A lot of people dream of winning a million dollars. And every year, a few lucky people win this much money and more through progressive slot machines or a state-based lottery. But few gamblers win this much using their own skills. And that’s because you can’t use skill to improve your chances to win a lottery or a big jackpot on a slot machine.
But you can definitely use your skill to win money at certain table games. The truth is that most gamblers never learn how to win more than they lose, but a small percentage of gamblers are able to win year in and year out.
Most winning gamblers are only able to squeeze out a small living, with most of them at $50,000 a year or less. While there’s nothing wrong or shameful about making $50,000 a year through gambling, I want to show you how a winning gambler can make $250,000 a year. This is a lot of money to most people in the world, and I don’t know any gamblers who would turn their back on a quarter million.
I’m going to show you the math behind making this kind of money, explain the bankroll issue that you’re going to run into, and cover the four main ways that gamblers can realistically have a chance at making big profits.
Before you get started, I want to make it clear that making this much money through gambling is hard. Even if you have the required skill, it’s difficult to come up with a big enough bankroll to succeed. On top of that, you still have to find the opportunities and get the bets down. Keep reading below to learn more.
It’s easy to understand making a $3 bet on the lottery or a progressive slot machine and winning a big prize. But if you want to make $250,000 through gambling, you have to start thinking about things like the house edge and expected value.
First, you have to find a long-term edge and exploit it on a continuous basis. Luck doesn’t have anything to do with winning year in and year out. You have to place bets on things where you have an edge. This might be on horse races or sporting events, or it might be at the poker table or the blackjack table.
This is going to be much closer to a full time job or grind than gambling, because the minute you let up, you can lose your edge. I’m going to show you some more numbers in several sections below, but here’s an example of what you need to do if you count cards in blackjack.
Blackjack is a game with a house edge, but a skilled card counter can get an edge over the house. A great card counter can get an edge over 1%, and for this example, I’m using a 1% overall edge.
If you want to make $250,000 with a 1% house edge, you have to put $25,000,000 into play. You can determine this by dividing $250,000 by 1%. This means that you have to put $500,000 into play every week for 50 weeks.
While this is a great deal of money, it’s possible if you can find enough higher limit tables where you can get away with counting.
When you’re playing real money blackjack, the size of your bet goes up and down depending on the count. The average bet size is what’s important for this calculation. With a $100 average bet size, you need to make 5,000 bets a week. This works out to 50 bets an hour playing 100 hours every week.
This is a problem for card counters because they can’t stay in one spot very long without getting caught counting. It’s possible to play blackjack 100 hours a week, but most people can’t physically and mentally do it for long.
This means you have to increase the average bet size. At a $500 average bet size, you have to play 1,000 hands every week. This is only 20 hours a week at 50 hands every hour. This is more realistic, but blackjack games where you can make an average bet size of $500 per hand are more closely watched than lower games.
As you saw in the last section, you have to put a great deal of money into play if you want to make $250,000 gambling. Getting enough money in play is one challenge, but this leads to another big challenge.
All forms of gambling have swings. Sometimes, you lose and other times, you win, even when you have a long-term edge. This means that you need to have a large enough bankroll to ride out the swings and also that you need enough money to keep making profitable long-term bets.
How big does your bankroll need to be to put $500,000 in play every week playing blackjack?
The truth is it depends on many things. The real answer is that you need enough money in your bankroll so you can always place the maximum amount on a profitable wager without going broke while you ride out natural variance.
In truth, almost no one has this much money. So, you will likely have to work with estimates and guesses. You can learn about something called “risk of ruin” and use it to get an idea about how much bankroll you need, but that’s a large subject for another time.
As a general rule, if you want to make $250,000 gambling, you probably need a bankroll of at least $1,000,000. Some people will scream that this is way too high, while others will say it’s not nearly enough. If you can turn $250,000 profit on a $1 million bankroll, you’re making 25% on your capital. This is an extremely high rate of return.
I’ve already covered the math behind making $250,000 as a card counter in an earlier section. The biggest risk that card counters face when trying to make this much money is getting enough money down on a consistent basis without getting barred from the casinos. The math behind making this much is solid if you can get enough money down.
This is why many professional blackjack players work as part of a team. It’s easier to get large amounts of money down when a team has several minimum bettors counting and one big player getting called in to make only large bets in a good count.
Team blackjack play has several challenges as well, but it’s easier to get big bets down with a team than playing alone. However, the money you win as a team either gets split by the team members or part of it gets used to hire counters.
Sports bettors can get an edge by handicapping sports games and finding value based on the comparison of their handicapping ability and the lines offered by the sportsbooks. When a handicapper finds an edge, he or she bets on the game and turns profit over time.
The problem is that sports bettors work with a small margin, so they have to get even more money down on games than most other advantage bettors. And even with a long term edge, a sports bettor can lose a large amount of money in a short time even with a long term edge.
Thus, earning this much requires an even bigger bankroll than blackjack players and poker players need. The vig is the largest cost for sports bettors. With the normal vig, a sports bettor needs to win almost 53% of their bets to make a profit. The break even percentage is 52.38% with a 10-point vig.
A good sports bettor can win 54% of the bets they make against the spread.
Here are some numbers to consider:
A good sports bettor makes 1,000 bets of $11,000 each to win $10,000. They win 540 bets and lose 460. The total cost of the 1,000 bets is $11,000,000. On the 460 bets they lose, they get nothing back, and the total return on the 540 winning bets is $11,340,000. This is a profit of $340,000.
$340,000 sounds like a good profit, but you had to risk $11,000,000 to make it. The other problem is the fact that it’s almost impossible to fund 1,000 profitable betting opportunities in a year that also have a place where you can get $11,000 bets down.
The size of the bets needed to make $250,000 is slightly over $8,000 per bet times 1,000 bets, or some combination of bets that gets $8,000,000 in play. And you still have to win 54% of your spread bets.
Horse racing betting is slightly different than the other things listed on this page, because all of the money from the bets is placed in a pool. The track takes a set percentage off the top, and everything left in the pool is paid out based on the odds created by the money wagered.
This is somewhat complicated, but the bottom line is that winning horse track bettors are working with a small edge like sports bettors. The good news is that there are thousands of horse races run every year to bet on. The bad news is that most places don’t have enough betting volume to let you get enough money down on a race to make $250,000 a year.
You can’t make huge bets in comparison to other bettors because a large bet changes the odds so much that you can’t make enough when you win to justify the large bet. A few big tracks have the volume you need, but the truth is that most bettors aren’t willing to move where these tracks are.
A good horse racing bettor can make $50,000 to $100,000 a year, but it’s extremely difficult to move beyond that. It’s not impossible, but most gamblers have a better shot with blackjack or poker.
Poker is a unique opportunity for long-term profit because you’re paying a small fee to the poker room for the chance to compete with your opponents. This means that you can win by playing against players who aren’t as good as you.
You can do this by increasing your skills beyond your normal competition and/or finding weaker players to compete against. You can play cash or ring games or poker tournaments. Either one can be profitable, but cash game players often have a more stable income stream because of lower variance.
A good cash game player can win one big bet per hour playing limit poker, so here are some numbers to reach $250,000 in profit.
If you play 25/50 and win one big bet per hour, it means that you win $50 an hour. To make $250,000 you have to play 5,000 hours, which is 100 hours per week for 50 weeks. If you play 50/100 limit you have to play 2,500 hours, which is 50 hours per week.
While it’s a grind, you can play 50 hours per week. Or you can play at a higher limit and play fewer hours, as long as you can maintain a winning rate of one big bet per hour on average.
No limit players can win $250,000 a year while playing fewer hours if they’re good players. A good player at the $1,000 buy in level or higher can win $5,000 a week, but it’s still challenging and you need a big bankroll.
Winning $250,000 a year gambling isn’t easy, but it can be done. The easiest paths are blackjack and poker, but a few sports bettors and horse racing bettors are able to do it. You need to make sure your skills are good enough and that you have a big enough bankroll. But once you find an edge, the rest is simple math, as long as you don’t run out of money before your advantage kicks in.
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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