When I first launched down the path of gambling, I knew zero about casino games, gambling, and the world at large. I have since learned a lot of lessons throughout my gambling career.
Before, I would buy a lottery ticket, feel confused by the game, and toss it, never knowing if I won or lost. I’m 95% confident that I threw away a $1 million scratch-off in my early 20s. But now, I can look back over the past 20 years and be thankful that I didn’t have a million dollars back then.
Below, I want to share seven incredible things I’ve learned since I began my gambling career.
1 – Poker Is 99% Skill
When I first began hanging out in country club card rooms and private home games, I believed poker was all about luck.
I relied on luck and bluffing solely at the poker table, and I lost money hand over fist. There always seemed to be another player that was luckier than me or could read through my cold exterior. I soon realized that poker is 99% or more skill-based. The players that have the most skill will beat the player with the most luck almost exclusively.
That should be good news to any poker player. Playing a skill-based game means you can develop your skills rather than depend on luck.
The most exciting thing is that you don’t need to be the most skilled player in the casino; you don’t even have to be the most experienced player at the table (but it definitely helps). You merely need to be better than enough players in the game to take their money.
Spend as much energy as you can to become the best poker player you can, and you’ll see your profits soar in private and cash games almost overnight.
2 – I’m Never Going to Win the Lottery
I eluded to this earlier, but it bears repeating for many of you. The lottery was my first foray into the world of legitimate gambling. I knew nothing about the house edge or value betting. I simply saw a way to accumulate a vast sum of money and figured it may as well be me that wins.
However, I never hit the life-changing jackpot. Most people don’t. Still, many gamblers are under the impression that their numbers will be called if they play faithfully week after week.
I mean, eventually, someone is likely going to win, right?
Unfortunately, the odds of winning the lottery are so astronomically poor that you’re almost guaranteed to never see a significant win.
Some players will play the lotto occasionally as a way to avoid boredom. For the $2 you’re spending, you might well be getting the entertainment value.
However, if you’re using the lottery as a financial plan, you should stop. You aren’t going to win the lottery. And if you did, you don’t possess the necessary money skills to protect your nest egg.
3 – Gamblers Are Unique Individuals With Many Similarities
One of the overall favorite aspects of my career in the gambling industry is the amazing adventures I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. I’ve traveled across six continents in my search for the best casinos and most exciting games on the planet.
During my travels, I love meeting people from different cultures and getting a glimpse into daily life in other parts of the world.
Sure, we have different dynamics revolving around what each of those looks like, which makes us unique. Still, we all have the exact basic wants and needs.
If you are still having doubts, hit the casino floor somewhere with a vastly different culture like Macau. It won’t be long before you’re part of the regular crowd laughing and jeering the dealer in unison.
4 – You Can Make Money Playing Video Poker
After having all of my initial hopes of striking it rich extinguished rather unceremoniously, you can probably imagine my surprise when I started learning about advantage gambling techniques.
How in the world could the casinos allow for games where players make money?
Well, only a tiny percentage of players will ever dedicate themselves to learning how to make a long-term profit. I always viewed video poker as a game down on their luck gamblers played at the casino bar to wash away their sorrows.
Little did I know that video poker is among the few games in the casino where a player can gain a positive expected value. That means when a player employs the proper strategy on a specific machine, they are guaranteed to make money over a long enough stretch.
You don’t even have to commit any complex strategies to memory. The strategy cards for video poker are widely available online, and players can carry them with them to their favorite machine.
You should take particular caution in researching the games with a positive expectation, matching the proper strategy to the game, and ensuring that you can find the best games in the casino you’re visiting.
5 – Card Counting Is Way Easier Than It Looks on TV
I was vaguely aware of card counting before I ever placed my first bet. I’d seen card counters in movies taking the casinos for millions, and it looked glamorous.
I’d also seen how the old school mobsters responded to card counters and decided it wasn’t for me. It genuinely gave me the impression that card counters were cheats in violation of several local, state, and federal laws.
There before me sat an exceptionally well-put-together woman in her early 40s that wouldn’t steal a penny from the Take-A-Penny jar. She was kind enough to walk me through exactly what card counting is and made sure I dispelled the idea that it was in some way criminal.
A friendship ignited, and she taught me everything she knew about card counting. As it turns out, card counting is much easier than the casinos want everyone to believe.
The trick is to do it while not looking like you’re doing it. Suppose you can spend time practicing your card counting skills regularly. In that case, you’ll have a legitimate shot of walking away from the casino with a profit enough to make a living.
6 – Gambling Isn’t What Makes Casino Destinations Amazing
Many novice gamblers believe that the casinos are the massive entertainment juggernauts solely because of gambling. There’s some truth to that.
The casinos exist primarily due to the immense popularity of gambling. However, even in the early days of Las Vegas, the casino executives recognized the importance of building an all-in-one entertainment destination.
While gambling is a significant part of the casino destination experience, it only accounts for a fraction of the big picture. Today’s casino resorts must appeal to a wide range of potential guests.
That includes catering to every demographic with disposable income from young to old and single to married with kids. Otherwise, the casino will be forced into an early grave.
What makes the top casino destinations unique will most often be found outside of the casino’s four walls.
7 – Becoming a Professional Gambler Is a Genuine Possibility
I could never have imagined how somebody could figure out a way to consistently play the system to make a sustainable living 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve met hundreds if not thousands of gamblers around the world that consider gambling to be their sole vocation.
I have several friends that are professional poker players, sports bettors, and card counters, many of which you would never recognize if they passed you on the street.
So, he skipped his exit, called his boss, quit his job, went to the casino, and never looked back. He tells it far more eloquently than me, but it’s his story.
If you are considering or simply dreaming of a life as a professional gambler, it’s well within reach. You need to be prepared for some gut-wrenching ups and downs.
However, if you can be disciplined enough to your craft, you may never have to punch a clock again.
The world is a vast and wonderful place with lessons around every corner. These seven incredible things I’ve learned since I began my gambling career are only a tiny fraction of the beautiful lessons I’ve experienced along the way.