Good and Bad Gambling Advice on the Internet

By in Tips & Advice on
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Disapproval for Drinking and Gambling, Approval for Sober Gambling

You can find all kinds of good gambling advice on the internet, but there’s also plenty of bad gambling advice on the web. Some people just trust Google’s algorithm to provide them with the best gambling advice when searching for that phrase.

But I’m here to tell you something: Google’s not always right.

Here are some pieces of advice I found searching through “gambling advice” articles I found on Google. I explain my opinion of each piece of advice along with my reasoning behind that opinion.

1- Good Gambling Advice: Don’t Chase Your Losses

This is the first piece of gambling advice I found, in a long post from Randy Ray.

And in this case, someone got it exactly right.

Why shouldn’t you chase your losses?

Understanding the gamblers’ fallacy is crucial to understanding why you shouldn’t chase your losses.

In almost every kind of gambling, every bet you place is on an independent, random event. What happened on previous events doesn’t affect the probability of what’s going to happen on the next bet.

Here’s an example:

You’ve been on a losing streak, betting on red repeatedly at the roulette table, and you’ve lost 5 times in a row. You figure that the next spin of the wheel is bound to land on black, because the game has to catch up, right?

Wrong.

The probability of getting black on that next spin is the same as it was on all the previous spins:

18/38, or 47.37%.

Betting more on the next might work as an attempt at recouping your losses, but it probably won’t – 52.63% of the time, you’re going to lose this bet, too.

That’s why you don’t chase losses.

2- Iffy Gambling Advice: Don’t Drink and Gamble

I understand the premise behind this advice. Drinking interferes with your ability to make rational decisions, so you shouldn’t drink alcohol while you’re gambling.

The problem with this advice is that it’s too general.

No, I shouldn’t drink when I’m gambling.

But what if I’m an alcoholic? I shouldn’t drink whether I’m gambling or not.

Some people might easily be able to enjoy a drink while they’re gambling and suffer no consequences. That could be easy for someone like me to forget.

It’s probably a good idea for someone who likes to drink to put some standard operating procedures in place just in case.

Here’s an example:

If you’re going to gamble and drink during your gambling session, give your ATM card to your significant other to hold during the session. Only take enough of a session bankroll with you to get in the amount of gambling you’re hoping to get in.

Once you’ve lost that amount, call it a night.

Sure, you might handle your liquor pretty well, but why leave such things to chance?

Protect sober self from potentially-drunk self – that’s a good motto.

3- Bad Gambling Advice: Don’t Use Betting Systems

Okay, so this isn’t terrible advice. Betting systems don’t work.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them.

If the Martingale seems fun to you, by all means, use it. If the Paroli System floats your boat, don’t be afraid to try it, either.

What that advice should say is that you shouldn’t expect a betting system to turn a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game.

This doesn’t mean that a betting system can’t work some of the time.

The Martingale is a good example, actually.

It will work some of the time, especially if there’s a big gap between the minimum and maximum bet sizes at the table. It also helps to keep your Martingale sessions short.

You’ll occasionally have a big losing session that will wipe out your previous profits, but you’ll also have a lot of small, profitable gambling sessions.

I like to use the Martingale system when I’m taking an unsophisticated date to the casino to play roulette.

We walk away with some profits at least 80% of the time, and she’s almost always impressed – even though those winning sessions are always small winning sessions.

Of course, when we have the big losing session, she’s impressed, too. She’s just amazed that we put that much money down on a single roulette bet.

4- Bad Gambling Advice: Only Play on the Single Zero Roulette Game

If you’re in a casino that has both a double-zero roulette game AND a single-zero roulette game, then yes, this is good advice. You should play the game with the single zero because your money will last longer, and you’ll have a better probability of walking away from the game a winner.

But most casinos don’t offer both versions.

And I don’t think you should skip the roulette game just because they’re only offering the double-zero version of the game.

If you did that, you’d only rarely get to play.

Yes, it’s worth the trouble to find the casinos offering single-zero roulette games, but don’t cause yourself to have less fun in the casino by turning your nose up at this game.

A lot of gambling writers obsess over the house edge and ignore everything else.

But you can and should think about a lot of different factors when evaluating which game you want to play.

For example, I think baccarat is dumb. It’s just a complicated guessing game with no meaningful decisions to make.

The house edge is great, but I won’t play it, because it’s no fun.

On the other hand, the house edge on the Big Lebowski slots game is probably sky high, but I love the game and the movie, so I don’t mind the higher house edge.

5- Iffy Gambling Advice: Use Stop Loss Limits and Win Goals

One of the oldest ways seasoned gamblers try to beat the odds is by setting win goals and stop-loss limits for each of their gambling sessions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach as long as you remember one thing:

It doesn’t change your odds of winning and/or losing.

Having a win goal means you’re going to play until you’ve won a specific, arbitrary amount, and then you’ll quit.

That might be as simple as sitting down at the blackjack table with $100 and playing until you’re up to $200.

You might also decide that the most you’re willing to lose is $50, which means you’ll walk away from the blackjack table when your stack gets down to $50, too.

As long as you understand that this is just an arbitrary way of managing your action and ensuring that at least some of the time you’ll walk away from a gambling game a winner, using stop loss limits and win goals is fine.

6- Iffy Gambling Advice: Always Play Max Coins at Video Poker

Yes, if you want the best odds, you’ll always play 5 coins at video poker. That’s because the top jackpot accounts for about 2% of the machine’s overall payback percentage, and that jackpot get smaller when you bet fewer coins.

On most video poker games, the payout for the royal flush – the jackpot hand – is 250 for 1 unless you’re betting 5 coins.

When you’re betting 5 coins, the jackpot hand is worth 800 for 1.

If you want the lowest possible house edge, then yes, you’ll always play max coins.

But what if you just want a little action and have a small bankroll?

Let’s use quarter machines as an example:

  • If you’re betting 5 coins per hand, that’s $1.25 per hand of video poker. Over 500 hands per hour, you’re risking $625.
  • If you’re betting a coin per hand, you’re only putting $125 per hour into action.

If you have a bankroll of $50, you’re probably going to get as much or more entertainment from playing for a single coin per hand as you would placing the max bet.

This opinion is going to be controversial, but I don’t think anyone should look down their nose at you for making less than the max coin bet on video poker.

In fact, if the payback percentage is less than 100%, you’ll lose all your money eventually regardless of how well you play.

7- Good Gambling Advice: Avoid the Slot Machines

I was torn between suggesting that this is good advice or iffy advice. After all, if you enjoy slot machines, by all means, you should play them – especially if you can afford it.

I have numerous problems with slot machines, though, and some of them might seem philosophical.

Nonetheless, let’s look at some of them.

The first problem I have with slot machines is that you have no way of knowing what the payback percentage or house edge is. With every other casino game, you can calculate the casino’s advantage.

Why are slot machines so special in that respect?

Why can’t you calculate the payback percentage?

The return for each possible combination of symbols is the product of the probability of winning that prize and the amount of that prize.

You have no way of calculating the probability of a specific symbol coming up.

With every other game in the casino – including video poker – that information is readily available.

Also, slot machines are expensive to play. If you’re an average slots player making 500 or 600 spins per hour, you’re putting an insane amount of money into action every hour.

Since the house edge is probably 10% or higher, you’ll lose more money playing slots than you will any other casino game – including keno.

Conclusion

There are 7 pieces of advice about gambling you’ll find on the internet along with my observations about each.

Of course, you can find a practically infinite number of nuggets of gambling wisdom on the internet. Some of these nuggets are gold, but many of them are fool’s gold.
Learn to tell the one from the other.

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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