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Gambling Is a Numbers Game

Gambling is a numbers game. For casinos, it has nothing to do with luck, although on any given table at any given time, it looks as if luck predominates. At least gamblers are convinced the casinos rely on luck too. For casinos, luck isn’t an operant condition, because they have enough tables and machines to be in the long run in a very, very short time. The long run favors the math, and a very “short” long run means the casinos can confi dently go to the bank, oh, like tomorrow or the day after.

The sad truth is that it’s almost always for the bad. Casinos know how in love gamblers are with luck, so they play up the concept that you will have good luck all the time by using deceptive advertising: pictures and billboards showing happy winners, radio and television advertisements depicting people smiling and applauding at table games and slot machines, etc. In casinos’ pitches to players, you won’t see commercials where a player is cursing and foaming at the mouth or kicking the slot machine in a mad rage.

Smart players know that luck is almost always bad over time for casino gamblers who are not playing with an edge and who have to go up against the house edge on the games they play. Gamblers are almost all losers over almost any prolonged series of decisions. Casinos, on the other hand, are almost always winners over any such prolonged period of time. Indeed, casinos—with all their tables, all their machines, and all their decisions per hour—are almost always winners right now.

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For advantage players, the road is up and down, down and up, but over time, the advantage player should be ahead. It’s the reverse for a nonadvantage player—it’s up and down, down and up, but the thrust is a steady down over time.

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