Few careers sound more interesting than “professional casino gambler.”
When your actual job is something that most people do for a recreational activity, it’s hard to imagine life sitting at a desk. I have to imagine people often wonder, “What do I have to do to become a pro gambler myself?”
While luck is involved, it’s hard to think that luck on its own separates the pros from the amateurs. In fact, there is much more involved.
In this article, I’ll lay out some insights from professional gamblers about their time in the industry.
1 – Forget Everything You Know
Gambling books and movies have captivated audiences with their high-rolling, exciting methods and million-dollar wins. Unfortunately, the reality is not even close to as glamourous as what’s portrayed on the silver screen.
For starters, advantage play is not quite as straightforward as it might seem.
Even the best players go on losing streaks, and one pro gambler even mentioned that professionals begin to question their skill when these occur.
2 – It’s About Game Scouting
Some professional gamblers stick to one game like real money blackjack or poker, but others take a good deal of time and effort to find the games they think can be beat.
Known as “game-scouting,” this process is necessary, but time-consuming. When in this stage, a player will choose a game, study the ways they believe they can gain an advantage, and the next step is to test their theory on a computer simulation over and over. In many cases, one professional gambler said, the players must actually write and develop the computer program for themselves to see if their strategy will work.
What exactly do they look for? “We look for value in our betting, a solid mathematics strategy, and hope for the best. A good advantage player has a vast tool belt because we know a good game can go away overnight,” said a pro gambler I’ll refer to as Nick.
3 – There Are No Typical Days
For the vast majority of people, the phrase “typical day” involves driving to work, sitting at a desk, and driving home. Pro gamblers, however, have a much different experience…as you might expect.
The gambler who was quoted above said that there are absolutely no typical days. Because they switch up games frequently, some outings differ significantly from others. Sometimes they don’t even play the games and just scout dealers, such as for the chance for hole carding a 3 card poker game.
Believe it or not, the dealers are more than happy to comply with the professional gamblers requests for their schedules. He said that dealers are typically provide the daily players, meaning the pros, with their work schedules so that they can plan accordingly. Big winners often means big tips, so if a pro gambler gets paid, they do as well.
4 – They Were Pros at Something Else First
Coming out of school, “professional gambler” probably isn’t going to be the job that pays the bills. Unsurprisingly, it’s important to have some type of financial footing established before entering the world of gambling.
“Nick” was an attorney for more than 30 years before trying his hand (pun intended) at making a living gambling. He says that people are surprised to hear this, as gambling is often compared to stock trading and not the law. However, his perspective does make a case (yes, pun intended again) that lawyers have much in common with gamblers.
Because of their ability to find weak spots in any system that’s designed to minimize them, Nick said that casinos are not big fans of lawyers-turned-gamblers. With that being said, that doesn’t mean he’s stopping any time soon.
5 – They Gamble Using Online Casinos
Online casinos are great for the average person, but do they really present any opportunities for those who consider gaming a profession? The answer is a resounding yes.
Nick states that being a high-level gambler requires taking advantage of any opportunity that presents itself. It turns out online platforms are a perfect place for several reasons.
First, he mentions the online bonuses that are offered by gaming sites are too attractive to ignore. If you’re serious about making money and don’t utilize what essentially amounts to free money, you’re missing out on some big potential winnings.
Another reason he likes using online gaming platforms so frequently is because they can be played on-the-go. Many pro gamblers are frequently traveling and have plenty of downtime. What better way to make use of this time than by winning extra money?
The third and final reason Nick provided for why he likes online gaming platforms is because they provide a place to practice. Now, there are some differences between gambling in real life and gambling online, but the strategies remain essentially the same.
The next time someone tells you that online gambling isn’t a good way to make money, let them know that even those who do it for a living would disagree.
6 – It’s Getting More Difficult
One change that Nick has noticed over the previous decade is that it’s becoming much harder for most professional gamblers to win consistently enough to do it full-time.
For starters, he mentions that card counting, in the traditional way at least, is nearly impossible. The reason is because live games of blackjack now have continuous shuffling machines, as well as eight decks of cards.
It isn’t all bad news, though.
He also noted that casinos are providing fewer comps than ever before, which definitely hurts the bottom line of people who are gambling on a regular basis.
Although he said that it’s still possible to make a living from gambling, it requires much more skill and quick-thinking than it did 20-plus years ago.
7 – It Really Is Hard Work
You might think that gambling for a living sounds like the ideal life, but there are plenty of reasons why the average person might not be cut out for the job.
Whereas at a typical job you get a regular paycheck and can budget your money accordingly, pro gamblers have no such luxury. Days, weeks, or months can pass by without any significant income, but they’ll just tell you it comes with the territory.
Also unlike a 9 to 5, you can’t just show up and mail it in for the day. It requires laser focus at all times and can be mentally draining. It’s a requirement to always be studying and learning new techniques and it also forces players to memorize a huge number of statistical models and probabilities.
On top of all the difficulties laid out above, being a professional gambler requires a significant amount of risk tolerance that most people just don’t possess. The highs and lows are extremely stressful, and anxiety runs rampant in the pro gambling community.
Obviously there are challenges in all professions, but professional gambling is nothing to scoff at.
If they’re able to make a living doing it, it’s hard to tell any professional gamblers to return to a regular day job. With that being said, it’s crucial to recognize that it’s really not for everyone.
If you aren’t ready to put hours and hours into learning how to win, perhaps the desk might be better than the blackjack table.