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Three Reasons I’m Glad I Learned Casino Games Before Sports Betting

By Beverly Greer in Casino
| June 6, 2019 12:00 am PDT
Learn Casino Games Before Sports Betting

When I first started gambling, I focused strictly on casino games.

I took several trips to casinos and played online, but I always stuck to casino games like blackjack, slot machines, and poker. But that all changed on my last trip to Las Vegas.

One of my friends, Joe, had been telling me a lot of information about how the United States Supreme Court was considering a case that would repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA.

He followed that conversation up with another one a few weeks later when he explained that PASPA had officially been repealed.

He explained that PASPA was a law that prohibited individual states from creating their own legislation about sports betting and essentially declared sports betting illegal in every state other than Nevada.

Now that the law had been repealed, each state would get to decide how they wanted to regulate sports betting for themselves.

There were a few other exceptions and technicalities, but that is the gist of what I learned from my conversations with my friend.

Before Joe had explained all of this information to me, I had never really thought about sports betting as an option.

I had seen that some of the online casinos that I frequently use had sports betting sections, and I had played in my company’s March Madness bracket contest, but that was about it. But Joe is an avid sports bettor, and now he had me thinking about it, so I decided to give it a try.

I used my online account to get acquainted with the sports betting world before I decided to try it live when I went to Las Vegas.

Once I tried it, I loved it! Since it was baseball season at the time, I learned all about starting pitchers, umpires, and how much the team has been required to travel and the differences of the hosting parks and how those things can affect the game.

Betting adds an undeniable level of excitement to watching professional sports, and I am paying so much more attention to the details of the game now that I have money riding on it.

But I am also glad that I didn’t start my gambling hobby with sports betting. As much as I have learned to enjoy it, if I had begun gambling with sports wagers, I probably would not have embraced the hobby at all.

Here are three reasons that I am thankful that I learned how to gamble on casino games before venturing into sports betting.

Reason #1 – Logic vs. Luck

Casino games are all based on luck and chance. Of course, it is true that some games, like blackjack and poker, also require a level of skill, but you cannot separate casino games from the fact that the outcome relies on luck. You can use skill to manage the luck of the draw, but the draw itself is random.

On the other hand, sports betting is based mostly on logic. Players need to use their reasoning abilities to predict the outcomes of the games, based primarily on past performance.

No one is going to claim that you got lucky if you won when you wagered that an undefeated team would win the game. You didn’t get lucky; you used logical reasoning to make an accurate prediction.

The reason that I am glad that I learned casino games before sports betting is because they allowed me to learn and win a few times regardless of my own skill. Anyone who has ever played a slot machine knows that it doesn’t require any expertise to win, but if you do happen to win, even if it is just a little bit, it will motivate you to keep trying.

That is how I feel with most casino games. I would have given up very quickly if I had never won, and I would not have won if it weren’t for an element of luck.

Sports betting does not let you win if you don’t know what you are doing.

I lost all of the wagers I placed on the first five baseball games I betted on, and it definitely made me feel like quitting. It wasn’t until the sixth game that I finally won just one of my bets, and that was only because I had bet in favor of the more experienced starting pitcher.

The only reason that I didn’t quit was that I knew firsthand the rush I get from winning, and I had experienced lousy gambling days before. So, I knew how to handle the disappointment and keep trying for the win, but those were skills I learned from playing casino games.

If I had started out with sports betting, I think that I would have given up before I ever won. I know from experience that it took some time for me to develop the necessary logic and skill to win, so I needed my casino experience to motivate me to keep going, even when I was losing.

Reason #2 – Learning Gambling Basics

Another reason that I am glad that I learned casino gambling before sports betting is that casino gambling allowed me to learn gambling basics without having to focus on the particulars of every game.

It is true that there are differences in how you play roulette, craps, and blackjack, but some of the betting strategies remain the same. For example, no matter what game you are playing, betting on the move with the lowest house edge will always help you win more over time.

In addition to betting strategies, I also had to learn some pretty essential lessons on bankroll management. If you would like to hear all about my misadventures with managing my money, read this blog about my first trip to Vegas.

Of course, many of those same bankroll management techniques also apply to sports betting scenarios.

If I didn’t know better, I would have placed ten different bets on my first game, and I would have focused on outlandish props bets because they offered a higher payout. That would have resulted in me losing all of my money.

Because I had already learned from my casino gambling experiences, I was much wiser when I first started sports betting. I eased myself into it, set aside a specific bankroll for sports betting that was separate from my casino money, and gave myself a limit of how much I could spend on each game.

Then, I began researching the odds.

My previous experience had taught me that when a casino is willing to pay more, it is because the chances of you winning are less, so I looked for odds with the same mentality.

Betting odds don’t function the exact same as house edges for casino games, but there is a little bit of crossover that I think gave me an advantage while I was learning.

All of the skills that I had learned from casino games allowed me to learn sports betting without losing all of my money in the first inning.

I am particularly glad that I learned how to employ those methods before I had to focus on all of the possible bets that each sport offers and the statistics of each team. It was vital for me to have enough mental energy to focus on learning gambling basics first so that I had enough clarity to focus on the sports betting particulars later.

Some people might be able to learn sports betting and general gambling techniques at the same time, but I did not have the mental stamina to do so.

Reason #3 – Learning Sporting Details

One of the reasons that I could never have learned gambling methods while I learned sports betting was that there was so much more to learn! There were several other things that I had to learn before I could become a successful — but not necessarily wealthier — sports bettor.

Before I started sports betting, I had a general understanding of some of the most common sports. I knew that baseball focused on home runs, what a three-pointer in basketball was, and why yards matter in football. But if I am truthful, that was pretty much the extent of my sports knowledge.

With my limited amount of knowledge, I could place some pretty basic moneyline wagers, but that was the only type of bet that I felt comfortable with. I needed to learn more about predicting scores before I was confident placing a point spread or an over/under bet. And there was no way that I was going to attempt a parlay when I wasn’t even sure what some of the other wagers were.

I not only had to learn about the different types of sports bets, but I also had to learn more about the sport itself.

When I started betting on baseball, I learned to pay attention to details like batting averages, how many strikeouts a pitcher had, and how many innings they had played.

For example, when I first started, I thought that Jakob Junis was pretty impressive because he had 92 strikeouts, but then I realized that he has pitched more than one hundred innings.

Considering how many players usually bat during any single inning, he has really only struck out a handful of them. But even once I learned how to interpret this information together, I also had to learn to study the batting average of the opposing team to see how that would impact the outcome of the game.

Learning about player and team statistics and how odds are decided helped me have a better understanding of what I was betting on. For the same reason, I am glad that I have only tried betting on one sport at a time.

If I had just decided to jump into sports betting without studying each game, I would have given up because I didn’t understand, and if I had tried it before I began casino gambling, I might have given up on gambling as a hobby altogether.


There is no right or wrong path to becoming a gambler. If you started with sports betting and were able to figure it out without any problems, good for you. I just know that it worked better for me to start with casino gambling.

For those of you who are just beginning to consider gambling as a hobby, I recommend starting with casino gambling for the reasons mentioned above. But no matter how you get started, as long as you have fun gambling, that is all that matters.



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