Not everyone gambles with a strategy, but everyone should. You should – at least – have a budget and some goals that will indicate when it’s quitting time. You should also know which gambling activities you want to engage in and how you want to engage in them.
I make no judgment as to whether a recreational gambler is somehow “less than” an advantage gambler. Both are respectable. But both also need to review their gambling strategies from time to time. In this post, I list 7 reasons you should look closely at your gambling strategy.
1- You Use a Betting System
A betting system is a structure approach to raising and lowering the sizes of your bets to try to overcome a mathematical disadvantage. The main reason you should review your gambling strategy if this is your approach is simple: Betting systems don’t work in the long run.
The most famous example of a betting system is the Martingale System
If you’re using the Martingale System or something similar, it seems like a no-brainer. You double the size of your previous bet every time you lose. When you eventually win, you get back all the money you’ve lost along with a profit equal to the size of your first bet in that sequence.
So if you were playing online roulette and bet $5 on black and lost, you’d bet $10 on your next bet. If you lost again, you’d raise you bet to $20, and so on, until you win. In that example, if you stop at $20, you’ve won back the $15 you lose on the previous two bets along with a $5 profit.
The problem is that you’ll eventually run into a losing streak that will wipe out all your previous wins and then some. You can have a lot of fun with the Martingale System and even show a few winning sessions. But in the long run, there’s no way you can win with any system that has you raising and lowering your bets based on previous wins or losses.
2- Counting Cards Isn’t Working Anymore
If you’re a card counter, you might realize at some point that your strategy isn’t working for you anymore. I should say something about counting cards, too.
The main reason card counting works is because you’re raising and lowering the size of your bets, which seems to contradict the point I made about betting systems in point #1 above. But there’s a crucial difference. When you’re counting cards, you’re not raising and lowering the sizes of your bets based on whether you won or lost on the previous bet. You’re changing your bet sizes because of the changing composition of the deck. You get a 3 to 2 payout anytime you get a blackjack – a 2-card hand that totals 21.
- You can ONLY get such a hand with an ace and a card worth 10 points.
- The 10s, jacks, queens, and kings are all worth 10 points.
- With the aces, these can be considered the high cards in the deck, and there are 5 of them.
- If you have more of those high cards in the deck in proportion to lower cards, your probability of getting a blackjack increases, which means your probability of getting a 3 to 2 payout increases, too.
- Having more money in action gives you an edge. But casinos LOVE to thwart card counters.
(You can find info about blackjack strategy made easy in the latest article I posted for you).
If you notice that counting cards isn’t working for you anymore, review your strategy
Are you 100% accurate with your count? Are you only playing under close-to-ideal game conditions? Did the casino start shuffling the deck more often? Any of those are reasons to adjust your gambling strategy.
3- Hustling Bonuses at Online Casinos Results in No Winnings
- You might sign up at a casino offering a $200 bonus on a $100 deposit.
- That casino might require you to wager 12X your deposit plus bonus before cashing out. You’d need to make $3600 in wagers before cashing out.
- If you placed all your wagers on a European roulette game – with its 2.7% edge – you’d mathematically expect to lose $3600 X 2.70%, or $97.20.
- Since you started with $300, you’d be left with $202.80.
- And because you only deposited $100 of your own money, $102.80 of that is profit.
Of course, in the short run, anything can happen. You can come out way ahead or come out further behind than you expect. But online casinos got wise to these techniques years ago, and most of them limit which games you can play and have bigger wagering requirements. Read the terms and conditions for every bonus you try to hustle, and sit down and do the math before trying to hustle a casino bonus. You’ll find occasional profitable opportunities online, but they’re rare these days. Check the section with cashable casino bonuses for more info and tips.
4- Your Poker Losses Are Adding Up Faster than You Thought Possible
You should review your gambling strategy if your poker losses are starting to get out of control. This could be a symptom of any number of things:
- Your play might have gotten sloppy.
- Your competition might have gotten tougher.
- The rake might have increased in the cardroom.
- You might not have been as good a player as you though based on your short term results previously.
- You might be on tilt. Sometimes a losing streak in poker is just a run of bad luck and will pass. If you’re a good player, that’s likely to be the case. But if you’re not 100% confident that this is the case, re-examine your poker strategy.
5- You’re Having a Losing Sports Betting Season
Making a profit from betting on sports online is based on being savvier than anyone else, and it’s also harder than most people think.
My guess is that fewer than 5% of sports bettors are consistently profitable from making positive expectation bets on a constant basis. But plenty of sports bettors think they’re winners because they’ve been on a winning streak.
All sports bettors should be constantly reviewing their gambling strategy. But if your season turns from a winner to a loser seemingly overnight, you should pay special attention to examining your strategy.
6- You’ve Reached the Top Tier of the Casino Rewards Club
I have a buddy who plays at a casino that’s about half an hour from where we live. He’s a member of the rewards club there, as he should be. But he confided in me last year that he’d reached the top tier of the rewards club (It’s a 3-tiered system). He was reading the perks that he was getting as a result of being in this top tier, but all I could think was how much money he must be losing on a consistent basis to get to this level of rewards.
I also know a lot of slot machine players who are convinced that they’re “about even” over the course of their careers playing online slots:
- My (respectful) conclusion is that if you’re trying to get into the top tier of a player’s club, you’re gambling too much.
- I also suggest that you keep careful track of how much money you win and lose on every trip to the casino (or your online session), including recording which games you’re playing and how much you’ve lost on each of them.
… a little dose of reality can be just the ticket for most gamblers.
7- You’re No Longer Enjoying Your Gambling
Most people think of addiction as being related to a substance like alcohol or drugs. But there’s a second category of addiction called “process addictions,” and gambling is one of the most insidious process addictions you can find.
Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that a person’s brain chemistry changes – often dramatically – when they’re gambling. And just like with a drug, the brain produces less of a desired chemical once those synapses start getting burned out. This means you spend more time gambling for bigger money to get the same feeling. Eventually, you can’t stop gambling, but you also can’t feel the joy that you used to feel while doing so.
Families are destroyed every day by problem gambling. If you’re no longer enjoying your gambling, you need to not only re-examine your strategy, you need to consider quitting gambling altogether.
Get in touch if you need help. Gambling should be fun and under your control.