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Online Gambling

Reason #4 like Bovada:

It's fair and safe

Online gambling is largely unregulated in the U.S.  That means the casinos serving U.S. players generally don't answer to anyone.  If you have a problem with a casino (like they won't pay you), then you're usually out of luck.  I can't count how many players have written to ask me for help because they didn't get paid by some other casino.  (Not that I helped them—if a dodgy casino won't pay you then you're on your own.)

That's why the most important thing in playing online is to pick a good casino.  The good ones know they make more money with fair games and consistent payouts, because that ensures repeat customers and good word-of-mouth referrals.  It's no coincidence that the most successful online casinos are the ones that focus on their customers.

But some casinos aren't so smart.  The stupidest ones actually rig the games, promptly get blacklisted at sites like Casinomeister, and then their business dries up.  (It's pretty easy for watchdog mathematicians like the Wizard of Odds to determine whether a casino is cheating.)

Cheating is rare.  You're more likely to have a problem getting a payout.  Some casinos try to find excuses to not pay winning players, especially players who have won big.  And again, since online gambling is unregulated in the U.S., if you can't get a payout from a casino, then you're usually out of luck.

So all this is another reason why I advertise Bovada, and have done so for over ten years.  They use industry-standard software, it's absolutely fair, and players get their payouts, consistently.  I have a choice in whom I advertise, so I purposefully picked a casino with a good reputation where I'm confident my readers will have a good experience.

To be clear, Bovada's not perfect.  Once they got duped by a vendor (Betsoft) who provided progressive slots whose jackpots weren't winnable.  When I discovered this I alerted Bovada, and they pulled all the Betsoft games from the site, but I thought they were slow to do so and didn't offer proper restitution to affected players.  Still, even with this incident, their overall history is better than most; as just one example, there are many other casinos still offering Betsoft's questionable games.

Another good thing about Bovada is that they allow me to mediate if one of my readers clicks over to them, plays the games, and has a problem they can't get Bovada to resolve.  Believe me, I wouldn't offer that service if I got more than a trivial number of inquiries over the years on that topic.

Bottom line: I'm confident that Bovada is fair and safe.  You might have a good experience with another casino...and you might not.  I trust Bovada, and that's why I picked them.

Visit Bovada


Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.
Play these
free slots now

Gambling problem?
  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How to win $100,000 at a table game with a $10 bet

Last update: August 2018

The reason this article is titled "How to win $100,000..." is that $100k is the limit. The maximum allowable bet on the strip is $50,000, at Caesars Palace. (source)

So how do we win $100,000 at a table game?  Simple:  Start with a $10 bet, and double it every time you win, 14 times in a row.  The odds of doing that are about 1 in 12,000.  Don't laugh: the odds of hitting a slot jackpot are usually no better than 1 in 250,000, and can easily go as high as 1 in 8 million.  Further, the top jackpot is usually far lower than $100,000.  So, if you want a huge jackpot, you're much more likely to get it on a table game than on a slot machine.

The details

You remember that old story you heard as a kid about the person who wanted his salary to start at only a penny a day and then double every day?  The punchline was that in 30 days the salary would be over a 10 million dollars.  We're working with the same concept here.  If you start with a $10 bet and win 14 times in a row, you'll be betting $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, $1280, $2560, $5120, $10240, $20480, $40960, $81920,  and finally $100,000.  The last one isn't doubled because remember that no casino will let us bet more than $50,000 on one hand.

So now we just need to pick a game to play.  We want a game with a low house edge, because that will give us the best chance of winning.  That rules out roulette, since its house edge is a whopping 5.26%.  A single-zero wheel is better a 2.7%, but that's still twice what you'd get in a good game.  If you're in Europe where they have the en prison rule, then the edge is a respectable 1.39%, and roulette is a decent choice.  If you're in Europe and are trying this with roulette, you can use the numbers below for craps without free odds, since the house edge for both games is similar.

But let's say we're not in Europe and so roulette is out.  An obvious choice for a low-edge good would be blackjack, which carries an edge as low as 0.20%.  But blackjack comes with a problem:  If we bet the farm on every hand, there's no money left for doubles and splits.  So that one's out.

Our next idea might be the banker bet in baccarat, with a low edge of only 1.06%.  And it'll work, though it's not so simple:  In baccarat we have to pay a 5% commission on winning banker bets, so if we win 13 times in a row and lose the 14th, we'll be on the hook for thousands of dollars in commissions.  Ouch!  So to do the banker bet we'll have to squirrel away 5% of every win in order to pay the commissions.  That means our bets would grow slower, but we could still reach $100k with 14 bets, so it's an option.  The chances of winning an individual banker bet are 50.68%, so the odds of making our $100k are 1 ÷ 50.68%14 = 1 in 13,561.  This is as good as we're gonna get, but let's look at our other options anyway.

Next up is the player bet in baccarat with an edge of 1.24%.  There's no commission to worry about, so it's simpler, but the odds are worse. The chance of winning a single player bet is 49.317562%, so the chances of winning 17 in a row are 1 in 1 ÷ 49.317562%14, or 1 in 19,860.  Not as good as the banker but, bet still about twenty times easier than with a slot machine.

The house edge on the pass line in craps is almost as low, 1.41%.  Yes, the Don't Pass is just a hair lower, but if you wanted the best odds you would have chosen baccarat.  If you're playing craps it's because craps is more fun for you, and if that's the case you're almost certainly going to bet the pass line like everyone else.  In that case your chances are 1 in 1 ÷ 49.29292914, or 1 in 19,999.  Banker in baccarat is still our best choice.

The 14th bet

Remember that even though our goal is only $100,000, after our 13th bet we'll have more than $50,000, so if we bet $50,000 and won we'd overshoot our goal.  Of course, that's academic, since no casino will allow us to make a bet greater than $50,000 anyway. 

Specifically, after bet #13 we have $58,801.75.  We'll bet $43,366.75  on bet #14, which is $41,198.25 after commission, and our $58,801.75 bankroll plus the $41,198.25 after commission = a cool $100,000.

Now, those of you who are really sharp might point out that we didn't really win the whole $100,000, because we started with $10, so we really won only $999,990.  To that I say, nobody likes a pedant.  If it really bothers you, just bet an extra $10.75 on bet #14.

A Second Chance

We can use the fact that we're not betting the farm on bet #14 to our advantage.  At the beginning of bet #14, we have a $58,801.75 bankroll, of which we're betting $43,366.75 (or $43,377.50 for pedants).  If we lose, we'll have $58,801.75 - $43.366.75 = $15,435 left over.  So at that point we could simply start over again, but this time with a $15,435 initial bet rather than a $10 bet.  And let me tell ya, it's a lot easier to get to $100,000 from $5998 than from $10.

Further, every time we're making our last bet, we'll bet only enough to hit $100k, so we'll have some left over to try again if we lose.

This improves our odds pretty significantly.  From the computer simulation I programmed to run 20 billion attempts, our chances of success are now 1 in 11,850.

The odds bet in craps doesn't work

You might think we could improve our chances further by taking the "free odds" bet in craps, since it carries no house edge.  (See my how to play craps for an explanation of this bet.)  I thought the same thing, but a computer simulation proved otherwise.  The problem is that we have to bet only a fraction of our bankroll on the come-out roll so we have money left over to put on the odds, and if we win the come-out with a 7 or 11 then our effort is kind of wasted since our bet was so small.  Incidentally, I did find that betting 1/4th of the bankroll on the come-out (and not being able to put the max down on points of 5, 6, 8, and 9) yielded better chances of success then betting 1/5th or 1/6th of the bank on the come-out roll.

(My sims used 3-4-5 odds.  Casino Royale offers 100x odds, but they limit the payout on an odds bet to just $2500, so that won't work for us.  Caesars, which allows the highest bets in Vegas, offers 3-4-5 odds, so that's what I used. But when we got close to the goal, I had the sim stop screwing with odds and put as much on the pass line as necessary to hit the $100k goal if we won the bet.)

Getting more playing time

Instead of betting the farm on every round, we could bet only half or 1/4 of our bankroll.  This doesn't improve our odds (in fact it makes them worse), but it does let us play longer.  After all, when you bet everything on every round, as soon as you lose a round, it's all over.  Betting just a fraction of your bankroll each time lets you last longer, even though it makes it a little harder to reach our goal.

Here's how that plays out.

Chances of winning $100k through multiple Baccarat banker bets
How much to bet each round Chances of making $100k Avg. # of rounds per attempt
Everything 1 in 11,850 *
Half of remaining bankroll 1 in * *
Quarter of remaining bankroll 1 in * *

* Data coming eventually


How to calculate the chances of winning repeated bets

If you'd like to get your hands dirty and calculate some of this yourself, the chances of winning an event over multiple attempts is:

1 - (ways to lose ÷ (ways to lose+1) ) ^ number of attempts

So if our chances for 1 try are 1 in 40,000 and we try 100 times, our chances are 1 - (39,999 ÷ 40,000)100 ≈ 0.25%.  To turn that into "1 in x" style, we divide the result into 1.  So 1 ÷ 0.25% is 400, or 1 in 400.

This formula is useful for other gambling problems.  For example, if the odds of hitting the jackpot on one spin on an old-style electromechanical slot machine are 1 in 262,144, and you play the machine for 262,144 spins, you've got only a 63% chance of hitting the jackpot.  Probably not what you expected!


Odds of winning consecutive bets

No article about winning lots of bets in a row would be complete without a table showing your odds of winning several bets in a row in various games, so here you go!


Odds of winning multiple bets in a row (1 in X)
Wins in a row
Roulette
(00)
Roulette
(0)
Baccarat
banker bet
Baccarat
player bet
Craps
pass line
Bankroll*
($10 start)
1
 2
2
2
2
2
$20
2
4
4
4
4
4
$40
3
9
9
8
8
8
$80
4
20
18
15
17
17
$160
5
42
37
30
34
34
$320
6
89
75
59
70
70
$640
7
187
155
116
141
141
$1280
8
395
319
230
286
287
$2560
9
833
655
453
579
582
$5120
10
1,758
1,347
894
1,175
1,181
$10,240
11
3,712
2,768
1,764
2,382
2,395
$20,480
12
7,837
5,691
3,481
4,830
4,859
$40,960
13
16,544
11,697
6,868
9,794
9,858
$81,920
14
34,927
24,044
13,552
19,860
19,999
$163,840
15
73,734
49,424
26,739
40,269
40,572
$327,680
16
155,660
101,594
52,757
81,653
82,309
$655,360
17
328,616
208,832
104,093
165,567
166,979
$1,310,720
18
693,745
429,265
205,383
335,715
338,748
$2,621,440
Odds are rounded.  Probabilitiy of winning a single round is: Roulette 00: 18/38. Roulette 0: 18/37.
Baccarat banker: 50.682438%.  Baccarat player: 49.317562%.  Craps: 244/495.
Blackjack is n/a due to doubles, splits, and naturals.
* The bankroll column will be less than shown when the play is Baccarat Banker,
because of the 5% commission that must be paid on winning hands.


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