Every gambler wants to win profits. But this is very difficult to do when considering that the casino holds an edge in most games. Of course, you can use a combination of luck and skill to win more money. But banking on luck is a terrible way to earn long-term profits through gambling.

Therefore, you need to find games and advantage play techniques that give you an opportunity to win in the long run. I’m going to discuss the best games and advantage gambling methods that’ll help you accomplish this goal.

1 – Poker

Poker has long been one of the top ways to make money with gambling. This reputation has only increased in recent times with the availability of online poker. The reason why poker offers such a great opportunity to earn money is because you’re competing against other players – not the house.

Sure, there’s luck involved in poker regarding the cards that you’re dealt. But from a broad view, the most-skilled players are going to win big profits over time. Of course, this creates a drawback in that you must study lots of strategy and learn through trial and error before you’re a winning player. Some people never make it out of this phase, because they don’t learn enough strategy or spend enough time playing.

But I believe that any poker player can win with the right approach. The only question is what route you should take towards becoming a winner. Read the stories of any successful poker player – past or present – and you’ll see that there’s no single road to get there. But there are some universal steps you can take to becoming a stronger player.

Here are different methods you can use to improve your skills:

  • Watching pros on Twitch streams.
  • Watching training videos on YouTube.
  • Joining a training site (usually $30 per month).
  • Reading poker strategy books.
  • Reading poker strategy articles.
  • Hiring a poker coach.
  • Reviewing your sessions afterward.

You also have to decide what poker variation and type you want to attack. After all, this game offers over a dozen variations along with different game types. Some of the poker variants include Texas holdem, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud, Razz, Badugi, H.O.R.S.E., and Crazy Pineapple. The different types of poker include cash games, multi-table tournaments (MTTs) sit and go’s (SNGs), and lottery style games. You should throw out lottery style poker games right away if you’re a serious player. These games rely on too much luck in order to win anything significant.

This leaves you choosing between cash games, MTTs, and SNGs. Here are the pros and cons to each of these choices:

  • Cash games – Pros: great for steady hourly profits, especially when multi-tabling online. Cons: your losses can accelerate greatly if you’re not skilled.
  • MTTs – Pros: give you a chance at winning a huge payout for a small buy-in. Cons: bigger MTTs have lots of variance, meaning you won’t cash often.
  • SNGs – Pros: you can make a steady profit from SNGs without assuming too much risk. Cons: you need to multi-table SNGs or play higher stakes in order to make serious profits.

The biggest thing to keep in mind about poker is that it’s not an easy way to win profits. This is especially the case in today’s poker climate, which features better players than ever before. But as long as you’re willing to take a long-term approach to the matter – rather than expecting quick winnings – then you can slowly grind up the stakes and make some money. Moreover, poker offers more opportunities to become a profitable gambler than anything else on this list. Despite modern poker’s increasing overall skill level, you’ll find lots of juicy cash games, MTTs, and SNGs.

2 – Daily Fantasy Sports

Chances are that you’ve seen a daily fantasy sports (DFS) commercial or two. These commercials are often aimed at making sports fans think that they can easily win money. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though, because DFS is a skill-based form of gambling. The biggest winners are those who dedicate the most time to creating lineups, analyzing statistics, and learning other strategies. Much like poker, you’re competing against other DFS players to craft the best player lineups. This skill aspect gives you an opportunity to win on a consistent basis.

Becoming a winning DFS player doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just watch sports, know the players, and win a mountain of money. Instead, you have to look at things purely from a daily fantasy perspective. This means knowing how to properly evaluate players’ value in comparison to their salaries. You don’t necessarily have to be a stat geek who uses advanced programs to find the most-valuable players. But you must be willing to dive deeper into DFS strategy than the average fan.

Of course, not everything regarding DFS is about analyzing stats. You also need to develop simple strategies that’ll help you craft winning lineups. One of my favorite simple approaches involves looking for low-salary value players before filling out the rest my lineup. Focusing on the best value picks first helps me fill multiple positions on a roster before going for the high-salary players. Additionally, this allows me to see how much remaining money I have to go for the All-Stars at the end. DFS isn’t as lucrative as poker or sports betting for the average gambler. But you can certainly win some major money through this form of gambling.

Case in point: former poker pro Aaron Jones won $5 million through a DraftKings NFL contest in 2016. Plenty of other players have won large payouts since then. First things first though; in that you need to become a successful player before dreaming about a big win. I suggest starting with general strategy in low-stakes contests, before diving into advanced stats and programs that can truly make your winner.

3 – Sports Betting

Sports betting is similar to poker and DFS in that you can win long-term profits. But it also works differently from these two games in some ways. Poker and DFS involve competing against other players, with the house collecting a small amount of rake from the contest. Sports betting, on the other hand, revolves around trying to figure out which side of the line has more value. Therefore, you’re not competing directly against other bettors for winnings.

But this doesn’t mean that sports betting is any easier than other skill-based forms of gambling. You still need a lot of hard work and dedication to see the value in lines. You also have to factor in how sportsbooks take juice from each wager. This juice is how bookmakers earn their profits. You have to be good enough to not only win over 50% of your wagers, but also beat the juice in the long run.

For example, you’d need to win 52.4% of point spread bets with 10% juice (comes from losing side) to be profitable. Winning over 52.4% of your wagers doesn’t sound extremely difficult. But keep in mind that even the best sports gamblers only win 53% to 55% of their point spread wagers. The rate at which you need to win moneyline bets depends upon the odds you’re taking. For example, you only need to win over 43.5% of the time on +130 moneyline bets to earn profits. But it’s not any easier to beat moneyline wagers than point spreads or any other type of bet.

The reason why sports wagering is difficult to profit from is because bookmakers are really good at setting lines. Their goal is to create equal action on each outcome in a wager, thus guaranteeing them a profit when the juice is taken into account. I mentioned earlier how you’re directly competing against other bettors. But you need to find favorable opportunities before most other gamblers, because lines shift when there’s too much action on one side.

Jumping on lines early is one of the best things to do as a sports bettor. This allows you to find value before any potential shift occurs to balance out the action. Handicapping is the main strategy for finding value in lines. This technique involves examining a variety of factors to see if the bookmaker’s odds lineup with your take.

Here’s an example:

  • Atlanta Falcons +140
  • Carolina Panthers -165
  • You handicap this game.
  • You think that the Falcons are undervalued at +140.
  • You bet on the Falcons to win.

The factors that you look at when handicapping differ based on the sport. But basic elements that you should consider include injuries, player matchups, travel schedules, motivational factors, and statistics.

Stats are very important in sports gambling, because you can use them to spot trends that’ll give you an advantage over time. You can also use sports betting software to help you analyze advanced stats and make better bets. Of course, sports betting is like DFS in that you want to first learn the basics while concentrating on low stakes wagers. As you become more competent, you can graduate towards making bigger bets and using programs to help you out.

4 – Esports Betting

The esports industry has been rapidly increasing in popularity over the past few years. Esports betting, which has spawned from this growth, allows you to bet on the action. If you’re already a sports gambler, then you’ll appreciate the easy transition into esports betting. This form of gambling uses the same odds and types of bets that are featured in traditional sports gambling. You can also use many of the same handicapping skills to win esports wagers. The only difference is that you need to learn about the different games, leagues, and players involved.

Esports betting allows you to wager on over a dozen computer and console video games. Here are just some of the available games:

  • Battlefield
  • Call of Duty
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Dota 2
  • Halo
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of the Warcraft
  • Heroes of the Storm
  • League of Legends
  • Overwatch
  • Rocket League
  • Smite
  • Starcraft II
  • Street Fighter

These games all have different leagues too, which gives you even more chances to specialize. But I strongly suggest that you only focus on one game and 1-2 leagues in the beginning until you master them. There’s no sense in wagering on a bunch of options and spreading yourself thin. Instead, truly get to know a single game before moving on.

5 – Card Counting

Card counting is an advantage play technique that you can use in blackjack to make profits. The goal is to keep track of aces and 10-value cards so that you know when you have a better chance to get natural blackjack (21 on first two cards). Casinos pay you either 3:2 or 6:5 on your original bet when you have a winning natural blackjack. Therefore, you can gain a temporary advantage by making larger bets when your chances of getting a natural increase.

The biggest benefit to card counting is that you don’t have to compete with other players to win. Instead, this is a matter of you learning how to count cards and avoid being caught by the casino. The latter is one of the biggest disadvantages to card counting. It doesn’t matter how good you are if the pit boss detects that you’re counting cards and has security escort you out the door.

This makes it important that you don’t spread your bets too much when you have an advantage. Here are examples of an acceptable spread versus what’s not:

  • Acceptable – Going from table minimum of $10 to $50 (1-5 spread).
  • Unacceptable – Going from table minimum of $5 to $500 (1-100 spread).
  • Acceptable – Going from table minimum of $5 to $75 (1-15 spread).
  • Unacceptable – Going from table minimum of $10 to $5,000 (1-500 spread).

One other critical aspect involves researching casinos and finding out which ones are more tolerant of bet spreads. Some gambling establishments will become suspicious immediately when you use a 1-15 spread, while others won’t as long as you’re not obvious about your counting efforts.

Of course, you also have to thoroughly learn and master a card counting system. The actual process of learning a system isn’t overly difficult, especially if you use one like the OPP or Hi-Lo. The Hi-Lo is my favorite for beginners, because it’s simple and will still produce good results. You should be able to learn how to use the Hi-Lo within a matter of minutes.

The real skill to counting involves keeping up with the dealer’s pace and casino distractions. You can use online card counting trainers to practice keeping the count as cards are speedily dealt. Dealing with casino distractions comes with experience. You can even visit a land-based casino and count cards off to the side of a table before actually betting any money.

Also note that you’ll need a large bankroll so that you don’t risk busting out in your card counting endeavors. The average successful counter only has between a 0.5% and 1.5% edge, which makes for a lot of variance. You also have to account for how you’ll be placing big bets when you have a positive count. This increases the risk, which is why you want at least a few thousand dollars in your bankroll when starting out.

6 – Hole Carding

Hole carding is another advantage play technique that you can employ in blackjack. This strategy revolves around trying to see the dealer’s face-down card (a.k.a. hole card) when they peek for a natural blackjack. As you may know, the dealer peeks for a blackjack when their upcard is either an ace or a 10-value card. The round ends if they have a natural, and anybody without a natural automatically loses.

Assuming the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, then the round continues like normal. Being able to see the dealer’s hole card value gives you more information. Considering that you already receive larger payouts for natural blackjacks, can double down, and can split hands, you have inherent advantages over the dealer. Knowing their hole card gives you the final piece of the puzzle in gaining an edge.

Under optimal conditions with a dealer that consistently shows their hole card, you’ll have anywhere between an 11% and 13% advantage. The biggest obstacle to hole carding is that there aren’t many dealers who’ll actually reveal their value when checking for blackjack. Chances are that you’ll have to sit at 100 or more blackjack tables before you find a really bad dealer.

You also need to sit in the correct seat to spot the dealer’s hole card. First base (seat to croupier’s immediate left) is best when there’s a right-handed dealer, and third base (seat to croupier’s immediate right) is best when there’s a left-handed dealer.

You also don’t want to reveal your efforts to see the croupier’s hole card. The best way to accomplish this is by using posture that puts you closer to the table felt without over-slouching. Hole carding is a frustrating process that involves a lot of scouting. Therefore, you might want to form teams that can spread out and better spot bad dealers.


7 – Video Poker

Video poker is the only house-banked casino game that offers you a long-term advantage. Unlike hole carding and card counting, you can sit at a video poker game for as long as you want and take advantage of profits. The first step to being a video poker winner involves knowing which variations actually provide an advantage. Here are the three most-common variants that will deliver long-term profits:

  • Deuces Wild = 100.76% return to player (RTP)
  • Double Bonus = 100.17% RTP
  • Double Double Bonus = 100.07% RTP

Note that you have to play the “full-pay” versions of these games in order to have an advantage. Full pay means the top pay table for any given video poker variation. The easiest way to find these games is by visiting a site called vpFREE2.com. This database allows you to look up various casino destinations and see what video poker variants they offer.

You may be disappointed to find out that there are no casinos outside of Nevada offering any video poker games with positive expected value (+EV). Moreover, the largest selection of beatable machines are found in Las Vegas. Assuming you have access to Nevada casinos – either through living in the area or visiting – then you want to practice for the games you’ll be playing. After all, you need to use correct strategy to take advantage of +EV situations.

I don’t know of any free video poker trainers that allow you to practice for full-pay Deuces Wild, Double Bonus, and Double Double Bonus. But you can buy programs like Video Poker for Winners ($49.95) that allow you to practice these games. As you begin grasping the strategy for +EV video poker, you should gradually increase your playing speed. Doing so allows you to reap more profits from these games in a shorter amount of time.

Also note that being an advantage video poker player is a volatile pursuit. You’ll only get a royal flush on 1 out of 40,000 hands on average, meaning that you’ll need to play numerous hands before realizing +EV. But as I mentioned before, the great thing about video poker is that you can play games with over 100% RTP and not fear being kicked out of the casino.

None of the games and advantage play methods I’ve discussed is perfect. They all have their pros and cons with regard to the strategy and difficulty level. But the good news is that everything covered here are at least gives you the opportunity to make money through gambling. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a profitable gambler, then the opportunity is there for the taking.

I prefer player-vs-player games, because they have the lowest barrier to entry. You won’t get booted from the casino, and you can readily find poker and DFS games online. Advantage play techniques are nice from the perspective that they offer you guaranteed profits when used correctly. You don’t have to worry about beating highly skilled players.

But one major drawback is that you can also get kicked out of the casino. Additionally, it’s hard to find perfect conditions for card counting or hole carding. Video poker is great from the perspective that you can win money without worrying about the casino staff breathing down your neck. The downsides, though, include that you only find +EV games in Nevada and you won’t win large profits with these games. In summary, winning in gambling is far from easy. But there are multiple ways for you to accomplish this if you’re motivated to do so.

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