7 Lessons That Gamblers Can Learn From Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan Gambling Chips Card

Michael Jordan is generally regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time. He won six NBA championships and a number of individual accolades.

Jordan isn’t such a great gambler, though. He once lost $5 million at the craps table and suffered some other big losses, too.

You can’t really learn much about gambling from Michael Jordan the gambler. However, you can take many lessons from his immense success as a basketball player and apply it to your gambling.

That said, I’m going to cover seven things you can learn from Jordan when it comes to beating casino games.

1 – There Are No Shortcuts to Success

Unfortunately, many gamblers rely on luck when they’re in the casino. They place random bets, use little strategy, and hope that everything will fall into place.

Others use a little strategy here or there. But they may put too much reliance on a risky gambling system, such as the Martingale.

In all honesty, winning in gambling has no shortcuts. Every poker pro, successful card counter, or competent amateur player has put the work in to succeed.

Michael Jordan knows better than anybody that you can’t take shortcuts in life. He constantly worked in the gym to improve his game.

“If you do the work, you get rewarded,” MJ said. “There are no shortcuts in life.”

2 – Put in the Work

Continuing off the last point, a winning gambler doesn’t become successful through one to two hours of study every week. They spend countless hours developing their craft.

For Example:

No modern-day poker player sits down and earns $100 an hour by sheer chance. They watch pros on Twitch streams, join training sites, read articles, and review their sessions after the fact.

Jordan took the same approach to his basketball career, using every available advantage he could to become better. MJ was the first into the gym and last to leave.

He also used a variety of ways to motivate himself to become a success. Everything began when he didn’t make the varsity basketball team his sophomore year.

“It was embarrassing not making that team,” he recalled. “They posted the roster and it was there for a long, long time without my name on it.

“I remember being really mad too, because there was a guy that made it that really wasn’t as good as me.”

Jordan has never forgotten this embarrassing moment. He frequently called upon it to keep pushing himself in the gym.

“Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it,” he said. “That usually got me going again.”

You can use past shortcomings as motivation, too. If you’re a sports bettor, for example, you may not always feel like putting in the necessary work. But like Jordan, you could close your eyes and remember a time when you were slighted in some way to gain extra motivation.

3 – Don’t Fear Failure

Success didn’t always breed more success for Jordan. Instead, he often found failure to be just as motivating.

“Failure makes me work even harder,” Jordan said.

Number 23 experienced failure many times in his NBA career. As the documentary series The Last Dance show, he especially had trouble getting by the Detroit Pistons.

Jordan’s Chicago Bulls lost to the Pistons in the playoffs three straight years. The third loss, which came in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals, was particularly devastating.

Did MJ retire after the third and most painful loss to Detroit? No, he worked harder and used the losses as fuel to become better than ever.

The GOAT put his failure into perspective with one of his most famous quotes of all time.

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed.

“And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Gambling is much like basketball in that it can breed failure. Even if you’re a great poker player or sports bettor, you’re going to lose many sessions and bets.

You can either let this failure get you down or use it as motivation to become better. Assuming you do the latter, then you have a great chance to succeed.

4 – Be Willing to Make Big Changes When Things Aren’t Working

Gambling is rarely as simple as learning a few concepts and immediately dominating the game. You’ll often run into problems that force you to change up your habits in certain instances.

For example, you may start out counting cards at a specific casino. However, you might find that the pit boss is too attentive and the deck penetration isn’t good enough.

In this case, you can either keep butting your head against the wall or look for another casino. The willingness to make such changes is the key to increasing your edge.

Nobody knows change better than Michael Jordan. On October 6, 1993, he retired from basketball after winning his first three championships and pursued professional baseball.

Jordan didn’t take the baseball world by storm during his minor league career. However, he did gain perspective on basketball and went on to win another three championships (1997-1999).

5 – Enjoy What You’re Doing

When online poker boomed in the mid-2000s, many people came rushing back to the game because they wanted easy money. The same players eventually found themselves bored and later quit, usually after taking serious losses.

You simply can’t excel in gambling if you don’t enjoy the entire process, from learning to winning. You’ll be much more successful if you actually like what you’re doing.

Jordan carried the same perspective on the basketball court. That’s why he stepped away from the game for almost two years when he wasn’t having fun.

MJ also applies the same mentality to his business pursuits, including his Nike sponsorship and ownership of the Charlotte Hornets.

6 – Don’t Dwell on the Past or Future

Every gambler has a story about how they should’ve quit a session when they were up big or made a certain decision differently. Some even dwell on past mistakes so much to where they stop moving forward towards success.

Jordan was excellent at forgetting his mistakes and moving on. “Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again,” he said.

“There’s no reason to worry about the past because it’s not coming back. Never think about what’s at stake … If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus.”

The six-time NBA champion has an incredible ability to be in the moment. As a player, his thoughts were always on the court rather than anything else.

“It happens all the time in basketball: one team gets out to a big lead only to get overconfident and lose the game in the final seconds. Their mistake is thinking about the victory celebration instead of focusing on the game at hand.”

7 – Set Goals

You probably have a vague idea on how you want your gambling career to go. If you’re a recreational blackjack player, you likely see yourself experiencing a big win streak.

Assuming you’re an aspiring poker pro, you may picture yourself winning the WSOP Main Event or playing in Vegas’ biggest cash games.

In any scenario, you need to set goals and achieve them to reach your dream. You can’t just sit down to the table and expect magic to happen.

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them,” Michael advised.


Again, Michael Jordan is definitely no professional gambler. But he’s the GOAT in one of the world’s most popular sports.

Therefore, Jordan knows a thing or two about success. His blueprint for achieving basketball glory can still be applied to gambling.

You can use his philosophies and mindset to fuel your desire to be a winning gambler. Assuming you develop the same maniacal drive as Jordan, you could even become the best in a particular game.

Michael Stevens

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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