Gambling Sheep or Shark: Which One Are You?

Date Created: May 17
Written by Jerico

In the world of gambling, there is often this perception that there are two kinds of animals roaming it. There’s the sheep and then, there are the sharks. Now you might be wondering why in the heck would animals have anything to do with gambling. Let me explain.

Sheep are mostly thought of to be feeble but gambling sheep necessarily aren’t weak. Rather, the characteristics of a sheep that can usually lead to trouble for bettors is that they follow the crowd, are often being led by a shepherd — in this case, the casino — and not thinking for him or herself. Sheep repeatedly follow the path of least resistance, and this, more often than not, can prove costly for a gambler.

A lot of people like to pretend that they are thinking for themselves, but in reality, their actions tell a whole different story. Now before you get mad at me, hear me out first: I am not pointing any fingers without pointing one at myself. Let’s face it: we have all had moments where we haven’t done a very good job of thinking for ourselves especially in gambling. Being a gambling sheep has, in fact, cost me more than my fair share.

On the other hand, there are sharks: aggressive, methodical, pure hunters.

A gambling shark is always looking for a way to reduce the house edge and find an advantage. This is the exact opposite of how most gamblers think and act.

Now if you are a gambling sheep, don’t worry; you don’t have to be any longer as we will discuss how you can transform yourself into a gambling shark. It won’t happen overnight but these are things that you need to be cognizant of from here on end especially if you want to come away with more winnings than losses.

But first, let us talk about the common things that gambling sheep do that leads to them losing money.

Games That Gambling Sheep Play

Are you aware of the reason why slot machines are the most popular form of gambling? And did you also know that slot machines are one of the cruelest games you can put your money on in a casino when it comes to profitability?

Sure, slot machines are arguably, the easiest things to play at the casino. You just put money in and then, push a button. You don’t have to worry about making a mistake and you don’t have to mingle or talk to a dealer or other players. Slots are safe and easy.

However, slots are also made to feed your gambling senses. They have movement; either by actual reels or by reels displayed on video screens, and feature sound effects to keep you engaged for extended periods of time.

Slots also feed the mental rush you experience when you win. Most gamblers get a chemical rush in their brains when they emerge victorious, which can become addictive. You feel good when you win so naturally, you want to win over and over again to get that rush.

Slot machine makers and designers have already mastered this entire process and unbeknownst to many gamblers, they have designed their machines to let you win just enough to make you want to keep playing while slowly stripping you away of your money little by little. On average, you lose more than you win when you play slots, but you win just enough spins to keep you spinning.

A lot of gamblers shy away from human interaction as much as possible, most times for fear of making a huge gaffe at a table game. It might seem alien to some but it’s a real concern for most people. It’s human nature: people do not want to get embarrassed or humiliated in front of a lot of people, which can happen during a table game.

I have actually witnessed this firsthand at a casino a few years back. I was playing at a blackjack table and some of the players were just downright rude, making fun of other players. This often happens when the last player to act before the dealer draws a card that would’ve made the dealer bust. This can be quite unnerving unless you have thick skin. Even if you understand that the hecklers have no idea how probability works, which makes them 100% wrong, it doesn’t make it feel better when you are made the butt of their jokes.

The rudeness doesn’t stop at the players but can also extend to some dealers. This does not happen as often as rude players because dealers work for tips, but a rude dealer can certainly drain the fun out of the gambling experience.

But when you sit down to play slots, you don’t have to worry about any of these things. You don’t have a dealer and you don’t have to deal with other players. The only people you might encounter are the ones playing the slots next to you but that’s just about it. You can totally get away with ignoring them all night long.

The house edge for slot machines goes from 2% to 10% or higher. It’s tricky to know the house edge for a specific machine because this data isn’t made widely available. The house edge for slots makes them awful games to play. When you combine a high house edge with the capability to take 400 or 500 spins an hour on most machines, it’s totally bad for your playing bankroll.

Gambling sharks actively look for and just play games with a house edge lower than 1%, and most are able to play with an edge of .5% or lower.

Other games that gambling sheep are most likely to play, fall into some of the similar categories as slot machines. They are either safe or are mindless to play.

Baccarat is another fine example of an easy game to play, but it does have a dealer. When you play baccarat, you can’t make a mistake. You just make a bet on one of three choices and the casino essentially takes care of everything. You can’t make any strategic decisions and you don’t even need to know how to score hands.

You place a bet on the player, banker, or tie space. The dealer deals the cards and adds the scores for each hand. Once a winning hand is recognized, the dealer gathers losing bets and pays out winning bets. The banker bet has a house edge of 1.06% and the player bet house edge is 1.24%. Depending on how much the tie bet pays, it has a house edge as high as 14.36%. Even when you bet on the banker, the house edge of over 1% is too high.

Roulette is another game that’s rather easy to play. It has more betting choices than baccarat, but each possible wager is forthright. The usual bets are black, red, even, odd, or on a single number. You put your bet and the casino personnel spin the wheel, collect losing wagers, and pay out the winners.

There are two types of roulette wheels. Some wheels, referred to as American roulette wheels, have 38 spaces. The house edge on bets on an American roulette wheel is 5.26%. The other type of roulette wheel is called a European roulette wheel and it has 37 spaces. The house edge for a European roulette wheel is 2.7%. Both kinds of roulette wheels have a house edge that’s much too high.

Craps is another casino game that is very popular, but it can be tricky to play. The craps table has many various bets available, and they differ in the house edge. The lowest house edge available at the craps table is on “the don’t pass” line. It has a house edge of 1.36%, making it considerably worse than the banker bet in baccarat.

Another casino game that’s easy to play and doesn’t need much human interaction is keno. Many casinos even offer video keno machines so you don’t even need to buy a ticket from a cashier. Keno is even worse than slot machines because the house edge is usually 25% or higher.

Other popular casino games that gambling sheep are most likely to play are:

  • Three Card Poker = 37% minimum house edge
  • Pai Gow Poker = 46% minimum house edge
  • Let It Ride Poker = 51% minimum house edge
  • Casino War = 88% minimum house edge
  • Caribbean Stud Poker = 22% minimum house edge
  • Big Six Wheel = 11% minimum house edge

So there you have it! These are the games that gambling sheep play. They all have a house edge of over 1%, with many having much worse. Games with a house edge of 1% and higher are terrible for your gambling bankroll that you’re much better off not playing. But as mentioned, there’s hope! You don’t have to be a gambling sheep anymore. You can find plenty of options for gambling sharks in the section below.

So You Want to be a Gambling Shark?

Gambling sharks are always on the lookout for opportunities to play with a house edge of less than 1%. It’s even better when you can play games with a house edge of less than .5%. The definitive gambling shark opportunities give players the chance to play at a breakeven level or even have a genuine chance to win in the long run.

You might think it’s difficult to play with less than a .5% house edge but the fact is that it’s legitimately easy. You can even play machine based games with a low house edge if you want to elude having to mingle with other players and dealers.

Believe it or not, it’s not unreasonable to gamble at a breakeven pace or have the possibility to play with a positive edge against the house. Truth be told, this needs more work than most games, but it’s entirely possible if you know how to do it.

The gambling games that offer the smallest house edge all encompass skill or tactical decisions. Don’t worry though; most of the strategy decisions can be easily picked up or you can use cheat sheets while you play. The two easiest games to play are blackjack and video poker.

Video poker is a machine-based game like slot machines, but instead of reels spinning, you play hands of poker dealt from a deck of playing cards. This gives you some advantages over slot machines because the house edge can be determined from the pay tables and you can come up with the best strategy based on the cards left in the deck.

You can find many variations of video poker, and within each, you can find various pay tables. To find the video poker games that gambling sharks often play, you need to find the right games with the right pay table and utilize the right strategy.

While this might sound complicated; the truth is that it’s fairly simple once you know what to look for.

Let’s begin with using the right strategy, as this is usually what intimidates a lot of players away from video poker. Each starting hand is a distinct set of cards. In most games, the starting hand is comprised of five cards dealt from a 52 cards deck.

You choose which cards to keep and which cards to discard and have replaced by new cards. With the use of mathematics or computer programs, you can find out the best play for any starting hand in video poker. While you can do all of the math work yourself, the good news is that you don’t need to go all crazy trying to figure it out.

The best strategy for popular video poker variations can be found on strategy cards that you can purchase online or in casino gift shops and in charts that are readily accessible on the Internet. All you need to do is get a strategy chart or card for the video poker variation you want to play and follow the directions. By using the best strategy on every video poker hand, you keep the house edge as low as possible.

You don’t need to be wary about the casino giving you trouble for utilizing a chart or card. It’s absolutely legal and the casinos don’t really care anyway. You can use your strategy data whether you play video poker online or when you play in a land-based casino

Now that you know you don’t have to worry about using the best strategy, lets’ take a look at two other things you need to know, which is about the video poker game and pay table. While there are dozens of various video poker games, it is ideal that you give any of these three a try: Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild and Pick’ Em Poker.

All three of these games can be found with pay tables that offer a house edge of less than .5%. You need to know which pay tables to look for, so it’s easier to learn what you need to know if you learn about one game at a time. The reason it is recommended that you learn about these three games is that you might not be able to find a good pay table for one machine where you play, but one of the other games may be available with a good pay table.


Now that you know if you’re a gambling sheep, you can start transforming into a gambling shark. There are plenty of other things that you can do to complete your transformation but for now, use these simple tips to begin your conversion.

By doing these few simple steps, you can quickly find games with a lower house edge and give yourself a better chance of winning every time you gamble.