Are You a Gambling Shark or a Sheep?

min read
A Border Collie herding a flock of sheep.
BetMGM Oct 09, 2023, 12:49 PM

It’s common practice around the world to use certain animals as a metaphor for someone’s personality or characteristics. For example, someone who’s a great runner could be compared to a cheetah, whereas a very wise person might evoke the image of an owl. These comparisons aren’t meant harmfully; most are just a playful way of attributing animal characteristics to people. 

With that in mind, the two animals that best suit those that play online casino games are the shark and the sheep. 

Take a look at what characteristics both of these animals have in common with certain gamblers, which games each type is most likely to play, and how players can become more shark than sheep with just a few small changes in their playing style.

What Is a Gambling Sheep?

It’s not a bad thing to be a sheep in the gambling world (and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.) It simply means that there are things that you can work on that would improve your gambling experience. 

Sheep are herd animals. They follow the crowd and are often led by a shepherd and a dog. When it comes to the casino, being a sheep means that you’re not thinking for yourself. Sheep will always take the path of least resistance — this can be costly if you play at an online casino with real money.

Being a gambling sheep is all about going along with the crowd, playing only the most popular games, and not doing any extra research to find the games that are most cost-effective.

What Games Do Gambling Sheep Play?

Gambling sheep tend to go for games that involve little human interaction and are extremely easy to play. Unfortunately, these types of games usually come with a higher house edge than others, in addition to which they rely on luck rather than skill.

The perfect example of this type of game is online slots, which generally have a house edge of 2%–10% (and higher in some cases.) While they’re fun to play and easy to master, they rely solely on luck, which means that whatever happens to your money is completely out of your hands.

Baccarat is another game that is popular with gambling sheep since there are only three options to choose from. The house edge of the banker is 1.06%, while the player’s is 1.24%. The house edge can be as high as 14.36%, depending on how much the tie bet pays. 

Online roulette is another popular choice based purely on luck: where will the ball land on the wheel? American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, while European roulette has a house edge of 2.7%.

If you consistently play casino online games with a house edge of over 1%, chances are you’re a sheep.

What Is a Gambling Shark?

Gambling sharks, on the other hand, are constantly thinking about how they can control things. They’re always on the hunt for games that will benefit them most. They’ll seldom choose games with a high house edge, and they’re prone to taking advantage of comps, bonuses, and rewards to tip the scales in their favor.

A shark won’t settle for games simply because they look good, because other people like to play them, or because they’re easy to play. They seek out games that will challenge them mentally, that require skill, and don’t just rely on luck. Sharks know that if they can master the skills of a game, they can go out and use those skills to win rather than waiting around for a lucky break.

What Games Do Gambling Sharks Play?

Gambling sharks are always on the lookout for games with a house edge of less than 1%. These games require skill and strategy to win. They spend their time researching and learning by reading books and watching videos and documentaries about gambling in order to better equip them for their games.

Two of the most popular casino table games for sharks are blackjack and video poker. When it comes to video poker, it’s essential for sharks to know the house edge of each game and to apply a well-practiced strategy to every unique scenario. Some of the best and most popular video poker games are Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, and Pick ‘em Poker since they have pay tables that come with a house edge of less than .5%.

Blackjack is a great game for sharks, as is online blackjack with a live dealer, since these games provide sharks with the social element and the pressure of other players that they crave. The house edge of blackjack depends on the rules, so sharks will seek out particular games and pair them with a good blackjack strategy to get the best results. 

Some of the rules to look out for that will lower the house edge include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  • Dealer stands on soft 17.
  • Surrender.
  • You can double down after splitting.
  • You can double down on split aces.
  • You can split aces more than two times.
  • You can double down on any two cards.
  • You can split any pair.
  • The fewer the decks, the better.
  • You can hit after splitting aces.

How To Become a Gambling Shark

While there’s nothing wrong with being a sheep, some of these characteristics could be costing you money in the casino. Here are some of the easy ways to become a shark instead of a sheep:

Be Brave: Play With Others

Playing games with a live dealer or other players can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn and grow.

Don’t Stick to the Easy Games

The easier a game is to play, the higher the house edge is going to be.

Don’t Rely on Luck

You’ll never be in charge of your own life as long as you rely on luck all the time. Take the initiative and learn skills that you can use to win.

Do Your Research

Take the time to look through different games and versions to find the one with the lowest house edge that best suits you.

Use Strategy Cards

Learning strategy is hugely important, and you can use strategy cards while you play in order to learn as much as you can about the game.


You’ll never be able to implement your skills if you don’t practice. Make sure to get out of your comfort zone and play many games over and over again in order to master the right strategy.

Play Online Casino Games With BetMGM

Whether you’re a shark or a sheep, BetMGM offers some amazing bonuses and promotions to help you make your money go further. If you’d like to know more about the casino industry, learn strategies or read more on other relevant topics, such as the role of gambling in American culture, then be sure to check out the BetMGM blog.

Register with BetMGM to play your favorite casino games.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.