12 Ways to Gamble

I’ve mentioned 12 different ways to bet below. There are games you may play in a casino as well as activities you can do online. I’ve even included several choices for placing bets from the comfort of your own home or office.

1. Begin hosting a poker game at your house.

Everyone knows how to play 5 card draw, so that’s an excellent place to start. Even if you don’t have any of these things, having a poker night can be simple. Purchase the necessary equipment and read a book on poker variations.

Here’s everything you’ll need to get started:

A table with seating for five to ten people. You can get a real poker table if you have the funds, but even a decent-sized dining room table will suffice.
Poker chips are made of clay. For less than $50, you can purchase a great set of these. They give the game an ambiance that plastic chips simply cannot equal. Some people prefer to pay with cash at the table, but this is more difficult to manage.
At least two decks of playing cards are required. I enjoy purchasing plastic cards, such as those created by Kem. You can wipe them clean if someone spills a drink on them. They’re challenging to destroy because they’re not composed of paper.
Some rulebook. This is entirely optional; however, having some guidelines to refer to can be helpful. If everyone is new to poker, it’s a good idea to have a list of typical poker hand rankings on hand for everyone to look through.
Snacks and beverages You can’t entertain guests without providing them with something to eat and drink. I’ve played in potluck house poker games and games where everyone chipped in $5 or $10 toward food, and the host provided the dinner with the winnings.
John Vorhaus’s book, appropriately titled Poker Night, is a beautiful purchase and read before organizing your poker night. It’s available for $4 on Amazon with free shipping, and it includes extensive instructions for hosting your home poker games.

Alternatively, you can join a game hosted by someone else. Free poker tournaments with cash prizes are frequently held at local bars. Cigar shops often have similar gatherings.

2. Create an office pool and join one.

To wager on sports, you don’t need a bookie. Betting pools are already in operation at many offices, especially during football season. All you have to do now is be asked to participate.

These competitions might be either skill-based or purely random. If you have to pick winners at work, for example, a certain degree of knowledge and expertise can give you an advantage over your coworkers. On the other hand, there’s no talent required if it’s a lottery game, such as picking squares that correspond to numbers.

The advantage of office pools is that you practically never have to deal with a house edge. Your chances of winning are as excellent as anyone else’s—if not better—depending on the level of ability involved. You’ve made a perfect bet if you can get money into action without a house edge.

Here’s an example of an office pool using skill:

You work in a small office with a few dozen other employees. Football season arrives. Everyone puts $10 into the pot, resulting in a total prize pool of $240. Everyone makes a list of the 16 or so pro games scheduled for the coming week and picks a winner for each one. The $240 is awarded to the player who makes the most reasonable guesses. If there is a tie, the winnings are split between the players.

Here’s an example of an office pool that doesn’t require any skill:

Someone sets up a table with ten columns and ten rows in a two-dozen-person office. Everyone has the option of purchasing a square for $20, bringing the total pot to $200. Numbers from 0 to 9 are drawn for each column and row once everyone has purchased their squares and entered their names into the chart.

These numerals represent the second digit of the game’s final score. The columns represent one team, while the rows represent the other. If a match ends with a score of 20 to 10, the player who has the square equal to 0,0 wins the pot.

There are prizes for the score at halftime and again at the end of the game in some variants of this pool. As a result, you may have two $100 pots.

This is an entirely random game. It’s like playing a small-town lottery when sports scores select the winning numbers.

This kind of betting pool can also be found in your neighborhood bar.

3. Join a money-making fantasy sports league for the entire season.

I’ve participated in various fantasy sports leagues, predominantly football, and some of them are simply for fun. The ones with money on the line, though, are the more exciting fantasy sports leagues. For a relatively small investment, you get a lot of excitement throughout the season.

A fantasy football league, for example, is likely to include 12 managers. Each manager assembles a roster of players. Each week, they create a log and receive points based on their team members’ performance throughout their games. The league’s commissioner establishes a schedule that determines which team plays whom.

The winning record of a manager usually determines who advances to the playoffs. The winner of the playoff determines the champion.

A $100 entry fee is typical for a season-long fantasy sports contest. That’s a total of $1200 in prize money. Some leagues award the winner the entire prize pool. Others offer 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place rewards.

Depending on the rules of your league, multiple scoring systems and outcomes are generated. I’ve been in clubs where the team with the most points at the end of the year is declared the victor, regardless of their record against other teams. I’ve also participated in leagues where each team faced the other every week. (Yes, that set-up is as tricky as it appears.)

Season-long fantasy sports are a lot of fun and are regarded as a skill game. Fantasy sports were notably exempted from the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) when passed by the US federal government. It’s a prevalent form of gambling.

4. Use the Internet to play Daily Fantasy Sports.

You’ve almost certainly seen commercials for services like DraftKings and Fanduel if you watch professional sports on television. These websites take the notion of fantasy sports and condense it down to a single day or week. Almost all of these games are played for monetary gain.

Daily fantasy sports games can have buy-ins as low as $0.25, but I’ve seen contests with buy-ins as high as $5300. The number of players in each competition varies greatly, ranging from single-player leagues to massive tournaments with 400,000 participants.

Daily fantasy sports are arguably a skill-based game. Still, when you’re competing in a tournament with 400,000 people, even if you’re twice as good as the next man, your chances of winning are comparable to winning the lottery. Yes, the top 80,000 or so finishers receive a prize, but the major tip at the top is a 1 in 400,000 chance. Even if you’re twice as good as the average player, you’re still looking at a one-in-200,000 chance of winning.

5. Open an account with an online casino and play some casino games.

Depending on where you reside, this may or may not violate some legal restrictions. I would never recommend breaking the law, but if you live in a jurisdiction where online casino gaming is allowed, getting started on the Internet may be a lot of fun. The games played on the Internet can be surprisingly similar to those played in a real casino.

In the online casino sector, the most popular games are slot machines and video poker. The former does not necessitate any talent, whereas the latter does. Some online slot machines are even more visually appealing and entertaining than their land-based counterparts. Video poker games are elementary to pick up, especially if you’ve played at the tables before.

Live dealer games are some of the more exciting options available at online casinos these days. These are games like blackjack and roulette that are exclusively played through the use of a Webcam. They’re nearly identical to their land-based casino equivalents. A real deck of cards or an actual roulette wheel are appealing to sure gamers. These players are catered to via webcam casinos.

6. Locate a Local Bookie and Bet on Sports

Taking bets on athletic events over the phone is forbidden at the federal level, so this one skirts the law. However, enforcement actions are always directed at the bookie—I’m not aware of any bettors who have ever been arrested or convicted for placing a wager on a football game.

The tricky thing is finding a bookie. Bookies do not advertise in the newspaper, radio, television, or yellow pages because they are considered outlaws. The best approach to find a bookie is to become a regular at a bar where many sports are broadcast. Once you’ve gotten to know the bartender or some familiar guests, they’ll usually be glad to refer you to someone.

It’s a good idea to educate yourself on the many types of sports bets and how the vig works. Local bookies function similarly to professional bookies. However, they usually have a lesser selection of wagers.

The majority of your bets with your local bookmaker will be on-point spreads. These are wagers in which the favorite must win by a particular amount of points for the chance to win. If the New England Patriots are a 7-point favorite over the Dallas Cowboys, the bet will only succeed if the Patriots win by more than 7 points.

They’ll also frequently ask you to put up $110 to win $100. The “vig” is the extra $10. It’s easy to conceive of it as a percentage of each bet the bookie accepts. Even a tiny local bookie’s goal is to gather roughly the same amount of money wagered on both sides of a game. That way, they may be confident of making a profit on every wager.

Consider the following scenario:

A bookmaker has 40 customers betting on the New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys game. The Patriots are chosen by half of them, while the other half selects the Cowboys. The book takes in $4400 if each bettor wagers $100 on the game, but he only needs to pay out $4000 in rewards to the winning side. He has a profit guarantee of $400.

7. Go to Las Vegas.

There is arguably no better way to begin a gambling hobby than to travel to Sin City. They not only have the most casinos and casino games in the United States, but they also have a wide range of activities other than gaming. It’s also a fantastic place to visit on a shoestring budget.

If you’re planning a gambling trip to Las Vegas, you should set aside a bankroll exclusively for your gambling activities. You might take $450 to gamble with for a three-day trip, for example. Play with a daily budget of $150. You can even divide it into “session bankrolls.”

This is especially true for newcomers. It’s not uncommon for rookie gamblers to become overly enthusiastic and lose more money than they anticipated. You don’t want to find yourself in a scenario where you’ve spent all of your money on meals or other forms of amusement.

Of then, if you’re a significant roller, $450 could be less than a single blackjack or baccarat wager. If that’s the case, make a call ahead to some of the casinos to let them know you’re heading to Vegas to gamble and have a lot of cash. To tempt you to their hotel and casino, they’ll give you all kinds of incentives like free travel, free meals, and free event tickets. They’ll want to know how much you plan to bet and on what while you’re there, so be ready to talk about it. The benefits for high rollers can be substantial.

8. Go to Macau

If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, or if you think Vegas is a little too old-school, try a trip to Macau. It is now arguably the world’s largest gaming Mecca. They play many of the same games as in Vegas, but the number of individuals playing a particular game can vary substantially.

In Macau, for example, baccarat is played by 85 percent of table game players. You’ll see baccarat in a Vegas casino, but not nearly as many people as you’ll see playing blackjack.

Pai Gow (tiles) is also popular in Macau; however, it is played slightly differently. For one thing, in Macau, it’s customary to place your hand on the table while the tiles are still in place; you’re not allowed to take them up. Furthermore, rather than looking at the tiles, Macau players set their hands by feeling them. That’s a significant departure from the way the game is played in the United States.

9. Go on a road trip to a casino close to your home.

Of course, a long journey may not be in your best interests. A casino is usually only a few hours away, depending on where you live in the United States. I live in Texas, where there are only a few casinos. However, Oklahoma is only about an hour or two north of Dallas, and there are lots of casinos there.

However, different states have varied rules regarding what types of casino gambling are permitted. In Oklahoma, for example, gambling is restricted to specific types of slot machines. They can also deal with blackjack games, but they must charge the player an ante of 50 cents per hand. This restriction effectively removes your ability to gain an advantage by counting cards.

Casino cruises are available in some states. You board a boat that travels far enough out to sea to enter foreign waters. Because there are no applicable laws, you can gamble on casino games once you arrive. The main drawback is that the chances aren’t as good as at traditional land-based casinos in classic gambling areas like Las Vegas. Even so, if it’s the only game in town and you’re itching to play, why not?

10. Participate in the lottery

The lottery is practically the only game in town in several states. I wouldn’t say I like the lotto because the odds are so stacked against me. Also, I wouldn’t say I like it because I believe the government should not be engaged in the operation of a casino. However, you may give it a shot and see how you like it.

The majority of people begin with scratch and win tickets. Although the prizes are more minor, you are more likely to succeed. Big jackpots rarely payout, but when they do, they can completely transform your life. Unfortunately, the chances of winning one of those massive prizes are incredibly slim.

I mean 1 in 175 million when I say low. To put it in perspective, your chances of being struck by lightning at some point in your life are 1 in 12,000.

I don’t mind the low chances of winning, but I follow the lottery’s overall payout % and house edge. Even the weakest Las Vegas slot machine games have a return to player of 75%. The majority of them are in the 90 percent range or more fabulous.

That means that if you bet a dollar on a slot machine game, you’ll win 75 cents on that dollar over time. This is based on the average of thousands of bets. You’ll be happy at times, but you’ll also be sad at times.

In general, though, the lottery payout ratio is around 50%. It’s one of the most heinous gambling games ever devised.

It’s a fun and stress-free way to indulge in a bit of gaming, but mathematically, it’s one of the worst gambling offers you’ll discover. In reality, you’d be better off going to the local casino and playing keno.

11. Pay a visit to your neighborhood bingo hall

Bingo is an intriguing gambling game because it does not negatively affect other gambling games. When was the last time you saw a church hosting a casino night or a blackjack game? However, bingo games are frequently held in churches.

Many states compel bingo games to donate a set percentage of their profits to charity. So you can not only be involved, but you can also feel good about the fact that at least some of the money you’re wasting is going to help those in need.

Bingo is one of those games where absolutely no talent is required, except the ability to multi-task. You must be able to keep track of which numbers on the cards have been called. It’s simple to do this for a single bingo card, but most serious bingo players like to play numerous cards simultaneously.

Bingo is also permitted in several states where casinos are prohibited. They are commonly classified as “pari-mutuel” games, which are gambling games in which the total reward is based on the player’s contributions. In other words, the amount of money spent on bingo cards is directly proportional to the amount of money available to be won.

12. Locate a nearby bar that has pool tournaments.

As I previously stated, you may find bars that host free poker tournaments. Pool competitions are also frequently held at pubs. However, most of them charge a fee to participate.

However, the pool isn’t the only game played for money in bars. For years, I participated in a weekly table shuffleboard event with a $10 buy-in. Those were some of the most fun evenings I’ve ever had out.

Other bars host darts events. I’ve never been a big fan of darts, but I know many people who are. And if you’re looking to put some money to work, that’s the best way to go.

You can also participate in trivia contests with rewards.

Almost all of these tournaments charge an entry fee, which is used to fund the prize pool. For example, we paid $10 to play in a shuffleboard event where I used to compete. We’d have as many as 20 or 30 people show up regularly. The prize money was shared between the first-place team and the second-place team. The second-place winner received a free entrance into the event the following week.

To make it a better bet, bars may occasionally add money to the prize pool. The bar owners where I used to hang out would frequently add $50 to the prize pool.

Shuffleboard is a skill game, but we paired everyone up at random, so even the worst players had a chance to win. The addition of money to the prize pool by the bar created an “overlay” situation. Even if you were a lousy shuffleboard player, you had a fair chance of winning if you got lucky and received a good partner.

To attract patrons, bars host pool tournaments and other events. The more patrons in the bar, the more beverages are sold. It’s a straightforward and effective marketing strategy.


Gambling can be a pleasurable hobby for those who don’t have issues with impulse control. You have a variety of options if you want to give it a shot. While some require travel, many can be completed in your backyard.

The most important thing to remember when engaging in any gambling activity is this:

Never risk money that you can’t afford to lose. Your gambling game bankroll should be kept separate from your living costs at all times. You can end up on the streets if you waste your rent money on slot machines.

That’s not an excellent approach to play the game.