It might not be a question you’ve ever considered until now, believing gambling in casinos is just for short-term entertainment. But some of America’s richest people consider themselves professional gamblers. They have honed their skills to turn luck in the casino on their side.
Known as “advantage players”, professional gamblers use extensive insight into games such as blackjack, roulette and poker to strategically play in a way that can sway the odds in their favour. Joseph Jagger, for example, is considered the world’s first professional roulette player, who played in land-based casinos using calculations rather than guesswork to determine what numbers or colors a wheel was likely to present as a win.
He did this by examining the wheel from a player’s perspective to see if it had any flaws, imperfections in its structure, its balance and alignment. He identified the wheel most likely to provide him with a winning spin in a Monte Carlo casino and, proving his hypothesis worked, became known as “The Man Who Broke the Monte Carlo Bank”.
While his method required the player to be in a physical casino, online players have a number of options too. For example, one of the best known strategies is known as the Martingale method which works by the player specifying his or her bet option and then doubling their stake after each loss. When a win occurs, the player returns to the amount bet previously. This method assumes that you will eventually win and that these wins will counteract your losses.
Players can also opt for the Reverse Martingale or the D’Alembert as alternative betting strategies. These are examples, whether you’re playing at the MGM Grand in Vegas or online roulette at CasinoEuro, that show how games of chance, where winning is the result of a random outcome, can be approached methodically to give the player an advantage.
Elsewhere, Edward Thorp, a mathematics professor, was the inventor of the original card counting system and used his superior intellect to analyse blackjack in a systematic way. The “father of card counting” wrote a book about how he was able to earn huge amounts of money, eventually reinvesting his winnings in the stock market and amassing an insane fortune.
And of course, most notable casino professionals are the poker stars, many of whom have become celebrities thanks to big TV events. But thanks to the abundance of online platforms anyone can have a go at analysing how competitors bet, influencing the pot through aggressive play, and skilful bluffing to become a poker pro.
Donald Rae is one example of an online player who has spoken extensively about taking up the game full time, his diligent play showcased in how he targets times of the day when he expects less skilful, amateur players to playing and thus giving him a better chance of winning.
The question of whether or not you can make a career out of the casino comes down to risk factors. Acknowledging the odds favor the casino ensures you understand there is no guarantee. Your ability to turn casino gaming into a profession may come down to how much you’re willing to lose to make it happen. There might be “highs”, but even the best players endure “lows” too.
Start slowly, be strict with your money and start practising bankroll management, and see how you deal with those initial losses. Casino careers are not unheard of but like the games of chance you’re seeking to play, luck is still an unavoidable factor.