7 Mines Games Easy Win Characteristics of Successful Gamblers
If you want to be a successful gambler, you need to do what successful gamblers do. Perhaps more importantly, you need to develop the same characteristics within yourself that these bettors also have. As you’ll see, these might not be the qualities that you think they are.
First, let’s talk about defining “success” and “successful.” You’ll notice that I didn’t say “winning” gamblers. That’s not every gambler’s goal, and for the purpose of this post (at least), I’m going to define being successful as achieving your goals.
If your goal is to sit in the casino, have a good time, lose no more money than you can afford to, and have a shot at going home with a jackpot, playing the slots might be the perfect strategy for you. You don’t need much knowledge of probability to succeed if that’s your goal.
On the other hand, if your goal is to enjoy meeting some new people, you might enjoy a casino game or a gambling game with a more social aspect. Maybe you’d make a good poker player, even if your goal isn’t necessarily to win money at the table.
For years, I’ve been playing poker as an almost break-even player. My goal is to sit around, tell some jokes and stories, and enjoy the camaraderie I find at the table. I also want to go home as a net winner about half the time.
The characteristics below would help any gambler succeed, regardless of what their goals are.
1 – Successful Gamblers Aren’t Afraid of Math
It’s hard to succeed if you don’t have a basic understanding of gambling math. That’s hard for a lot of people, especially in the United States, and especially in our modern environment. Many people just plain hate and fear math.
But when it comes to analyzing bets to see which ones are good and bad, you can’t do it without the ability to do some math. If you’re afraid of math, then you have no chance of discerning the good opportunities from the bad opportunities.
In fact, even if you’re a purely recreational gambler, you need to be math-savvy enough to tell if you’re getting your money’s worth in terms of entertainment. If you can’t do math, how do you know when you’re overdoing it?
This might sound funny if you’re good at balancing your checkbook and handling basic consumer math. But I’ve spent some time working in education, and you’d be surprised how many students can’t even handle basic arithmetic like addition and subtraction.
Since all probabilities deal with fractions, decimals, and percentages, you need to be a reasonably facile mathematician to have any hope of succeeding at any of your goals. Advantage players (like poker pros and blackjack card counters) absolutely must have a command of the arithmetic behind the games.
It’s not enough to just know how to play the games or to just have a feel for the games. To really succeed, you must know how to handle the numbers behind the games.
2 – Successful Gamblers Also Aren’t Afraid of Risk
Have you ever heard the following expression?
“Scared money always loses.”
There’s a reason for this. That reason varies in its particulars according to the game you’re playing, but the bottom line is that you can’t win or become a successful gambler unless you’re willing to take appropriate risks.
Let’s look at an example.
You’re playing Texas hold’em, and you’ve been dealt pocket aces — the best possible starting hand in the game. But you’re playing at a full table where no one will fold no matter what you do preflop.
In that situation, your pocket aces are going to win about one-third of the time. Two-thirds of the time, you’ll lose this hand.
Some players think that their goal is to get everyone to fold preflop when they have pocket aces. The best possible scenario for you, though, is for everyone to call your all-in raise preflop.
Yeah, you’re risking losing your entire stack, but consider what your long-term results will look like.
You have nine players in the pot. Let’s assume they all have $100, so you’re looking at a pot of $900.
If you play this hand three times and win it once, you’ll win $900. The two times you lose, you’re only going to lose $100 per hand, or $200 total.
That’s a $700 profit, even though you’re going to lose two-thirds of the time.
There’s a reason that tight aggressive players are the most feared poker players at the table. It’s because they’re not afraid to risk their money in a positive expectation situation.
The situation I described is an outlier. It’s an extreme situation.
But it illustrates the point well.
You’ll usually have a smaller edge in these situations, but the key to winning at poker is to repeatedly put yourself in these kinds of positive expectation situations.
That’s true in other kinds of gambling, too.
No risk, no reward.
3 – Successful Gamblers Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness sounds like some kind of new age thing that people who take yoga talk about. It also sounds sort of insubstantial and impractical.
But mindfulness might be the most important quality to develop in yourself if you want to be a successful gambler.
Mindfulness is a state of being where you’re paying 100% attention to what’s happening right now in front of you. It’s the opposite of daydreaming — the opposite of distraction. If you’re daydreaming and/or distracted, you’re more likely to fail at your goals as a successful gambler.
This is as true for a slot machine player as it is for a poker or blackjack player, even though your goals are different from one game to another. I’ve seen slot machine players hit the spin button repeatedly without even looking at the results on the reels in front of them.
For someone who’s playing a game for the almost sole purpose of entertainment, that seems counterproductive, doesn’t it?
After all, isn’t it more entertaining to pay full attention to what’s happening on the screen in front of you?
I seldom play slot machines because I’m more interested in Texas hold’em.
But when I do play slots, I try a couple of techniques to ensure that I’m getting 100% of my money’s worth.
For one thing, I count how many spins I’m making on the machine. I also watch every win tally up on the counter, even if it takes a little while. These sights and sounds are the reasons I’m playing the game, after all.
Why a poker player or blackjack player should pay attention is so obvious that I’m not even going to get into any great detail about it.
How do you develop mindfulness?
Consider a meditation practice.
And just pay attention to what’s happening in front of you. Mindfulness is a skill like any other. It can be learned, and you can improve at it.
4 – Successful Gamblers Have Good People Skills
In some gambling situations, having good people skills is obvious. For example, if you’ve played much poker, you’ve probably noticed that more money flows around the table if you’re at a friendly, light-hearted game. You can either add to that atmosphere or subtract from it.
In other gambling situations, having good people skills is less obvious. I hate to keep banging the slot machine drum, but isn’t that a situation where people skills don’t matter?
That might seem like the case initially, but let’s consider a couple of things.
Most slot machine players I know enjoy the free cocktails that are served while they’re playing. Who do you think the cocktail waitresses pay more attention to?
Do you think the surly guy who frowns, doesn’t look the waitress in the eye, and doesn’t tip gets much service?
How about the friendly gal who smiles, looks the cocktail waitress in the eye and smiles, and tips generously?
I’ve seen gamblers putting ten times as much money into action as me get completely ignored by the cocktail waitresses just because their people skills were lousy. On the other hand, my people skills are excellent. We can credit that to years of sales experience. Cocktail waitresses take excellent care of me.
What about the blackjack player who’s counting cards?
If he’s friendly to the dealer, is the dealer less likely to shuffle the cards on every hand?
I’m not sure, but I suspect he might play a little deeper into the shoe for a guy he likes than for a guy he dislikes.
And when it comes to the bigger comps, like rooms, food, and entertainment, you’ll get better perks from a casino host if the host likes you. This can result in hundreds of dollars of value over the course of a year or two.
5 – Successful Gamblers Stay Healthy
You can’t consider yourself successful at anything if you’re in poor health. You might think that as long as your mind stays sharp, you can get by being a little overweight or in poor physical condition.
The wise among you already know that a healthy mind lives inside a healthy body, always.
If your physical health is poor, your mental faculties will suffer.
And gambling, more than anything, is a mental game — no matter what your game of choice is.
Many of my readers don’t need to worry about staying healthy because they need to worry about getting healthy.
You don’t have to let this take over your life, and you don’t have to be intimidated by the prospect of it. Baby steps are a better idea for getting healthier than taking huge, unrealistic steps.
I have a friend who weighs over 700 pounds. He’s not tall, either. He’s almost completely bed-ridden. The only time he gets up out of bed is to walk to and from the bathroom.
We spoke a couple of days ago, and he’s decided to do something about his condition. He’s starting by just walking around his apartment once a day. After he’s done that for a week or two, he can move up to two or three laps around the apartment.
He’s also taken steps toward eating healthier. He still eats Hamburger Helper, and he still eats large portions of it, but he’s switched to the 97/3 ground beef, which is so much leaner and healthier that he’s started losing weight already.
He’s also cut back on the amount of sugar in his tea.
No matter how poor your health is now, there are steps you can take to improve your physical health. Don’t be surprised when your results as a gambler improve, too.
6 – Successful Gamblers Are Realistic
You can’t become a successful gambler if you live in a fantasy land. I have a friend who’s convinced that he’s psychic. He picks up vibrations and energy from people. He thinks he does, anyway.
He’s welcome at my Texas hold’em table anytime.
I’m realistic. I don’t think I have any supernatural powers. The laws of chance and probability work for me just like they do everyone else. I don’t have some kind of special gift that tells me when I should deviate from basic strategy.
You should educate yourself about probability and how it works. You must understand the concept of an independent event. You should also understand concepts like short-term deviation and the Law of Large Numbers.
Maybe most importantly, you should understand the concept of the gambler’s fallacy. This is the ultimate in gambling realism.
Here’s the premise that people falling for the gambler’s fallacy are buying into.
They believe that past events affect future results, even when those results are independent events.
Roulette is a classic example.
The probability of getting a black result on a roulette spin is easy to calculate. You have 18 black numbers out of 38 total numbers. That’s 18/38, which is also 47.37%.
But what if black has come up five times in a row?
What’s the probability of getting a black result on spin #6 in this situation?
Some people would say that black is hot, so the better bet is on black. Other people (most people) would say that red is due, so the better bet is on red.
Both sets of people are wrong.
Every spin of the roulette wheel is an independent event. What happened on previous events doesn’t matter.
You might say that it’s unlikely that the ball will land on black six times in a row, and you’d be right.
But you’re not betting that the ball will land on black six times in a row.
You’re betting on the next spin, and the probability of that spin is unaffected by what happened on the previous five spins.
The roulette wheel has no memory.
That’s just being realistic.
7 – Successful Gamblers Think Long Term
Successful gamblers are a lot like investors, especially advantage gamblers like poker players and professional sports bettors. They’re practiced at taking advantage of small ROI’s and doing so repeatedly.
In the short run, when you’re dealing with random outcomes, anything can happen.
But in the long run, the Law of Large Numbers suggests that the longer you play, the closer your results will get to the mathematical expectation.
For example, if you’re a poker player who’s better than the other players at the table, you can still go home a loser after a single session. You could even be a net loser several sessions in a row.
That’s just short-term variance, though.
If you’re really a better player than the other players, your advantage will eventually materialize in the form of real money.
It doesn’t matter that you went all-in with pocket aces on the previous hand and lost. You know that by putting your opponent all in, you were getting the best of it.
And you also know that if you do that repeatedly, eventually you’ll wind up with a profit that reflects the difference between your skill levels and those of your opponents.
What difference does it make if you lose a hand when you have an entire lifetime of hands in front of you to make up for it?
If you want to be a successful gambler, you should start by taking a careful look at your goals and your ability to achieve them. Not everyone has the discipline required to be a professional poker player or a successful card counter. In fact, most people don’t.
Set your goals according to what you know about your temperament and your skills. Play to your strengths.
If you don’t have it in you to be a pro poker player or to fool with any game that involves a skill element or a decision-making element, accept that and stick with the games that are entirely random.
No matter what your goals are, though, the seven characteristics in this post will help you achieve them:
- Math Friendly
- Risk Friendly
- People Friendly
- Long-Term Oriented
Some of these might seem more obvious than others. Math, obviously, is critical to become a successful gambler — after all, that’s what probability is all about.
Math isn’t enough, though. You can still be afraid of risk even if you understand the math. You might be so socially awkward that you enjoy far less gambling than your money should afford you just because the casino employees treat you differently.
Meditate, and you’ll be better able to pay attention to what you’re doing. Eat better and get more exercise, and you’ll make better gambling decisions, too.
Maybe most importantly, be realistic. If a game has a negative expectation, don’t expect to win in the long run.
And you should always keep the long term in mind when you’re thinking about gambling. That’s how you make better decisions.