You’ll come across several forms of gambling at your local bar. I’m regularly reminded of how narrow our field of vision can be when it pertains to specific topics. Gambling is one of these areas for me, and it hasn’t always been this way.
I didn’t get my first taste of gambling in the gigantic casino resorts. I started betting on sports as a young person, which culminated in private poker games as a college freshman.
Some of my fondest gambling memories were made before I even stepped into a casino. That’s because casino games are built to entertain us.
The same fun gambling activities we enjoyed when we started gambling are still available, too. To start, let’s look at the top seven forms of gambling you’ll see at local bars.
1 – Texas Hold’em Events
Poker became immensely popular following the last poker boom. Cash games began popping up everywhere, and you’d have your pick of several games any night of the week.
The boom has passed, but there are still more poker players than at any time in history. While games like Omaha and Seven-Card Stud remain reserved for the more severe poker aficionados, Texas Hold’em remains a game for the masses.
My first introduction to real money Texas Hold’em was while working in a golf club pro shop during college. I’d play a small cash game with the other employees in the cart barn on payday.
In addition to all the beautiful lessons I learned around those tables, I also received a lifelong passion for gambling.
Many bars have games at least once a week, and many have a series-type event with huge prizes for the overall winner. The local laws often prevent the tournaments from paying out cash prizes. Still, the bars can sidestep this by issuing credits to players.
Since many of the participants are novice poker players, the events are incredibly entertaining as you watch them battle each other. Typically, going all-in with some ridiculous hands.
Skilled poker players can take a tremendous advantage in these games by remaining patient and settling into big scores at the final table. You also won’t be trapped in some marathon event with six hours of your life vanishing before your eyes.
Look for local poker games to put the fun back in the game. It won’t hurt that you’ll have a tremendous advantage as a more advanced player on the field.
2 – Weekly Leagues
One way for bars to open up gambling for a large number of their customers is through starting leagues. The bars facilitate a ton of games at their venues.
Any night of the week, you could see patrons engaged in billiards, darts, shuffleboard, or corn hole. These games have a dedicated fanbase of players that jump at the opportunity to showcase their skills and pocket a little cash in the process.
Usually, the entry fees for these events are kept low. That not only opens up the possibility to more patrons but also allows more cash for refreshments.
One of the alluring aspects of these bar leagues is that it draws more players to your favorite game or sport.
At one of the local breweries near me, they started a disc golf putt league. Most people have never had any exposure to disc golf, but it draws people into the club for a few bucks.
Players make their way from station to station winding through the brewery and even into the outdoor beer garden. The brewery rotates a 10-week season with cash paid out every week.
The top prizes for the end of the season rack up quickly, and winners enjoy hundreds of dollars in prizes. If you hold a particular affinity for a game, look for leagues near you and join the fun.
3 – Trivia Nights
Back when I was single, trivia was incredibly popular. Every bar in town would have a setup where patrons could compete with other players around the country or region.
The games were free to play, but there would be perks like discounts on drinks for the top bars in the area. Then, legitimate trivia nights became a staple across the map.
Many of these trivia nights have teams form to face off against the competition. That adds an element of strategy, as players build a team with a wide range of knowledge across different subjects.
Regardless of how intelligent you are, trivia nights provide tremendous entertainment value.
4 – Fantasy Sports
Fantasy sports are at the height of their popularity, and that doesn’t look to be changing. The NFL provides the most significant section of fantasy players because of its short season and huge television presence.
You can find fantasy football leagues in just about any dive bar around. The bar will then host watching parties every weekend to boost sales and add to the league’s excitement.
The ability to watch every game in real-time means you can watch your star quarterback face off against the QB from that week’s opponent, and evaluate quarterbacks for future matchups. Having that fashion of available trash-talking fits right into the atmosphere that makes fantasy leagues so amazing.
Pull off a winning season, and you could be rewarded for your hard work with a hefty payday. The most important thing to remember with any form of gambling in a casino or a bar is to have fun; fantasy leagues cover all the bases when it comes to that.
5 – Prop Bets
I don’t know of many forms of gambling that are more exciting than prop bets. You’ve probably heard or read about how bad the prop bets are for gamblers because the sportsbooks prey on the ill-informed recreational gamblers.
There’s some truth in that; the sportsbooks make a killing on the prop bets. Fortunately, you’re not dealing with a sportsbook.
Prop bets happen all the time between individuals, and they can be on any subject under the sun. I once ran into a guy at an airport bar in San Antonio that wouldn’t stop talking about what a giant Danica Patrick fan he was.
Rather than merely pulling up the information on his smartphone, he decided he wanted to wager on the matter. I rarely have such a guaranteed lock, so I happily obliged to the tune of $300.
In a flash, I had an extra $300 in my wallet. So goes the bar prop bets but be careful.
I’ve seen things become reckless, verging on the outright dangerous. Anger and alcohol are a poor combination, don’t press if a fellow bar patron decides they’re not paying up.
6 – Sports Betting
Sports betting is rampant across the globe. You’ll find bar patrons in the UK betting on soccer or Americans betting on football any time a game is on the television.
You’ll find several advantages for making your bets in the bars rather than the sportsbooks. The first is that you won’t be worrying about the vig charged by sportsbooks.
That means if you can win 50.001% of the time, you’ll make a profit. That’s much easier to accomplish than the over 52% typically required.
Secondly, you may be able to find much more favorable lines by skipping the expert handicappers at the sportsbook. Catch an overly confident fan in the right mood, and you may get silly points.
Eliminating the obstacle of navigating the casino’s lines will significantly improve your sports betting results.
7 – Other Games
There’s a world of possibilities when it comes to gambling at your local bars. I’ve seen dice games break out in the back of bars more than once.
You aren’t limited to the conventional casino games when gambling in a bar. I’ve seen players betting on games of Monopoly before.
Golden Tee and Jenga are popular activities in many bars. Play your friends for drinks or cash, and the time will fly by.
I recommend keeping things light and friendly at the bar. There’s no reason for anyone to go home angry over some silly games.
On your next adventure out on the town, look for ways to incorporate these seven forms of gambling you’ll see at the local bar. Chances are that you’ll have plenty of takers regardless of what you throw out there.
You may even leave having made some new friends.