Gambling is a part of my life. Whether it be betting on sports, poker, fantasy football or the stock market, these are all forms of activities I participate in that require you to put up money to prove your intellect. Yes there is luck to gambling but it really comes down to how smart you are or how well you play the game if you will win or not. I can trace my “serious” gambling back to my sophomore year of college and the introduction to online poker. After that Ck4 and I used to go to AC way too often and would play the table games. With online poker to the wayside, I’ve been betting on sports and playing live cards for some entertainment. Do I think I’m a good gambler? I’ve come a long way.

I was the casino’s dream customer. I would get too drunk off their free drinks and start betting way over my head. Hundreds of dollars on roulette spins, monster hands of blackjack, hell even horse racing piqued my interest. From the ages of 21-24, I’d wager I lost near 10k, maybe more. Once the thrill of the casino left me (and my empty wallet), I started to treat the casino as a form of entertainment and not a way to make money. I’ll still gamble here and there but I learned the hard way that table games are a great way to lose money. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement.

The Shee will say this is tooting my own horn but I”m a solid, profitable poker player. No if, ands or buts, my history is that of a player in the black. I’ve put in a lot of hours learning the game from training sites and hundreds of hours behind the computer to feel confident that I can play the game at a higher level than most. I want to point out though that the amount of time I’ve put into the game doesn’t compensate me for the insignificant amount of money I’ve made. Poker is more of a skill game than other forms of gambling which would make sense as to why you can win on a consistent basis.

Sports betting is a losing proposition that I’ve gotten much better at. Last year I think was the first year I can say I finished in the black. It was a mere 500 dollars through an entire football season but it’s still winning. When I was younger, I’d say I’ve lost thousands of dollars betting on sports. Making mistakes like betting too many games and awful bankroll management. I’m not saying I’m a good sports bettor but I’ve improved. Reading the lines and trying to stay away from the where the public’s money is the best way to bet. If your friend tells you that it’s a sure thing, bet the other way because he probably can be categorized as the general public. I’ve been on a nice streak lately and I attribute it to 10% skill and 90% good luck. To think you can make money sports betting is false. If you treat it as entertainment with no expectations, you won’t find yourself deep in a hole.

The stock market is gambling. The years of buy and hold are finished. Get in and get out and don’t be greedy. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the market just as I have in the other forms. Stay away from penny stocks and get rich quick schemes. I’ve lost thousands of dollars this way and the mentality that a 5 cent stock can jump to a dollar is usually flawed. As of late, I keep my money on the sidelines and jump in when I think a good value stock is undervalued. I don’t worry so much about the tax consequence of a short term gain. This is how I view my “short term” money. My long term money is in 2050 retirement funds that I just forget about. I think NFLX is a good buy at 80 to anyone interested.

Some people don’t do any gambling and this post will have no effect on them. Others probably do too much gambling and think I’m a fool for saying you probably can’t win. There is no easy money out there. Let me repeat, there is no easy money out there. People aren’t giving money away. If you don’t have to work hard for your money, you probably don’t have much. If I didn’t gamble, I’d probably be bored to death. It’s a spice to life. It makes things interesting. If you keep it in check and don’t bet over your head, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. If you find yourself chasing losses all the time, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. I know I write some things that most people probably think I have a problem. 180 bucks on the Eagles last night? That’s not healthy. Know though that I’ve been through a lot at 27 years of age. It isn’t my first night of betting and my respect for money is constantly in question. I’d like to think I know what I’m doing but like anything else, you need experience to get better at something.

A final random thought that I see. If you pay money to play fantasy football, set your line up. Ratam is going to get a BS win this week if you just set your lineup.