The old saying is that truth is stranger than fiction. I can understand that, because the story I am going to share sounds like something out of a movie. It’s a story about beginner’s luck, blackjack, and craps. Counting Edge asked me to share it because we get many emails from readers who have had a similar experience.

Before we talk about this tale, let’s be clear. Depending on beginner’s luck to win at gambling is not going to get you very far in the long run. You are ultimately going to have to develop your skills at blackjack and craps. The good news is that you can do this with ease just by reading many of the articles on our website.

Understanding the House Edge in Casino Gambling

Long before I ever gave a thought to gambling on a regular basis or moved to Las Vegas and became a columnist for gambling websites and other publications, I at least had the sense to talk to a few professional gamblers. Looking back on that it was probably the only wise decision I made when I started. The rest was sheer beginner’s luck.

Now, understand this right away. There are no ‘little men’ hiding inside the slot machines that cause you to win or lose like a leprechaun doling out dollars from his pot of gold. No one is manipulating the cards at blackjack or the dice at the craps table. I was smart enough to know that the casino doesn’t have to do all that stuff. They don’t need to. All they need to do is just sit back, let you bet and collect a profit. This is due to the house edge.

The gambling friend that I spoke to explained the house edge succinctly in terms of a coin flip. He offered to bet me on each coin flip we made. Whenever I won he had to pay me $0.94. Whenever he won I had to pay him a dollar. The point was made. As long as he could keep me playing and making those flips there was no way that I could win in the long run. That is precisely what happens with the house edge in blackjack and other gambling games. Play long enough and you are going to give up your money to the house.

With that knowledge I decided to hit up the casinos of Las Vegas and see how well I could do as a beginner at gambling.

Blackjack and Beginner’s Luck

Before I ever even decided to gamble in Las Vegas my decision was to play blackjack and craps. The reason for this was simple. Both of these games have the lowest house edge of any game in the casino. Blackjack is number one with craps a close second. I chose to start with blackjack.

Once I decided on a casino I called upon my gambling friend who was kind enough to explain house edge. He agreed to make a visit to the casino with me where he could observe my play and make suggestions for improvement. Bear in mind, my only weapons were a knowledge of the game and the most rudimentary grasp of basic blackjack strategy.

We were lucky enough to find a casino with a few open blackjack tables, some of which had a minimum bet of $5 per hand. I brought $60 with me to the casino, figuring that if this were not enough I did not need to be going in the first place. My friend was quick to impart his first lesson.

“You have to have a bankroll,” he said, and I thought I did. What he meant was a bankroll with plenty of money to weather a losing streak. He recommended $250 as a $5 minimum bankroll. I couldn’t see having that type of money to just set aside for blackjack bets and I told him so. He told me if that was the case I didn’t need to be gambling.

We started to play and I had no idea of the right bet size or the right money management. I began winning, and this did not surprise my friend. He told me that the casino has a very hard time dealing with unpredictable players. It is the predictable players that the house knows it can beat. So, beginner’s luck was working in my favor, but maybe it should more accurately be described as a beginner that did not know what he was doing.

After getting ahead by about $100 I decided it was time to walk and make a beeline for the craps table. I now had $160. I figured that would be enough to learn about the game of craps.

Crap and Beginner’s Luck

Craps was an entirely different animal than blackjack. The first thing that hit home with me was the pace of the game. It is incredibly fast. I was making bets until my head started spinning. After losing about $30 in my first two minutes at the tables I decided to slow down and restrict my wagers to so-called line bets.

I did not know it at the time but I was making the best decision I could make at the craps table. A line bet gives the player the best odds of winning. What I didn’t know is that there are two line bets a player can make. A bet that the shooter will roll a winner is a pass line bet. A bet that the shooter will crap out is a don’t pass bet. I didn’t know that I was betting on the wrong one.

One of the safest and most profitable bets that you can make at a craps table is a don’t pass line bet. There are more combinations on the dice that will roll a 7 than there are for any other number. The odds are always against the player. It only makes sense that you would bet against the player and with the house. You still aren’t going to win every bet but you will be a lot better off in the long run.

I switched my bet to don’t pass and was surprised to find myself staying even with the house. I would up leaving the table a few hours later with a $20 profit. I finished the day with $180, $120 more than the $60 I started with.

The Moral of the Beginner’s Luck Blackjack Gambling Story

You may be asking yourself why I chose to tell this story about beginner’s luck at blackjack and craps. After all, we stress that players should take time to learn the casino games before they make a bet. A good way to do this is to sign up for an online casino where free games are offered in addition to games for real money. That way you can play for free until you are comfortable before switching over to real money games.

What we wanted to accomplish by telling this story is to show that beginner’s luck is a valid concept. It seems to be a real thing, but we think it can be explained by the attitude that a beginner blackjack player often has. They are not really thinking about losing when they play. This means that they play with more freedom. More freedom often means making better decisions. Better decisions means more winning in the long run.

If you are ready to try your hand at blackjack or craps for the first time, we encourage you to check out our recommended online casinos where you can play right from home with a computer, phone, or tablet. To play real money blackjack we recommend that you try one of the recommended casinos to play blackjack, many of which are iphone casinos. You can read the Casino Max review, or High Country casino review to name a few.