People ask me if I’m a professional gambler. The answer is no, although I used to be a professional gambler.

Professional gamblers exist, but not in the sense many people think. There are guys who are very good at advantage play (AP), where they figure out strategies to beat the house. These guys stay on the downlow. And they don’t tell stories of how much they win. They keep their mouths shut, and if they’re about to be discovered or they think the well is about to dry up, they start telling people how much they lose.

It’s often thought that the only successful APs are card counters. That’s not exactly true.

Which brings me to card craps. In the early days of card craps, it was a much superior game, AP-wise, compared to dice craps. In short, you could count the hell out of the game and make decent money at it. Nowadays, the casinos have figured it out, and they deal card craps differently (which is why I mention it now).

I remember talking to guys in Las Vegas, back when I was an active AP myself, and whenever card craps would come up, we would all talk about how we hated it, how it was a horrible game, etc. And then a few months later, I’d catch one of them, or they’d catch me, in a California casino playing card craps and obviously counting. And then when I’d run into them in the diner, they’d tell me how they hated card craps blah blah blah. STFU!

The honest truth is that if you’re smart enough to be an AP, you’re smart enough to design, create, and run a profitable business, where you don’t have to play cat and mouse with the casino every day. So in a sense, most of the guys who are professional gamblers, and remain professional gamblers, are degenerates who don’t have the discipline and long term vision to save up those wins and fund a business.

I’m speaking as a former professional gambler who kept a spreadsheet of weak 3CP dealers who would expose their bottom card, what time they worked, where, and of lazy floorpersons. Back in the 90s and part of the early 2000s, casinos dealt 3CP from a ShuffleMaster machine that had two prongs that was raised a few inches off the felt. A weak dealer would expose their bottom card, resulting in a player advantage of 2-3.5%. That’s a huge advantage.

Also, in the days before the BJ peak device, I kept a spread sheet of which dealers would show up to work high or drunk, and what set them off and made them violate procedure. I was just observant. I did’t initiate the violations.

Again, I mention this because this info because it’s now all useless.

If you want to be an AP, learn the games, and learn to think inquisitively. No one is going to give you the secrets to the games, until it’s too late. Remember that before you pay for any classes or books.

Oh, and I hated the AP lifestyle. Hanging around casinos all day, the endless liquor, the AP friends and colleagues who were constantly broke because they couldn’t stay away from the sports books, was just too much for me. So I got out of the life, finished my education, and started a business.

It’s one thing to have fun in a casino and gamble with money that I can afford to lose, it’s another thing entirely to stake my livelihood on winning the game.

Nowadays, I gamble recreationally. Although I do see things that bring back thoughts of the old days…such as a sleeping graveyard boxman and half asleep stickman…hmmm.

In a future entry, I’m going to talk about the mentality of what it takes to be a professional gambler. But first, I have to think if I really want to write that entry. Haha.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments below. Agree? Disagree? And if you’re an AP who wants to share any secrets, even if the info is out of date, feel free to leave them in the comments below, too.

Posted in: Casino, Craps, Gambling

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Professional Gambling”

  • I fundamentally agree with this: “The honest truth is that if you’re smart enough to be an AP, you’re smart enough to design, create, and run a profitable business, where you don’t have to play cat and mouse with the casino every day.” Being an AP is a business, like any other business. It takes discipline, a business plan and careful planning. For sure, as you mention, it’s far from glamorous being a professional gambler.

    • The business world is a gamble, in and of itself, although a +EV proposition. Sometimes, I miss the old days, but not really. Just reminiscing.

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