Answer by A Quora admin:
- For games where the house edge is positive but not very high, which is most table games, your chance of winning is not that low. As a first-order approximation, the games are a random walk. For example, if you come in with $500 and your goal is to stop betting as soon as you reach $750, and your average bet size is not too small (which would increase EV for the house), your chance of success is approximately (see ). If you include the house edge and other frictions (e.g. tipping the dealer), you are still at about 60%. If you know you have negative EV but want to play socially and feel good about winning most of the time, this is not a bad strategy to use.
- In some cases, the house edge is negative, and strong players (for example,) can take advantage of those cases.
- Poker is more biased toward skill than luck, so if you are a beginner, it is pretty far from a random walk with small negative EV. If you play for a few hours, you will probably lose 80-90% of the time. So if you don't want to lose too much while learning the game, start at the lowest stake tables possible (e.g. $1-$2) and move up from there. Know that you shouldn't expect to win as a beginner and look at your modest losses as "tuition" until you get better.
In all of the points above, it is important to commit to a certain strategy that is pre-determined and "leave emotion at the door" to quote from Ocean's Eleven. If you are gambling with friends or family, it can help to say before you begin, "I will stop if [profit target/stop loss/time played]" and then you will have social pressure to stick to that.