When we head out to the casino to gamble it up, the reality is that most of us will head home having left a little dough behind for the house. That’s par for the course given the way casino games are constructed to put players at a statistical disadvantage. Nonetheless, a little good luck can go a long way, which is why so many players still manage to beat the odds and win.
For whatever reason, some gamblers simply don’t seem to ever have Lady Luck on their side. And it’s likely because they share the six characteristics found below.
1 – Impatience
In the aforementioned companion piece covering winning gamblers, I led off by reviewing how the various casino games are always tilted in the house’s favor.
When even the best blackjack and video poker strategists on the planet are up against a 0.50% average house edge, you must accept that the sledding will be much tougher for ordinary players. And of course, for the folks who enjoy pure games of chance like roulette and the slots, random variance will decide your results over the short and long term.
With this knowledge well in hand, winning gamblers force themselves to stay patient while riding out the “swings” between positive and negative results.
On the other side of the coin, gamblers who lose money consistently tend to let their impatience get the better of them. When the first few minutes of play fail to produce a profit, these players frantically begin trying to chase down their losses.
Perhaps they’ll suddenly start placing much larger wagers, in hopes of recouping their lost bets in one fell swoop. Or maybe they’ll abandon basic strategy guidelines in hopes of finding that rare gin card still left in the deck.
In any event, the losing gambler’s lack of patience perpetually puts them behind the proverbial eight ball. Rather than realize how casino games work—and accept that downswings and bad beats will inevitably show their ugly face—impatient players always seem to believe that winning sessions are a right and not a privilege. Of course, the probabilities and odds stacked against the player mean expecting to win every time you play is nothing but a fool’s errand.
Unless you’re willing to stay cool and stick to the game plan while you suffer through a losing jag, walking away a winner by night’s end just becomes that much more difficult.
2 – Risk Aversion
One of the age-old maxims passed down from one generation of gamblers to the next declares, “Scared money don’t make money.”
This expression largely stems from the world of high-stakes poker, where bold bullies who aren’t afraid to bet big can easily “steamroll” intimidated opponents who can’t find the courage to call a bluff. But the fundamental concept can be applied to any skill-based casino game, because players who can’t pull the trigger when an edge arises invariably leave money on the table.
One Classic Example:
Risk-averse gamblers shooting themselves in the foot occurs in the video poker parlor. On your typical Game King machine offering all the basic video poker variants—Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Double Double Bonus, etc.—the player can choose to bet 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 coins per hand. Thus, a quarter ($0.25) machine can be played for $0.25, $0.50, $0.75, $1.00, or the maximum of $1.25 per hand.
As a reward for betting the maximum five coins, Game King machines are set to pay out a premium jackpot payout of 4,000 coins when you land a royal flush, or more than three times the expected amount using the pay table for smaller bets.
Remember, one-coin bettors earn 250 coins on a royal, two-coin betters collect 500 coins, three coins gets you 750 coins, and a four-coin play is good for 1,000 coins. Those payouts come to $62.50, $125, $187.50, and $250, respectively.
But when you hit a royal on a five-coin bet, the 4,000-coin jackpot payout balloons to $1,000. Yep, adding just one more quarter to your four-coin bet brings back an additional $750 in profit when you beat the odds and score a royal flush.
Nonetheless, casinos line their pockets day in and day out thanks to risk-averse players who remain content to bet less than the maximum.
As these players flawed reasoning goes, landing a royal is such a longshot at over 40,000 to 1 against, so why bother “wasting” an extra coin every hand when all of the other payouts for big hands remain the same?
Well, the risk-tolerant winning players enjoy a healthy payback rate of 99.54% on 9/6 Jacks or Better. And on the same machines, playing the same game for just one fewer coin, their risk-averse counterparts must contend with a far lower 98.30% payback rate.
Padding the house’s precious edge by more than a percentage point, and all because you’re reluctant to bet the full monty, is the telltale sign of a losing gambler.
3 – Impulsiveness
Remaining willing and able to bet big when the moment calls for it is all well and good, but many losing gamblers confuse healthy risk-tolerance with reckless abandon.
These are the players who can’t seem to walk by a craps table without taking a crack at the dice. They’re the folks who always have a few chips at the ready to splash around on single number longshots in roulette and the blackjack fans who are always happy to double down, even when the basic strategy book advises against it.
I’m not confusing impulsive play with compulsive gambling, mind you, so don’t get me wrong there. I’m simply referring to the plain lack of discipline which seems to plague so many lifelong losers at the casino.
If you’re strolling around the casino betting on every game and wager that catches your eye, chances are high that you’re not making the smartest plays every time out. Placing a wager simply because it’s available might be a great source of entertainment, but you’ll seldom have the best available odds and payouts.
Imagine the Following Scenario if You Will…
As a blackjack enthusiast who has put in the study to master blackjack basic strategy, you arrive on your favorite casino floor ready to turn practice into profits. Unfortunately, all of the 3:2 payout tables are ringed with players and no seats are available at the moment. But right around the corner, you spot a 6:5 payout game going with plenty of open seats.
You could exercise patience and hang back, waiting to bring your bankroll to the tables where a dealt blackjack earns 3:2. There, your knowledge of basic strategy will whittle the house’s edge down under 0.50%—making the game potentially beatable with a little luck on your side.
But after watching a few hands from afar, the juices get flowing and your impulse to play takes over. You sit down at the inferior 6:5 table instead, and just like that, you’re climbing a steep uphill battle against the house’s swollen edge of over 2%.
If impulsiveness impels you to make poor decisions with your gambling dollar, you can always expect the casino to clean up over the long run.
4 – Lack of Confidence
In the gambling community, a player whose perpetual bad luck seems to rub off on others is known as a “mush.” Also known as a “cooler,” these players mope around and complain about cold decks, beg the dealer to deliver and save their bacon, and generally cloud the room with discontent.
And as you might expect, this lack of confidence leads to another round of losses, which further depletes the player’s confidence in a vicious cycle of despair and depression.
If you want to build a winning culture in your casino gambling endeavors, the foundation begins with believing in yourself.
5 – Complacency
Along the same lines, losing players tend to find themselves stuck in a rut that they’ve largely dug for themselves.
Rather than read instructional books, study basic strategy charts, and put in time on practice simulators to hone their craft, these players simply wait for their “luck” to turn around. They don’t practice sound game selection, manage their bankroll using strict guidelines, or learn new games that offer better odds.
Nope, complacent losers just get used to licking their wounds when the chips run low, while blaming everybody but the man or woman in the mirror.
6 – Addiction
On a final note, many gamblers who never seem to get over the hump suffer from legitimate addictive and compulsive behavioral issues.
In fact, when a player has slid deep into their gambling addiction, winning or losing money isn’t really the point any longer. They simply crave the action, the brief rush of serotonin coursing through their brain as they place a bet. What happens after that is really irrelevant, so long as their yearning to stay in the game has been satisfied.
If you or somebody you know is suffering from compulsive gambling, don’t hesitate to explore treatment programs like Gambler’s Anonymous and ditch the casino for counseling.
We all want to win when we gamble at the casino games, but unfortunately, the very nature of our favorite table games and machines sees the deck stacked against us.
With that said, certain personality traits like the ones described here make it that much harder to squeeze out winning session. Now that you’ve learned about a few of the more troubling traits shared by losing players, take an honest self-inventory and ask yourself the right questions. Soon enough, you’ll start to find the answers inside you that are needed to get back on the winning track.
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. ...
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