I’m An Unconventional Gambler Who Mostly Breaks Even

I have been a long time casino player, everything from video poker to the occasional table game – usually roulette and craps. People ask me why I go, or tell me that it is a losing proposition no matter how it is played. That the casinos are filled with never-do-wells, addicts, and morally questionable’s, scam artists, and whose sole focus is greed and easy profit.

For me it’s not like that. It feels like a small escape from they unforgiving monotony of the day to day world. It is a special place where they still give me free drinks while allowing me to do what I love, bet, with no kids and no burden of accountability around. I like my adulthood.

Who Wants to Break Even?But more than just an escape and a place to gamble, I have found casinos to be a social retreat, a place where people who like the lights, action, and possibility of walking out a few dollars richer worth its weight in gold. I always have. I like to think about it as my own mini-vacation where I could possibly not have to pay for it. That way if I lose it was just for “the trip” and is already not missed.

It is a place where you can see people sharing good times with others who enjoy the same thing, people who are there to enjoy being out of the house or for dinner, and others who are there because they find gambling relaxing. Yes, relaxing. And of course, lots of families doing the things that families do while on a vacation, having fun.

For those who have never gone into a casino and only play online, you will not find the local news on at the bar, one clock, or a window in sight of the gaming floor. The anti-gambler’s thinking is probably that the casino does not want you to leave before you lose all your money. In a seance that is true.

The reality is that I really appreciate it. I do not want to leave my mini-vacation resort world, win or lose, and reminding me of the outside would cause those annoying responsibilities to creep back in and steal my oasis.

Yes, I play a lot. For those are wondering what my bottom line from the more than 15 years of gambling is, the answer is I have basically broke even. There are reasons for this, but not many. With a little bit of effort and self-control most people can end up breaking even too. I suppose there are those who win, but they defiantly know when to quit!

gamblers blind luck zone steet signSome may consider my break even success at casinos divine intervention, blind luck, or perhaps a combination of both. If I knew the real reason I would write a book, sell a million copies, and gamble a lot of it back. What I do know is that a little knowledge goes a long way.

One piece of knowledge that I learned very early on is that there are a few games that give the player better odds: Baccarat, blackjack, craps, and video poker. Expecting to win all the time because you have close to 50/50 odds is neither practical nor wise. No regular player always wins all of the time. The idea of playing regularly is so you can find the slots and table games (see more) where you have the most luck.

Back in January of 2000, I ventured into online gambling because it took a while for many players to grasp the Internet and computers – and for the graphics to get to the level where playing could be minimally entertaining. One of my first experiences was playing video poker with tiny cards on a VGA color monitor. I thought that was exciting at the time. It was more than exciting – I hit a royal straight flush that netted me $4000.

I learned to like online gambling pretty quickly. But the month was not over. I had been going to land based casinos for the past 5 years and decided my luck should be pushed. The next week I hit another straight flush for another $4000. It happened twice more in the month – all at different casinos. By the end of the month my take was about $20,000.


Of course that didn’t happen every month, but I never tried that hard again. To provide a balance to my work saturated life, I had taken $2,000 to play on a lonely and rainy day off from work. I spent all of the $2,000 over 12 hours non stop. The pitboss who checked my playing history with my comp card said I had won about $6000 total. That translates into a net loss of $8000. In 12 hours. The lesson I learned from this bit of reality is that it can go either way very quickly.

One point I want to make here is that a player should when to stop. How do I know when? It’s time when your finally ahead double or more of what you brought in to spend. It’s not that complicated

Never think that gambling will pay their bills or provide for your retirement, early or otherwise, unless your a true poker professional. These guys still have to work hard for their salaries and only the very best make more than $100,000 per year.

That brings me to the “entitled gambler”. Why people believe they will win thousands or millions of dollars at a specific predestined time is beyond me because it is obvious the chances are against it, even if they “deserve it”. The best you should hope for is to come out ahead enough to pay for your meals, drinks, and the total amount of money you put into the machines. Most of us consider that winning!

If you are a regular player you eventually will have a big day where the money just rolls in. Trust me, it will happen, but not as often as you will lose. Stop worrying about hitting the jackpot or trying to never have to work again and start having fun while you play.

One thing is always true, gambling at the casino can be one of the best forms of entertainment for adults, but it can also be a huge money trap if you let it become one. Like I said before, the only trick to breaking even or winning in the long run is luck and knowing when to stop betting.

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Jared Bates

I have been working in, and with different casinos for over twenty years, and as such I have seen many things happen to gambling online and offline. From Vegas to Atlantic City, and small places in between, my passion lies with games where I can win money.

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