number one goal, but don’t let it blind you to other situations.