Categories Casino & GamingTips & Advice

Online Gambling Lessons from Offline Pros

Very few people, probably less than 1%, go on to become a successful online casino gambler.

Some won’t even try.

Others will try, fail, and continue trying until it bleeds their bank accounts dry.

To become a winning online gambler, you must treat your gambling like a business. You’ll need to be conservative at times. You’ll also want to learn when to bet aggressively.

And most certainly, you’ll need to know if you’ve got an addictive personality.

Winning at any activity involves studying the already successful. Professional gamblers aren’t an exception. At heart, they could be considered mathematicians, statisticians, or data analysts.

Below you’ll find some tips from gifted bettors who made most of their money betting offline. You can apply these lessons to online gambling, too.

Lessons from Christatos Aristad – An Old-School Professional Gambler

If you want the best chance of winning at online gambling, you’ll play with other people’s money.

Christatos Aristad gambled professionally for 28 years. When asked how he was able to gamble with other people’s money, Aristad replied:

“…it was just a matter of being a poorer but better player, playing for wealthier men who could barely hold their cards.”

Old-school professional gambling had 3 parties.

  • The backer
  • The booking agent
  • The player

The backer put up the buy-in money, and the booking agent acted as the broker between the backer and the player.

Finding the backer was the trouble. Making the right connections and getting known was problematic.

Today, online casino gambling is the technology that’s changed how gamblers can become seasoned pros.

You can now easily make connections with potential backers on social media and in gambling forums.

A Pro’s Advice on Playing the Card Tables

In a card game containing 5 players, no matter the game or rules, after 1 hour of play or ten hands there are 2 winners and 3 losers. If you don’t know who the winners are, you are one of the losers. If you are one of the losers, walk away. The winners are the winners because they are better than you, not because of luck. Luck never lasts long enough to save you from yourself. If you are one of the winners, try to determine if you are the big winner or the small winner. If you are the small winner, play it safe. If you are the big winner, don’t let it get to your head, or you will magically become the small winner, and eventually a loser. These proportions expand pretty well, but let me simplify the principle. There is always a steep ratio between winners and losers in any game. If you don’t know you’re a winner, you’re a loser. If you’re a loser, count your losses and leave.

– Christatos Aristad

But Aristad isn’t the only gambler with advice for an aspiring pro gambler.

Inside One of the Largest Gambling Consortiums in the World

If there’s one person in the gambling history books that anyone with a goal to become a professional sports or casino gambler should study, it’s Tony “The Lizard” Bloom.

Ranked as one of the world’s top 20 poker players, Bloom went on to take the most massive gamble of his career – he took over his local football club, Brighton and Hove, for $250 million in 2009.

The club was a financial wreck. Significant investment was needed, and that’s where Tony Bloom stepped in.

Bloom’s local newspaper, The Angus, reported on his big-time poker career as early as 2001. Eight years later, the same local newspaper reported that Bloom said taking over Brighton and Hove was his best-ever gamble:

You can’t predict these things, but I just had a strong confidence that we would get into the Premier League one day – and to do it within eight years, from where I came in, is a very good effort and we’ve deserved it.

In Mike Atherton’s book, Gambling, Bloom says, “I believe in betting aggressively and, occasionally, to win big, you have to risk losing.”

Bloom was also open to the fact that he has an addictive personality.

“At university, I made myself a promise that I would become fiercely disciplined. I wanted to gamble because I enjoyed it and therefore I needed to do it properly in order to win. I didn’t want to lose my money.”

Besides owning a football club, Bloom has also started what’s now a world-leading betting consultancy practice, Star Lizard – a name synonymous with Bloom’s nickname in the poker world.

It’s rumored that the consortium makes up to $145 million in a good year. Bets are placed as part of a syndicate, and the company’s revenue comes from its consultancy fees. The public data shows Star Lizard to report revenue of £13 million just from consultancy fees from high-roller clients.

What they generate from the syndicate bets placed is a mystery.

What goes on at Star Lizard?

Tony Bloom puts up most of the money in the syndicate. He also runs the company, but for some reason he isn’t listed as a director. Instead, Bloom’s associates are.

Secrecy is paramount. Every employee of Star Lizard must sign a strict nondisclosure agreement.


Because 7 figures could be riding on the results of any given match.

When Star Lizard bets, the amounts are substantial enough to cause market swings in pricing odds.

One ex-employee source speaking to Business Insider – on condition of anonymity – said that in the firm’s early days, “Employees would front-run the syndicate, placing personal bets on teams when they knew Star Lizard was making a value bet that week. That eroded the company’s advantage by skewing the odds.”

Safeguards are now in place to prevent information sharing. Everything has been departmentalized with security passes needed to move from floor to floor within the building. It’s the same security setup you’d see within an investment bank.

Also, the quantitative analysts used to maintain the algorithms for market predictions aren’t located in the main building.

They have a separate office away from London, in nearby Exeter.

Key Takeaways from Studying Tony Bloom:

To win big, you must risk losing – the trick to big payouts is to bet enough to make a significant return, but not so big that the wager has the potential to clean you out.

You MUST monitor your bankroll closely – You need to know when you can bet big without risking your entire bankroll.

Actively monitor your bankroll so you can increase stakes based on percentage points.

Here’s an example:

If your bankroll increased from $100 to $1,000, you’d have 10x bankroll, but you wouldn’t necessarily bet 10 times as much.

Instead, you’d set your own bankroll management principles, and use your discipline to stick to them. You might risk as much as 25% of your total account balance, but only if you have a strong indication that the odds are in your favor.

You’d never bet more than $250 in this situation. You want to make sure you have $750 left in case things don’t go your way.

Recognize your personality traits – As noted in Gambling, Tony recognized he had an addictive personality. He vowed in his university days to fiercely discipline himself. Fierce discipline is the only way to win money gambling.

Don’t bet what you don’t have. Don’t bet based on emotions. Bet when you have a system that seems to be working and has been tested. Bet when you can confidently rely on your data to tell you that everything’s fair and the odds favor you.

Only then do you go for the big one.

But even when betting aggressively, stay sensible. Don’t gamble all your money.

Bloom studied mathematics at Manchester University. Don’t underestimate how useful your knowledge of math can be when interpreting data — especially sports data.

Lessons from a Blackjack Hustler Turned Pro: Learn and Act Fast

Legendary blackjack player Don Johnson is famous for winning over $15 million in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

He used pure mathematical genius to tip the odds in his favor.


By getting an edge over the casino.

His winning streak came at a time when casinos were struggling. The marketing departments of casinos tried to buy your business through incentives, then tried to win it back on the casino floor. The casino took a gamble on their marketing and lost before Don sat down to play.

That’s because Don negotiated terms that couldn’t fail.

When asked in an interview if he exploited the casinos, he replied that he was only doing what any astute hedge fund operator would do on Wall Street. He sees an inefficiency in the market and sets about buying stock. (Notice the similarity to Tony Bloom’s approach to successful gambling.)

“If you play long enough over a large enough sample size, you’re going to win.”

– Don Johnson

Don saw casinos as a battlefield. He studied the industry to find its strengths and shortcomings, then moved in to sweep up.

Casinos keep tabs on regular players, so they know the pros from the recreational players. Pro players wouldn’t be able to negotiate the way Don did. The error the casinos made was to have Don’s file label him as a mediocre player. His advantage was that this allowed him to go out and master the game fast.

When asked how he suddenly became such a great blackjack player, he replied, “It probably helps to have some friends who understand the mathematics behind each of the games.”

Before he hit the tables, he befriended a team of Ivy League mathematicians. That’s where he got coaching to turn himself into what the casinos fear — a blackjack player about to hit the list of legends by winning millions from the house.

The advice is simply this: You need to do some serious studying before you go in.

Here’s how you can apply Don Johnson’s approach to gambling on the internet:

The Simplest Start to Gambling Online Is to Practice with the House’s Money

Your 1st step is to get a good welcome bonus. Winning online gamblers use multiple trusted websites online, with the best offers they can find.

What makes for an excellent welcome bonus?

At least a 100% matched deposit bonus

The best incentives are always from the casinos online. Poker sites and sports betting sites tend to offer smaller signup bonuses.

But these casino bonus offers have terms in place to protect the casino’s money.

Always know what you’re signing up for by reading the terms and conditions of the welcome bonus.

Look for:

  • Reasonable game wagering and weighting For matched deposit bonuses, pay attention to the game weighting requirements attached to offers. The T & Cs will stipulate that a certain amount need to be wagered, such as 30x wager requirement. Game-weighting requirements stipulate that not every $1 bet counts towards your wagering. There are games at online casinos that have game weighting applied to promotions. Instead of 100% of your stake contributing to your wagering requirements, it could be as little as 10% after game weighting.
  • A generous time limit to meet your wagering requirements. It’s rare that you’ll get a substantial welcome offer without a time limit to use it. Some can be 30 days, others 90 days, with others having no expiration, thereby allowing you to play for free until you win or lose. There are also free play bonuses available with no deposits required. These can be great for practicing and for getting your career start funded by the casino.

Spend Your Free Money Wisely to Stand the Best Chance of Winning Real Money

Becoming a winning casino gambler online takes practice and luck. You must master any game before you can produce profits.

The best games to start with are poker games. You can play the people rather than the house. Poker games require skill. They make it easier for the savvy player to win by using different strategies and advantage play to gain an edge.

Here’s more on how to build your bankroll using the poker site’s money:

To build your bankroll, start with the low stakes tables. Minimum bets are often $1, so a $50 bonus lets you play 50 hands. That’s 50 chances to grab the pot for each table you play at.

It’s feasible to turn $50 into $100 on $1 tables. Then you can up your game to play at the $2 tables, turning your $100 into $200.

Then you just keep going up in stakes.

This strategy takes patience.

Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson, one of the most successful online poker players in the world, bankrolled his way from 0 to five figures just by turning up and playing smart.


Study the game. Study the well-known gambling pros. Then take advantage, wherever possible, of any incentives the casinos are serving up.

Don Johnson showed just how lax casinos can be with their incentives to get you to spend money.

Control your spending by betting conservatively. Control your bankroll, and you’ll soon find your balances on each gambling site growing.

The most crucial lesson?

Play for the long haul. You can only gamble if you still have funds.

So, always hedge on the side of caution. Never blow too much on one bet. Play long and strong. All those small wins add up.

Jeff Harris :