A little more on yesterday’s topic… according to the Washington Post this morning, Trump has doubled-down on his dubious election claims 15 times. Two to the power of 15 equals almost 33,000. So now, he’d have to be putting down over \$65,000 to try to win back his original \$2 bet… if he were betting red, which I suppose, in a certain way, he is. He’s gone from loser to Loser to LOSER… the only thing that’s changing now is the point-size of the font, but like betting systems that eventually run out of money, the screen can only fit so much as well. We’re pretty-much looking at nothing more than a big capital L now… and yet, if this morning’s torrent of even more election-fraud Tweets is any indication, he’s not done yet. Even Mitch McConnell has thrown in the towel… but Trump? Nope.

If doubling down is the wrong way to bet, is there a right way? Yes… as long as you keep in mind that if you’re betting against the house, you’re going to lose in the long run… no matter what. Unlike poker or horse-racing, where you’re playing against other people, you’ll never beat the house in the long run. Not that it’s easy with poker or horses, but at least it’s possible, and there are some people good enough that they actually do it professionally. But casino games? Nobody is making a living playing slot machines, blackjack, roulette or craps… assuming it’s a “fair” game. There are ways to “game” advantages in all of those, with mechanical aids or card counting… but those change the house odds, and then it’s a whole different story. But assuming you don’t have a roulette computer jammed into your shoe, and/or assuming you’re not able to count cards without getting caught, the house has an edge, and every dollar you bet plays into that edge. If you’re going to bet \$100 in Blackjack, mathematically, the soundest way to do it is bet it all at once. That way, the house only gets one shot at imposing that edge on you… not countless times to chip away.

But… it is possible to win in the short term, and it’s possible to have a lot fun doing so… so what do you do to maximize your chances? You do the opposite of doubling down.

With doubling down, all you’re doing is chasing lost money with your own money. Throwing the good after the bad. The key to winning is trying to maximize the opportunity to win while putting the house’s money at risk, not your own. This means taking the big shots with money you’ve already won; not out of your wallet. Here are two examples.

Let’s say you’re going to play roulette… and roulette is a good one because it offers a lot of (close to) 50/50 bets. Roulette has a green zero (and sometimes also double-zero, and, for the truly-clueless, triple-zero), which is where the house gets the edge, but other than that, there are 36 numbers. Half are red, half are black. Half are even, half are odd. Half are 1-18, half are 19-36. All 6 of those half-this/half-that bets are effectively coin-tosses, and return a win of a \$1 for every \$1 bet.

So… if you’re going to play roulette, say you’re willing to risk losing \$200. Take that \$200 and cut it into 10 pieces of \$20 each. Each of those \$20 is one shot, and you will have 10 shots.
You bet your first shot, and we will call that first bet “level one”… and you can bet any of those spots. Say you bet red… and it comes up… black. Oops. It’s ok, you’re only down \$20… now, second shot, level one… you try red again, and this time it hits number 7, which is red.

Great! Now you have \$40. You take that entire \$40 and bet it on… let’s say, black… and this is now level two. Boom, it hits 17 black. Now you have \$80. So you take all \$80 and bet it on… hmm, 7 and 17 were low… so you bet it on 19-36 – (this was level three) and it hits 35, and you win!

Now you have \$160. Now you are on level 4, the final level. Hmm… three odds in a row. You bet your level 4 on even, it hits 2, and now you have \$320. And you take that \$320 and you put it in your other pocket, and you don’t touch it for the rest of the night. And you go back to level one, with your third shot of \$20. And you do that with all ten shots. Some will die right away. Some will advance a level or two. And hopefully, you manage to run a few of them through level four.

Of course, that’s not so simple… but it only takes one out of those ten shots to go the distance for you to walk away a winner. If you do this right, after 10 shots, the \$200 gambling pocket will be empty… but, hopefully, the other pocket has \$320 in it. Or maybe \$640… or more…

The key, of course, is that you’re trying to capitalize on winning bigger amounts by risking only what you’ve won. The adrenaline rush of those level four bets is quite something… and a real sledgehammer to the gut when you lose. Just try to remember, you didn’t just lose \$160 – you only lost \$20.

Similarly, next time you’re at the racetrack, try this… take \$5 and bet it “to show” on the horse you like. As long as the horse you like finishes in the top three, you’ll cash your ticket. It might not be much, but that’s ok, because now you take what you won, maybe \$8, and bet it all to show on whatever horse you like in the next race. And if you win, you take that \$17 and bet it all to show in the following race. The thrill of running a show parlay up to \$400 is also quite a rush; and you’ll learn a lot about yourself when you’re now called upon to bet all of it on some horse whose only redeeming factor is that you like his name.

Gambling, in general, should be treated like an entertainment expense… so as long as you’re willing to lose every penny you’re throwing at it, as long as you have a good time, go for it – and, hopefully, some of this advice helps you win… at least in the short term.

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