How do professional gamblers make money?

With new legislation appearing across the United States and online platforms providing greater access than ever, it seems that everyone’s talking about gambling these days. Once an activity conducted by shady characters in hidden back-street dive bars, today, even your grandmother can have a spin on the reels or place a couple of dollars on the Kentucky Derby. 

We all know the golden rule. Bet for fun, and only stake what you can afford to lose. That works fine for most of us, but what about those people who gamble for a living? Clearly, for them, walking away with a profit is more than a nice bonus, it is a financial necessity. Putting it all on red at the roulette wheel clearly won’t cut the mustard. Let’s take a look at some possible methods to beat the house.  


We’ve all heard about the fantastic wealth of Daniel Negreanu and others of his ilk, so playing poker for money can certainly be profitable if you’re good enough. Of course, you could say the same about playing football or driving a racecar – Tom Brady and Lewis Hamilton are similarly prominent on the rich lists. The difference is that anyone can play real money online poker, and there are tournaments out there for all abilities.  

The hardest thing about poker isn’t beating the opposition, though, it is that to make money, you also need to cover the rake, which is the commission taken by the casino for each hand. That means you don’t need to be better than the other guy, you must be much better. The truth is, in most games of poker, the biggest winner is usually the house.  

Sports betting 

The growing popularity of sports betting among casual fans is great news for the pros. That’s because the most people bet on their favorite team, regardless of the posted odds – it’s just another way of showing support, and it means they get to share the success of a win in a tangible way. Sports bettors bet with the brain, not the heart. They will live and breathe their sport of choice, whether it’s football, horse racing or something else, and it’s their job to know the form and the odds even better than the bookmakers.  

That way, they can identify the outliers – for example when they know a particular horse performs well at a certain distance and in particular conditions, but the bookie is offering long odds, that’s where they place their each-way bet. It takes hours of work and dedication, but the best are able to beat the bookmakers at their own game more often than not. 

Card counting 

If ever there was a misunderstood casino activity, it is card counting. To dispel some of the myths, it doesn’t require idiot-savant abilities and it’s not banned by casinos. All it really means is identifying trends in the cards that are dealt so that you are aware of shifting probabilities and whether there are more high cards or low cards left in the pack. 

Do it right and combine it with advanced blackjack strategy and you can play the house on near-equal terms. The downside is that while it’s a fun thing to try on a night out, the margins are so slim, you’d never make any serious profits.  

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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