Five Ways to Bet to Win


Maybe you like to gamble, in which case you've probably tried some of the ideas suggested here. Still, there might be one or two you haven't used. And what if gambling isn't really your thing? Well, you probably still like to make money, and the methods here are all about that. So either way you might find something useful in these five ways to bet to win.

(Flickr photo by Melissa Gray)

Football Pools

There are various types of football pools, but the most common is perhaps the basic "squares" versions. A grid with 0 through 9 on each side creates 100 squares. One team is designated for the vertical side and the other for the horizontal. Bettors buy squares for a set amount like a dollar per square. Names are usually just written in the squares as they are bought. A winner is determined by last digits of the scores. For example, if Michigan's final score was 63 and Ohio's was 45, the square at which the "3" column on the Michigan side intersects with the "5" row on the Ohio side has the name of the winner.

In many states "social gambling" like this is perfectly legal. You'll find a summary of gambling laws by state here:

Now, the odds are equal for everyone in a basic betting pool like this. That's better some forms of gambling, since there is no "house edge," but you want to win more than you lose, right? To do that you need to be the one who arranges the pool. You can tell your bettors that you will be keeping 10% and paying out only 90% to the winner. You can still bet, and you might lose or win, but if you take in $100, pay out $90, and bet five or six $1 squares yourself, you'll be ahead no matter what. Check the legality though; some social betting laws do not allow for anyone to have an edge or cut of the pot.

Casino Promotions

While it is difficult to win consistently at a casino, it isn't impossible. There are games where you can gain an edge, like blackjack (if you know how to count cards). There are also games where you play against other players rather than against the house, like poker. If you are good enough the small cut the casino takes will be less than what you consistently win from weaker players. Finally, there are promotions you can take advantage of.

To bet to win when using casino promotions, you have to simply take what you get and play the minimum required, but play conservatively. For example, suppose a casino offers new club members $20 in free slot play, with the requirement that you play for an hour. If you have the option, sit at a nickel slot machine and relax. take your time and hit that play button no more than 6 times per minute (video keno is a good one for this because you'll use time selecting numbers). Those 360 plays in an hour will mean you put $18 through the machine. You might be up or down, but if the house has a 20% edge on that game, your projected loss will less than $4, leaving you a nice profit from that $20 in free money.

Bar Bets

Minor bets in a bar fall under "social gambling" laws in many places. If you look on YouTube you'll find more than one good video demonstrating bar bets. The following is an example.

You bet someone at the bar $5 that you can fit a nickel through a hole which is the size of a dime. Have someone trace a circle around a dime, on a piece of paper. Cut out the hole. Let everyone see that it would tear the paper if you forced a nickel through the hole. Then fold the paper across the middle of the hole, set the nickel between the folds onto the hole, and pull up the ends of the paper. The nickel will fall through, without tearing the paper.

Horse Races

There are many different strategies for betting to win at the horse racing track. You can research betting on horses online or buy a good book on the subject. I won't get into specific strategies here, other than to say that so called "chalks," or horse that are bet down to less than even odds, win often enough that you can sometimes have a profitable day made up of many of these small wins. If you have never bet on horses, start by reading a good guide that explains the basics of betting on horses, including the tips for bet size according to your bankroll, and what the common bets mean.

There are now many places where you can legally bet on horses, even if you are nowhere near a track. Here in Florida I have the Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Racing track fifteen minutes away, for example. They have a bank of television screens that cover races from more than 25 thoroughbred and harness tracks, and they take the bets there. To bet in person, you can find the closest place on the list of horse racing tracks here:


It isn't the most exciting game for hard-core gamblers, but playing bingo is a pleasant way to pass the time, and if you do it right you might be able to put the odds in your favor. In other words you can bet to win, and not just as entertainment. You can start by choosing cards that have as much variety in numbers as possible. This is easy to understand if you imagine all 12 cards (or however many you play) being identical. You might as well have one in that case. ideally you want to have every one of the numbers 1 through 75 on at least one of your cards, so you are covering a square with every call.

The other strategy takes more time to arrange. You have to track the numbers over weeks of play to see if there are some that come up more often than they should, and then choose cards with those numbers. The balls used in the machines are not always perfect, so some can pop up more often than others. But be aware that all your work will be thrown away as soon as the balls are changed. Fortunately this isn't done too often at most of the places that have bingo nights. There are some pretty heavy mathematics used to determine if a more-frequent appearance of a number is random or indicates a real bias, but to keep it simple look for any numbers that come in more than 1-in-60 times after 5,000 numbers are called (I told you it would be slow).

Use an online bingo locator to find the places nearest you that have regular bingo nights.

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