Making $1 million or more through gambling is a dream shared by many players. But to the majority of gamblers, this dream is never realized.
However, it’s not impossible to earn seven figures through gambling. Phil Ivey, Billy Walters, Randy “nanonoko” Lew, Aaron Jones, and Haralabos Voulgaris are just a few gamblers who’ve become multimillionaires.
But these players didn’t get rich through just any route. They instead used calculated approaches in certain games to make millions.
That said, the best way to get started on the path towards winning $1 million is choosing the right game or advantage play technique. I’m going to discuss the best ways that you can make this dream a reality.
1 – Poker
Poker has created more millionaires than any other form of gaming. Here are two main reasons why:
- Many people enjoy playing poker, which means the game has a lot of money in it.
- Poker is a skill-based game that allows the best players to earn big profits.
These two points work together to make poker a lucrative game. The large number players around the world create huge tournaments and cash games.
This skill factor means that, unlike with most casino games, you can make consistent profits over time.
Of course, the average player loses money because they don’t have the skills and right mindset. Unsuccessful poker players are also bad at bankroll management.
Proper planning is one of the biggest steps that beginning poker players fail to execute. You need to pick a specific poker variation and game type that you want to specialize in.
Poker is filled with different variants, and it also features games types like multi-table tournaments (MTTs), sit and go’s (SNGs), and cash games.
Texas hold’em is the first variation that most players begin with, because it’s popular and easy to learn. But you may consider branching out to Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, or another variant as you become more experienced.
You want to consider your goals when choosing to focus on cash games or tournaments.
MTTs are great if you’re hoping to win a big score immediately. But these tourneys are also extremely volatile, because only a small percentage of the field cashes.
Cash games are good for grinding out consistent profits. But you take more risks with these games, because you can lose a lot of money due to all the pots being exchanged each hour.
Another part of planning for poker success involves choosing stakes that you can afford based on your bankroll.
Too many players jump into cash or tournament stakes that they aren’t financially prepared for. They quickly bust out upon hitting their first downswing because their bankroll can’t handle the lack of money coming in.
This is why it’s advised that you have around 100 MTT buy-ins or 25 cash game buy-ins (100 big blinds) for the stakes you wish to play.
Here’s an example on cash game bankroll management:
- You have $1,000 for no-limit cash games.
- Each buy-in is 100 big blinds.
- You want 20 buy-ins.
- (1,000 / 100) / 20 = 0.5 (big blind)
- You should start at $0.25/$0.50 stakes in order to have 20 buy-ins.
Of course, planning doesn’t mean anything if you never develop the skills to gain an edge. You must work on improving your poker skills to the point where you can make consistent profits.
Some of the different ways that you can become a better player include watching training videos, reading books, watching poker Twitch streams, and reading strategy articles.
You can also review your sessions afterward to think through difficult spots. Post-session analysis goes a long way to helping you overcome tough spots in future games.
It’s important to realize that poker success doesn’t happen as quickly as it does in the movies. You must be willing to spend hours on the tables, slowly working your way up the stakes towards bigger profits.
2 – Daily Fantasy Sports
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is another form of skill-based gambling that’s created a number of millionaires.
DFS is very similar to both poker SNGs and MTTs in terms of the skill level and prize pool structure.
The bigger DFS tournaments only pay around 10-15% of the field, just like a large poker MTT. But you can also compete in smaller events that give you a stronger chance to cash, much like SNGs.
One of the biggest advantages to daily fantasy is that you can create one lineup and enter it in a wide variety of tournaments. This differs from poker, where you actually have to play through every tourney to the end.
Of course, making money in DFS is still no picnic. You have to be great at analyzing players’ values vs. their salaries.
You may have moderate success doing this based on your knowledge of the games/leagues and looking at simple statistics. But the most-successful daily fantasy players analyze deeper stats that the average person doesn’t.
Many of these same pros use advanced computer programs that help them crunch numbers and come up with useful stats.
This is intimidating in many ways, especially if you’re not somebody who’s good at math and/or complex programs. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still become a good DFS player.
You simply need to choose the right starting points. I suggest looking at general strategy articles so that you can get the gist of things. Save the computer programs and advanced number crunching for later.
You’ll find that DFS shares many similarities with poker in terms of learning strategy and improving. This is why some poker pros, including Aaron Jones, who won a DraftKings contest worth $5 million, transition to daily fantasy.
Of course, you don’t need a successful poker background to begin filling out lineups. You can instead start with low stakes contests and begin reading strategy articles to start improving.
3 – Sports Betting
Sports gambling is a favorite among recreational bettors, who enjoy placing bets and watching the game afterward. Being a sports fan and winning bettor are two completely different things.
The latter involves knowing aspects that relate directly to wagering on the game. You can’t simply follow your favorite team, know the players, and expect to win money.
You instead need a detailed approach that involves properly handicapping lines to determine where the value lies.
The factors that you use to handicap a bet all depend upon the sport. But general aspects include injuries, player matchups, field conditions, weather (if outdoors), coaches, and recent performances.
These are just the basic factors that you want to look at when analyzing a line. Much like DFS, you can check out deeper stats in order to make more-informed wagers.
The use of computer programs is another parallel between sports betting and DFS. These programs help you use a number of stats to identify trends that can help you consistently win bets.
For example, you might find that baseball teams coming off a road loss and playing their first game at home are more likely to cover a run line.
This is a simple example, but it illustrates the basis of how professional sports bettors examine the action. They don’t just follow sports for entertainment – they instead identify trends that will give them an edge.
Bankroll management is another key to winning in sports gambling over the long run. As with poker or DFS, you’ll inevitably experience downswings that’ll test your patience and bankroll.
But making reasonable wagers and having a large bankroll allow you to get through these losing streaks. This is incredibly important when you need to ride out short-term bad luck in order to realize your edge.
4 – Esports Betting
Esports betting is a newer form of gambling that’s gaining traction. Research indicates that esports wagering will be worth over $23 billion by 2020.
What’s exciting about esportsbetting is that it’s fairly new in comparison to other games were you can gain an edge. This means that you can get in on the ground floor and improve your chances of success right now.
Another good thing about esports betting is that it’s easy to transition to if you’re already experienced with sports betting. The lines and bet types inesports gambling are exactly the same as in sports wagering.
The strategy is also very similar too, because you need to handicap wagers to find the value in lines. But the main difference is that you’re dealing with video games, rather than athletic sports.
You need the ability to determine which teams and players stand the best chance of success from a video game perspective.
The process is really no different than looking at professional sports teams and athletes. But you do need to know exactly what skills a successful esports team possesses.
5 – Hole Carding
Hole carding is an advantage play technique that’s used in casino table games, most notably blackjack.
The premise of hole carding is that you’re trying to see the value of the dealer’s face-down card. In blackjack, this means catching a glance whenever the dealer peeks at their hole card for a natural blackjack.
Normally you don’t have access to this information. The upcard provides the only info you have regarding the dealer’s hand.
But knowing the value of the dealer’s hole card gives you a huge advantage when considering that casinos already allow you to double down, split hands, and earn larger payouts for natural blackjacks (21 on first two cards).
An expert hole carder can gainover a 10% advantage. This allows them to make tremendous profits over time.
James Grosjean, one of the greatest advantage players all time, has said that he makes a mid-six-figure salary through hole carding. During one particular hot night, he and his team pulled in $225,000 thanks to their skills.
Obviously you can’t expect to win anything like this in the beginning. But Grosjean’s story shows the massive potential of hole carding.
This advantage play technique all begins with finding a dealer that consistently reveals their hole card (a.k.a. “flasher”).
This is easier said than done when considering that casino dealers are trained to peek at a hold card without giving players a chance to see it. Nevertheless, some croupiers – whether due to being new or just not caring about their job – will carelessly show their card’s value.
Finding these dealers takes a lot of work, which is exactly why Grosjean workswith a team. He also operates in Las Vegas, where he has access to over 100 casinos and numerous dealers.
Keep in mind that you need to sit at first base (to dealer’s immediate left) or third base (to dealer’s immediate right) when looking for flashers. Other seats at the table don’t give you a realistic chance to see the dealer’s card.
First base is best when dealing with a right-handed croupier, while third base is perfect for left-handed dealers.
Another thing to be mindful of is looking for the dealer’s hole card without revealing your intentions. You need to sit in a way that allows you to be more level with the felt without purposely slouching.
Hole carding is one of the more-difficult advantage play techniques to pull off. But it’s definitely worth learning as a means to win $1 million.
6 – Ace Sequencing
Ace sequencing is another strategy that you can use to win serious blackjack profits.
This advantage gambling method revolves around tracking aces from the time they land in the discard pile to when the dealer shuffles the shoe.
Knowing when aces will be delivered allows you to increase your bets in anticipation of when you might receive a natural blackjack. Larger bets combined with the 3:2 natural payouts allow you to gain up to a 25% edge or more on the casino.
But everything begins with watching where aces are in the discard pile. You also want to look at 2-3 cards on top of the ace (a.k.a. key cards) so that you can use these to identify and when an ace is coming.
Dealers shuffle cards into clumps, which makes it easier to shuffle through an entire shoe. Your job is to track where the ace and key cards are in these clumps, then remember where they’ll be when the dealer is finished shuffling.
All of this is extremely difficult in real time. Furthermore, there aren’t many YouTube videos and articles available on the subject.
One more roadblock to ace sequencing is that it’s not possible with a continue a shuffling machine (CSM). Therefore, you can only use this strategy at tables without CSMs.
But assuming you can find games without CSMs and get good at tracking aces, then you stand to win huge profits.
7 – Card Counting
Card counting isn’t the lucrative advantage play technique that it was a few decades ago. Casinos have added a number of rules that make it more difficult to count cards and win money.
Nevertheless, this is still a valid way to earn profits in the casino. You can especially win big with a skilled team that’s serious about the matter.
The basic idea behind card counting is that you want to figure out when the shoe is rich in aces and 10-value cards.
A larger percentage of these cards remaining in the shoe mean that you have a better chance to get a natural. Going further, you can increase your bet size to take advantage.
Card counting all begins with learning a system. The Hi-Lo system is an excellent place to begin, because it’s easy to learn and offers a solid edge.
Here the point values that are assigned to each type of card when using the Hi-Lo:
- Low cards (2-6) = +1
- Neutral cards (7-9) = 0
- High cards (A-10) = -1
Given that almost every profitable blackjack game these days is dealt from a multi-deck shoe, you also want to convert your “running count” into a “true count.”
This involves dividing your running count by the number of remaining decks that you estimate are left in the shoe.
Here’s an example:
- Your running count is +8.
- The shoe seems to havetwo remaining decks.
- This makes your true count +4(8/2).
The last step is to increase your bet when you have a positive true count towards the end of a shoe. Doing so at the end increases the likelihood that you’ll get one or more natural blackjacks.
Here’s a simple method onhow to increase your bet based on the count:
- Decide ona unit size (e.g. $25).
- Figure out the true count (e.g. +3).
- Subtract 1 from the true count (3 – 1 = 2).
- Multiply this figure by your unit (25 x 2 = 50).
- Your should bet 2 units ($50).
One of the biggest obstacles to card counting today is that casinos are fully aware of these bet spreads. Therefore it’s important to research which casinos are more lenient on bet spreading than others so that you don’t get accused of being a counter.
Also note that you’ll only have between a 0.5% and 1.5% edge, even as a successful counter. This small edge creates more volatility as you attempt to make profits.
You should have a bankroll worth at least several thousand dollars in order to survive downswings. After all, a 1% edge by no means guarantees you profits in any given session.
Again, card counting is a slow grind towards profits. Even with a skilled team, you’re probably looking at between 5-10 years before you can make $1 million in profits.
Nothing I’ve discussed here is a guaranteed path to riches. Every casino game and advantage play technique you use will present some degree of difficulty.
But as past and present gamblers have shown, each of these games/techniques can also make you a millionaire when perfected.
I personally think that player-vs-player games like poker and DFS are the best route if you want to get rich through gambling.
Both of these are skill-based games that will see you kicked out of a land-based/online establishment for using them. Furthermore, some players are living proof that you can become highly successful in poker or DFS.
Hole carding and ace sequencing are both great from the perspective that they offer huge advantages to successful players.
The only problem is that each of these advantage play methods requires a great deal of skill. Even with these skills, you need to work oncamouflaging your efforts to avoid attracting suspicion from casino staff members.
Card counting is easier to learn and implement than hole carding or ace sequencing. And there are plenty of players today who are still making a good living from this technique.
One big drawback to card counting, though, is that it doesn’t offer you a big edge. What’s more is that casinos are extremely good at catching card counters and banning them.
Sports betting is yet another path to making major gambling profits. Sports wagering is like poker and DFS, where you can win money without being harassed by the casino staff.
However, betting on sports is also extremely difficult when considering how good bookmakers are at setting lines. Only the best sports gamblers find value in bets on a consistent basis.
Don’t go into gambling with the mindset that you can find an easy way to earn $1 million or more. Instead, just choose a valid game or advanced play technique that seems interesting and perfect your skills.
With enough hard work and dedication, you just might earn a fortune over time.