I’ve been gambling for almost as long as I can remember. Over the years I’ve accumulated many gambling stories. Of course, some stories are better than others. And some of the stories are quite painful.
Here are 3 gambling stories that are somewhat painful from my experience. Even writing about them is a little painful.
But you can learn an important lesson from each of the 3 stories. Hopefully you can learn something so you can avoid making the same painful mistakes that I’ve made. Find the lesson in each of these stories and you can avoid the same pain that I lived through.
1 – Playing Let It Ride the First Time
I was on a business trip at a conference that was being held in a hotel that had a casino attached. I was young and most of my gambling experience was playing poker and betting on sporting events.
After the conference I walked over to the casino and looked at all the available casino games. I didn’t know anything about some games, and only knew a little about others. The casino didn’t have a poker room, so I had to find something else to play.
I tried a few games and then found a Let It Ride table. This looked like a fun game and I liked the idea of being able to pull back wagers if I had a bad hand.
After watching a few hands I had a good idea of how the game worked and grabbed a seat. I told the dealer that I’d never played and she was extremely nice and helped me play without making any big mistakes.
I’ve found that most casino dealers are quite helpful to new players if the player simply asks for help. I’ve also found that dealers that players like tend to get more tips. I always tip dealers that I like more than grumpy casino dealers.
The cards were in my favor early and I got ahead by quite a bit. This seemed like a great game and it seemed easy to win. Of course, 4 or 5 hours later I’d lost my starting stake along with the money I bought back in with.
This is a common story for gamblers around the world. You find a new game, start playing, get up a little bit, and then play until you run out of money.
The lesson here isn’t about knowing when to quit playing. It’s almost impossible to figure out exactly when you should stop. The lesson is in the main mistake I made. I played a casino game that I didn’t know anything about.
I didn’t know how bad the house edge was and I had no idea how to use proper strategy. I still love Let It Ride, but I don’t play it for real money now because I know the edge is too high. And I also know the proper way to use strategy.
All of this could have been avoided if I’d done a little research before I started looking for a game to play. Blackjack would have been a much better option.
2 – The Jacks or Better Multi Hand Lesson
I like to play Jacks or Better but I only play on machines with a 9/6 pay table. I started playing on machines in land based casinos, and when I started playing in online casinos I quickly started playing a lot of Jacks or Better.
Online Jacks or Better can be played quite fast, and I started getting bored. And a new game was introduced that let you play more than 1 hand at a time. You could play 1 hand, 10 hands, or 52 hands at a time.
This sounded like a great idea, so I played a few single hands to make sure that the game used the pay table I wanted. Then I started playing 10 hands at a time. I played for at least an hour before I looked at a payout for a flush and thought it looked wrong.
Instead of winning 30 coins I only received 25. My first thought was that this can’t be correct. And then I looked at the pay table. And what I saw was that instead of playing on a 9/6 table I was playing on an 8/5 table.
I switched back to the single hand game and it was still using the 9/6 table. But when you switched to the 10 or 52 hand game the pay table changed. Of course, there’s nothing exactly wrong with this, but I instantly felt cheated.
In my mind the casino used a bait and switch tactic on me. And in a way they did. But in the end the entre situation was my fault. All I had to do was check the pay table when I switched to a multi hand game.
This mistake ended up costing me some money, and it irritated me so much that I’ve never made the same mistake again.
Never assume that a pay table is 1 way without verifying it. In fact, never assume anything when you’re gambling. Always verify what you think is true before you put your money on the line.
3 – The Stupid Bluffer
This is the most painful story in my gambling career. It’s not the most costly mistake I ever made, but it’s the most painful because of how stupid I played the hand. The good news is that it was so painful that I’ve never made this mistake again.
I was playing no limit Texas holdem and was on the button. It was folded around to me and I limped into the pot. This was the first mistake I made in the hand. Sadly, it isn’t the worst mistake I made.
My hole cards were 2 face cards, and the flop came with 2 4’s and a 6. I decided that I was going to take the pot no matter what, so I fired a bet into the pot. The small blind thought for a little bit and called my bet and the big blind folded.
The smart thing to do at this point was to check and fold unless my hand improved. But this isn’t what I did. A blank came on the turn and I fired off an even bigger bet. The small blind put on a great show.
He acted like he was in pain, and even pulled his wallet out to see if he had money to buy back in if he lost the hand. He finally called and we saw the river.
At this point any sane person would give up on the hand, but not me. Another blank landed on the river and I fired yet another bigger bet in the pot. At this point the small blind was almost all in so he raised the small amount to get all in. It was such a small amount that I had to call.
He had a 4 for 3 of a kind and I lost a huge pot. And I didn’t have anything.
I made many mistakes in the hand, and I had several opportunities to get out of the hand and limit my losses. But I fell into a trap that many poker players fall into. They start bluffing and then marry a hand and bluff away all of their money.
The correct way to play the hand is to raise before the flop. The odds are that the small blind would fold because he didn’t have a good hand. But I let him see the flop for a half bet. And when he called on the flop, the correct play is to check and then use pot odds if he bets.
The only good thing about that night at the poker table is that I still left the table with a profit. But it would’ve been much bigger if I hadn’t been a stupid bluffer.
Looking back at the 3 stories in this article, I could have avoided each of these painful lessons back gambling in those casinos. All I had to do was either do a little more research, paid better attention, or stopped being so stubborn. But the important thing is I learned from each of these stories when they happened.
You have the opportunity to learn the same lessons that I did, and you don’t even have to lose money like I did to learn them. I try to learn from the mistakes that other gamblers make because it’s cheaper than learning the lessons the hard way. And this is what you should be doing as well.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …