Gambling or Working for a Living?

Are advantage gamblers really gambling? 

“The last thing a card counter wants to do is gamble.” — Ken Uston–Card Counting Legend

Let’s assume you are a card counter who has found a game where you have a 1% advantage, and you play without mistakes.  You also have a large bankroll with no real chance of losing it all based on a negative swing.  Anotherwords, your risk of ruin is one in a million.  Under these conditions are you really gambling or just working?  Mathematically you have a 1% advantage and are guaranteed to make money.  You have the same advantage as the casinos (although their advantage can be up to 15%+ on some games).  Casinos are guaranteed money makers based on this mathematical principal.  There are going to be winning streaks and losing streaks along the way, but over time that percentage is guaranteed.

Slot Machines are the biggest casino money makers. Some keep an average of 15 cents of every dollar that is played on that machine.

I’ve come to realize that those that adhere to this fact are the ones who are successful professional gamblers longterm.  They only play games where they have a statistical advantage over the house, and they have a large enough bankroll to withstand the losing streaks.  More importantly they have the psychological fortitude to withstand the losing streaks.

A very well-known gambler was asked the most important thing for a person just beginning a life of professional gambling.  His response was to be lucky early on.  That may seem counterintuitive because luck has really nothing to do with it over the long haul, but what he’s saying is new gamblers can’t withstand losing streaks.  Whether it’s because of their lack of bankrolls or the psychological repercussions of losing, an early negative swing can end an aspiring gamblers career.  There are many great card counters out there that no longer gamble because they couldn’t handle a losing streak and decided pro gambling wasn’t for them.

Back to the question, is being an advantage gambler really gambling?  I would argue no.  The definition of gambling is: “To bet on an uncertain outcome.”  I would argue that for an advantage gambler over a long period of time the outcome is certain. The immediate results will be uncertain (ie. winning and losing streaks), but you are guaranteed to make money as long as you play with an advantage, have a bankroll large enough to withstand negative swings, and have the psychological discipline to not let negative fluctuations alter or deter you from what you are doing.

About Greg Elder

I was 37 years old, a husband and father, a former teacher, college and high school basketball coach, and a business owner, I decided to give it all up (Not the husband and father part) to take a shot at pro gambling. I was coming off a job I hated selling insurance, and I vowed to do something I was passionate about. For the next year I would spend 12-15 hours a day researching, studying, and practicing advantage gambling techniques. The goal was to see if I could sustain our current lifestyle as a professional gambler. I wanted to find out if casinos really could be beat. At the time, I thought it may be the biggest mistake of my life, but my intentions were to have fun trying. It has been an interesting few years since that journey began. My feature book GAMBLERS FIGHT BACK has been released and can be purchased on my author site at I would consider my pro gambling career to be a success on all fronts. I didn't win millions of dollars, but I was able to enjoy every minute of it. It brought an excitement and passion back into my professional life. It has helped lead me to a writing career that I had no idea I even wanted before this challenge. I was able to write a book that shared with others exactly what I learned along the way.. Gambling professionally is not easy, but there are certain things the average gambler can do to increase their chances of success tremendously. That's the information I try to pass along to my readers.

2 Responses to “Gambling or Working for a Living?”

  1. Hi Gavin, Nice blog. I have been part-time gambler for the past year. I go a couple of times each month. It is nerve racking for me, but I have lucky, or as you might say, I am an advantage player. You don’t win alot but you can make a living. I am becoming more agressive with each trip. Wish i lived closer because expenses eat into the profits. I travel to Tunica and play right now, and Vegas 4 times a year.

    I was going to sell my streategy because you can actually make more money and risk less selling the secret versus working inside the casino. But, all the credit card companies view it as a biz-op so I kinda gave up on that one and work it myself.

    Where do you play, or are you still learning?

    Take care…..and Good Luck…


    • Hey Wynn,

      Good to hear from you. I did very well for about the first 6 months of playing as a “pro”, then I started to bet over my bankroll. It was a stupid mistake that I knew I shouldn’t do, but live and learn. It took me a while to dig out of that hole. I play anywhere I can find an advantage play. Like you travel cost is always a consideration. I get comped airfare for everywhere but Vegas. Being on the east coast flights to Vegas can kill you.

      It’s a tough way to earn a living but I had a blast. I haven’t been in the casinos for several months, I’ve been writing a book on gambling. Have a few publishing offers but not sure which way I’m going to go. Keep in touch.

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