Anybody can win money at a casino. No matter how much or little gambling experience someone has, there’s always a chance to walk away as a winner.
Unfortunately, there’s a great divide in the way casual gamblers view the casino-going experience.
Some believe that winning is a foregone conclusion and are already thinking about what they’ll spend their winnings on. Others walk into a casino resigned to the fact that they stand no chance of beating the house.
Both of these mindsets are inaccurate and detrimental to the multitude of casual gamblers who frequent casinos. Yet it’s people who only gamble on the rarest of occasions that are integral pieces of the casino industry.
Most casinos are aware of this and cater to the “infrequent gambler” demographic. But they can also take advantage of these same gamblers who keep the lights on and help casinos stay in business.
While it’s likely going to be an uphill battle, there are several ways to break the wheel and flip the odds. Here are six things a casual gambler needs to know about making money at casinos.
1 ‒ What Constitutes a Casual Gambler?
Before getting too deep into this article, it’s worth trying to define the term “casual gambler.”
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say a casual gambler is someone who goes to a casino around one to three times a year. When they decide to gamble, they enjoy it.
But they don’t tend to go out of their way to organize casino trips or monthly poker nights. These gamblers have some experience but aren’t setting the casino on fire with their abilities.
If they’re lucky, they break even. Most casual gamblers decide to venture to casinos because it’s an unconventional source of entertainment. Instead of catching a movie with friends, grabbing dinner with a spouse, or going to happy hour for the fifth time this month, casinos offer a break from the norm.
Some more serious gamblers might look down on this approach to gambling. In their mind, gambling is a potential source of income. A fun night out simply doesn’t pay the bills.
Whether you’re someone who goes to casinos to win money, or you’re there to enjoy yourself makes no difference. Both approaches are legitimate and acceptable in the world of gambling.
But what if there was a way to have fun and increase your chances of winning?
2 ‒ You’re at an Immediate Disadvantage
Casual gamblers typically lose money due to a combination of reasons:
- They don’t know enough about gambling in general.
- They’re unaware of subtle ploys casinos use to take gambler’s money.
- Casual gamblers frequently play the wrong kinds of games.
- Casinos seem too overwhelming and back them into corners.
- Gambling, even for the best players, is a challenging pursuit.
Here’s where things might get somewhat gloomy. Casinos and the gambling industry at large are simultaneously transparent and secretive in their practices.
That is quite apparent when you contemplate and attempt to quantify the odds a perfectly average gambler has to win money.
Almost everything you need to know about the games inside casinos and the odds you can win is readily available to the gambling public. However, casual gamblers don’t often pursue this sort of information.
Instead, casual gamblers are often underprepared. Casinos make it quite easy for these sorts of gamblers to fall flat on their face and hand all of their gambling money over to the house.
The first step to winning money as a casual gambler is to acknowledge how difficult it truly is. Doing so should serve to motivate you to perform better at the tables and appreciate the more serious aspects of gambling.
3 ‒ Learn the Path to Beating the House
As I said in the last point, casinos know how to take money from subpar gamblers. If you fall into that category, don’t fret: Casinos are quite capable of doing the same thing to high rollers.
You are likely aware of this fact, but it always bears repeating: Every game is set up to favor the house over the gambler. No matter what game you decide to play, you’re projected to lose money.
When casual gamblers stumble upon this unfortunate factoid, they typically react in one of two ways. The first is with a reasonable and understandable feeling of hopelessness and irritation.
If the casino is going to win more often than I do, why should I gamble in the first place?
As we’ll discuss later, certain games favor the house the smallest of margins. Others are a bit less accommodating.
The second type of reaction often leads to casual gamblers becoming even more relaxed about gambling. If I’m going to lose, I might as well enjoy myself and not expend any unnecessary time and energy on learning how to gamble better.
Neither one of these approaches and mindsets is going to lead to sustained success. The path to beating the house is always present but won’t reveal itself to gamblers who don’t care to look for it.
4 ‒ Set Budgets and Expectations
If you’re in a bad mood while gambling, or are resigned to the fact that you’re going to lose money, you might as well stay home. Casinos simply aren’t fun places for people who have a negative opinion about gambling.
Any casual gambler who wants to make money needs to be able to keep their emotions and their budget under control. If you’re a casual gambler, then you need to set realistic expectations.
Plus, no one wants to play cards with a self-deprecating pessimist. One of my favorite pieces of advice I offer new gamblers is that casinos are no place for bad attitudes.
Mind you, that doesn’t mean they aren’t on full display inside casinos 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But other people’s bad attitudes should never influence you or convince you it’s okay to conduct yourself in that manner.
If you’ve never encountered a buzzkill inside a casino, count your blessings but know that a run-in is inevitable. Don’t be that gambler; just take my word for it.
While the other extreme might not be as detrimental to your odds, overconfidence is a dangerous thing for a casual gambler. You need to find a balance between the two.
Gamblers with poor attitudes are highly unlikely to string along consecutive wins. But overestimating your limited abilities can land you in hot water.
If you’re terrible at winning or losing, or struggle to handle adversity with poise, then consider scaling back your initial investment. Seeing a stack of chips grow smaller and smaller is hard to bounce back from. Even the best and most composed gamblers don’t handle it well from time to time.
Simply put: Don’t leave the financial implications of a gambling trip hanging in the balance.
5 ‒ The Games You Play Make All the Difference
If you only take away one nugget of information from this article, it should be the following statement.
The casino game you choose to play has more influence on your likelihood of winning than anything else. All other factors aside, if you select the wrong game, you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot.
Picking the right game for you comes down to four straightforward questions:
- Have I played this game before?
- If so, how did I fare?
- Do I feel confident in my abilities?
- Does this game give me a decent chance to win?
While a casual gambler should ask themselves all of those questions, the fourth one is arguably the most important. Sure, it’s important to know what games instill feelings of comfort and confidence. But, all the confidence in the world won’t help you if you’re up against a sizable house edge.
Casual gamblers should focus on one of three games: blackjack, craps, and roulette. Spending a small percentage of your bankroll on overly-simplistic games like slots is fine.
But the three games listed above are great options for someone with limited gambling skills and experience. Additionally, your chances of winning money are significantly better than other types of games, provided you play them correctly.
6 ‒ There Are Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Up to this point, I’ve mainly offered tips on what casual gamblers should do. But there’s also a long list of mistakes casual gamblers make that can ruin a gambling trip.
Most of these mistakes fall into three categories:
- Mismanaging bankrolls
- Eating out of the casinos’ hand
- Settling for lesser games and worse odds
The last point has already been discussed at great lengths. But to wrap up that concept, make sure you’re playing games that put you in the most lucrative position possible.
As for the other two common miscues, casual gamblers are no different than any other demographic. Managing your bankroll responsibly is as difficult as winning.
The key to smart financial decision-making—specifically for casual gamblers—is placing a series of small, consistent wagers that have a decent ROI (return on investment).
Avoid longshot bets, and don’t waste a lot of money on games you don’t know how to play. Finally, don’t play into the casino’s hand. Assume every single action the house makes has an ulterior motive. “Free” is never really free in casinos.
Free drinks will end up costing you money in the long run, and free plays are often anything but. Be on your toes at all times, and always remember that the house doesn’t want you to win their money.
Just because you’re technically classified as a “casual gambler,” it doesn’t mean you can’t win money.
Anyone who gambles around one to three times a year, enjoys being in a casino, but doesn’t devote any extra time or energy to improving, can be classified as a casual player.
If it seems like I’m describing you, then here’s what you need to know about winning. You’re already going to be walking into the casino with a target on your back. Casinos aren’t too kind to people who are unaware of their tactful and subtly deceptive practices.
Luck plays a sizable role in determining a gambler’s fate. But you have more control than you might believe. Make sure to spend money responsibly, select the best game possible, and always question the house’s motive.
And again, just because you’re only playing casino games “casually,” it doesn’t mean you can’t walk away with a little extra cash in your pocket.
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. …