Novices and non-gamblers tend to think that gambling is all about luck and that gamblers have no self-control. They think there’s no skill involved and that any time you gamble, you’re basically throwing money away.
Experienced gamblers, though, know this isn’t true. While luck plays an important role, there is a certain amount of skill involved, and most gamblers actually have remarkable self-control- they’d be penniless otherwise.
Gambling successfully requires skill, patience, smart decision-making and, yes, luck. We’ve put together a list of what we think are the best tips for gamblers to follow if they want to ensure that their night at the casino is a good one.
Treat Gambling like any Other Entertainment
This is really the first step in making sure you gamble responsibly. Just treat it like you would any other paid entertainment. You’re there to have fun, not to get rich.
In fact, if your motivation for gambling is that you need a lot of money fast, stop. Not even the most experienced gamblers are ever sure of a win; if you’re in financial trouble, gambling is definitely not going to help you.
If you’re just looking for a good time, though, it’s great. Go into it knowing exactly how much money you have to spend, and it’s just like any other paid entertainment. You’ll have a good time, and if you win, great, if you lose, you still had a good time.
The real reason to adopt this mindset is that it makes it impossible for you to lose. You’re approaching gambling as something you have to spend money on to have fun. It’s no different from going to a movie, or a nice restaurant, except that it’s more expensive.
Instead of focusing on the money you might win, you want to focus on the enjoyment you get from the gambling itself. Most forms of gambling are really entertaining; there’s a reason why poker is popular outside of casinos, after all.
Focusing on the entertainment value of gambling this way is more fun, but it’s also more responsible. You’re a lot less likely to let your gambling get out of control this way.
Set Money and Time Limits
This goes along with the first tip, but know your limits before you start. Set aside a certain amount of money that you’re willing to spend beforehand. This way you don’t end up losing so much money that you create problems for yourself.
That’s a common enough tip that most of you probably already do it. What a lot of people don’t do is set a time limit.
Time flies when you’re gambling. Sometimes you’ll blink and it’s been two hours. Setting a time limit does a couple of things for you. First, it helps to reinforce the money limit. You’re less likely to talk yourself into going over your budget if you’re only going to be in the casino or at the card table for another thirty minutes.
Second, it keeps you from spending all of your time gambling. If you’re on family trip to Vegas, your family might want to spend time doing other things. That goes for any gambling one while on a trip.
This isn’t the same thing as setting a money limit- although it’s related.
In addition to knowing how much money you’re willing to spend, you want to know how you’re going to spend it. The easiest way to do this in a casino is to buy three to four tickets of equal value and rotate them.
If you run through all the money on your first game, you can just move on to the next. Once you’ve doubled the value on one ticket, take your money and divide it again so that you always have the same number of tickets you started with. This way, you never have to worry about money, and you can just focus on having fun.
Smaller Jackpots are Better
The games with the biggest jackpots are tempting, but always remember that the money from those jackpots comes from players who lost the game.
The bigger the jackpot, the lower the odds of you winning. You’re a lot more likely to win the smaller jackpots. In fact, you’re more likely to win a few smaller jackpots than one big one.
We’ve already said that the best way to gamble is to do it for fun and not worry about winning….but winning is definitely fun. Sometimes you really want the thrill of playing in a high stakes game, but more often than not you can have just as much fun while also winning a few modest jackpots.
Smaller Bets are Better, Too
This is probably controversial advice. How many people do you know who’s philosophy is “go big or go broke”? How many of them are broke within a few minutes of saying that?
Placing a bigger bet doesn’t change your odds of winning at all. The odds of winning on a $1 bet are exactly the same as the odds of winning on $1000 bet. The difference is, if you lose on the $1 bet, you can still place more bets.
Even if the payout for the $1 bet is low, its fine. You can still keep betting. The point is, smaller bets keep you in the game longer. And, while the amount of money on each bet doesn’t affect your odds of winning, the number of bets you place sure does.
More bets for a smaller amount could very easily leave you going home a bigger winner than the guy who won his $1000 bet. And if that guy lost his big bet, you’re a bigger winner no matter what.
Short Odds, Not Long Odds
This is similar to making smaller bets. You’ll win less on the short odds, but you’re a lot more likely to win. Long odds are long for a reason- the team or competitor with the long odds is not likely to win.
Obviously, the payout for winning on long odds can be huge. It’s just not likely to happen.
Now, maybe you’ll get lucky and have a chance to bet on 10,000 to 1 odds. Put down a dollar, you could win ten grand. Odds like that don’t come around very often though. Stick to the short odds.
Pass or Don’t Pass in Craps
Complicated betting rules exist for one reason and one reason only: to give the house an edge. The more complicated the rules, the less likely you are to win.
Pass and Don’t pass bets tend to pay at 1 to 1 odds, and the odds of winning are close to 1 to 1, too. Again, you get a low payoff, but you do get a payoff. Craps is one of the games with the worst odds for the player, so these bets are the best option for a win.
Just keep a low profile if you make a Don’t Pass bet, because you’re essentially betting against the shooter, and that might make you pretty unpopular.
Only Place Outside Bets in Roulette
In Roulette, the odds on a single number bet are 35 to 1, and the odds of guessing the right number are 38 to 1. It’s a good payoff, but you’re not likely to win it.
Outside bets have a lower payoff, but your odds of winning them are close to 50/50.
“Surefire Betting Systems” are Garbage
Don’t listen to somenoe when they say they have one. Just don’t. It’s utter nonsense.
Most of the time, a person’s betting system is basically to increase their bets to recover their losses. This does not work. The odds of winning are the same on a $1 bet as they are on a $1000 bet. No betting system can guarantee anything in random games of chance.
Play Free, Online Games
There are free roulette, blackjack, poker and slot machine games all over the internet now. If you’ve never gambled before or if it’s been a while and you feel rusty, play these before you go to a casino.
You won’t win anything, but you’ll understand the game much better and feel more confident. That means you’ll make better choices once you’re actually in the casino. There’s no risk, and it’s fun, so there’s no reason not to do this.
Don’t Believe the Gambler’s Fallacy
The Gambler’s Fallacy is the idea that if something happens more frequently than normal during a given time period, it’s less likely to happen in the future, or vice versa.
So, just because the probability of hitting red ten times in a row is a lot lower than hitting red twice in a row, doesn’t mean you should bet on black just because the roulette wheel has hit red nine times straight. Each spin of the wheel has the exact same odds as every one before it.
It should go without saying, but don’t get hammered before you gamble. You can have a drink or two, but never drink enough to impair your judgment. That’s a surefire way to wind up doing something you’ll really regret.
Quite While You’re Ahead
Similar to setting a limit on how much money you’re ok spending, you want a limit on how much money you’re going to win.
Usually this is a percentage of the money limit you’ve already set. So, if your spending limit is $100 and your winning limit is 20%, you’re done gambling when you’re up to $120.
You can set the limit to whatever you want, the point is just to have a limit. No matter how much of a roll you’re on, you will eventually lose all of the money you brought if you just keep playing. Every game has a house edge. Not one of them favors you.
This way, you make sure to get out of the casino with more money in your pocket than you came in with, if you won.
Gamble When You’re Happy
If you start gambling every time life gets rough, you’re going to develop a problem. Don’t let yourself use gambling as an escape from life during tough times. Gambling is fun, and is something to be enjoyment when life is goo, not something to distract you from your problems.
Don’t Forget the Taxes
Gambling income is taxable, people. If you win enough money at a casino, they’ll withhold taxes for you. Most of the time, though, you’re going to have to report it.
Gambling can be a fun and responsible way to spend an evening or a weekend if you know what you’re doing.
The only way gambling is going to cause problems for you is if you go in without any sort of plan at all, and start looking for the biggest payout. Its even worse if you play games that you don’t understand.
The best advice is to avoid trying to hit a big jackpot. Keep your bets modest, play the short odds, and look for the bets with the most likely payoffs.
Yes, those bets are all likely to pay a lot less than the more risky ones, but there’s a reason for that. The house does not want to pay you money. The house wants you to pay them money. The more likely you are to win, the lower the payout will be.
In other words, every time you see a huge jackpot or a payout of 35 to 1, you’re going to lose. Just assume that. Sure, you might win, but the odds are very, very low. The best way to keep yourself from losing a ton of money and actually win a few bucks is to bet conservatively and limit the money and time you spend in the casino.
If you set a spending limit and stick to it, you can of course place riskier bets if you want to. It won’t do any harm, since you still won’t exceed your limit. It’s just that you’ll be out of the game a lot faster. If you’re gambling for the fun of it, it just makes sense that you’d want it to last as long as possible.
Smaller bets with lower payoffs aren’t just safer, they keep you in the game a lot longer.
Follow these tips and every time you gamble you’ll enjoy it. You might even walk out a winner, too.