The ultimate aim of gambling is, of course, to win money. Ever since gambling has existed, people have looked to use strategies and systems to improve their chances of doing that. This is basic human nature really. It’s somewhat logical that everyone wants to do whatever they can to win when risking their money, whether that’s on the turn of a card, the roll of a dice, or the result of a horse race.
As a result, there have been many gambling systems and strategies developed over the years. Some of these have become very well-known and followed by gamblers all over the world. The vast majority have never made it in the public domain though. This is largely because most of them don’t work, and those gamblers who do manage to develop winning strategies tend to keep them to themselves.
On this page we cover the subject of gambling strategies and systems in more detail. We start by assessing the differences between the two terms, and then look at the merits (or otherwise) of paying for gambling systems and strategies. We’ve got a whole section on progressive betting systems, and details of the various strategy guides to be found throughout this website. We finish with some information on the popular online gambling strategy of bonus hunting.
Strategy & System: What’s The Difference?
When it comes to gambling, the terms strategy and system are used interchangeably. There aren’t really any accepted definitions of these terms in a gambling sense, as people interpret them in their own way. Some people view systems and strategies as pretty much the same thing, while others view them as completely separate.
Let’s take look at the dictionary definitions of these two terms.
A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim
A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.
The definition of strategy here is largely how we view it in relation to gambling. It’s not about a fixed set of rules, it’s about taking a particular approach or applying a specific method to betting or gaming. For example, considering all the main factors that can affect the outcome of a football match, and then wagering on the result accordingly. Or studying the form of all the horses in a race before trying to pick a winner.
A system, on the other hand, IS a fixed set of rules. Which is what the dictionary states of course. So an example here would be always betting on the highest ranked player in a tennis match. There’s no strategy involved in that, it’s just about following a single rule.
Things aren’t quite that simple though. Take basic blackjack strategy for example. The term strategy is widely used and accepted in this context, but it’s actually about following a fixed set of rules. Basic blackjack strategy tells you exactly what to do based on the cards in your hand and the dealer’s exposed card. There’s nothing else to consider, and no room for individual thought. To play “perfectly”, you simply have to follow the rules.
So our conclusion here is that there is no right or wrong way to use the term system or strategy when discussing gambling. We generally focus on the word strategy in our gambling guides, but that’s just our choice really. The important to thing to worry about is not what word is used, but whether any particular system or strategy can actually improve your chances of winning.
Paying for Systems & Strategies
The internet is absolutely littered with websites trying to sell gambling systems and strategies. Most of these are nothing more than cons. It’s perhaps a sad reflection on the state of our society, but the fact is that there are lots of scam artists who are more than willing to prey on gullible people and try to rip them off.
A quick search of google for “gambling systems” presents us with all kinds of amazing claims. Here’s a small selection.
We can guarantee that each and every one of these claims is false. You’ll notice that most of them are related to casino games, and that’s what a lot of scam artists focus on. They know that virtually everyone has access to online casinos these days, and they know that there are plenty of people desperate to believe that those casinos can be beaten. These crooks (and they are crooks for sure) take advantage of that desperation, and persuade people to part with their cash for something that just won’t work.
There is no system that will guarantee winnings in the casino.
Hopefully you already knew this. If you didn’t, then we’re sorry for shattering your illusions. But it’s a clear fact that casino games cannot be “beaten”. Not without cheating anyway. There are strategies that can improve your chances of winning, and with card counting it’s possible to gain an edge at the blackjack table. Nothing is ever guaranteed though, other than the fact that the casino will always profit in the long run. Casino games are games of chance, and the outcomes are always random. With a bit of luck, you can win some money every now and then. The odds are in the casinos’ favor because of the house edge though, and simple probability means that they’ll always come out ahead overall.
It is theoretically possible that a valid system could be developed for making consistent profits at sports betting, or horse racing betting. To the best of our knowledge, though, there’s never been a system that’s guaranteed to win. There are professional gamblers who use their knowledge and skills to win time and time again, so winning is definitely possible, but it’s extremely unlikely they use any one fixed system. They’ll look for potential opportunities to bet based on a variety of different factors, and they have the ability to sort the good opportunities from the bad.
So our best advice here is to ignore anyone trying to sell you a winning system or strategy. You’re almost certain to be disappointed, and there are better things to spend your money on. For starters, you could buy some books on gambling strategy that are written by experts. These won’t guarantee success either, but they might help you to improve your skills enough that you can win by yourself. We’ve recommended some of the best gambling strategy books on the following page.
You might also want to consider the possibility of paying for sports picks and tips. In our opinion this is no substitute for learning some sports betting strategy and making your own selections, but it does have some advantages as well as disadvantages. We discuss the relevant pros and cons on the following page.
This is one instance where the use of the word system fits the definition perfectly. Progressive betting systems involve following a clear set of rules for adjusting the size of your wagers based on whether previous wagers won or lost. These type of systems are incredibly popular, particularly among casino players.
There are several well-known progressive betting systems, such as the Martingale for example, but they are all ultimately flawed. Not one of them can actually improve your overall chances of winning, and they most certainly can’t guarantee any profits. Some of them can serve a purpose though, providing you accept them for what they are and use them sensibly. Just make sure that you understand how they work, and make sure you don’t fall for the gambler’s fallacy. You can find all you need to know on the following pages.
There are strategies you can use in pretty much any form of gambling. As we have already explained, our view of a strategy is that it is actually doing something that can basically improve the odds for you. This is usually done by adopting specific methodologies or by learning particular skills.
Our website features a number of strategy guides on the most popular forms of gambling. Here’s a look at them in detail.
There is a strong argument that poker is not a form of gambling at all, but is in fact a game of skill. We don’t really disagree with this argument although it cannot be ignored that there is an element of chance involved too. Ultimately though it doesn’t really matter what label you put on it, the bottom line is that you can play poker for money and risk your money to try to make a profit.
In terms of strategy, there is an awful lot of it involved in poker. Poker strategy is really quite a complicated subject, although there are plenty of basic strategies that beginners should be able to understand reasonably easy. There is also a lot of advanced strategy which is far more complex.
Put simply, poker strategy is about being better than your opponents. If you put the effort into learning all about the game and how to play it, then you have every chance of becoming a winning player. We have compiled a comprehensive guide to poker strategy that will help you improve your skills.
Our Poker Strategy Guide
Fundamentals of Poker Strategy
Basic Poker Math
Improving Poker Skills
Behavior & Psychology in Poker
Specific Plays & Moves
Tournament Specific Strategy
Strategy by Game Variant
Plus Much More
While betting on sports is unquestionably a form of gambling that involves some degree of luck, there is also a significant skill element. Indeed, there are many skilled professional gamblers in the world who make a good living from their betting activities. Most of them are successful because they are well disciplined, and know which strategies to use to consistently beat the bookmakers.
Sports betting strategy is largely about understanding the sport you are betting on and knowing how to choose which bets to make and when. It is not exactly easy to be successful, but it is certainly possible if you are prepared to put in the required effort.
There are also several specific strategies that you can use when betting on sports to help improve your chances of winning some money. We have covered these, and much more too, in our sports betting strategy section
Our Sports Betting Strategy Guide
Basic Sports Betting Strategy
Sports Handicapping Explained
Psychology in Sports Betting
Statistical Analysis & Distribution
Developing Betting Models
Hedging Existing Bets
Plus Much More
Playing casino games is different to betting on sports or playing poker in that there is ultimately nothing you can do to put the odds in your favor. The house edge is always stacked against you. That does not mean it’s impossible to win, it just means that the casino has the advantage. It basically comes down to whether you can get lucky enough to having a winning session.
With that being said, there are certain games in the casino that do involve some degree of strategy. In these games, making the right decisions at the right time you can greatly improve your chances of winning. You can learn about the relevant strategies in our casino game guides, and we also have a section looking at some general strategies that can be used in the casino
We should mention that there is one casino game where it is technically possible to actually put the odds in your favor. That game is blackjack. There is a strategy known as card counting that, if implemented correctly, can give you a small advantage over the house. It is not an easy strategy to master, and casinos will do everything they can to stop you counting cards successfully, but it can be done. We explain all about it in our blackjack guide.
Bonus hunting is a strategy that was very popular during the early days of online gambling sites. It involves trying to make a profit from the bonuses that sites offer to new customers. This used to be relatively easy to do as the terms and conditions for sign up bonuses were once a lot less strict than they are now.
It is much harder now and, for the most part, probably not worth investing much time in. However, it is still possible to gain an advantage from some bonuses so this strategy is not completely useless.