Everyone gambles at least semi-regularly in their life. Gambling does not just exist in casinos and sports betting rings. Essentially, gambling boils down to staking something over an uncertain outcome. The average person takes these 50-50 risks more than they would like to admit. But casino gambling is different, primarily because it is never a 50-50 proposition. The mantra of successful gambling is to take a calculated risk. But you need to remember a few more principles and no-no’s of gambling if you are to become a career gambler. These might sound simple in theory, but most casual gamblers forget them the moment they see one win. Below are some of these tenets to address most crises of gambling that veteran gamblers will have faced.
1. There are no hot or cold streaks.
In the 2003 film ‘The Cooler’, William H. Macy portrays the central character, who has ‘almost professional bad luck’. His luck is so bad, in fact, that he tends to bring down the good fortunes of people around him. He works at the casino as a ‘cooler’, to intercept a hot streak – so the casino loses less money. It is very interesting as a premise, no doubt. But the idea of streaks and hands going ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ are superstitious. Every roll of the dice and shuffle of the deck are different. They have no relation to the previous or next instances. Two bad poker hands in a row does not mean the trend will continue. Now, sometimes, a string of these happen by sheer chance. But that does not make it worthwhile trying to find logic in its pattern.
2. A casino never ‘owes’ you a victory.
This follows the same logic as the previous point. The casino is a service that you pay for. But many gamblers may look at a casino game as an investment. And as with any investment, they demand dividends once they sink the money. One also tends to think of luck as a balancing scale, where good luck balances out bad luck. But your luck in gambling does not function that way. You spend money at the casino game to only play the game. Losing several times in a row on an unlucky casino night does not mean you are ‘owed’ a win to iron things out.
As with the previous point, the answer here is to understand that every instance of a random roll is separate. A ~40% success rate in a game only means that over a lifetime, the average gambler will win 40% of their wagers in that game. Even that does not imply that the gambler gets a guaranteed victory after a streak of 6 bad hands where they lost their wager.
3. The house (almost) always wins.
This is not to say that you can never succeed at gambling. There is no reason to completely shut out your dreams of a jackpot. People have indeed won it big at the casino. But statistically, the house always has the final word. One might get lucky and win their first five rounds of blackjack ever. But here is the real deal: the casino always has a house edge. In some games, that is as small as 1%, but the edge is still there. You will see many betting strategies on games like Roulette – such as the d’Alembert method. But none of them can ever guarantee you victory. The games are meticulously designed to make the house win more often. One can realize, just by doing the math, that with hypothetically infinite bankroll, the house still always wins more money than a customer does long-term.
4. Never Chase Your Losses.
Because people tend to misread casino gambling, and forget the last three gambling principles, they ‘go on tilt’. Going on tilt is basically letting your emotions take hold of your gambling choices. Tilting is prevalent in sports as it is in gambling. In both cases, tilting decreases one’s chances of success. It is very natural to find losses in bold wagers unfair. But emotional entanglement in it will only make you ‘chase your losses’. Chasing a loss is basically when you gamble more and more to win money that you lose – only to lose even more money. On the contrary, one should expect to lose some money in gambling.
How do you simply ‘cut your losses and move on? The key seems to be bankroll management. Since you are likely to lose money in gambling, set some money aside as a casino budget is one of your gambling principles. That money is expendable for the purposes of gambling. Under no circumstances should you go over your budget. When you see that your gambling budget has dwindled, it is time to call it quits.
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