As Jane Austen said, 'it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, will lose it all at the casino unless he knows what he's doing.'
And if she didn't, she should have.
To go further, it is a truth universally acknowledged that casinos stay in business because gamblers don't know when they're beaten.
The best way to win at the casino? It's the only way - know when to stop.
If you're going to gamble, you have to accept the inescapable fact that in the long run the casinos always win.
So why do I - and countless millions-still gamble? Because in the short term the casinos can sometimes lose.
The key to successful gambling is knowing when to stop - whether you're winning or losing. The desire to keep chasing even bigger profits or recoup growing losses is very strong. It's no surprise that some call it gambling fever.
Watching a documentary the other night about gamblers in Las Vegas, I was struck by how many times players used the phrase 'Give up because I'm losing? No way-I'm not a quitter.' As the saying goes, Vegas wasn't built on casinos' losses.
My rules for successful-and enjoyable-gambling are:
1. Know your games. This may sound obvious, but many have lost money learning the ins and outs of a game. Make sure you know the rules, the odds, the good bets and bad bets, and any strategy or system recommended by players-for free.
2. Always set a time limit on your sessions, regardless of how you're doing. Keep them short, and change games frequently.
3. Set a win limit and loss limit-and stick to them absolutely. Allow yourself the potential to win at least twice what you'll allow yourself to lose. So if your session loss limit is £50, allow yourself to win £100.
4. Accept that sometimes-maybe most times-you're going to stop at a loss and walk away from the table with less than you came with.
5. Enjoy yourself! Remember, we're leisure gamblers, not professional blackjack players. We do this for fun, because we enjoy the atmosphere, the thrill, the risks, not because we're trying to get rich.
I love gambling - despite the stigma attached to it-and I enjoy it because I have no expectations of it. It's just a harmless hobby that takes a few pounds from me now and again but which provides me with hours of entertainment. Try saying that about cigarettes!
About the author: Andy Follin runs Fortune Palace, an impartial online casino guide for serious gamblers that includes game strategies, reviews of the best online casinos, the latest online casino bonus offers and a detailed deposit guide for ALL players, including those from the USA.