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Seven Ways You Can Try to Make Money Gambling

| December 13, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Make Money Gambling - 7 Ways

Some people reading about how to make money gambling are looking for a way to generate consistent money over the long run. Other people are just looking for a way to make a quick buck in the short run.

Regardless of which of those goals you’re hoping to achieve, this post offers tips and strategies for maximizing your probability of making money gambling.

No one can guarantee you a way to make money gambling. The activity involves an element of chance and risk, or it wouldn’t be gambling. Anyone who tries to sell you a sure thing should be avoided.

Any reputable guru who wants to tell you how to make money gambling will always tell you that there are no guarantees in life, and that goes double for gambling.

Below, I offer seven strategies for making money gambling. Some of them will fit with your goals and inclinations; some won’t. As my friend Wesley likes to tell me, there are a million ways to make a million dollars. You only need one.

1- Try the Maximum Boldness Strategy

You might have heard of a famous winning gambler named Ashley Revell. You might even know that he bet his entire bankroll on a single roulette spin. (He put it all on red, by the way.)

Depending on your perspective, Revell might be one of the biggest fools in the gambling community.

But he might also be one of the savviest roulette players in history.

For those who aren’t familiar with Revell’s story, here it is in a nutshell.

When he was 32 years old, Ashely Revell sold everything he owned – including his house and car – and then bet all his money on red in a roulette game.

He was worth $135,500, and he won his bet at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Since red’s an even-money bet, he walked away with $271,000 in his pocket.

As it turns out, this is a perfect example of something called “the maximum boldness strategy.” The theory behind the maximum boldness strategy is that the best probability of doubling your money in a negative expectation game is to make a single huge bet.

Here’s why.

Suppose you have $100, and you want to double your money playing roulette. You could make a single $100 bet, or you could make a couple of $50 bets. You could bet four times, putting $25 on each bet.

What’s the probability of doubling your money in each of those scenarios?

The first thing to understand is the probability of doubling your money on a single spin of the roulette wheel. If you’re playing on a standard American roulette wheel and placing an even-money bet, you have 18 ways to win out of 38 possible outcomes. Your probability of winning, therefore, is 18/38, or 47.37%.

That’s as close as you’ll get to a 50/50 shot in this scenario.

To calculate probability when multiple events must happen, you multiply. To double your money when placing two bets of $50 each, you must win both of those bets.

The probability of that is 47.37% x 47.37%, or 22.42%. That’s a little better than 1 out of 5 and a little worse than 1 out of 4. This is because you also face other scenarios – losing both spins or winning a spin and losing the other spin.

The more bets you make, the harder it gets to win all of them. If your goal is to double your money, the best way to do it is to place one big bet.

This is also a good example of how and why the house edge works in gambling. The more bets you make, the likelier it is that the casino will win all your money.

2- You Could Try Cheating

I don’t actually recommend cheating when you’re gambling. I think gamblers, just like everyone else, should play by the same rules as other people.

But some people have made money when gambling by cheating.

I think you need to consider the risks involved with cheating at gambling. If you’re cheating in a home poker game, you’re risking being ostracized by your friends if you’re caught. And that’s the least of your worries. Some people will flat-out resort to violence in that situation. You could be injured or killed.

The potential wins aren’t worth it in that scenario.

In Nevada, it’s a felony to cheat at casino games and gambling. You can serve serious prison time if and when you get caught. And let’s face it, with the amount of money an average Las Vegas casino makes, security protocols are state-of-the-art.

This doesn’t stop people like Tommy Glenn Carmichael, a famous slot machine scam artist. He started cheating at slot machines in the 1960s and didn’t get caught until the mid-1980s. Once he got caught, though, he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Carmichael invented multiple devices to get an edge at slot machines. Some of the tools he developed and used included such excitingly-named devices as the “monkey’s paw” and the “light wand.”

Since his first arrest, he’s been arrested multiple times – in 1991, 1996, and 1999.

Think about it. Do you really want people to find a page like this when they search for your name?

If you do, cheating at casino and gambling games might be for you.

But honestly, there are easier and better ways to make money gambling that don’t require you to cheat.

3- Start Your Own Gambling Business

The ones making the most money from gambling are the people who own gambling businesses. The casino owners, the cardroom owners, and the bookmakers are the people making the most money. You can start your own gambling business legally or illegally, but either way, you can make money.

It’s my advice, of course, that any activity you engage in be completely legal, by the way.

Here’s why owning your own gambling business is so profitable.

The casinos, poker rooms, and bookmakers all use the math behind their games to give their customers a chance of winning in the short term. But in the long run, they’ll surely lose because of the way the payouts work related to the odds of winning.

With casino games, the casinos offer games where your probability of winning is lower than the payout if you win. For example, if you’re playing roulette and make an even-money bet, you have a 47.37% chance of winning. If you had a 50% chance of winning, you’d be facing a situation where you’d break even in the long run.

But since your probability of winning is lower than that, the casino has an edge. As more players make more bets, the casino’s results get closer to the theoretical long run. And the Law of Large Numbers suggests that the closer your number of trials gets to infinity, the likelier those results are to mirror the mathematical expectation.

Casinos often own poker rooms, but some poker rooms operate independently of a casino. I had some friends who ran underground cardrooms in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex back in the early 2000s, in fact. With a poker game, the business doesn’t front the money for the games. The players compete with each other for the money.

The cardroom makes its money by taking a small (usually 5%) percentage of each pot in exchange for hosting the game. This amount is called the rake. And it can add up to serious bucks for the owner of a cardroom.

Bookmakers, too, have a way of getting a mathematical edge over the players. The most easily understood example comes when you’re looking at point spread bets on football games, where the odds of winning are roughly even. The bookmaker requires you to risk $110 to win $100.

Their goal is usually to get equal amounts of action on either side of the game. When they do, they pay off the winners with the money they made from the losers. But since they got $110 from each of the losers, they retain a profit after paying off the $100 in winnings. That difference is called “the juice” or “the vig.”

The tricky thing about getting involved on the owner side of the gambling business is the regulation.

Gambling, at least in the United States, is heavily regulated by both federal and state laws. In many jurisdictions, it’s completely illegal to run any kind of gambling business. In other jurisdictions, some kinds of gambling are legal, while others aren’t.

In any jurisdiction where you can legally run a gambling operation, you’re required to have a license to operate. Those fees vary based on jurisdiction, but you can get an idea by visiting the Nevada Gambling Commission’s website. It won’t take much research there to realize that just getting licensed costs significant amounts of money.

That’s not the only expense, though. You also need to be able to buy the equipment to run the gambling operation. This might mean buying slot machines if you’re running a small casino, or it might mean buying a poker table and some chips if you’re running a small cardroom. You also must find the space from which to offer your gambling business.

Also, if you’re operating a casino or bookmaking operation, you need enough capital to cover the players’ bets when they win.

Some people make money from the gambling business by offering services to companies which offer gambling. For a long time on the internet, webmasters who are good at publishing content and getting traffic to it have worked hand in hand with online casinos to generate money. The casinos get customers referred their way from these webmasters, and they – in turn – pay these webmasters commissions.

You could run a consulting business that helps casinos with various aspects of their operations, too. At one time, a private investigation agency called The Griffin Agency helped casinos identify and ban card counters from their blackjack tables. Some search engine marketing firms might work on a retainer basis to help gambling businesses get more search engine traffic.

If you’re looking for long-term, reliable income, being on the business side of gambling will almost always be more lucrative than being a customer of one of those businesses.

4- Learn How to Count Cards in Blackjack

If you’ve read many articles on the internet about how to make money gambling, you’ve almost certainly come across the idea of counting cards in blackjack. You might have questions about card counting, in fact, like these.

  • Is card counting legal?
  • Does counting cards constitute cheating?
  • Is it hard to count cards?
  • How much money can you make as a card counter?

I can answer some of those questions here, but the most important questions are how hard it is to count cards and whether you can really make money counting cards.

The answer is that card counting is probably easier than you think, and yes, you really can make money counting cards.

Like anything else in the gambling niche, though, the card counters who are making money are the elite. My personal estimate is that 90% of would-be card counters aren’t good enough at what they do to make any significant money.

Here’s how card counting works, in brief.

The odds in blackjack vary based on the composition of the deck of cards you’re playing with. As the cards are dealt, the ratios of various cards in the deck change. Sometimes the deck will have more aces and 10s than you’d expect. Sometimes it will have less.

This matters because a two-card hand totaling 21 in blackjack pays off at 3 to 2. It’s called a “blackjack” or “natural.”

When you’re playing with a deck that has a proportionally higher number of aces and 10s than usual, the probability of getting a blackjack increases. And so does the probability of getting that bigger payoff.

Card counters track, in a rough way, how many low cards versus high cards have been dealt. They raise the size of their bets when the deck has lots of high cards (aces and 10s), then lower their bet sizes when the deck has lots of small cards in it.

By doing so, they can take a game where the house normally has an edge of between 0.5% and 1% and turn it into a game where the player has an edge of between 0.5% and 2%.

Card counters also make adjustments to their playing strategy to maximize their expectation based on the deck’s composition.

Casinos frown on card counting, but it’s not illegal. After all, how could it be illegal to just think about the game that you’re playing?

Many casinos do take such a dim view of card counters that they’re happy to ask card counters to stay away from their blackjack tables. Some enthusiastic casinos might even ban you from their casinos altogether.

If you want to make money gambling by counting cards, you’ll need a large enough bankroll to handle the swings involved in being a card counter. You’re taking advantage of a long-term expectation, but in the short run, anybody can have a run of bad luck.

You need a large enough bankroll compared to your bet sizes that you’re unlikely to go broke while you’re waiting for that long-term edge to kick in.

5- Play Poker at an Expert Level

Not everyone has the intestinal fortitude to face casino scrutiny and displeasure. Being backed off from the blackjack tables might just be a terrifying experience for some gamblers. For them, I recommend learning to play poker at an expert level.

This means you need to be in the top 10% of the field. 90% of poker players lose money in the long run.

Yes, poker is a game of chance, but it’s also a game of skill. In the short term, who wins a given hand in a poker game is random. Some players catch cards later in the round even when someone was ahead of them earlier in the hand. That’s just how it goes.

But when you’re dealing with a game that has any percentage of skill, it’s that skill element that separates the winners from the losers.

Your job as a professional poker player (or a would-be poker pro) is to make correct decisions repeatedly, regardless of the individual outcomes.

In the long run, correct decisions should lead you down the road of long-term profits.

And when I say “correct” decisions, I’m talking about decisions which have a positive expectation. That’s a specific phrase with a specific meaning.

Any bet has a positive or negative expected value. It’s a function of your potential loss versus your potential win versus your probability of winning.

Here’s an example.

You have 2 to 1 odds of hitting your flush by the river in a game of hold’em, and if you hit your flush, you’re sure you’ll win the hand. It costs you $10 to call someone’s bet, but there’s $60 in the pot. You’ll lose two out of three times, but the one time out of three that you win, you’ll get 6 to 1 on your money.

That’s a positive expectation call, and you should make that call.

On the other hand, if you only had 9 to 1 odds of hitting your hand, that would be a bad call. You’d lose more money in the long run in that situation than you’d win.

Estimating your probability of winning and comparing it with how much you’ll win is what winning poker is all about. It’s a comparison of pot odds with the odds of winning. Make good decisions repeatedly, and you’ll make a lot of money as a professional poker player.

But it doesn’t come easy. You’ll face plenty of other poker players who’ve read more books than you have – or at least the same books you have. Many of them will have watched the same instructional videos. Some of them will have even been tutored by better coaches than you had.

It requires constant and never-ending improvement to make money as a professional poker player, but it’s worth doing.

Especially if you like playing cards.

6- Become an Expert Sports Bettor

Most people lose money from their sports betting hobby, and that’s okay. These people are recreational gamblers. They’re trading money for entertainment, and as long as that doesn’t get out of hand, that should be no problem for anyone.

But some sports bettors can become good enough at spotting positive expectation situations that they’re able to make a living betting on sports. That’s not as easy as it sounds, either, because when you’re dealing with bookmakers, you’re risking $110 to win $100 most of the time.

This means you must win 52% of your bets (or more) to just break even.

But the lines and odds from the books are sometimes wrong, and if you can spot those situations, you can win money at sports betting. Entire books and websites have been written about how to get an edge when betting on sports.

Becoming an expert sports bettor might be the toughest way to make money gambling. The only good book I can recommend on the subject is Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong.

7- Win a Big Jackpot

You can only win a big jackpot if you play games with really long odds, right?

I mean, aren’t you stuck playing games like the lottery or progressive slot machines?

Not necessarily.

There’s nothing wrong with going after the life-changing jackpot. Just remember that you probably won’t succeed, no matter how long or consistently you play. The odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 175 million.

The odds of winning the Megabucks slot machine games in Las Vegas are 1 in 12 million, which is way better.

You’re WAY more likely to be struck by lightning than to win either of these jackpots, though. The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 700,000.

If you could set your sights a little smaller, though, Michael Bluejay (a gambling writer I admire) has a way of winning $100,000 that might be more achievable for most of us. Your goal is to start with a $10 bet, then bet the winnings.

All you have to do is win 14 times in a row.

  • $10
  • $20
  • $40
  • $80
  • $160
  • $320
  • $640
  • $1280
  • $2560
  • $5120
  • $10,240
  • $20,480
  • $40,960
  • $81,920

All you need to do is find a casino with a maximum bet of $50,000 to implement this strategy. You then need to choose a table game to pursue this strategy.

You can try this with any casino game with a low house edge. This includes baccarat, craps, or blackjack. The probability of winning 14 bets in a row, by the way, is about 1 in 20,000.

It’s a way of winning a huge jackpot where the odds are slim but not astronomically against you.

Conclusion

You can easily make money gambling by just getting lucky. I assume that if you’re reading this, you were looking for something a little more structured in terms of an approach. You should by no means assume that these are the only seven ways to make money gambling.

These are just seven possible ways to make money gambling. You can find bookshelves full of books with strategies that can help you win money gambling.

The main thing I want you to remember is that even if you’re gambling with a mathematical edge, you could still lose. That’s the nature of betting money on any kind of random occurrence.

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  1. Ray September 8, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Repeatedly bet the same number, until won, using this progression, loothog, then restart with the starting bet, using the same number or a new number.

  2. Ray August 31, 2021 at 8:30 am

    35:1 is best because 1:1 should pay 35/18:1 to be equivalent.

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