Harsh Truths Every Gambler Needs to Hear

Man Listening With a Hand to His Ear

The truth hurts. It’s a saying as cliché as they come. But like all clichés, there’s a reason it has persisted.

Gamblers, while typically well-intentioned, can fall into the trap of being unrealistically optimistic—even in the face of clear evidence that would suggest their positive feelings are unjustified. I guess if you’re rolling the dice and your financial state is riding on the outcome, you have no choice but to be hopeful.

In this article, I’ll dive into six harsh truths every gambler needs to hear, whether they like it or not.

You’re Probably Going to Lose Money

Speaking of clichés, have you heard the one that states, “There’s a reason those casinos are so nice.” The philosophy is that the opulent, excessive, luxurious casinos exist because people just keep losing. It’s hard to argue this sentiment.

The unfortunate reality of gambling, whether you’re talking about sports betting or casino games, is that the vast majority of people end up losing money. Don’t get me wrong, there are some who are able to win, but these players are few and far between.

Why exactly is winning so difficult? Part of it is the way the games are set up, and part of it is simply human nature.

Every single game in the casino is set up with a certain “house edge.” This refers to the percentage-advantage the games have over players and is one of the main ways that casinos make money. In games like blackjack or roulette, it may be small, but it exists nonetheless. Over the course of a long period of time, the advantage will almost always win out.

Man With Head Down on a Poker Table

Next, we have the human nature component. I don’t want to get into a debate over behavior psychology, but I think it’s safe to say that just about all of us have some “greed” gene which is responsible for bad betting decisions.

For example, if you go to a casino and win $200 in the first 30 minutes, you’re probably going to think, “How do I turn this into even more?” You know that you should quit while you’re ahead, but for some reason it’s too hard to walk away.

To reiterate, I want to make it clear that some people do win money gambling, it’s just that the vast majority do not.

You’re Probably Not “Good” At Gambling

All it takes is one lucky night of playing real money blackjack for your obnoxious friend to think that they’ve mastered the game. If you’re talking about sports gambling, it can be even more annoying to listen to.

It’s undeniable that some people are better than others at any form of gambling, but just about everyone can be classified as average. Sure, there are “sharps,”  or professional sports bettors, who have been able to quit their jobs and gamble full time. But these people account for a miniscule percentage of bettors.

Not to mention, those who are financially able to quit their jobs and gamble full time can typically take risks most people can’t afford to take.

Nobody wants to hear it, even though I think deep down most people know it’s true, but your success in gambling largely comes down to good ol’ fashioned luck. Once you’re able to recognize this, then you can actually start to be successful, I’ll explain why.

There Are Some Things You Can Improve Upon

As I stated in the previous section, whether or not you win or lose in gambling—especially casino gambling—it all comes down to luck. With that being said, if your goal is to be a profitable gambler, there are some things you can do to help your cause.

Because the results of the games are largely out of control, it’s important to look at the things you can actually control—namely, gambling money management.

Person Counting Money With a Calculator

The real difference between those who win money at the casino or sportsbook and those who lose money often comes down to discipline. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself “up,” walking away means that you’re literally walking away with free money. Don’t forget the fact and you’ll start to have better trips to the casino.

In addition to money management, there are a few other improvements you can add to your game that will help you become a little bit more profitable. For example, taking the time to learn basic blackjack strategy can do wonders. You might think you know what you’re doing, but if you’re not making the correct move at all times, the house edge is much higher than it could be.

Improving your skills isn’t going to guarantee success, but you might be surprised at how much luckier you get when you really know what you’re doing.

Gambling Can Be Addictive

This isn’t news, but gambling can become very addictive if you don’t take a step back every so often and recalibrate. Similar to drugs and alcohol, gambling triggers the dopamine center in a brain; it’s likely because of the inherent excitement that comes with the opportunity to win money.

In order to avoid becoming a victim of gambling addiction, it’s crucial to at least recognize the addictive nature of it. If you know that it’s a possibility, you have a much better chance of avoiding the negative consequences.

If you’re finding that you’re gambling on a daily or near-daily basis, consider taking a week off. Once you recognize that you can survive without betting on anything for a week, you’ll be in a much better place.

Another component of gambling addiction that’s important to mention is even if you’re winning, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a problem. Simply put, if you’re unable to go a week or more without gambling regardless of your results, then you need to slow down before it has a more serious impact on your life and finances.

The Casino Is Not Your Friend

If you’ve been to a casino recently, you probably noticed that the staff was extremely accommodating, friendly, and seemed to focus on making your experience as good as possible.

If you go to a casino with regularity, you might have even enjoyed some casino comps in the form of a free room, event tickets, or special treatment on the floor.

Somewhere in the back of your mind, you probably know this, but it bears repeating: The casino is not pampering you out of the goodness of their heart. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Female Casino Dealer

Nobody wants to admit it, but when you start racking up freebies from a business whose main objective is taking as much money from you as possible, something just doesn’t add up. In fact, if you’re frequently getting comps, you’re probably one of the casinos biggest customers.

Always treat casino staff with respect, and it is fine to appreciate the friendliness you’ll be shown at most establishments. With that being said, recognize that they aren’t there to help you out, and to them, the more money you lose, the better.

Betting Systems Don’t Really Work

Most gamblers have at least considered the prospect of using casino betting systems. The problem is that while they seem logical and rational, there are some problems that will inevitably show up if you utilize them.

The most popular of all betting systems is probably the Martingale system. This system essentially states that after you lose, you bet the same amount +1 unit until you’re back in the green. The problem is that if you suffer a bad run, and we all do, you could end up down a significant amount of money with no easy way back.

As a general rule, don’t go into the casino thinking that a betting system is going to have you walking out a millionaire. Just think about it—if there was really a foolproof system, the casinos would have found out a way to nullify it. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to gambling success.


Although I believe all of the things included in this article can get overlooked by gamblers, I don’t want to discourage anyone from doing it. In fact, if you play responsibly, you can make some money and have a great time doing it.