Winning at casinos is not impossible.

There was an outraged response from a reader to our recent suggestion that problem gamblers needed to learn how to gamble. This person swears he is never going to go near a casino again in his lifetime. Okay, that is one solution. Just stick to it.

But the urge to gamble is very human. We always want to challenge the law of averages.

And that is all that gambling is about. The almost impossible odds of 14-million-to-one for the top prize are hardly stopping people from buying Lotto 649 tickets? You have a better chance at being struck by lightening or run over by a garbage truck.

While you might have a better poker face, you get dealt from the same deck of cards as every other player. A pair of dice has the same six sides and the same probabilities as any other pair. Casino games are based on the odds favouring the house. If the odds do not favour the house, the house can not afford to offer the game.

What the smart gambler does is take advantage of the groups of wins among all the losses. If you make the same bet every time you play a game, you are feeding the house. The law of averages will ensure that eventually you lose.

But if you bet more when you are winning and less when you are losing, you can often overcome the law of averages.

Blackjack is a good example. If you bet $10 and win, why not take half your winnings and make your next bet $15. If you win the second bet, you can make the third bet $20. You should stop increasing at $25 so that you can accumulate some more winnings. The person who wins five hands with the same $10 bet will win $50. The person who increases reasonably can win $80. Since the major winnings in the game are when you get a blackjack or can split or double your bet, these increased earnings can fund some of those even more profitable bets. Nothing guarantees a win but you can take advantage when you do.

And you should stay away from traps like playing two spots on the blackjack layout. It is a guaranteed way to lose twice as fast. Also watch out for these new propositions that the casinos come up with such as letting you bet on getting a matching pair in your first two cards. The odds are something like 35 to 1 yet the casino will only pay you 25 to 1. Why not just increase your blackjack bet; the odds are better.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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