We’ve all seen him. The TV and Movie version of the inveterate bettor. Whether he’s at the tables, playing his trade at the track, hanging out with the rich and powerful players of the world, or getting the stuffing beaten out of him by some casino thugs or upset loser with lots of friends, he is a clear stereotype in our minds.

This article is intended to bring him out of the shadows, and allow us to see what really makes him tick, psychologically and emotionally. We’ll look at the good and the bad, the weak and the strong. The characteristics are listed alphabetically, but they all play a part in putting together a winning combination. Maybe, when it is said and done, we can all see the gambler for who he is, what drives him, and maybe, just maybe, we can see the same in all of us.


Right from the start, in order for a person to make his living by managing risk, he has to be able to transfer his beliefs and his strategic pressures in order to make things happen. To do so, he has to not only feel the rightness of his position, he has to be positive in nature. The old saying says you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, reminding us that a sweet disposition goes a long way. In a gambling life, one will face a lot of negativism and loss, but it is through an optimistic approach that one can overcome the adversity.

This positive outlook can be further utilized when partnered with an even temper. A person who goes off half-cocked, or cannot endure calmly a ‘bad beat’ will not last long in this kind of environment. It takes someone who is truly slow to anger, and who can see beyond the singular loss, to the averaging process of random factors, and prepare themselves for their next opportunity to win.


The world of the veteran gambling man, whether a private party or open live casino, is a world of excess, both at and away from the games tables or roulette wheels. A consummate expert keeps control of his environment as much as possible, to give himself the best opportunity to win. He avoids the alcohol and drugs that can sway or hinder this ability to make good decisions. He Takes care of himself physically, realizing the incredible demands a tournament or gambling sortie can have on him. He maintains, to the best of his ability, a diet that will keep him going for as long as he needs to succeed.

This unmarred discipline gives him as much control on the situations in which he finds himself as possible, because he or she knows that the fewer random variables that come into play during a game session, the better the plan can work itself. And giving the plan time to work makes it more likely to pay off.


Unlike the casual gambler, who is really hoping for the random ‘big win’, the professional seeks to make his living based on his wits and a deep understanding of the odds. He hasn’t the time to waste on small-games with bad odds. Because of this, he is willing to put large dollars on a known risk and resilient enough to overcome the tough hit, the bad break, and the dreaded run of bad luck. He doesn’t mess around, and sometimes his directness is taken as stubbornness or worse.

The consistent and competent career-oriented player puts it on the line every day, and when he is not in the game, he is just as fiercely driven. Life is a laser-focused process that makes the successes sweeter, the losses more poignant. But the Gambler wouldn’t have it any other way.


When a person gambles for a living, he better be likable. The reality of most gambling is that the majority of players will lose, and the best players, the savviest and fortunate among them will win. A charming personality, an affable appearance goes a long way to salving the situation. When it is easy to like a person, it is not as bad to lose to them. Conversely, if you defeat someone with whom you have an affinity, your winning is more saddening.
Being conversant and friendly to your opponents also affords you an edge, because your opponents now have to contend with making decisions and taking your affability into account. That makes you a more dangerous opponent, and they, more vulnerable for the experience.


When playing other players, which of course is the optimal situation, rather than playing against the house, your ability to discern certain things about the games environment from your opponents at the table is critical. A deep attention to detail, while maintaining a good image, a good ‘table presence’ means you will have access to tiny nuances that can mean the difference between a good bet, and being drawn in by a bluff. In non-competitor games, your demeanor can be more cold and distant, but maintaining a self-effacing image can still provide stronger, better outcomes, win or lose.

The key to staying in the game is to be aware in every play, every spin of the wheel or roll of the dice, of not only your own position in the game, but that of every other participant, from pit boss to dealer, from competitor to observer. A good eye can mean a good day.


Gambling online or… offline is not a ‘one and done’ experience, no matter what the movies or books say. It takes a pragmatic, realistic awareness of the time it takes, the highs and lows. Sometimes, the only way to win is to stay in the game. A professional who can be assertive without being pushy can often make more money in a shorter time by keeping his eyes on the game, and simply playing longer than others. One need not be rude, but an implacable foe often can cause poor judgment, and though the competitors know the odds and the options, one who can demonstrate and assumptive air can actually impact another player’s strategy adversely.

The sheer will to win, combined with an awareness of the odds in any game, can go far in building success, when combined with the other characteristics. Just wanting to win isn’t enough on its own.


While it is important that the dedicated gambler learn to read the faces and attitudes of his opponents, it is just as important that he or she become unreadable. This dichotomy, wherein the specialist gains information while not revealing any is particularly useful in direct competition, where often the higher winnings can be gained, but a mysterious and unpredictable player can even gain advantage in games against the house, by being perceived as a character of note, but not one that is a danger to the house.

Further, the mystery of a player can also be enhanced by the intensity of the play, the realization that the gambler is on a mission, has an objective in mind. Everyone wants to win, but it is the consistent competitor that has the upper hand in the attempt.

In conclusion

Gambling has allure, appeal, and adventure at its core. While the glamor and high-roller image is rampant in media portrayals; that is not what creates the winner, the person that can live this kind of lifestyle. It is the one who learns to use the psychological gifts they have fostered to become a force to be reckoned with, that overcomes the adversity, makes the necessary transitions, and lives to be what he is meant to be. It takes very special people with a certain set of particular skills to separate the money from their competitors and the house to make a living. And by looking at these in detail, one can determine if they have what it takes to become a member of this elite and enigmatic cadre.

Do you have these characteristics? How best could you make the changes in your life to incorporate these, and put yourself on the course to success?