Gambling versus Investing

Gambling and Independent Events

By definition a gambler is someone who takes on risk for an uncertain outcome in hopes of gaining a benefit, monetary or otherwise.  The games of chance offered by  casinos provide the classic opportunity to gamble.  Gambling appeals to many people because in a matter of seconds you can win “easy money.”  But the enticing potential of instant profits blinds gamblers to the reality of the house edge which is built into every game.  In most casino games, like craps and roulette, the odds are permanently fixed in the house’s favor.  These games are purely games of chance because they are based on independent events. This means the odds are static and are always stacked against the player.  There’s absolutely no skill involved in independent based games – no matter what decisions you make, the house ALWAYS has the advantage. The more hours you gamble the more certain you can be that you will get wiped out by the house edge.

Blackjack and Dependent Events

Blackjack however offers a unique opportunity for players to gain a real advantage and beat the house over the long run.  Why is it possible to win at blackjack? 21 is a game based on dependent events.  This means that what happens in the past has an impact on what happens in the future  For example, if you are playing a single deck blackjack game and all 4 aces are dealt in the first round, the odds of getting dealt a blackjack drop to zero.  As the cards come out, the odds are constantly changing.  If  blackjack offers the best odds of any casino game, why do more than 99% of blackjack players end up losing?  Because the vast majority of blackjack players are gamblers.

Traits of Gamblers

1)  Gamblers play according to hunches and superstitions.
2)  Gamblers play based on short term observations like “hot” and “cold” streaks.
3)  Gamblers are open to advice on how to play from dealers and other players.
3)  Gamblers often play based on emotion (i.e. chasing their losses).
4)  Gamblers have an over inflated view of how good they are.
5)  Gamblers have selective memory about their wins and especially their losses.
6)  Gamblers blame other players for causing them to lose.
7)  Gamblers are always trying to recapture the magic of that winning trip when everything went their way.
8)  Gamblers inevitably lose.

Professional Blackjack

The definition of a professional is an expert who has specialized knowledge and skill in a field that serves as a career or source of livelihood.  A professional blackjack player is one who earns a profit over the long run through knowledge, skill and discipline – the complete opposite of a gambler.  Decisions are made based on a clear cut and mathematically proven strategy. Relying on the certainty and power of repeatedly exercising a real advantage, a professional consistently makes the correct playing and betting decisions even when he or she is on a losing streak.   No one is  above the mathematics of the game.  The game of blackjack doesn’t care about lucky feelings or how good you may think you are.  The only thing that matters is whether you have the right knowledge, skills and attitude to actually swing the odds in your favor. Winning blackjack is not based on intuition, emotions, and misinformation.

The Choice is Yours –  Gambler or Professional?