The Dangers of Imitating Other Gamblers

Three Wise Monkeys With a Slots Background

I used to hear a saying when I was growing up. The saying is, “Monkey see, monkey do.” And if you’re a fan of Planet of the Apes, the saying is, “Human see, human do.” I don’t hear this saying as much anymore, but it perfectly describes what I see in casinos all of the time.

This saying means that people tend to copy what they see. When they see other gamblers mindlessly playing slot machines, this is what they’re likely to do as well.

The problem with this is that if you’re doing what most gamblers are doing, you’re probably also losing too much money. Here are seven dangers of “monkey see, monkey do” gambling.

Mindless Casino Slots Play

Walk into any casino that offers slot machines in the world and look at how many gamblers are at the slot machines compared to gamblers playing all of the other games. You’re going to see that more players are playing slots than all of the other games combined.

Here’s the problem with this. Slot machines are the biggest money-makers for casinos by far, and they tend to have a lower return to player percentage than almost every other game in the casino. So, why do gamblers play slot machines?

Pillar of Slot Machines

Slots games are easy to play, they don’t require much in the way of brainpower, and everyone else seems to be playing them. This is a perfect example of the dangers of “monkey see, monkey do” gambling. Playing slot machines is one of the worst gambling strategies, even if everyone else is playing them.

Craps Pass Line Wagers

Craps players tend to do what other craps players do. And most craps players bet on the pass line. This reinforces the belief that the pass line wager is the best bet.

The problem is that the pass line isn’t the best wager. The best craps bet is don’t pass. In fact, along with the odds wager, the don’t pass line wager is the only bet you should ever make at the craps table.

To be honest, this isn’t the worst mistake you can make playing craps. The pass line isn’t too much worse than don’t pass, but why give the casino any extra money?

Poor Blackjack Playing Decisions

I’m going to lead with the best way to play blackjack. The best way to play blackjack is to use a strategy card so you always know what the best play is on every hand.

This isn’t how most blackjack players make decisions. Instead, they make playing decisions based on superstitions, or what happened on previous hands, or based on a gut feeling.

When you make any play other than the best play based on a strategy card, you’re losing more money than you need to.

Instead of watching what other blackjack players are doing, learn what the best way to play is and stick with this every time you’re at a blackjack table.

American Roulette Suckers

From one perspective, I don’t understand why American Roulette wheels exist. American Roulette wheels have an extra space in the form of the 00 slot on the wheel. This extra space makes the return to player numbers much worse than they are on wheels that don’t have the 00 space.

Roulette wheels all used to just have 37 spaces. These wheels still produce healthy profits for the casinos, but one day, a casino owner or executive decided that adding another space was going to make the game even more profitable. And they were right.

The problem is that gamblers have more control over what the casinos offer than they realize. If gamblers refuse to play a game offered by the casinos are going to stop offering it. And this is why American Roulette wheels shouldn’t exist.

Roulette Wheel That Landed on 34 Red

Gamblers should refuse to play on these roulette wheels. Yet they’re still the main roulette wheel offered in many casinos around the world and in the United States in particular.

Here’s the best way to handle this situation as a gambler. Don’t play on American Roulette wheels. Even if other gamblers are playing this casino sucker bet, it doesn’t mean you have to make it. If you can’t find a roulette wheel with 37 spaces, don’t play roulette.

A quick tip: It’s much easier to find decent roulette wheels in mobile and online casinos than in land-based casinos.

Betting on Your Favorite Sports Teams

Many sports gamblers start as sports fans. They follow their favorite players and teams and watch every game. Eventually, they find someone who’s a fan of another team, a discussion about which team is better follows, and suddenly, the two fans are putting money on the upcoming game.

Putting down a little bit of money on your favorite team is okay, but you need to be careful about how much you risk. The main problem with placing wagers on your favorite team is that most fans tend to have rose-colored glasses when evaluating their team.

You want your favorite team to play well, and it’s easy to overlook poor past performances. And it’s easy to predict that your team is going to play better than they usually do.

If you’re going to gamble on sporting events, I recommend not placing bets on games that involve your favorite team. Evaluate other games and try to find profitable wagering opportunities. It’s hard to remain objective when you evaluate games that involve your favorite team.

Betting on the Player Hand in Baccarat

This isn’t the worst thing you can do in a casino, but it does cost you money in the long run. When you play baccarat, you can bet on the player, the banker, or a tie. The tie bet isn’t even close to good, so you can forget about it.

The player hand and banker hand both have a decent return to player percentage, and many baccarat players bet on the player. My theory is that gamblers are in a battle against the casino and don’t want to bet on the casino representative, which is the banker hand. So, they bet on the player hand instead.

Closeup of Hand Betting Chips on Baccarat Table

The problem with this is that the player hand has a lower return to player percentage than the banker hand. And when you’re playing a game like baccarat, the only thing that matters in the long run is making wagers that have the highest return to player percentage.

Even if everyone else at the baccarat table is betting on the player, you can’t afford the do it. You have to stick with the banker wager and buck the trend.

Accepting Poor Video Poker Pay Tables

You have a wide variety of video poker options when you gamble. You can pick one of many different base game types, and each game variation has multiple available pay tables. Both the base video poker game and the pay table influence the return that you can get.

Video poker games are designed in a way that allows you to influence the return percentage based on how you play the hands. If you play each hand the way that mathematically provides the best return, you’re going to get the highest overall return.

When you make plays on video poker hands that aren’t the best plays available, you end up with a lower return than you can get. This is video poker strategy, and you need to use it every time you play. But even when you use the best strategy, if you’re not playing on a video poker machine with a good paytable, you’re not going to receive a high return.

The mistake that most video poker players make is that they sit down at the first video poker machine that they see. Most of these players don’t know that the pay table is important and they have no idea what a good pay table is and what a bad pay table is.

When you plan to play real money video poker, find out what the best pay tables are for each game variation, and only play when you find a good pay table.


The bottom line is if you want to get better results than the average gambler, you have to do something different than average gamblers do. It’s easy to fall into the same traps that most gamblers fall into, but avoiding these traps is the best path to higher returns.

Look around to see what everyone else is doing, then see if there’s a different way. It’s difficult to see a different way at first, but you can train your mind to see things in a different light.

Avoid doing the common things in this article, and your results are going to get better.