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Is it really possible to be a smart gambler?  In terms of casino games, where you’re more than likely to lose your bet, it doesn’t seem that anybody could be a smart gambler.  You just have to realize that to be a smart gambler doesn’t mean you’ll always win.  I think you can consider yourself a smart gambler if you can become a better gambler.

SET A LOSS LIMIT – Stick to it!

You’ve probably heard the old adage, don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose.  Well that’s a very good place to start.  To be smart, give yourself a loss limit before even stepping into a casino.

While that is an easy thing to say, what gets most people in trouble is that they go into a casino with more than their loss limit. The typical gambler will enter a casino with $400 and tell themselves that they’ll stop if they lose $200. 

Many casino games play at a very fast pace and that $200 will be gone in 20 minutes!  You’ll be shocked and telling yourself “I just got here, I want to play a little more.”  There’s the hook the casino threw and you grabbed it! You’ll play with that extra $200, but hopefully at a slower pace, but then it’s gone in another 30 minutes. Wow, $400 dollars gone in about 1 hour! But was it fun?  The first $200 was fun because you knew you could afford to lose that, but the 2nd $200 probably hurt a bit.  Give yourself a limit and stick to it!

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Just like a loss limit, you should also have in mind a win amount you would be happy with.  While I’m not saying stop playing when the dice are rolling your way, or the cards a coming your way, but stop when it starts to go bad.

Of course you want to keep playing when it’s going well and you’re winning every other hand or so, but recognize when the winning stops and pull yourself away.

Let’s say you go in thinking I’ll be happy winning $150 and a winning streak has you up $500.  At that point, the cards turn and the next thing you know, you’re back down to up $100.  Now you’re mad at yourself because you were up more the 2.5 times what you wanted, but have backed it down to less than you wanted.  Teach yourself to walk away when the winning streak has come to an end and take the winnings you’re given!  Don’t be greedy!

You have to remember, the longer you play any casino game, the more you’re apt to lose! Stay long, play wrong! In the long run, the casino always wins.

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All casino games have a house edge, so the idea is to play those with the lowest house edge.

Ranking of casino games by house edge:

  • Blackjack: .5%
  • Video Poker: .5% – 3%
  • Craps: .6% – 1.4%
  • Baccarat: 1.2%
  • Poker: 2.5% – 5.2%
  • Roulette: 5.3%
  • Slots: 5% – 10%
  • Keno: 27%

You should know not to play slots expecting a profit.  The only thing worse than slots is Keno, which explains why you never see too many people playing Keno. (at least I don’t see many Keno players) But then again, how do you explain slots players? Slots are fun!  The thrill of hitting a jackpot just can’t be overstated!

You can have fun at all the games in a casino.  To be smart though, try to stick with Blackjack, Craps or Baccarat.  You will have the best chance to win with those games.  Understanding the odds, will allow you to better manage your winnings. What is more fun than winning?

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While the games have rules that give the house the edge, there are perfect strategies that can be played to cut down the house edge and give you a better chance to win. 

There are often side bets in many table games, but you have to understand they are usually sucker bets.  You will never find a strategy book that will tell you any side bet is proper strategy. 

If you make bad plays, you don’t play smart.  If you don’t play smart, you don’t gamble smart.


Betting systems give you a specific way to make your wagers.  There are a lot of different systems out there and they profess to be the best way to manage your bankroll.

While most of them will help you win big if things are running favorably, but they can’t change the house edge.  Remember, in the long run, the house edge wins out and the systems won’t help you when things go sour.


To be a smart gambler, you have to learn how maximize your winnings and limit your losses. The best way to do that is to know which games to play, play them with perfect strategy and recognize when things are not going your way.

The only sure thing with gambling is that you will probably lose in the long run. Unless your goal is to be a professional gambler, do it just for fun and you will be a smart casino gambler.


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