The beauty of gambling in a casino is that literally anybody can walk away as a winner. Hotshots who just turned 21 have captured World Series of Poker (WSOP) glory, weekend warriors routinely crush it playing craps, and retirees in their golden years regularly score seven-figure slot jackpots.
But while these winners are indeed a widely diverse bunch, the majority of successful gamblers have a few cornerstones in common. Below, you’ll find six key personality traits shared by the folks who find a way to consistently beat the house at its own game.
Winning Gamblers Have Patience
When you’re gambling for real money, the inherent odds are always tilted against you to favor the house. That advantage may be minuscule in skill games, such as video poker (0.46%) and blackjack (0.50% house edge), or massive in pure games of chance like keno (15% to 25% house edge). But the casino always has the odds in its favor.
Knowing this fundamental fact about the gambling industry, winning players tend to pride themselves on staying poised and patient during their back-and-forth battles with the dealer. When you can accept that losing is part of the process, and unlucky streaks will inevitably arise, remaining patient is by far the best way to persevere in the end.
Whereas a losing gambler can easily become frustrated watching their chips disappear, winners know how to weather the storm and wait for the sun to shine once again.
Losing players let their frustration get the better of them, leading to bigger bets and bad decisions that quickly compound their irritation. When the cards aren’t cooperating, going on “tilt” can create a vicious cycle in which certain gamblers lose it all before the odds naturally balance out in their favor.
On the other hand, winners know that patience is the key to riding out a rough run on the tables or machines. By maintaining their composure and refusing the natural urge to chase losses, these gamblers give themselves every opportunity to rebound down the road.
Having a High Tolerance for Risk
While patience is certainly a virtue for winning gamblers, these players also have no reservations about betting big when juicy opportunities arise.
We are talking about gambling, after all, so it makes sense that the players who have a lot of gamble in them tend to outperform the more risk-averse among us.
Take video poker as a perfect example. I can’t tell you many times I’ve seen the following scene play out.
A player sits down and dials up their Jacks or Better game to four coins per hand but not the maximum of five coins. When I politely let them know that the jackpot payout on a royal flush increases significantly—from 1,000 coins to 4,000 coins—on a max bet, they dither and demure:
“Well, those never hit anyway, and that extra quarter spent on every hand can add up pretty quick. No, I’ll just stick with the four-coin plays and see what happens.”
You can probably guess what happens next. Soon enough, the risk-averse player watches as their screen lights up with the prettiest sight in video poker—the 10-J-Q-K-A combo all in the same suit for that elusive royal flush.
They wind up scoring a $250 payout ($0.25 x 1,000), but that’s peanuts compared to the $1,000 they would’ve (and should’ve) collected on a five-coin max-bet. Yep, you read that right… This player just missed out on a whopping $750, and all because they didn’t have it in them to add a measly quarter to their bet.
Conversely, the bolder video poker enthusiasts out there who aren’t afraid to bet the max squeeze out the maximum amount of value whenever Lady Luck delivers a royal flush.
This phenomenon applies to blackjack too, especially for shrewd players capable of counting cards on the fly. When you know for a fact that the dealer’s deck contains more high cards than low cards, you’re practically committing a crime by declining to up the ante.
With that said, even the most risk-tolerant gamblers have an instinctual feel for balancing big bets with backing off a bit.
Unless you possess the discipline to accept defeat and cut your losses, success in the gambling world will remain as elusive as that fateful royal flush. Discipline doesn’t equate to risk aversion, mind you, but simply to that rare ability to control yourself when the going gets tough.
Far too many gamblers subscribe to the notion that the only way out of a hole is to keep on digging. These are the perpetual losers you see making several trips to the ATM machine or parlaying their credit card balance into additional buy-ins at the cashier’s cage. For players like this, gambling becomes a compulsion instead of the entertaining diversion it’s meant to be.
Unless you’re willing and able to simply walk away from a bad session and live to fight another day, you’ll have a hard time ever sustaining success at the casino. Remember, the odds are stacked against players at every turn. You’re supposed to lose in any given short-term sample, as the games and bets have been carefully calibrated to provide the house with a healthy edge.
With this knowledge in hand, winning players find the will to maintain gambling discipline at all times. They don’t react to an improbable bad beat by betting higher, and they stick to a strict bankroll management script. When the results don’t go their way that particular day, winners simply beat a hasty retreat and lick their proverbial wounds.
After all, the casinos aren’t going anywhere, so there’s always another opportunity for redemption waiting to greet them tomorrow.
Just picture James Bond coolly separating some villainous sucker from their chips to understand the vital role confidence plays at the casino.
But when you expect to win based on your previous hard work and preparation, that confident mindset can prevent any clouding of the mind. From there, it’s simply a matter of doing your best and letting the chips fall where they may.
Ambition to Win Money
The best gamblers around didn’t achieve that status by sheer happenstance. Winners don’t simply wake up and stumble into a huge pile of high-denomination chips simply as a matter of course. If they did, the casino industry would have long since crumbled into oblivion by now…
Nope, gamblers with a winning mindset earn that status by putting in the hard work required to excel at such a difficult task. These players possess a natural sense of ambition, so they’re never content to show up and see what happens. Instead, they prepare a detailed plan of attack involving strategic study, game selection, and setting goals.
A talented blackjack player might start out betting $5 per hand, and sure enough, they start winning consistently right out of the gate. Lo and behold, however, when they start trying to climb the ladder to $10 or $25 per hand play, natural variance rears its ugly head. Before they know it, their once burgeoning bankroll has been decimated to the point where even playing $5 tables is a financial backbreaker.
Ambition must be countered with a healthy dose of discipline, which is why winning players in the following scenario will keep on pounding those red chip $5 games. Only when they’ve accumulated a bankroll big enough to withstand the swings at higher stakes do they make the leap to green chip land.
The most successful gamblers yearn to be the best at anything they try, but they also know that realizing those goals requires patience along the long road to come.
Having Diverse Gambling Interests
This is somewhat counterintuitive, but the most successful gamblers are folks who spend their fair share of time outside the confines of a casino.
The best gamblers have other hobbies, outside interests, friends, families, and plenty of other things to do besides play. And when they do decide to hop in a game, knowing a handful of chips won’t be the end of the world helps them remain patient and confident—win or lose.
Use Your Personality to Excel at the Casino
You don’t need to have all six of these personality traits to excel at the casino, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. If you’re looking to improve your results as a gambler, which takes care of ambition straight away, one of the best ways to proceed is to work on improving yourself first.
Practice patience and discipline-building exercises, work through any risk aversion issues, tell yourself to stay confident at every turn, and develop a healthy array of diverse interests. When you do, you’ll suddenly discover that winning at the casino has become easier than it has ever been.