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by Dale Shelabarger Updated:
In this article, we unveil our favorite 15 best gambling and casino quotes of all time from writers, celebrities, and professional gamblers.
If you’re visiting a site called Inside Casino, then chances are you are a gambler or interested in gambling. This eclectic group of quotations encompasses a wide range. You’ll find some which are cynical, and some which exalt the art of casino gaming. Some use gambling as a literary metaphor to find humanity and universality while others are literally giving players instructive advice on how to do it better.
Basically, we haven’t discriminated. These quotes may enhance your appreciation for a certain game, like Blackjack or Poker, teach you something you never knew before, encourage you to approach a live dealer casino in a new way, or just make you laugh out loud. We’ll also cast a critical eye on these casino quotes. Some are based upon rather cliched and outdated notions that we hope to update for the 21st century reader. Either way, we hope that you’ll appreciate our good luck casino quotes…
“Bond didn’t defend the practice. He simply maintained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.”– Ian Fleming, as written in Casino Royale.
Though this is a fictional quote attributed to James Bond’s character, Ian Fleming was known to love gambling. Fleming gave Bond many of his own characteristics. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Casino Royal was the first book that Fleming published. The novel is known for its extended poker scenes between Bond, and the Le Chiffre, the novel’s baddie.
“Bond didn’t defend the practice. He simply maintained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.”
The quote itself should be encouraging for budding table game players. After all, the better you become at poker, or the quicker that you learn basic strategy in online Blackjack, the more money you will make. Sadly, the same cannot be said for slot machine play. As an entirely luck-based game with a computerized house edge, the more “effort and ingenuity you put into gambling,” will just likely leave you with more and more debt.
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”– Jack London, Writer
Jack London, an American writer at the turn of the 20th century, never actually wrote these immortal words that utilizes a gambling metaphor for the trials and tribulations of life. Rather subsequent biographies and writings on his life and art attributed the words to him. If you apply this truism to the casino table, it will certainly help you when playing a game of Texas Hold’em and other forms of poker where projecting and reading body language are so important. With Blackjack, you can play a good strategy with a bad hand and hope the dealer has a worse hand. However, sometimes blackjack is literally a case of holding good cards as… wouldn’t it be nice to have a blackjack every time?
“Baccarat is a game whereby the croupier gathers in money with a flexible sculling oar, then rakes it home. If I could have borrowed his oar I would have stayed.”– Mark Twain
This is another great quote attributed to the great American writer and humorist, Mark Twain, who wrote classic novels like Huckleberry Finn. Twain’s take on Baccarat as a casino swindle is highly amusing, but do the numbers actually stack up?
The house edge is most favorable to the player when placing a bet on the banker: 1.06% to be precise. This is not as good as playing basic strategy Blackjack, where the house edge is only 0.5%. However, the reality is that most players play Blackjack to a standard where the house edge is between 2% and 3%. In addition, Roulette’s house edge is anywhere between 2.6%-5.2%.
Perhaps, all games in a casino see the croupiers gathering money in with a flexible sculling oar?
“If I had my wilderness, nature could be my lover. What can I do in the paved streets for my thirsty roots? I waste time. I encourage fools. I slip the vital hours into penny slot machines – to pass time, to start my stuck wheels only love can oil.”– Elizabeth Smart, Canadian Writer
A part of a long line of great Canadian women writers and poets, Smart was well known for her romance with English poet, George Barker. Although this casino quote is obviously not about slot machines per se, it is one of the most profound and affecting literary metaphors that we’ve found to involve them. Who knew that gambling could be the source of such beautiful literature?
“Is it really not possible to touch the gaming table without being instantly infected by superstition?”– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Gambler
Dostoyevsky, like Fleming, was a frequent gambler, and such themes would often bleed into his work. However, the inspiration for the writing the Gambler was not just thematic. It was literal. He wrote the short novel as a means to pay off his Roulette debt. The Russian great did have some early success with live roulette but soon found himself losing more than he was winning.
“Is it really not possible to touch the gaming table without being instantly infected by superstition?”
Many roulette players have quirks, superstitions, and follow “betting strategies” to try and beat the roulette table. People will see patterns and either try and follow them or break them when the time is right. However, as our article “Hot Hand vs. Gambler’s Fallacy” explores, there’s really no way to beat the randomness of the roulette table. But hey, everyone has a system that (they think) works for them. And if that helps you with expectations and money management, then it’s not bad thing. Play the way you want – superstitions welcome!
“There’s Blackjack and Poker and the roulette wheel, a fortune won and lost on every deal.”– Elvis Presley, lyrics from the song Viva Las Vegas
Elvis Presley, aka the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, starred in the 1964 musical film, Viva Las Vegas. The song was recorded for the movie and contained the King’s profound take on fortunes at the casino. Of course, he was quite right that many have won large prizes with just one hand or one spin. Likewise, some high rollers have gotten too cocky and lost it all. However, there’s one entity just making a fortune and never losing. That, of course, is the house.
“Blackjack is very scientific. There’s always a right answer and a wrong answer. Do you take a card, increase your bet, bet big or bet small? There’s absolutely a right and wrong answer.”– Charlie Ergen, American Businessman
Charlie Ergen is the Chairman of American media company, Dish Network. The wealthiest man in the state of Colorado, he is a well-known gambler. His favorite games are Blackjack, Poker and Backgammon, and he has long been a champion of the methodical, “scientific” approach to playing these games, rather than the luck elements.
This is true to a certain extent with his favorite game, Blackjack, and he is right to point out that there is always the best move to make in line with statistical probability. This is known as “basic strategy.” However, this will only take you so far, as even with basic strategy, the house still has an edge of 0.5%. With the most sure-fire approach, you are still most likely to come off losing in the long run… Scientific, it may be, but they don’t say the “house always wins” for no reason. Maybe that should be the number one quote on our list?
“I like to play blackjack. I’m not addicted to gambling, I’m addicted to sitting in a semi-circle.”– Mitch Hedberg, Comedian
Hedberg was an American comedian known for his one-liners, non-sequitors and deadpan delivery. This was one of his classic punch lines which relied on the subversion of expectation. It’s silly, but a very satisfying Blackjack joke!
Hedberg was also known for his recreational drug use which he often discussed in his stand-up routines. Unfortunately, it would eventually be his downfall – he overdosed on a cocktail of heroin and cocaine in a hotel room in New Jersey in 2005.
“It’s hard to walk away from a winning streak, even harder to leave the table when you’re on a losing one.”– Cruise Quarters – a Novel about Casinos & Cruise Ships by Cara Bertoia
Cruise Quarters is not a novel that will ever grace the lists of the all-time greats. A romance set on the cruise ship, the novel tells the story of Sarah and Paul as they come together over their love of… casinos and cruise ships. However, this particular quote is sure to resonate with casino gamblers. The notion of “riding” a streak is familiar to us (as is also explored in our subsequent quote). The notion of “chasing losses” will be just as familiar. This should really be avoided – there is no quicker way into despair, debt and problem gambling. Cut your losses!
“Every gambler needs to hit that run one morning, day or night, when everything goes right. And you will talk about that run until you die… When you hit that run it will be as magical and beautiful and empowering as anything you have ever experience in your life.”– Robert Black, author of “Blackjack, Me, and She.”
Robert Black really puts the Black into Blackjack, with this exuberant, feverish exaltation of what it feels like to get on a good run, and how you’ll never forget it. This really is a truism. Such a streak will likely not come often, but one thing you can be sure of; people will not hear the end of it.
“The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.”– Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce, an American Civil War Veteran & fabulist writer, was known for barbed cynicism, perhaps emanating from his grim war experiences. But he also wrote with great humor and that is evident in this quotation. Though he mentions the gambling industry, the barb is actually aimed at the business world and its speculatory nature.
“The urge to gamble is so universal and its practices so pleasurable, that I assume it must be evil.”– Heywood Hale Broun, American sportswriter.
As we explored in our article, “Why do people Gamble?” there is a universality to gambling that transcends the human race, all the way to birdkind. Heywood Hale Brown was the son of two influential 20th century literary figures, the journalist Heywood Broun and the feminist activist Ruth Hale.
This amusing casino quote speaks to human nature, and how many of life’s pleasures and excesses are detrimental to one’s health. Is gambling evil? Of course not. In the proper circumstances, gambling is one of the oldest and enduring forms of entertainment. Can a casino or bookie act immorally? Of course. That’s why the UK has some of the strictest regulations in the world, and one of the most flourishing industries.
“A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned.”– Fast Eddie Felson – The Color of Money
This immortal line is uttered by Paul Newman’s, Fast Eddie Felson, in the classic Martin Scorsese film, the Color of Money. Fast Eddie, a former pool hustler in the original film “The Hustler” (good name), starts staking bets for other players before returning to the pool table itself.
As we explored in the article “Why do People Gamble?”, the pigeons were much more partial to going for big jackpots, rather than a regular pay-check – even if it meant less money in the long run. The thrill of winning money compared to the grind of earning may truly and biologically be sweeter.
“A man’s gotta make at least one bet a day else he could be walking around lucky and never know it.”– Jim Jones – Cult leader and bastard
This is a great little quote imbued with a literary whimsey. It is then, of course, a crying shame that this quotation should be attributed to Jim Jones, a religious cult leader and architect of the Jonestown Massacre, one of the most tragic human disasters of the 20th century. The less said about the man, the better.
“If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.”– Chinese Proverb
This ancient piece of advice is timeless – it is as important today as it ever was. Firstly, make sure you are playing a game you understand in a reputable environment. If you understand the rules, you can understand the probabilities and in what aspects a game is weighted towards and away from you. Also, make sure the casino or similar gaming environment applies the rules justly.
Secondly, make good decisions with your bets. The size and frequency really matter, and always do so within your means. Do not make bets which will drastically alter your life if you lose.
Finally, have a quitting time in your mind. As we saw in the Cruise Quarter’s quote, it can be hard to leave a good streak, but even harder to leave the table once you’ve started chasing your losses. Use all your power to avoid a situation like this. Set your quitting time. If a gambler should take just one of these quotes to heart, then let it be this one!
If you have any other classic gambling or casino quotes, don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us know via our social media channels.