When Don Johnson won around $15.1m playing blackjack in a month-long run at three casinos in Atlantic City, his story came as shocking news for the gambling community.
Not only was he virtually unknown – Johnson was not a professional gambler and he did not even try to play by the book and use one of those complicated systems many blackjack players seem to rely on.
When asked how he succeeded, Johnson simply said that he used only two things to beat the house: his skills and a good plan.
Since then, Johnson has become a celebrity in the gambling world, and is often seen partying hard with his new close friend Jon Bon Jovi (with whom he once rolled up a $270,000 bar tab).
Over the past years, Johnson was seen hanging around with Charlie Sheen, has thrown a birthday bash in Vegas for former-playmate Pamela Anderson and has even launched his own clothing line.
Definitely not bad for a person, who was managing a racetrack when he was 30. Right? Some would even say that he is really living the American dream.
There are plenty others who would like to follow Johnson’s footsteps and hit such a life-changing win.
One cannot help but wonder – what do those winning gamblers have that common folks don’t? What do they know that they will not tell anybody else?
The fact is that there are no secret tricks or hacks that make the big gamblers win. In reality, they win because they know the few sacred principles of gambling and they respect them.
This may seem like a rather obvious thing to state. However, it is unbelievable how many gamblers will let their gambling decisions sway by superstition.
What is ironic, here, is that it is fairly common to watch Hollywood movies where a character goes on a winning run as a result of some kind of ‘luck’ based on his superstitions.
In reality, nothing is farther than the truth. There is no place, for superstitions in gambling. It is impossible to find someone who is superstitious and successful. If you tend to change your mind often and you can easily persuaded by the (misleading) powers of superstition, then gambling perhaps is not the right thing for you.
More than anything else, gambling requires focus and concentration.
Just like a batter on the home plate or a quarterback looking to make a pass, you cannot afford to lose your focus even for a moment.
This means that once you are at the table you cannot think about work problems, your child’s homework or the mortgage that is due. When gambling, your mind and your eyes focus should be on the hand that been dealt to you.Emotions
Every successful professional gambler treats gambling like a sport, and the last thing you need in competitive sports is to let your emotions get the better of you.
There will be bets you will win and bets you will lose, and if you let either of them get to you, then chances are that you will end up making bad gambling decisions.
If you have lost a few bets, then you are better off to start all over again than to let it affect your state of mind.
Think of it like a batter who starts every new inning with a fresh mindset. The only way he has to succeed, is to forget that he struck out in the last few innings.Roll with the hard times
4. Roll with the hard times
Ask any old gambler how did they do to survive at the tables, and they will tell you that no matter how good you are, it’s inevitable that you will have a bad string of results or even a bad year.
Every old timer will also tell you that it is virtually impossible completely to avoid dips in your bank balance. So, if you think of money in terms of what it can buy for you and you do not have the mental strength to take a negative hit – then maybe you should not gamble until that change.
Similarly, when your bank balance sees a spike – it does not mean that you should go ahead and splurge it on the latest Ferrari.
In the gambling business, things can go from good to bad very quickly, and it is crucial to preserve capital.
5. Build a bankroll
…And speaking of capital, you cannot play $5000 hands of blackjack when your entire bankroll consists of merely $50,000.
Most people suffer losses and ruin their gambling experience because they play with all the money they have, even the one that they need for their groceries and their rent.
You do not need to be a rocket scientist to see how this can easily turn into a disaster. As Don Johnson says, “Casinos beat most people in the long run because the average person doesn’t have the bankroll. However, I have my own bankroll. If you can take the swings, you’re going to win.”
At the end of the day, gambling is entertainment, to keep it like that it is crucial that you gradually build a bankroll that you would not mind to risking, and by bankroll, we don’t mean a credit card.
Many professional gamblers start by saving up 10% of their paycheck and put it in a separate account. Over time, this account builds up to a substantial number, giving the gambler a risk-free bankroll.
The same goes for any winnings they earn. A naive gambler is likely to head out and spend it on luxuries and other things they will forget about in a few weeks, but a gambler with a long-term plan will add the extra winnings to his bankroll.
6. Practice discipline
If you gamble to enjoy the sport and perhaps make some extra money (which is often a substantial sum) then you have to treat it as it deserves.
It’s very tempting to get a drink or two or even allow yourself to use some light rugs when you are gambling, but even the youngest gambler can tell you that this is nothing but a an easy recipe for disaster.
Gambling is a sport where the person with the sharper mind and a secure bankroll wins. In addition, if you like drinking half a bottle of Jack with your cards, then chances that you will end up with a thin wallet are high.
Similarly, when you make a bet, you should make it because of logical thinking. To make one just because you ‘feel’ obliged to do something or because you want to play against your opponent are the wrongs reasons.
This is one of the golden rules of gambling – make a bet only when you have to. To let your ego do the thinking for you is an absolute no-no. As Jim Wortman, a renowned gaming expert says, “many people have the knowledge and the bankroll, but they fail because they lack discipline.”Record Keeping
7. Record Keeping
If you have followed all the advices given above and luck has been on your side, then there is a good chance that a whole bunch of extra dollars might have found their way into your pockets already. However, it is still not time to celebrate – yet.
If you do not maintain precise records of your earnings and losses, then you will struggle with paperwork when it comes time to file tax.
It does not matter whether your earnings are from gambling in a real world casino or an online one. There is a myth that just because you are gambling online you do not have to pay taxes – but that is incorrect.
Hence, it’s crucial that you maintain records of your earnings and losses so that in case you do end up being audited, you will be 100% on the safe side.
In the end, gambling is just like any other sport that you would play to make a bit of extra money. The advantage here is that with a bit of planning and some adequate knowledge it’s not uncommon to bring home some really substantial amount of money.
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