Everyone has a lazy gambling habit. Call it a bare bones strategy, or call it what it is—gambling without thinking too much.
You’re just in the game, not in it to win it. Maybe you need a break. Or maybe you’re teaching the game to someone new… But is lazy gambling always a bad thing?
In an ideal setting, you only gamble when you’re fully alert and feeling great. But expecting to stay that way in a casino is like expecting a tire with a slow leak to last you for the next 1000 miles.
People fall back on this way of gambling with real money the way they fall back on spare tires. It’ll carry the load for a while, but it won’t get you far.
The best lazy gamblers know when to leave the game or start paying full attention again.
I personally think of lazy gambling as a step down from being fully engaged. It would be equivalent to using the autoplay feature for slots.
But without the opportunity to apply strategy, it’s still not the ideal example. When you decide to be a lazy gambler, you shouldn’t just abdicate your options. You should still play strategically.
Lazy gambling is more of a style than a system. You pick and choose how you want to manage your game. And it isn’t a strategy that’s applicable for just any kind of game.
Keeping that in mind, there’s no need to go all in. This is simply a way to unwind without completely walking away. Here’s how to keep lazy gambling fun and prevent it from eating up your bankroll.
1 – Dial Down Your Wagers
If you need to coast for a while, there isn’t much point in betting the max. While it’s true the odds won’t change because you change your bet, I’m assuming you don’t want to put much thought into the game for a while.
Despite your lazy gambling strategy, your money won’t manage itself. Making minimum wagers is safer than dropping the max on every play.
Card counters do something like this anyway. If they believe the majority of cards left in the shoe are of low value, they cut back on their wagers.
If you’re explaining a game to someone new, it won’t matter if you lose with a minimum wager. Even new players feel comfortable with losing minimum bets.
2 – Only Make Safe Bets, With One Exception
If you tell your friend to put a bet on the pass line at the craps table, you can explain the game as it’s played. That bet usually won’t vanish right away. By the same token, you can explain how the don’t pass bets work on the next round.
The key to long-term success in blackjack is to know when to apply an exceptional rule. Bare bones strategy says you stand on 17 or higher and hit on 16 or lower.
Splitting aces should be obvious, but other opportunities require more thought. If you can’t let an opportunity to split pass you by, then you’re not in a lazy gambling mode.
Baccarat is made for lazy gambling. You can bet on the bank or player and the odds are close. You can also keep putting money on a tie, but that won’t pay as often.
Lazy gambling in roulette favors the outside bets. The rule of thumb in lazy gambling is take as little risk as possible. But there is an exception to this rule of thumb.
If the game allows a player to make more than one wager at a time, adding a slightly less risky wager is okay. In roulette, that slightly less risky wager will be placed on one of the 12-number bets. In craps, you either take the odds or lay them.
Should you lay odds because you bet don’t pass? Decide ahead of time how you want to hedge your bets. Some players only bet pass/don’t pass and come/don’t come. They ignore the odds and riskier bets with higher payoffs.
3 – Counterintuitive Betting Is Okay When Done Safely
Since lazy gambling eschews the more complicated betting, your remaining leverage is in how much you wager. While dropping down to minimum bets is one way to ease up, it’s optional.
If you’re only playing safe bets, then you’re already playing the best probabilities and lowest odds. This is the time to ratchet up your wagers without having to think through every play.
The rule of thumb is simple. Safe bet + maximum wager = riskier bet + minimum wager.
All you’re doing is simplifying the game for a little while. It’s better to use the safe bet + maximum wager style. The house edge is at its lowest.
That’s admittedly a playing strategy. You can’t dispense with strategy 100%. Lazy gambling trades off complex strategy for simpler play.
In some games, it won’t matter much. In baccarat, it doesn’t make a big difference if you bet on the player rather than the banker. In casino blackjack games, many beginners stand and hit by simple rules anyway, so if you’re teaching the game to someone, you’ll probably start them out that way.
Once your friend is comfortable with the basics, you can dial it up again and start showing the more complex strategies.
4 – Only Play the Video Versions of Games
When there’s a crowd standing around the craps or roulette table, there’s sure to be fun. Sharing a blackjack or baccarat table with four or five other people is very entertaining.
But if you want a break from the crowd, head over to the video consoles. In online gambling, it’s as simple as changing which game you play.
You play the video versions of table games at your own pace. You could play 400 to 600 hands of video blackjack or video poker every hour, or you can play one hand per minute. It’s up to you.
Solo playing allows you to regain your focus. Some players favor the video versions of their favorite games to live groups. The gaming can be both relaxing and intense at the same time.
5 – Avoid the More Complicated Versions of Table Games
If the casino offers standard blackjack, sit at that table. If the casino offers European roulette, choose that variation.
The more rules and special features the casino adds to a game, the more likely they’re improving their edge.
If you haven’t studied the rule variations ahead of time, don’t play the games.
If you’re in a small casino and they don’t pay 3:2 for blackjack, see if they have a video console that pays standard odds. Always pick the odds you know if you’re going to gamble more passively.
6 – Study a New Game’s Rules Before Playing It
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can be a lazy gambler and try new games. Study the rules first. If you can decipher the rules quickly, it’s probably simple enough to play casually.
If you have to think about what you’re doing to get the best possible payout, the game probably isn’t a good match for lazy gambling.
In roulette, you only want to play a wheel with a single zero if you can get it. The fewer green slots, the better.
With blackjack, you’ll want the 3:2 table if there is one. I’ve played 6:5 blackjack but not happily. Simpler play is less likely to frustrate you if the odds are good.
If you’re going to play keno with real money, the lazy approach is to stick with the Pick 4 through Pick 7 games. I would choose Pick 5 or Pick 6 myself. The fewer numbers I have to match, the better. The higher the payout odds on any matches I make, the better.
Keno may have awful odds and probabilities, but some keno options are clearly better than others. And that’s true even if you don’t study the rules for whatever keno variant you’re playing.
Again, this is not a strategy guide. Lazy gambling is a style of play that allows you to relax and think less about the game you’re playing. You can continue to enjoy the game but also unwind a little.
I’ve never spent an entire evening in lazy gambling mode, but I’m sure some people do. There’s no shame in having a preferred style of play.
Following these rules for lazy gambling keeps the “oops” moments to a minimum, and you’re less likely to make a major mistake. Any friends you introduce to gambling will appreciate your choices.