Ways That Gambling Makes You Smarter

Man Adjusting Glasses With a Casino Background

Most people don’t look at it this way, but gambling can be a tool to help you get smarter. In fact, once you start using gambling to increase your intelligence, you’re going to start seeing your results when you gamble improve. This is truly a win-win situation.

Instead of gambling for fun, start looking for ways to improve your results. Learn what the casino edge is and how to use it when you gamble. Use expectation to predict your results before you start playing.

Everything listed in this article is going to improve your gambling intelligence and help you improve your chance of winning.

Here’s a list of five ways that gambling makes you smarter.

Learning About the Casino Edge for Different Games

Every real money gambling activity has a casino house edge. Most of the time the house has an edge, but a few games give you a chance to gamble with an edge. When the house or casino has an edge you’re going to lose in the long run. When you can find an edge, you’re going to win in the long run.

You can look up a list of casino games and the edge they have. This is a good place to start.

The higher the edge you’re playing against, the more you can expect to lose. You’re going to learn how to figure out exactly how much you can expect to lose using the casino or house edge in the next section.

Poker Dealer Dealing Cards

Slot machines have an edge that varies by machine from 2% to over 10%. Video poker machines vary from close to 0% to over 5%. Blackjack games vary from .25% to over 2%.

Spend some time getting familiar with the available games and the edge they have. Then spend some time learning how to get an edge when you gamble.

The basic thing you need to know right now is that you should avoid games with a high house edge and play games with a low house edge.

Determining Expectation Numbers

Understanding what the casino edge is and how it influences your wins and losses is an important first step. But once you understand these things you can use the information to help you more.

You can figure out exactly how much you can expect to win or lose when you combine the casino edge with a few other numbers.

Here’s what you need:

  • The casino edge or your edge
  • How much you risk on each wager on average
  • How many wagers you make over a period of time

I usually use an hour for the period of time, but you can use whatever period of time you prefer. I use an hour because it gives me a constant time period to compare games and other things.

With this information you can use gambling math to figure a simple equation that tells you how much you can expect to lose or win. A casino edge shows you how much you can expect to lose, and when you have an edge it tells you how much you can expect to win.

Here’s the formula:

Edge times average risk amount times number of wagers over period of time.

If the casino edge is 1.5% and your average risk amount is $25 and you make 72 wagers every hour, here’s how it works.

1.5% X $25 X 72 = $27. This means you can expect to lose $27 every hour you play.

If you have an edge of .25% and your average risk is $50 and you make 67 wagers an hour, here’s how it works.

.25% X $50 X 67 = $8.38.This means you can expect to make $8.38 every hour.

These are average numbers that work out over time. In a short period of one or a few hours the actual results may be higher or lower, but they average out in the long run.

Use expectation to predict your results. This is a powerful tool to help you make better gambling decisions.

Recognizing the Power of Budgeting

Most people spend their entire life paying bills in one way or another. When you have plenty of money you don’t worry about the bills too much, but when you’re living paycheck to paycheck or worse, the stress of bills seems to always be present.

The use of a budget is one of the best way to help you get your finances and bills in order. It helps you see what you can spend money on and what you need to cut back on. Using a budget is a tremendous help for most people in their day to day life.

Casino bankroll management is just as important as managing your regular budget. You should use a budget every time you gamble.

Closeup of a Roulette Table

When you gamble you need to know exactly how much you have to play with, and you need to know plan ahead so you know how much you’re going to have in your budget the next time you want to gamble.

You can use a session budget and an overall gambling bankroll. If you’re not winning when you gamble, you need to determine where the money is going to come from so you can keep gambling.

Start using a gambling budget and bankroll, and then use the same budgeting techniques to start using a budget for everything else in your life.

Understanding the Game Speed Influence on Losses

Most gamblers simply get a seat at their favorite game and play as fast as they can. Table games in live casinos have their speed dictated by the dealer and players, but when you play video poker or slot machines you control the rate of speed.

Now that you know how the casino edge influences how much you lose or win and can determine your expectation, you should be able to see how the speed of the game influences your expectation.

The expectation part of the equation is how much you bet every hour or session. When you play faster you risk more, so this changes your expectation. For example, if you’re playing video poker with a casino edge of 1.25% betting $1.25 per hand and play 400 hands every hour, your expected loss is $6.25 an hour.

If you played the same machine and only play 300 hands an hour, your expected loss is $4.69 an hour. At 200 hands every hour your expected loss is only $3.13.

It’s clear that how fast you play influences how much you lose. Of course, if you’re playing with an edge, you want to play faster. But most gambling activities are designed so you’re playing against an edge, so usually you’re better off playing slower.

Use this information to choose the game you want to play and also to decide how many hands or spins you want to take when you’re playing a game where you control the speed.

Using Gambling Strategy to Lower the Casino Edge

When you play blackjack, video poker, baccarat, and craps you can use strategy to influence the casino house edge. You can also use strategy when you play poker and bet on sporting events.

Other games, like slots machines and the lottery don’t have a strategy component that you can use.

You need to learn which games have strategies and you need to learn what the best strategies are. When you use strategy when you gamble it lowers the casino edge and improves your expectation.

Closeup of a Video Poker Machine

If you’re playing blackjack and not using strategy you might be fighting a house edge of 1.5%. But if you use the right strategy the house edge is .6%. This is a .9% difference, which changes your expectation by quite a bit, and also changes how much you lose over time.

The best gambling options are games that you can use strategy when you play. You should always play games that have a strategy and use the best strategy. This will help you in many ways as a gambler.


The two most important things you can learn about gambling are what the casino edge is and how to use the edge to determine expectation. Once you understand these two things it unlocks a new way to look at gambling.

Using a budget when you gamble is a good way to control your losses, but it also teaches you the importance of budgeting in other areas of your life. When you learn how game speed influences your losses it makes it easier to determine a budget and lower your losses.

When you use proper strategy when you gamble, it gives you the best chance to win, and it teaches you to use critical thinking to improve your life.