About 5 years ago, a close friend of mine approached me about contributing content for his gambling blog. My friend and I met in college and became fast friends when we realized we both had a love for poker and craft beer.
When friend X asked me to write my thoughts and experience down on gambling, I was flattered and a little scared.
Let’s look at what this road looks like and where I am now.
I Love Gambling, Betting, and Casinos
I saw my first James Bond movie when I was six with my grandfather.
There’s a famous scene where 007 is in a tux next to a beautiful woman playing a table game. He’s sipping on a martini (shaken not stirred of course).
The woman blows on his dice (totally not kosher in an age of Coronavirus), and he throws them on the craps table.
At that moment, I knew I wanted to be Bond, James Bond.
This didn’t happen, though.
I’m not oozing cool, nor am I a secret agent. I’m a high school math teacher living in Middle America. I have a mortgage, a master’s degree in abstract mathematics, and a family.
I don’t drive a fast sportscar — I drive a late model Subaru.
My love for Bond movies has translated into a love for everything gambling.
I love to gamble in casinos, sportsbooks, online, and in my friend’s basement. The first time I walked into a casino, I was in love. I was terrified of not being as cool as I wished I could be.
I was 22.
I’d played poker and blackjack in college.
I’d bought squares for the Super Bowl.
I played fantasy football.
I was sure I would nail the casino level gambling.
But I was wrong.
I share a lot in my blog posts about beginner mistakes because I’ve made so many of them.
I love the excitement of being around fellow gamblers and the shared energy of a table game. I love playing slots next to the old ladies. I love sportsbooks and their sporting event-driven mentality. I love taking some time to brush up on my table game skills against a stranger halfway around the world in an online casino.
I had my niches that I was good at and areas of the gambling community and industry I knew nothing about. I get to learn it all and tell you about it.
This has grown from a hobby to a real business endeavor for me.
Bold Blogging Goals
When my friend, let’s call him John, asked me if I wanted to write for his blog, I thought I would tell the world about how great of a gambler I am.
Like my first casino experience, my goals were much loftier than I could achieve.
My first blog was a mess.
I’m a mathematician. I was too wordy and did not convey my thoughts or gambling experience in a relatable style.
I used big words, and my experience was not as broad as I had convinced myself. I only considered table games and slots. I’d never even considered keno a real gambling game worth playing.
I had a lot to learn.
People (my wife for example) are not always math whizzes. I had to learn how to explain how to play a Double Bonus video poker game to someone who might not be good at math or might just plain hate math.
I have improved my own gaming abilities by having to learn to view gambling from different points of view. Before I started writing about gambling, I had never played online casinos. I thought they lacked the in-person excitement I always expected.
I did not consider that everyone doesn’t live in a state that has legalized gambling or had never visited Sin City. I have opened my eyes to other people’s experiences and lifestyles.
John sent back my first blog with more red lines that not. My explanations and writing didn’t seem to connect with the reader. We went through 3 edits. It was not the great ego boost I thought I had signed up for.
Writing for the gambling community, be it for veteran gamblers or newcomers, has brought me a better understanding of humans and a level of humility I thought I would never achieve.
Gaming Blogging — Yin and Yang
In my years as a blogger for gambling, I’ve discovered some dark sides and beautiful sides to this industry. I’ve learned about problem gambling and seen the generosity of the gambling community.
Problem gambling has become one of the causes that I care deeply about. It breaks my heart to see a hobby take over someone’s entire life and destroy it. What is so beautiful about this community is the support for people who struggle with addictive gambling.
Never Have I Ever
Things I thought I would never see or do in my life because of gambling blogging:
- Slot machines with pee bottles next to them
- Gamble in Paris
- Travel the World
- Turn my hobby into a side job
- Get to use my master’s degree to make some real money ( I am a teacher so you do the math)
- Be able to play with veterans and newbies alike
- Learn more about humans than I ever thought possible
- See sportsbooks blossom across the USA
- Tell the internet my opinions on a variety of betting games
- Like keno…
That last one is one I thought I would never say; let alone write on the internet.
I’d never played keno until I started writing professionally about gambling. I always passed the keno lounges in casinos and paid them no attention.
So much smoke, so much foreign weirdness I didn’t understand.
Keno is what I play (without fail) almost every trip when I need a break from the table games or (TBH) my travel companions.
It’s so strange but familiar at the same time.
If you haven’t played, give it go.
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Math, Math, Math
When I told my parents and my friends that I wanted to get my master’s degree in mathematics, they looked at me like I was insane. I probably was looking back at my student loan amounts to pay for this endeavor.
I’ve always seen math like musicians can see music in their head. I have tied to explain this phenomenon to my wife — but to no avail.
She’s a fellow teacher, but she’s an honors English teacher. We don’t speak the same language when it comes to our careers.
When I started applying to grad schools, everyone I knew asked the same questions,” What are you going to do with a master’s in math?”.
I had no answer other than “I love math”.
I ended up being a high school math teacher and am now the head of my department.
My math love affair is how I also fell in love with gambling. Without getting too complicated, math rarely lies to you. There’s always one right answer when it comes to statistics and that is what (to me) gambling boils down to.
As I’ve mentioned, I started playing basement poker in college. From there it has grown into a healthy (arguably time-consuming) hobby.
I will take or place a bet on about anything.
I have a bet with my editor John about how many words I can write about my math abilities in this very blog.
I think I’m winning, but I have the house edge (wink wink).
Friends in All Places
Since I have started being an active part of the online and land-based casino community, I have made more friends than I had in 15 years.
I am the textbook math nerd.
I’m lucky my now=wife sad yes to our first date. I’m socially awkward, not a looker, and I get in my head way too easily. It has always been tough for me to have a manage a wide group of friends — until I met all of you.
I have blackjack friends, bingo friends, roulette friends, sports friends, and fantasy football friends.
I have made more true connections in writing for the gambling community than I could have ever imagined.
My daughter’s godfather is someone I met through gambling. Sounds shady, but our families are close, and our kids play on play dates almost weekly. I wouldn’t have met him without the gambling community.
I don’t really know how to close this blog. I hope you have a better idea of who I am as a writer and a player. I hope you feel the same about our shared passion. I usually wrap up with a synopsis of what I have gone over. This is different. This is personal. This is me.
I am thankful for your input on the comments. As always, please leave a comment below. Happy gambling and making connections in this community.