Believe it or not, there are plenty of professional gamblers out there who travel the world playing games, and earn a decent living while doing it. Now, this lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart, and you need some very specific personality traits in order to excel because for every successful career gambler, there’s no shortage of others who have lost the shirts right off their back.
We’re not trying to glorify this profession or suggest that it’s the right choice for everyone, but let’s go over some of the basics.
Why do people become professional casino players?
There are a variety of different games, some are more skill based and others are more luck based. Generally speaking, the more skill that’s involved in a game, the more you can shift things in your favor, but there’s always going to be a big element of luck involved in casino games, and it’s also usually (read: absolutely almost always) going to favor the casino.
People gravitate towards this lifestyle, often, because they believe they’re able to spot opportunities or inconsistencies. The House relies on being in control of all aspects of the game, but from time to time, seasoned gamblers will tell you that there are opportunities that present themselves. Those famous lyrics, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…” are very true words.
Sometimes, it’s the wagers you don’t place that end up making your career just as much as the ones you do place. There are smart bets and foolish bets, and a foolish gambler will chase the bad bets instead of having self-control and patience.
The amount of money one can win at this profession really depends on how much they’re willing to risk, and how patient they are. People seek this out for the thrill of victory, but it’s important to remember the agony of defeat, too.
What skills does it take?
First and foremost, an understanding of math and probabilities is key. Here’s a quick test. If you’re playing roulette, and you’re watching the table, and you see it land on black 10 times in a row, does that mean the next spin is more likely going to be red, or black? The correct answer is that the previous spins make absolutely no difference on how the next one will go, however at least a few people reading this will have answered otherwise. This is how people can lose everything. They think, it’s been black the past however-many spins, so they’ll bet red, and again, and again, and they’ll dig themselves into an impossible hole.
Beyond just understanding the math of it all, self-control is a key aspect, in other words, knowing when to fold ‘em. Coming up with a strategy, and sticking to it, is essential for long-term success.
Obviously, you’ll need some luck too. The best strategies and plans in the world won’t matter if things just aren’t landing your way. That’s where money-management comes in. It’s a matter of ensuring you’ve got enough of a bankroll to play another day.
Just to summarize, here are some of the key skills and traits you’ll need:
- Managing your bankroll
- Caring about having a great reputation
- Patience and knowing when to walk away
- Managing your expectations and not falling for the romance of the win
- Understanding how the games work and their odds
- Forgetting about superstitions
- Not playing emotionally
Examples of some people who have succeeded
Before we share a resource with examples of people who have “made it”, just remember: nobody writes stories or articles about the people who have lost, so it’s definitely a skewed sample to look at, but it can be motivating none the less. This list of the richest gamblers by AskGamblers covers the stories of some of the people who used strategy, skill, and luck to strike it big at the casinos.
One of these few lucky people Zeljko Ranogajec also called “the Joker” is a mathematician, so gambling games including statistical odds and cards are his strong suit thanks to which he collected millions over the years.
At the end of the day, it’s a serious business, it’s not all fun and games, and it can lead to a lonely lifestyle. Everyone’s around when you’re winning, but you’ll see who you real friends are when things get rocky, and that can be a sobering experience to go through.