A few years ago I became a big fan of self-help literature – especially classic self-help literature. Most people who keep up with that kind of literature know that Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the big classics.
And what does it say on the cover?
“This book could be worth a million dollars to you.”
I’d like to think that this post (inspired by Hill’s book) about thinking your way to riches when gambling could also be worth a million dollars to you.
Analyze Success Stories and Look for Their Secrets
In the introduction to Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill explains how he interviewed over 500 of the wealthiest men in the world to find out how they became such success stories. He then used the information he gleaned from those interviews to codify a system for getting rich.
You can do the same thing as a gambler, and it’s even easier for you because of the internet. You see, you don’t have to interview 500 successful gamblers to find out what they did. You can just find them on the internet and read about the techniques that worked for them.
Don’t know which gamblers got rich from their gambling?
Bing and Google are your friends, but let me give you some names of rich gamblers:
- Billy Walters
- Edward Thorp
- The MIT Blackjack Team
- Phil Ivey
- Phil Hellmuth
- Don Johnson (not the actor)
Those are just a handful of examples of people who have made fortunes via their gambling activities. You’ll notice that some of them are blackjack players, some poker players, and others, sports bettors.
Those are the gambling activities you’ll want to focus on if your goal is to think your way to riches as a gambler.
Know What It Is That You Want
One of the biggest takeaways from Think and Grow Rich is that if you want to succeed, you need to know what it is that you want exactly. This means setting some goals. I have some tips I’ve found helpful for setting goals in my life – in gambling and in other areas.
You’ve probably seen the acronym “SMART” as it relates to goals, and I’ve seen different explanations for what those letters mean. Here’s my take on the acronym:
- S – stands for “specific.”
- M – stands for “measurable.”
- A – stands for “achievable.”
- R – stands for “retrievable.”
- T – stands for “time-oriented.”
The idea behind having a specific goal is that it keeps you from flailing away at something vague. “I want to get rich from gambling” isn’t a good goal because it isn’t specific enough. “I want to make $1 million in a year playing poker” is a specific goal.
Measurable goals are goals that you’ve put a number on – you can measure your failure or success. $1 million is measurable. “Getting rich” isn’t.
Achievable goals are goals that are possible.
Retrievable goals are those that you’ve written down so that you can retrieve them in the future.
Finally, time-oriented goals have a deadline. If you haven’t set a deadline, you can’t make any kind of real plans for achieving your goals.
There Is No Such Thing as Something for Nothing
It’s easy to think that winning at gambling is a something for nothing enterprise, but it’s exactly the opposite. For most gamblers, you’re giving up something to get nothing, but the casino will NEVER give you something for nothing.
The casino games have a built-in mathematical edge for the casino which prevents that. Poker games have a rake – a percentage of each pot that the house takes to pay for your space there. Sports bettors deal with the vig – the extra amount the book charges losers.
To overcome the house edge, the rake, and/or the vig, you’re going to have to do something other than just placing bets. You’ll have to do some work. That’s what you’re exchanging for the getting rich part of this deal.
With blackjack, this usually means learning how to count cards, although that’s not the only advantage technique in blackjack.
With poker, you must become an expert player. And not just expert enough to be as good as the other players at the table. You must become good enough that you show a profit above and beyond the 5% of each pot that gets collected in rake.
With sports betting, you must be able to find lines that are worth betting on.
All these strategies and techniques require consistency, dedication, and expertise. No one is born a winning bettor.
You Only Need One Good Idea
You don’t have to master card counting, Texas holdem strategy, and handicapping all kinds of sports to get rich in gambling. In fact, it’s probably better if you focus and specialize. I had a great boss who used to tell me that the man who chases two rabbits catches neither.
His point is well-taken.
In fact, you don’t even need to have a new idea.
Becoming good enough to get rich with just one of these strategies is more than most people can pull off.
So, don’t feel like you have to come up with a dozen, half-a-dozen, or even three or four great ideas to get rich gambling.
Just pick one that you feel confident in and run with it.
The Importance of Persistence in Gambling
The biggest reason most people fail at anything – including gambling – is giving up. Napoleon Hill illustrates this point by telling the “three feet from gold” story.
It’s a story about a man who went west during the Gold Rush to earn a fortune mining for gold. He staked a claim and started digging. After weeks, he found gold. He went home, got together some money for machinery to mine the ore, then went back to work.
After the first carload of ore was minded, the vein of gold vanished. They kept drilling but still couldn’t find any more gold. They finally gave up and sold the machinery to a junk dealer.
But, as it turns out, the gold was still there – it was just in a different place than he thought because of the fault lines. The gold was there, but it was three feet from where they’d stopped drilling.
The junk man who bought the machinery became rich.
One of the reasons he became rich was because, instead of quitting, he got some expert advice who knew something about gold veins and mines. That’s how he found out about the fault lines and where the gold probably really was.
Don’t give up at gambling when you’re just three feet away from the gold.
You Are the Master of Your Fate
One thing all rich gamblers have is the faith that they are the masters of their fate. In other words, they avoid gambling games that consist of nothing but chances. They only place bets where their decisions matter.
You are not the master of your fate when playing real money slots. The result is entirely random. There’s nothing you can do about the house’s mathematical edge on a slot machine.
But, when you play blackjack, you get to decide whether to hit or stand, whether to double or split. This aspect of making decisions that matter when gambling is characteristic of gambling activities where you can get rich.
Desire Is the Starting Point of All Achievement
Success in gambling is no different from success in any other part of life. To succeed, you must have the desire to succeed.
Sure, you might think, but doesn’t everyone have a desire to succeed at gambling?
Yes and no.
Most gamblers don’t have sufficient desire to learn how to count cards in blackjack. They think it’s too hard.
But if you want to count cards badly enough, you can do it – assuming you don’t have some kind of learning disability preventing it.
How do you think and grow rich gambling?
Maybe you should read the entirety of Napoleon Hill’s book and think about how it applies to all human endeavors, including winning money at gambling.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the lessons in the book that apply to gambling.