Doubling Your Way to a Million – The Best Games to Play

by Jeff Harris
on May 20, 2018
15

Minute Read

Many people dream of earning a million-dollar payday. Gambling is no different, because some players fantasize about getting a six-figure score at the casino.

The most-common routes to becoming a gambling millionaire include huge poker tournaments and progressive slot machines. The latter is especially common, because you’ll find a number of seven-figure jackpots in both land-based and online slots.

But you don’t have to win $1 million in a single payout. You can also double your bets until you reach a million dollars.

What’s the feasibility of doing so? And what are the best games to double your way to seven figures with?

Find out as I cover the odds of accomplishing this feat and which games you should use as your vehicles to riches.

How Many Bets Must You Win to Double to a Million?

Your odds of doubling to a million vary based on the casino game you’re playing and the starting bet size. But for the sake of simplicity, assume the following variables:

  • You start with a $1 bet.
  • You double your wager after every win.
  • The chances of winning each bet are 50%.

You must multiply $1 by 2 until you reach $1 million or more. This will look messy, so I’ll save us both the trouble by stating that you must win 20 straight bets to earn $1,048,576.

Gamblers find it hard to win three or four rounds in a row, let alone 20. Making things more difficult is the fact that casinos offer negative expectation table games, meaning this isn’t a coin flip situation.

For example, you have a 48.65% chance of winning an even-money European roulette wager. This leaves you 1.35% away from an even proposition with the house.

But how many bets would you need to win with a larger starting wager?

The amount of consecutive wagers that you must win drops noticeably when starting with a $125 bet. You must double up 13 times in a row to reach the seven-figure mark in this instance.

Here are some other totals to ponder:

  • $500 x 2 (11x) = $1,024,000
  • $1,000 x 2 (10x) = $1,024,000
  • $5,000 x 2 (8x) = $1,280,000

The number of bets you have to win is almost halved when starting with $500. Even still, it’s a stretch to expect 11 straight wins in a row.

You only have a 0.49% chance of winning 11 consecutive bets. This is a dicey proposition when considering that you’re putting $500 on the line to begin with.

Long story short, your chances of doubling to $1 million aren’t great. But it’s still thrillingto think that you at least have a chance to turn a small amount into a fortune.

What Constitutes a Good Game When Doubling to a Million?

I just discussed how many wagers you’d need to double in a coin flip scenario to reach $1 million. Unfortunately, there’s only one casino bet that truly gives you a 50/50 chance against the casino (discussed later).

You’ll find a variety of wagers in the casino that give you different odds of winning. Many table games offer even-money propositions, while more-volatile games like slot machines and video poker give you worse odds of winning each bet.

The focus here isn’t on the house edge. I’ve seen online slot machines that only have a 2% house edge, yet don’t see you win even 30% of your bets.

Instead, you want to focus on volatility when doubling bets to a high total. Volatility refers to how likely your short-term results are to measure up to the statistical average.

A single number bet in European roulette might only have a 2.70% house edge. But your chances of winning this wager are also just 2.70%.

Meanwhile, a red/black bet in the same game gives you a 48.65% probability of winning.

The main thing that constitutes a good bet when doubling to a million is how close it is to a 50/50 proposition. If you really want to embark on this journey, then you need to forget about slots, video poker, keno, scratch cards, poker tournaments, and any other high-volatility bet.

7 Best Games for Doubling Your Way to a Million

The games that I’ll cover below fit the profile of having even-money bets with high odds of winning. Anything outside this profile isn’t worth discussing, because it’s hard enough to double even-money wagers to a million.

The other thing to note is that everything discussed below will be based on a $125 starting wager. As I mentioned earlier, you need to win 13 consecutive rounds in a 50/50 situation to reach $1 million with this starting bet.

If you’re wondering about your chances of doubling to $1 million, then consider that you need to win roughly 20 rounds in each of the following games.

Also note that winning 13 straight wagers may not put you at exactly a million in every situation. The reason being is that different games can have house commissions or rake that diminish your returns.

But you’ll get close enough by starting with $125 and doubling every time up to 13 straight wins.

1. Sports Betting

Sports betting already has plenty of popularity without considering that it’s a great way to double up. Bettors can win long-term profits if they’re skilled enough.

But for the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume that you’re an average sports bettor who wins 50% of the time.

You still have to pay juice (a.k.a. vig) to house in the event of a loss. The average point spread bet, for example, sees the losing side pay the house 10% on top of their normal losses.

Even still, sports betting offers the best opportunity to double up to $1 million.This is especially true when considering that the 10% juice won’t affect you as long as you continue winning.

The key, though, is that you have to find odds that give you as close to a 50/50 shot as possible.

Sports betting is filled with moneyline underdogs, parlays, and teasers that don’t offer anything close to these odds. Therefore, you must find point spread and moneyline bets that allow you to win more consistently.

Keep in mind that your skill level will ultimately determine your exact chances of winning big. But considering that sportsbooks set lines to draw equal action on both sides, most bettors win between 48% and 52 of their wagers.

Here are your chances of doubling $125 into one million dollars through sports betting:

  • Chances of winning one sports bet = 50.0% (assuming average handicapping skills)
  • Chances of winning 13 straight bets = 0.012% (1 in 8,192 odds)

2. Craps

The two main craps bets are pass line and don’t pass line. These wagers offer 1.36% and 1.41% house edges, respectively.

Craps already gives you a solid chance to double to a million based on these even-money bets alone. But craps has an even friendlier proposition in odds bets.

An odds bet is placed behind a pass line or don’t pass line wager after a point number has been established. Here’s an example:

  • You make a pass line bet.
  • The come out roll (a.k.a. first roll of a new round) is 4.
  • This establishes a point number, meaning your bet continues until either 4 (winner) or 7 (loser) are rolled.
  • Making an odds bet means that your wager is riding on the same outcome.
  • You have 2:1 odds of winning and will receive an equal payout.

The great thing about odds bets is that they don’t have a house edge. Instead, you’re paid at true odds of the point number being rolled.

The amount that the house edge is lowered by depends upon how large of odds are being offered. For example, Main Street Station in Las Vegas offers up to 20x odds.

If you bet $5 under these circumstances, you’d need to wager an extra $100. But well-funded gamblers will love the 0.01% house edge they’ll be dealing with on pass line under these circumstances.

I won’t go this deep into craps odds, because the point of my discussion is on doubling to seven figures. But here are examples on how much the house advantages decreases by up to 3x odds:

Odds Pass Line Bet Don’t Pass Line Bet
0x 1.41% house edge 1.36% house edge
1x 0.848% 0.682%
2x 0.606% 0.455%
Full Double Odds 0.572% 0.431%
3x 0.471% 0.341%

You’ll want to ignore pass line and the odds associated with it, because you have less than a 50% chance of winning these wagers.

You can see this through the pass line payouts below:

  • 2:1 odds and payouts on point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 3:2 on points of 5 and 9.
  • 6:5 on points of 6 and 8.

Don’t pass line odds, on the other hand, give you better than a 50% chance to win. This is important for the purposes of continuing to double wins.

Here are don’t pass line payouts:

  • 1:2 odds and payouts on point numbers of 4 and 10.
  • 2:3 on points of 5 and 9.
  • 5:6 on points of 6 and 8.

Keep in mind that doubling to a million with craps odds is a messy proposition. After all, there’ll be times where you win pass line on the come out and don’t even get a chance to place odds bets.

But for simplicity’s sake, I’ll assume that you’re able to bet a combined $125 through pass line and 2x odds for 13 straight rounds:

  • Probability of winning one roll = 49.7%
  • Probability of winning 13 straight rolls = 0.011% (1 in 8,859 odds)

3. Baccarat

The top games for doubling to seven figures can be subjective. But I place baccarat near the top, because you have such a great chance of winning with the banker bet.

Betting on the banker hand normally wins on just 45.85% of hands, which would put baccarat towards the end of this list.

But this includes ties, which happen 9.53% of the time. The banker and player bets push on a tie, meaning they’re unaffected.

The banker hand has a 50.68% chance of winning non-tie hands, which is the percentage that I go by. The only catch is that you have to pay a 5% commission to the house on wins.

Therefore, you’ll finish just below a million when doubling 13 straight times. This is the main reason why I don’t have baccarat at the top of the list.

But even with this hiccup, baccarat still gives you one of the best chances to earn a fortune. The banker hand wins more than any other fixed-odds bet in the casino.

Here are stats on baccarat and your chances of winning 13 consecutive wagers:

  • Chances of winning one banker hand bet = 50.68% (non-tie hands)
  • Chances of winning 13 straight hands = 0.064% (1 in 1,561 odds)

4. French & European Roulette

Roulette offers three main variations, including American, European, and French roulette. These games differ both in terms of their house edge and rules.

American roulette features 38 numbers on the wheel and a 5.26% house edge. Two of these numbers (0, 00) only favor the house in even-money situations, which is where the 5.26% house advantage comes in (2/38).

European roulette has 37 numbers on the wheel and a 2.70% house edge. Only one number (0) favors the house on even-money bets.

French roulette is the same as European version. The main difference is that it has the la partage rule, which pays half your money back on losing even-money bets that land on zero.

The fact that you receive half your bet back on losing even-money French roulette wagers gives this game a 1.35% house edge.

But keep in mind that la partage only compensates you in the event of a loss. It doesn’t, however, improve your chances of doubling up when compared to European roulette.

Therefore, both European and French roulette give you an equal chance to double to a million. Here are the stats:

  • Probability of winning on one spin 48.65%
  • Probability of winning 13 straight spins = 0.0086% (1 in 11,693 odds)

5. Blackjack

Blackjack has long been heralded among players who want an improved chance to win through a low house edge. But you need two key ingredients to boost your chances of winning:

  • Good rules
  • Good strategy

The latter is especially important with regard to turning your small bet into a million. Knowing correct basic strategy improves your chances of beating the dealer.

The easiest way to learn blackjack strategy is by looking at a chart. Blackjack strategy charts show you the exact decision you should make in every instance.

The only downside to doubling up to a fortune through blackjack is your chances of winning each hand. You have a 46.36% probability of winning any single hand.

This is lower than any other proposition on this list, save for the baccarat banker hand when including ties. Some of the value in blackjack comes from double downs, splits, and enhanced natural blackjack payouts (3:2 or 6:5).

This is why blackjack can offer a house edge as low as 0.5%, yet still not feature great double-up opportunities. Nevertheless, it still gives you a solid chance to win.

Here are the key stats on blackjack:

  • Probability of winning one hand = 46.36%
  • Probability of winning 13 straight hands = 0.005% (1 in 21,884 odds)

6. Poker

Poker is a difficult game to double up through, because you need the right conditions to make this happen.

First off, we can’t include poker tournaments or sit and go’s (SNGs) in this discussion. Multi-table tournaments (MTTs) only pay a small percentage of the field, making double-up conditions nearly impossible.

You can double up through heads-up SNGs simply by beating your opponent. But the problem is that the highest-available SNG stakes are $5,000.

The only way to truly double to a million is by playing cash games. You can start in the low stakes and work your way up to the nosebleeds.

The idea is that you want to leave after doubling your stack. This means that you must play a series of hands to double, rather than a single bet.

Here’s an example of doubling through a cash game:

  • You sit at a no-limit Texas hold’em cash game table with $2/$4 blinds.
  • The highest amount you can buy in for is $400, or 100x the big blind.
  • You enter the table with $125.
  • You need to double to $250 before leaving the table (number of hands not regarded).

Many players buy in for the full amount, because they want maximum leverage wtih a great hand. Therefore, you may just want to buy in for the full $200 here.

But “short stackers” often employ a strategy where they enter cash games for much less than the max buy-in. They then leave a table as soon as they double their stack.

The philosophy is that you can quickly hit other players for a profit before they figure out your tendencies. Additionally, many experienced players misjudge short stackers as fish, because they’re buying in for less and won’t get max leverage on big hands.

Of course, you can also use conventional strategy and try to double a full stack. In either case, you’ll need to continually work your way up the stakes to find larger double-up opportunities.

The biggest poker stakes can vary based on the high-stakes scene’s popularity.$4,000/$8,000 games still run in The Bellagio’s “Bobby’s Room.”

This means that you could buy in for $500,000 and double to $1 million before leaving. But the tough part is doubling enough times in smaller live and/or online cash games to get to this point.

You also have to consider the heavy skill element involved in poker. You could be superior or worse than your opponents.

But assuming your chances of winning at each stakes are average, then you’d have the same odds of doubling as in sports betting:

  • Probability of doubling your stack in a cash game = 50.0%
  • Probability of doubling your way to a million in cash games = 0.012% (1 in 8,192 odds)

7. Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is another skill-based affair like poker, where your chances of winning vary. But DFS also has different dynamics than poker, meaning you use a different strategy to double up.

Much like poker, DFS tournaments must be thrown out of the equation. These also pay a small percentage of entrants, making them poor choices for doubling to $1 million.

Instead, you need to concentrate on heads-up “DFS” cash games. A heads-up DFS cash game is essentially like a heads-up poker SNG.

But the key difference is that you can create a single lineup for DFS and enter it in multiple contests. This essentially means that you can double up with a highly successful lineup entered into various cash games.

This is important, because, like poker, DFS stakes are limited. The highest cash game buy-in that you’ll find is $5,000.

When it comes time for the final stage of doubling up in this scenario, you’ll need to enter your lineup in one hundred different $5k contests.

Of course, you should start out small by entering the closest thing you can find to a $125 buy-in game. You then move up to stakes twice as high and try to win there.

You keep this method up until hitting the max stakes, where you must enter more $5k buy-in cash games to double up.

This isn’t doubling up in the traditional sense. Also, you’re likely to lose a few contests at $5k even with a great lineup.

But DFS is still another good bet for trying to double to a million when considering the skill element and your chances of winning. Here are the stats.

  • Probability of doubling your stack in a DFS cash game = 50.0%
  • Probability of doubling your way to a million in cash games = 0.012% (1 in 8,192 odds)

Conclusion

One key takeaway here is that winning enough bets to double to $1 million is rare.

You have virtually no chance of doing so when starting with $1. And your odds are low even when you pump the starting bet up to $125 and try for 13 straight wins.

Nevertheless, there’s a possibility of taking a small stake and doubling it to a dream total. This is especially the case in sports betting, which represents your best chance of pulling off the million-dollar feat.

Baccarat and craps can also give you a solid chance for a miraculous gambling win. Craps is especially a good proposition when you make odds bets.

Other games like poker and DFS involve variables that make clean double-ups difficult. But you can still use these games to reach your dream with the right approach.

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