Sunday, 28 January 2007

On Gambling

Gambling is a way of getting rich quick. It is, in fact, the only way I know of that doesn't require hard work or a wealthy benefactor.

All it takes is luck.

A lot of luck.

There are only a few ways to reliably get money out of a casino.
  1. Work there and get salary/wages.
  2. Provide the casino with goods or services and get paid for them.
  3. Own it.
  4. Be a government and charge it taxes.
There's one way to unreliably get money out of a casino.
  1. Be extremely, incredibly lucky.
A casino (or any other gambling operation) works by giving out a small percentage of the money it takes in. The exact percentage changes depending on the regulatory agencies that govern the casino, and the rules of the casino's games, but it's always significantly less than the casino puts in.

In games such as poker or blackjack, the 'winner' at the table usually is taking money out of the pockets of the other gamers. The casino, of course, takes a share of that money as well.

In lotteries and other games of luck, the casino (or lottery company) takes money from everyone who plays, and the prize pool is only a share of that money. So the lottery company wins no matter whether there's a winning player or not.

In the games of some skill (poker, blackjack and the like) whether you walk out with money or not depends on your skill relative to the skill of the other players, and on luck.

In the games of pure luck (lotteries, roulette) whether or not you walk out with money is pure chance.

If you want to make money out of casinos or other forms of gambling, consider working there or providing goods or services to the casino or their patrons.

If you want to enjoy gambling, figure out how much you'd spend for some other form of entertainment that lasts the same length of time and put that in your pocket. Don't take any extra money or any means of getting extra money: do take a return bus pass or taxi voucher to get you home.
Spend the entertainment money enjoying yourself at the casino. Have the same attitude towards the money as you'd have to enjoying a film or a night out at a restaurant: the money is spent for the entertainment value.
If you do happen to win anything, put it in a separate pocket and bring it home. It's a handy bonus. Use it towards paying for that vacation, house renovation, or the better oven you've been wanting.

If you really truly think you can beat the house, study the 'probabilities and statistics' area of mathematics. There are some forms of gambling with better odds than others. But before you do it, check out the documentary "Breaking Vegas". Casinos are aware of mathematicians - they employ enough of them!

The inspiration for this post was Getting Rich Quickly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, Gambling is something that every human being has the right to do, and politicians should keep their noses out of what people do for entertainment or within the comfort of their own homes.