Gambling mistakes are a huge roadblock. People who are new to gambling are often hamstrung by their fear over doing something dumb and looking foolish or losing money.
I consider a gambling mistake to be anything that people tend to do that I feel is wrong or a bad play. Think of them as bad gambling habits if you’d like.
In some cases, these are based on long-held myths and superstitions. In many cases, we identify mistakes that gamblers make because the casino very much encourages them to make them.
I’ve advised new gamblers and newcomers to gambling games so often that I feel compiling a list of common gambling mistakes to avoid is immediately in my wheelhouse.
While it may be of some benefit to some if I were to simply make a bullet point list of the 50 biggest mistakes I see. I’d rather give you a few key mistakes that few will immediately identify.
In order to make it easier to find holes in your own games without having to pour over a sea of words, I’ll provide you an immediate and easy guide to reference.
Of course, if it were easy, everyone would do it. Certainly, anyone that has gambled for any significant period of time knows that being successful at gambling is not an easy task by any means.
Below I’ve provided some of these gambling mistakes that can be easily avoided with minimal knowledge. In fact, only 1 in 50 gamblers can identify these gambling mistakes.
Thinking You Are Due
“The Gambler’s Fallacy” is a concept every gambler should know. A common faux pas among novice gamblers is thinking that because a particular outcome hasn’t occurred in a while, that makes it more likely to occur in the near future (and vice versa).
Results in most gambling games are independent of each other, and like in a coin flip, the next result (or flip) has nothing to do with the last ten. I’ve seen it happen countless times and been guilty of it myself more than I care to admit.
I cringe when I hear fellow players start to proclaim how they are due. I once chased a blackjack dealer for over 60 hands, the probability of hitting a natural blackjack is roughly 1 out of every 21 hands. Ouch.
A more famous example of people falling victim to this line of thinking came during a roulette game at the Monte Carlo Casino in the early 1900s. During a streak where the ball landed on black 26 consecutive times, bettors lost millions betting against black, thinking that red was destined to come up on the next spin. Keeping this rule in mind can keep you in check from making what might otherwise be irrational bets.
Not Knowing What You Are Playing
Not all casino table games are created equal, even if they might appear to be. Even with some of the most common games in the world (like blackjack), there can be an countless number of variations.
Also, the version played at your local casino could have a different set of rules compared to what you are used to playing online. Even if these differences don’t appear to be huge ones, they could be the difference between being up hundreds, or more, or calling it a day after 30 minutes of play.
I’ve been on both sides of this conundrum. I can assure you, there’s nothing fun about sleeping out in the car flat broke while your buddy is inside the casino having a blast.
i’ll say most players especially aren’t aware of the different versions of roulette. Depending on if you are playing American roulette (with a 00 space) or European (no 00 space), your odds and betting strategy are going to be different.
However, all of this is easily fixed by doing some research before playing. By simply identifying this mistake, you are almost certain to not make it.
Many real money online casinos have free play features that let you figure out the ins and outs of a game without risking any money, and most live casino dealers would be happy to explain all the rules before you begin to play.
Playing the Wrong Games
Not knowing the rules of a game is one thing, but there’s also a whole slew of games that are best avoided altogether if you are looking to do more than just play for fun, no matter what the odds are.
Games like Keno, Big Six Wheel, Caribbean Stud Side Bet, Baccarat Tie Bet, and Roulette all carry house edges anywhere from 5-25%.
While blackjack is famous for being the casino game that gives you the best odds, that’s only if you know basic strategy and commit to it. Playing on “hunch” bets or even taking insurance bets in the game can increase the casino edge anywhere from up to 8-20%.
Other casino games that will give you better odds include craps and some video poker machines.
In no way am I discouraging you from playing any game you’d like. I’m just letting you know that if you’re planning to keep at least some of your money, you need to find another game or employ basic strategy.
Gambling With Impaired Judgment
It should be obvious that alcohol and other substances will massively impair your judgement to make rational gambling decisions at the casino (despite casinos being all too eager to offer you free or discounted booze while you are playing). But one should also be aware of how emotions, both positive and negative, can affect your play.
As fun as it may seem, alcohol will affect your ability to make rational gambling decisions.
For someone to win at gambling, many others must lose, a reason we can experience a heightened sense of self-worth when we go on a lucky streak. While it’s fine to gamble just “for fun”, it is difficult for some people to keep all of this mind when they are winning (or losing).
Which just stresses the importance of my last point even more.
Not Playing Within Your Bankroll
Whatever you want to call it, not chasing your losses, setting a budget, managing your bankroll, not knowing when to walk away, this is the number one mistake gambler’s often make.
There is a thrill associated with winning big, one that makes you want to see just how high you can build your stack of chips or cash. But if you devise some simple bankroll management strategies and stick to them, you can help minimize your potential losses even on the days where lady luck is seemingly in another building.
Whether it’s online or in the casino, a good rule of thumb to follow is to always set aside 50% from all your wins. As long as you don’t get cleaned out right from the start, this guarantees that you’ll leave the table with at least the amount you sat down with.
Another popular strategy, combined with a set amount of how much you are willing to lose is called the Stop-Loss Strategy, meaning decreasing the value of your bets whenever you endure a loss.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to only play with tangible cash as opposed to trying to fight the temptation of gambling on credit.
I want to stress to you that gambling is merely a form of entertainment, no different than going to a ball game or a concert. You should never put your financial situation in jeopardy over a game. If you find yourself having difficulty stopping, please seek help.
If gambling was easy money, do you think us gambling experts would be spending our free time writing gambling content for a living?
Even the best gamblers, the most successful professional sports bettors and blackjack card-counters, struggle to live above the break-even point. One bad run or one series of mismanaged bets can easily knock them out of the black and into the red. It’s not easy to be successful at gambling, that’s why you have to follow so many rules.
If gambling were easy, you could occasionally get away with placing a prop or exotic wager, taking insurance against a dealer blackjack, or betting on your emotions.
The fact is, making any of the above gambling mistakes could ruin your entire gambling season and keep you from turning a profit.
You can’t control the odds, you can’t control where the dice land or how the cards fall, but you can learn to avoid common mistakes. I’m not promising winnings, just slightly better odds and certainly a much better gambling experience.
How many of the gambling mistakes that only 1 in 50 gamblers can identify could you spot? Gamble on.