18 March 2012

Winning at the casino

7 general take-aways from this guy who managed to beat three casinos in a row, winning $15 million:

1. take your time, don't rush: it doesn't mean you have to wait so long as to never enter the game, but you'll gain an edge if you take the time to listen and observe, but also to carefully weigh your options (the guy "is very good at gambling, mainly because he’s less willing to gamble than most. He does not just walk into a casino and start playing, which is what roughly 99 percent of customers do")

2. do your homework: analyse the market conditions (in this case, casinos struggling and becoming desperate) and how competitors play on the market

3. be good at maths and probabilities: assess risks, calculate your advantage, nothing beats data

4. stay cool: especially when stakes are high or in moments of crisis; this requires practice, careful observation and experience

5. don't be greedy: corollary of the previous point, don't fall for cheap tactics trying to buy you off but also always reassess whether you have an edge or not anymore - don't hesitate to leave the game if you are no longer the one who can handle a situation (take what you have won and leave, or step down from your role, or find another more suitable role, or consider someone else to negotiate on your behalf)

6. you can always negotiate: who said rules could not be negotiated? Everything can be negotiated, it only depends to what extent you are capable of being creative - and smart - in your negotiation

7. being good at what you do always helps: this is obvious, but not always easy - if you're already good at the points above, then you're not missing much. Paying attention and having a constant urge to do better (than what you did before, or than others) will gradually make you become a very good - and successful - element in your field, if not an expert.