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##### Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

This is not mine, the creator of this is u/enderpiet

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.
Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up \$1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.
Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.
Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.
Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.
Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.
6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.
5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.
4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.
3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules:https://prnt.sc/olct6g
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.
Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.
2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.
But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1
Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.
The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.
But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato
1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around \$100,000 in value.
2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.
And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.
Cliffs:
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (https://prnt.sc/olct6g).
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.

##### Ultimate Gambling Guide for GTA Online - odds, probabilities, and optimal strategies

Since the Diamond Casino update, I have seen a large number of 12-year-olds posting Blackjack memes on this sub. As a parent, this has me very worried.
On top of that, I have seen some of the most trustworthy GTA Youtubers giving flawed gambling advice, which can have damaging impact on their gullible audiences.
So that's why I decided to write this up, to educate everyone on the subject, so there will be no more misunderstandings.
(2020 Update down at the bottom.)
If you're one of those Youtubers that wants to use this information in a video, feel free to do so. The more people (especially kids) that become educated about gambling, the better.
But then also please go back and review your own work, and delete or edit the videos that are giving out the wrong advice, like where you're saying you have "a good strategy for making money with roulette", or some other nonsense that I've heard this week. Delete that please.
Before I get into the individual games, I need to discuss a few concepts first, that will make understanding the rest a lot easier.

Expected return and variance
A game like Roulette or Slots has a fixed expected return on your bets. This is a percentage that you have no way of influencing. Say you are flipping a coin against a friend, and you both put up \$1. The winner gets the pot. Since the odds are even at 50%, in the long run, you will expect to break even. Your expected return is 100% of your bet.
But imagine if you would play this coin flipping game in a casino against the house. On the "house rules" listed at the table they would probably say that you would only get 95 cents back for every win, while you are forfeiting a dollar on every loss. Would you still play?
Sounds stupid to do so, but still, everybody does it. Every bet they place on Roulette, every coin they put into a Slot machine, is based on the same concept.
Those few cents they take on every bet are their profit margin, and has paid for all the Vegas lights, the Mirage volcanoes, and the Bellagio fountains. Make no mistake - casino gambling games are not designed to make you lose, because sure, you can get lucky on a single night, but they are designed to make them win. That's the beauty of it. They can both exist at the same time.
Too many people that don't see how this works, are just destined for disaster. Just because you went on a lucky streak and won 8 games out of 10, does not mean that flipping coins is a profitable game, or that choosing tails is a winning strategy. Always be aware of the house edge, your true chances of winning, and just realize that you got lucky. There is no such thing as a strategy in flipping a coin that will give you a higher expected return, so it's just pure gambling, just like Slots and Roulette.
Most casino games are made in such a way, that your expected return is a little under 100%. This means that from every dollar bet at the tables, the casino expects to keep a few cents. For individual players, results may vary. Some will win, most will lose. But for the house, it doesn't matter. They take millions of bets each day, so for them, the expected average works out a lot sooner. In short: the house always wins.
When looking at the house edge, we're talking about the expected long-term result, based on the game's house rules. But for a player, it can take literally tens of thousands of hands or spins before you also reach this average number. Until that time, you can experience huge upswings and downswings, that are the result of nothing but short-term luck, which is called variance.
Some games and some bets have a much higher variance than others, which means your actual results will differ enormously from what you're expected to be at.
Take for example betting on red/black at the Roulette table. This is a low-variance proposition, because it has a high percentage chance of occurring, and a low payout.
Contrast this with betting single numbers in Roulette, which only win once every 38 spins on average. This bet has a much higher variance, meaning you can easily hit a dry spell, and not hit anything for 200 bets in a row, or you can see a single number hit three times in five consecutive spins. This is not a freak occurrence in high-variance bets.
Even though the expected return in both these bets is exactly the same, there's a huge difference in variance, causing massive differences in short-term results, which can go both ways. You need to be aware of this, before you decide what types of bets you are comfortable with placing.

Gamblers' Fallacy
Another thing to realize, is that each individual game, hand, or spin, is completely independent from the one(s) before it, and after it.
Gamblers tend to believe, that the chance of a certain outcome is increased, based on previous results.
The most famous example comes from the Casino de Monte Carlo, where the Roulette wheel managed to land on black 26 times in a row. Gamblers lost many millions during that streak, all frantically betting on red, believing that the odds were in favor of the wheel coming out on red, after producing so many blacks. This is not true. Each round is completely independent, and the odds are exactly the same.
You will hear people say things like a Blackjack table being "hot" or "cold", which is completely superstitious, and should be ignored. The exception was when Blackjack was being dealt from a shoe. It made card counting possible. But with the introduction of shuffle machines, and continuous shuffling like is being used in GTA, this no longer exists.
This is also why "chasing your losses" is a very bad idea. After being on a losing streak for some time, many gamblers believe that now it's their turn to start winning. So they will often increase their bet size, believing that when their predicted winning streak comes around, they will win back their losses, and more.
The reality of it, more often than not, is that people will indeed start playing higher and higher limits, until they are completely broke. Nobody is ever "due for a win". There is never a guarantee that you're about to start winning. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. You are, after all, in a casino.

Betting systems
Some people like to think that they have a fool-proof betting system, like the Martingale system. Simply increase or even double your bet when you lose, and keep doing that until you win. In theory, this system will always win. So that's why table limits were introduced, and where the system fails.
If you start at the Roulette table, playing red/black, with a small 750 chip wager, and just double your bet every time you lose, you only have to lose 6 times in a row, before you will be betting the table limit of 48,000, just to get that 750 chip profit.
Sure, you can go on all evening without this happening, winning 750 chips each time, but this losing streak only has to happen once, and you're bust. Any betting system like this is ill-advised, because you are hugely increasing your so-called "risk of ruin", and that's what we were trying to avoid.
And even if your starting bet is only 100 chips, after only nine straight losses, and nine doubled bets, you are betting the table limit at 50,000 chips. If you lose that bet, you're 100,000 chips in the hole, with no way to recover that with your 100 chip base wager.
So don't believe anyone that says this is the perfect system to always win in the casino. Sooner or later they will understand why they were wrong, when they're asking you for a loan.

Set your limits BEFORE you start playing
One final point before we get into the games, a general tip for people that head out to play: money management.
Just like in real life, before you go to the casino, decide on a maximum amount that you are WILLING TO LOSE.
Bet small enough, so that amount can last you through the entire evening, and you will not be tempted to run to the ATM to continue playing.
Considering GTA money, some people will be comfortable losing 1% of their GTA bank balance, some people will be comfortable with gambling away 5% of their total GTA savings. It's up to you what you can handle. Decide for yourself where it will start to hurt, and don't cross that line.
But whatever number you decide on, as soon as you lost that amount, get up and walk away. Don't chase your losses, stick to your limits, and accept that this has not been your day. There is always another game tomorrow. Always agree with yourself on a simple stop-loss rule, how much you would want to lose at most, and simply stop playing when you get there.
Same goes for winning. You can decide on a number, how much profit you would like to take away from the casino. You can go on a hot streak and be up half a million in a short period of time, but if you would continue to play longer, looking for more, chances are that you're going to lose it all back.
Most people are happy with doubling their daily casino budget, for example. Others are looking for 10 bets profit in Blackjack. Whatever you choose, when you hit that number, you can stop playing and bank your profits, or you can continue playing if you're still enjoying the games, but then only just play minimum bet sizes. Then you're just playing for fun, not for money. You've already made your profit, so simply keep it in your pocket, and don't risk losing it again.
Either way, decide on what your money management strategy will be, and STICK TO IT.

Casino games in GTA Online
Now, I'm going to dive into the games that you can find at the Diamond casino, ordered from worst to best.

6) Slots
Generally the rule is this: the less strategy a game has, the worse it is for the player. And with slots, this is definitely the case.
The only influence you have, is choosing what type of machine you're going to play. Basically, there are two types of slot machines:
-high frequency, low payout slots
-low frequency, high payout slots
In the first type, there is no huge (progressive) jackpot on offer, just your average selection of prizes that don't go up to crazy amounts.
This will result in a player having many more spins resulting in a win. The amounts that you win on the bigger prizes, will be smaller, but they do come around more often. This type of slot machine has a lower variance, which means that your money should last you longer, winning many smaller prizes along the way to keep you going.
The second type of slot machine lures you in with the temptation of a huge jackpot prize. Even though the long-term expected return on these machines is the same as the previous type, the prize distribution is hugely different. The large jackpot prize weighs heavily on the scale of expected return, but the chance of it hitting is extremely small. This results in a much higher variance on this type of machine. Usually your money will go down very fast, because the smaller prizes are less rewarding than on the other type of machine.
At the Diamond, the info screen says the player return at slots is set at 98.7%. This means that, on average, for every maximum bet of 2,500 chips, you expect to lose 32.5 chips.
This might not seem like a lot, but the danger of slots is that the game is extremely fast. You can spin about once every 6 seconds, which would result in an expected LOSS of about 20,000 chips per hour of playing.
But again, in this long-term expected number, the large jackpot awards are also factored in, and as long as you don't hit those big prizes, you'll see your money go down a lot faster.
In any case, thank heavens the max bet is only set at 2,500, or else we would see more players go bankrupt at alarming rates.
Optimal strategy for slots:
There is none. Because after betting, you have no more influence over the outcome. The only choices you have, is what type of machine you want to play at, and how much money you are going to risk. And those are all personal preference. As long as you stick to your loss limits, as discussed above, there's no harm in having a go every once in a while, hoping to get a lucky hit. Just realize that you don't have a high chance of scoring a big win, so as soon as you do, get up and walk away.

5) Roulette
Roulette is also a game where you have no influence over the outcome. There is zero skill involved. You place your bet, and that's it.
In traditional French roulette, a table has only the single-zero, but of course, for American casinos that wasn't enough of a house edge, so they simply doubled their profits by adding a second zero. The house edge was increased from 1/37 to 1/19, which is huge.
This makes playing on a double-zero roulette table by definition a sucker's play.
The payouts scale evenly, which means that a bet on a single number, and a bet on half of the numbers, and everything in between, yields the same expected return. The only difference, again, being the variance that you are willing to subject yourself to.
The player return for double-zero Roulette for all bets is 94.74%.
Except for the 5-number bet, which can only be made by placing a bet on the two top rows that contain 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The expected return on this bet is lower: 92.1%. This is because it only pays out 6-1. Why? Well, the number 36 isn't divisible by 5, so the greedy people that came up with double-zero Roulette had to round it off someway, and as expected, it wasn't going to be in the players' favor.Just remember that that 5-number bet is the worst bet at the table, and should be avoided. All other possible bets have the same expected return.
So it really doesn't matter how you spread your bets, if you bet only one chip, or if you litter the entire table with a bucketload of chips. Each chip you put out there, has the same expected return, so there is no strategy that will improve your long-term results.
Assuming that you're betting the maximum table amount of 50,000 chips, you will be looking at an expected loss of about 2,630 chips per spin. Considering that a round takes about 45 seconds to complete, your expected LOSS at the GTA Roulette tables will be around 200,000 chips per hour of playing.
Optimal strategy for double-zero roulette:
Stay away. Stay far away.

4) Three Card Poker
With Three Card Poker, we come across the first game where there is actually some strategy involved. You get to look at your cards, and then decide if you want to fold, and surrender your ante, or double your bet.
Additionally, you can choose to place a side bet on "Pair Plus", which offers progressive payouts.
There are some websites out there that ran all the numbers with computer simulations, and even though I would like to quote the source here, these websites are understandably littered to the max with online casino ads, so that's why I have decided against doing that.
Optimal strategy for Three Card Poker:
For this game you only have to remember one strategy rule: Always bet on any high card queen-six-four or better, and fold any high card queen-six-three or lower. That's it. Just don't forget to double check if you're not folding a straight or a flush, and you'll be fine.
This strategy will result in an expected return of 96.63%.
The Pair Plus sidebet, with the payout table that is used at the Diamond casino, gives you an expected return of 97.68%, which is actually a bit better than the main ante bet.
So by playing both wagers, you're reducing your expected losses per bet, but since you're betting more, you're also increasing your expected loss per hour.
My advice would obviously be to not play this game at all, but if you do, put as much of your bet as possible on the Pair Plus, while making our Ante bet as small as you can.
To be able to compare it to the other games at the Diamond, let's stay on that 50,000 maximum wager, meaning making your ante bet 35,000, and your pair plus bet 15,000, if the table would allow it.
This results in an expected loss of about 1,525 chips per hand, and with a round taking about 45 seconds, this adds up to an expected LOSS of around 120,000 chips per hour of playing. In comparison, if you would only play the ante bet for 50,000 per hand, you expect to lose 1,685 chips per hand, which means an expected LOSS of about 135,000 chips per hour. So the more out of that 50,000 wager you can put on the "Pair Plus" sidebet, the better.
Even though it may be fun to try out this game for a bit, since there's only one simple strategy rule to follow, you'll soon find yourself robotically grinding down your bankroll until it has vaporized. You're not missing out on anything if you skip these tables, there is no real challenge.
Just like with Roulette and Slots, if you want to try it out nonetheless, you can just bet the minimum amounts and only play for fun, so it won't matter if you win or lose.

3) Blackjack
Blackjack is the most complicated game by far. Simply because the player has to make a series of decisions, which will largely decide the outcome. Luckily, there is such a thing as an optimal strategy, which will be outlined below.
However, the strategy is also dependent on the house rules. These not only affect your expected return, but in some places also your decisions.
Here are the house rules at the Diamond casino:
-The game uses 4 standard decks, and a continuous shuffle.
-Blackjack pays 3 to 2, dealer checks for early blackjack.
-No insurance offered, no surrender.
-Dealer stands on soft 17.
-Double down on any two cards.
-Player can split only once, but doubling after split is allowed.
-Seven-Card Charlie.
Under these rules, and following the "basic strategy" chart, your expected return at Blackjack is a shade under 99.6%, which is extremely good for a casino game, that's why Blackjack should be your table game of choice.
But it comes at a price: you are going to have to memorize the relatively complicated strategy chart, or at least stick it to your monitor until you have it in your head. But in case you ever stumble into a real-life casino, you won't regret having this table memorized, so I would definitely advise you to work on that.
The strategy chart might look complicated at first, but you will be able to notice certain patterns. Your decisions are mainly based on the dealer's upcard, which is basically divided into a weak card (2 to 6), and a strong card (7 to ace).
When a dealer shows a strong card, you will be hitting more often with the risk of going bust, but when a dealer shows a weak card, you're not taking that risk, and you will be standing more, but also doubling and splitting more. You want to increase your bets when the odds are in your favor, and get out cheap when they're not.
But it also helps to take some time to think about why a certain advice is given. For example, why does it say that you always have to split two eights, even against an ace. Well, that's because two eights equals 16, which is the worst total you can have. It's better to split them up, and give yourself a chance of finding a 17, 18 or 19 with the next card. Once you see the logic in that, you'll have one less thing to memorize.
The playing advice in the basic strategy chart is a result of computer simulations that ran all possible outcomes against each other, and produced the most profitable decision for each situation. So you can't go wrong following it.
Optimal strategy for Blackjack with Seven-Card Charlie
The added house rule of Seven-Card Charlie, adds a small advantage for the player, and it does influence a few strategy decisions. For example, you might have a 14 with 6 cards, against the dealer's 5 upcard.
Normally this would be an automatic stand, but if you're only one card away from the Seven-Card Charlie, meaning an instant win for the player, regardless of the dealer's hand, it turns it into a hit.
Here's the most optimal strategy chart to follow for the Diamond Casino house rules: https://prnt.sc/olct6g
You'll see that two fives are missing from the chart, and that's because you never split them. You treat them as a regular 10. You also never split tens. Just stand on 20.
If you follow this strategy religiously, even with a maximum wager of 50,000 chips, you only expect to lose about 215 chips per hand, and with rounds taking about 30 seconds, that amounts to an expected LOSS of 26,000 chips per hour, which is only half a bet. A small price to pay for an hour of entertainment.
But since the expected return is so extremely close to 100%, you will see more positive short-term results than with other games. But obviously it can also swing the other way. Again, this is supposed to be the game where your money lasts you the longest, but always set your loss and win limits before you sit down. That rule simply always applies.

Still, even with optimal strategies applied, all these games are expected to lose you money in the long run. So betting any kind of large amounts is not advised. If you simply want to enjoy playing these games, there's nothing wrong with betting a minimal amount. Playing these games for a longer period of time will already cost you money anyway, since your daily property fees will still be charged while you're playing in the GTA casino. As long as you can play for fun, there's nothing wrong, but when you see yourself betting insane chunks of your entire bank balance to try to recoup some unfortunate losses, you're doing it wrong.
As the commercials in Britain all correctly say: when the fun stops, stop.

2) Virtual Horse Racing
Now onto the good stuff. I ran some numbers, and I believe Rockstar has made a mistake with the horse racing game. Because as it stands, and if I read the numbers correctly, this game is actually profitable for the player. You can actually make money with this, at least, until Rockstar figures out their mistake and patches it.
If anyone wants to jump into the math and double check this to make sure, please do so. I will add any corrections to this post. This is one of those "to good to be true" things, so I keep thinking that I might have overlooked something. So please verify it if you can.
The setup is this. There is a pool of 100 horses, each with their own attached payout. These are divided into 3 groups, ranked by their odds. From each group, 2 horses are randomly selected to provide a pool of six runners for you to bet on.
Now it's not an actual race you're looking at. You are looking at a raffle. This is important to realize.
Each horse gets awarded a certain number of raffle tickets. The favorites get awarded more tickets than the underdogs, and therefore, have a higher chance of winning.
If this distribution works like it does in the real-life casinos, then the raffle tickets are awarded according to the betting odds.
Example 1: imagine a race with 3 runners, all have 2/1 odds, representing a 33.3% chance of winning. (Because 2/1 means 2 AGAINST 1, so 3 total.) In this case, each horse gets one third of the raffle tickets, giving them an equal chance to win.
Example 2: imagine a race with 3 runners, one has 1/1 odds (or EVENS), representing a 50% chance of winning, and the other two horses are marked up as 3/1, with a 25% chance of winning. The favorite gets half the tickets, the other two get a quarter of the tickets each.
A ticket is drawn, and you'll have a winner.
It doesn't matter in this game which horse you bet on, because the expected return is always the same: 100% or break-even, for the above examples.
Now, what happens if the percentages don't exactly add up to 100%?
They must add up to 100%, because there will always be a winner. And only one winner.
So when this is the case, the actual winning chances of the horses are adjusted to meet the 100% requirement, using their payout odds to determine the scale.
So, if the represented percentages add up to more than 100%, the actual winning chances of the runners will be DECREASED, resulting in all bets becoming losing propositions for the players.
Example: In a 6-horse race, all runners are listed at 4/1, representing a 20% chance. Only with six runners that amounts to 120%. So all chances are scaled down by 1/6th, to end up at 100%.
This means your horse's chances are reduced from 20% to 16.67%, turning it into a losing bet: 5 times you will lose your bet, and 1 time you will win, but only get 4 bets back in this instance, instead of 5. A losing bet in the long run.
This is the type of odds that you find in regular casinos, with fields as large as 15 runners to bet on, where the assumed winning chances always add up to more than 100%, therefore are decreased for all runners, resulting in a house edge.

But in GTA Online's Inside Track, there are other scenarios, because of the small field, and the way that they are put together.
In some cases, the represented percentages when added up, are LESS than 100%, meaning that the actual winning chances of all runners, are INCREASED.
This creates profitable bets for the players, because in the long run, you're expecting to win more money than you lose. This is a gambler's dream, pure and simple.
So, according to the in-game information, the three groups of horses are divided as follows:
-Favorites: EVENS to 5-1
-Outsiders: 6-1 to 15-1
-Underdogs: 16-1 to 30-1

Let's take the two most extreme examples to show what's happening.
The worst possible field to bet on: two runners at EVENS, two runners at 6-1, and two runners at 16-1.
EVENS represents a 50% chance, 6-1 is 14.29%, and 16-1 is 5.88%. Add those up and you land on a total of 140.34%.
This means that the actual winning chances of the horses are decreased by 28.75% (to get that 140% down to 100%), which makes betting on this field extremely unwise.
A horse at EVENS will only come in as a winner 35.63% of the time, instead of 50%,
a horse at 6-1 will only win 10.18% of the time,
and an underdog at 16-1 will only win 4.19% of the time.

The expected return on a bet on any of the horses in this field is only 71.26%, so a maximum bet of 10,000 chips on any of these horses holds an expected LOSS of 2,875 chips.
These returns are the same, because the winning chances are scaled equally, according to the payout numbers. So it really doesn't matter which horse you bet on, in the long run, you expect the same results.
But as explained before, it does influence variance, and therefore your short-term result, which can swing both ways.

But now, the best possible field to bet on: two runners at 5-1, two runners at 15-1, and two runners at 30-1.
Odds at 5-1 represents a winning chance of 16.67%, 15-1 odds means 6.25% chance, and 30-1 odds means a 3.23% chance of winning. Add these six horses together, and you only get 52.285%.
This means that, to get from 52% to 100%, the actual winning chances of these horses will be almost doubled! Multiplied by 1.91 to be exact.
So the 5-1 favorites will now win 31.88% of the time, instead of 16.67%,
the 15-1 runners will win 11.95% of the time,
and the underdogs at 30-1 odds will still win 6.17% of the time.
When betting on this field, the expected return on your bet is 191.25%!
This means that a max bet of 10,000 chips will result in an expected PROFIT of 9,125 chips.
This is printing money, if there ever was such a thing.
Optimal strategy for Virtual Horse racing
So all you have to do, is only bet high on the games where you have an expected positive return, and bet the absolute minimum on the games where your expected return is negative. Or back out of the racing game to refresh the field.
If you don't have a way to quickly add up all the percentages, and until somebody shows up here with a neatly formatted table, just use a few general rules of thumb:
-Always bet the maximum on a race with favorites at 2/1 and 3/1 or higher in it.
-Simply skip all races with two favorites at EVENS in it, and at EVENS and 2/1. Or bet the minimum, if you can't skip or refresh the field.
-To decide if you should play races with other favorite combinations EVENS and 3/1, EVENS and 4/1, EVENS and 5/1, or two favorites at 2/1, the payouts on the other four runners determine whether or not it's profitable to play them. The results of betting on these fields vary from an expected 1,330 chip loss (worst-case) to an expected 1,680 chip win (best-case), with a max bet of 10,000 chips.
But if you're not looking for another strategy chart, you might just want to skip these borderline cases, and just cherry pick the best ones, which are easy to recognize, and with which you can never go wrong.
It's difficult to put a number on an expected win-rate, because it all depends on which fields you get presented with, but it's not unreasonable to state that you can maintain a steady win-rate of around 200,000 chips per hour, with about 50 seconds per race.
Remember, you're not trying to win every race. You're trying to win the most money per hour. So don't sweat it when you bet on a 4/1 favorite, and lose a couple of races in a row. It will still be more profitable in the long run. You have the math on your side.
To reduce negative variance, always bet on the favorite, when betting on profitable fields. We're not gambling anymore, we're grinding out a steady profit. We want to keep the swings to a minimum.
I contacted Rockstar support to verify if this is indeed how it works, but the only reply I got after 6 weeks is that they were "looking into it".
User u/Garsant made a useful Excel-worksheet, available for you to download, where you can quickly type in the payouts on the horses, to see if it produces a profitable bet or not. You can find it in his post here: https://www.reddit.com/gtaonline/comments/ekp8na/gta_online_inside_track_odd_calculato

1) Wheel of Fortune
The number one profitable casino game in GTA Online is obviously the Wheel of Fortune, because it costs you nothing to play.
Unfortunately, you only get one free spin per day, but it holds great value, so make sure you do it.
With a chance to win a super car, vehicle discounts, expensive mystery prizes (which also can be vehicles), and a lot of cash and chips, the expected return on a single spin is around \$100,000 in value.

2020 Update:
As of the Diamond Casino Heist update, the Inside Track horse racing is confirmed to still be as profitable as outlined above.The only thing that seems to be changed, is that you can't refresh the field anymore by backing out of the screen. This does affect your hourly rate in a negative way, but does not change the fact that this game has a huge positive expected return, and should be your go-to when you're trying to take money from the house, without having Lester's nagging voice in your ear. That should also be worth something.

And with that, I conclude my 5,000 word essay on gambling in GTA. Questions, comments, feel free to add your input to this guide.

Cliffs:
-Gambling games should only be played for fun, not for big money. You should expect to lose in the long run. The house always wins.
-A casino game doesn't have a memory, and betting systems don't work.
-Set your limits before you start, how much you are willing to lose or win, and then walk away when you get there.
-Don't play slots, roulette, or three card poker.
-Only play blackjack following a basic strategy chart (https://prnt.sc/olct6g).
-Inside Track betting can be played profitably, if you only bet on fields WITHOUT a heavy favorite.
-Wheel of Fortune is always your best bet, because it's a free bet.

##### I made high-quality iOS App Icons in Dark Mode so that you can create shortcuts for them!

You may have seen u/Wilson_Boi_101's post with many Dark Mode versions of built-in iOS apps. You may be wondering, why do we need more of these, when we already have some? Well, his icons differ in resolution and quality and consistency, as well as all being shared via Imgur, which turns them into JPEGs, and I wanted to clean them up a bit. My icons all lossless 10242 PNGs, against a consistent pure black background, sourced from SVGs (unless stated otherwise). At the bottom is a table explaining each one.
For those of you still skeptical about app redirect shortcuts because they open two different apps before the one you want, Apple reduced it to one in iOS 13.
Also, to the Moderators, please don't remove this, I used Dropbox because it's free and lets you share downloadable folders, which Imgur, Gfycat and Reddit (from the sidebar) don't do, and I shared this as a Shortcut because it seemed the most fitting of the flairs available, despite not having any Shortcuts in the post. If this breaks the Rules or would better fit in a different subreddit, you can remove it.
Edit: I think we're safe now, because the Moderators wouldn't dream of removing something with over 100 upvotes and reddit gold. I have become more powerful than any Jedi has ever dreamed of.
Expansions:
1. 17 more icons (as opposed to the previous 11), beginning with Safari. I hope to continue expanding the range of apps, though. If anyone knows where Apple publicly stores their iOS app icons as SVGs, please tell me, because I can’t find it.
2. 16 new icons, starting at Weather, notably all of Microsoft Office. It’s very good.
3. 15 new icons, starting at Contacts. I also remade the Light and Dark Wikipedia icons without strange, coloured outlines. This also seemed to half their file size, hooray.
4. 3 new icons, starting at Crystal.
5. 12 new icons, starting at VLC. Notably 4 new iOS icons, or 5, depending on what you consider Shazam to be.
6. This is where the fun begins. (Not an expansion, but exciting news.)
7. The biggest expansion so far. 21 new icons, starting at IMDb. Thank you to u/bricknight for many suggestions, and me for less suggestions. Also, they requested Notability, so if you can find an SVG of Notability, I'd be very happy.
8. u/bricknight wanted some more, so I made made 4 more. Starting from PayPal.
9. 4 new icons, starting from The Weather Channel, notably Pages and Keynote (finally). Also made Notes better and added additional iTunes option.
10. 13 new icons, starting from a Dark Mode version of the macOS Safari Technology Preview (as well as some other alternative Dark Mode Safari icons). Notably some more browsers, an extra-dark version of Spotify, and extra-dark Compass and Measure apps.
11. 2 new icons for the TypeWise app, which is, from me, a 100% unbiased impartial observer, an extremely good app. Sorry for the delay, I've got all of my files in an encrypted backup for my main computer, but a problem with the display led to a long back-and-forth between the repairer and retailer, with many other issues from an apparently incorrect repair previously. I've got some more ideas submitted to me, and big plans, and, if it isn't resolved for much longer, am willing to take them to court.
12. 7 new icons. Telegram, Khan Academy (with a light and dark flower-book-man), YouTube Studio (with a light and dark play button), GarageBand and fixed RadioPlayer (made the aspect ratio much closer to the actual app). All of the issues with my MacBook are now resolved.
13. 8 new icons, Fantastical, Things 3, Firefox (2019 version), Music Bot, Best Brokers, App Store updates.
Now, here's the table:
App Source Image Method for Darkening
Books From Apple's official reference image 'Open In' button (for those websites with the button that says 'Open In Apple Books'), which stores the logos of Apple's apps in SVGs, to look good at any resolution. This will be referred to as Open In. I changed the background to be pure black, and nothing else. This will be referred to as the Books Trick.
Music Open In. Changed the background to black (Music Trick).
News Open In. Music Trick.
Apple TV Open In. Changed background to pure black instead of dark grey.
iMessages From a Wikimedia Commons PNG image. I retraced it using shapes in Affinity Photo, and used the Books trick. The ellipse is good. The arm may be off slightly, but I don't think it's crucial. Using the Books Trick represents the colour of messages within the apps better. I also made a blue one, but the contrast isn't as good.
iTunes Open In. I made two. Either keep the star as it is or use the Books Trick. (Also, on request of u/kindredcashew98, made one with a gradient background and non-gradient interior.)
Notes An Apple webpage with many app icons as PNGs. Reconstructed manually. Inverted the paper, lines and dots. Then doubled the brightness of lines and dots, because inverting them apparently made them harder to see..
Podcasts Open In. Books Trick.
Wikipedia The 'W' in the SVG version of the Wikipedia logo. I couldn't find the official app icon, so I made my own. It's slightly larger than the W in the official app, because when choosing the size I decided that if you measured the total width of the W divided by the width of the icon, and assumed that the height was the same as the width, it would be exactly three quarters of the size. I don't know what I was thinking, but the end result is clearer and, dare I say it, nicer than the official icon (which doesn't even use the same font as the original logo), so I put a light mode one in as well.
Safari Wikimedia Commons, which only had the macOS icon. Recentered and recoloured to match the iOS colour gradient (lighter going up to the top, instead of into the centre). The blue in the compass may, therefore, be slightly off, but I don't think it matters. The background is black, as are the markers around the edge of the compass. There's also one with the previously white south pointer being black, in case you want even less whiteness. There are Dark Mode versions of the macOS Safari icons (including the Technology Preview), but for those you need to go into 'Get Info' and replace the icon in the top-left corner of the pop-up, but that changes it throughout the system (and with no loss, because it's converted to a .icns sourced from a 10242 .png sourced from a .svg).
App Store Wikimedia Commons. Books Trick. This does, however, make it look like the App Store Connect icon, but I didn't want to change it to make everything inconsistent, so I made the App Store Connect as well, in black-on-blue.
Mail Wikimedia Commons. Books Trick.
Maps. Wikimedia Commons. I recoloured all of the different parts to match what it looks like inside Maps with Dark Mode in iOS 13.
FaceTime Wikimedia Commons. Books Trick. It's not based on the latest version of the icon, which I couldn't find, so if you can't bear looking at a less rounded video recorder outline with a lens and a button, you've been warned.
Numbers Wikimedia Commons. Books Trick.
Camera I got this icon via what I think is a piracy website, so I'm not sharing it, but I think Apple would be okay with users editting app icons and giving credit to Apple for creating the original ones. I made the camera light-grey for more contrast with the black background, but then the bright yellow flash had less contrast, so I made it dark yellow.
Photos Piracy. I made a simple formula for each primary colour that removes the white tint and adds a black tint (assuming each colour blob is 50% opacity). I think it looks too transparent, but is definitely an improvement.
Phone Piracy. Books trick.
Health Piracy. Books trick.
Stocks Piracy. I made the background black instead of dark grey. It seems to be the older icon, though, where the bars are slightly more stretched horizontally. Does anyone have a newer icon?
What'sApp Piracy. Books trick.
Settings Piracy. Changed the background to black, removed the case around the outside and kept the gears as they were (with the small one apparently darker, which it isn't for me on the iOS 13 beta). This one looks extremely nice.
Weather Piracy. I kept the transparency of the sun and cloud, but changed the background to pure black. I know u/Wilson_Boi_101's post had more creative icons, but this saves more battery life on OLED displays, as well as reducing eye strain and making it look clearer and less noisy.
Wallet Piracy. Changed the background to pure black and inverted and doubled the brightness of the wallet case to make it dark grey, but still standing out.
Reminders Piracy (iOS 12 icon) I reconstructed the iOS 13 icon from this and a screenshot from my beta iPhone, and inverted the colours of the lines and made the background black.
Home Piracy. Music Trick.
Pushover Their website, but then below it, they said that you're not allowed to modify it. I hope they don't sue me, and instead see that I'm giving them free publicity and more user engagement. Books Trick.
Google Earth Wikimedia Commons. Music Trick.
TestFlight A low-quality 1282 PNG. Does anyone have an SVG? I badly reconstructed it, but it's difficult to tell from the size in the Home Screen.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, Teams and Skype. Wikimedia Commons. I got the desktop icons, because the mobile ones are just those inside big, white app-boxes. I reconstructed these white boxes, but black. I didn't know the exact proportions, so I used 3/4ths of the width and height of the box. It looks very nice, like everything else.
Contacts Screenshot from iOS 13 iPhone. I reconstructed this one very well, I think. The only difference is that the top-right tab and the big bit on the left are now inverted colours, but the shadows on them still exist. There's also a Pure Black Dark Mode, for those of you who are secretly Craig Federighi and would like a Black Celebration.
Reddit Wikimedia Commons. Music Trick.
Opera Their Website. Unfortunately, the only vector format provided was an EPS, which is this crazy format that Affinity Photo turns to greyscale. So, you can have your Dark Mode Opera icon, if you're okay with it being greyscale.
Assembly Line (AssemblyLineGame) The low-quality, intensely antialiased image on the Google Play Store. I remade the icon perfectly, to the last pixel, using Affinity Photo Rectangles. It's apparently an odd number of pixels wide, so I centred it by upscaling the image to four times the size, then shifting it one pixel. I also provided the original icon, as well as using the Music Trick. Ironically, it's 2KB, 1/16th of the 32KB of the antialiased one. I don't know how many people still have the app after it was taken off the App Store, but you Android users could probably make a skin with this.
Google, it's Authenticator and Translate Wikimedia Commons. Music Method. The 'G' is now larger, according to my 75% width model, the Authenticator icon is approximately the same, and Translate, being close to a square, is much larger, almost touching the edges. Translate's light-grey paper is now dark-grey.
Adblock Plus Their Press Kit. Books Method, icon seems approximately the same size.
1Password Their Press Kit. Inverted everything uncoloured. I only got the round icon, though, not the app's icon, so the background is pure black until they reply to my eMail, then I'll make another one.
MiniWiki The Wikipedia icon, but with the app's blue. Books Method. It's now the official Wikipedia font, instead of the font before, which was like the Wikipedia one but more boring, with three arms instead of four.
Audible Wikimedia Commons. I used the Books method, but couldn't find the gradient they used in their app icon, so I used their SVG logo.
Crystal Adblocker A screenshot of the icon, then remaking it in Affinity Photo. The colour is from Mail, it's a perfect square with two right-angled triangles above and below it, so that the square takes half of the height.
SleepWatch My genius intellect. It's a perfect white moon on a black background. And it's now a realistic crescent instead of an eclipse.
Slack Their Press Kit and a nice eMail conversation with a representative. They have a logo sourced from a 1515 grid and one sourced from 1919. I made these in Affinity Photo and made icons from those.
VLC Their very detailed desktop logo. I reduced it to a silhouette and added an outline.
Remote A screenshot of the iOS icon. I made an SVG based on the screenshot, recoloured it and scaled it up.
Calculator Looking at the iOS icon. It turns out you can make it from the Remote icon extremely easily.
WatchPlayer Looking at the iOS icon. It's slightly thicker than the actual icon, but I like it. It's got bigger breaks in the circle, as well as a rounded, hollow play button.
Files An Apple PNG of the iOS icon. I reconstructed it. It isn't quite perfect, and uses a distorted rounded square instead of whatever Apple did to get the smooth gradient to diagonal and back for the tab at the top of the folder, but other than that, it's pretty much an exact copy. The paper's still white, being paper, but the white background was the thing that burnt our eyes.
Shazam Their logo on Wikimedia Commons. I removed the text and made the background and white 'S' thing black.
Google Home, OneDrive, Dropbox Their logo on Wikimedia Commons. Music Trick.
Find My A screenshot of the app icon. Music Trick, but also reconstructing it (probably very lossfully), making the white outline to the blue thing black and making a second sonar radius line around the outside to increase the contrast against the black background.
RadioPlayer, Life Cycle Screenshots of their icons. I reconstructed them and used the Books Trick for both of them.
IMDb Wikimedia Commons Books Trick.
YouTube Wikimedia Commons Books Trick for the outside, then I made one with a black and a white play button inside, depending on how much of a black celebration you'd like to have. (We've gotten to the point where the only people still reading understand that Craig Federighi reference.)
Tube Map - London Underground The icon in the web App Store. I changed all white to black and vice versa, but also reconstructed it. LONDON.
Santander Their website. I hope to expand to all banks, but this is a good place to start. Books Trick.
EE Wikimedia Commons. I hope to expand to all cellular apps, but this is a good place to start. Music Trick.
Google Calendar Wikimedia Commons. Music method, but blackened the holes in the top and changed the text so it still has some greyness at the bottom to show the brightness, but at the top, it's completely black.
Google Maps Wikimedia Commons. I apologise if it's not exact, I reconstructed it from a non-iOS shaped one. (Maps apps always try to show off, and accidentally make them difficult to reconstruct when they get them wrong.) I made the grass and tarmac darker and changed all white parts to black.
Instagram Wikimedia Commons. Sorry for making the app for normies, please blame u/Bricknight for the idea. Fortunately, Affinity Photo lets you scale gradients' areas of effect without scaling their internal gradient colours via the Node tool, so I didn't get any distortion in the internal colours, I just extended it to have square corners (because iOS icon shapes vary per-device, and this makes it easier). I highly encourage you to look at the top-left corner, because it's much bluer than you'd think. Anyway, you can either use the regular icon with white switched for black, or the better, more AMOLED-power-saving one, with colour where the white outline would be and blackness where the colour would be. Affinity Photo's Subtract tool is very nice for things like this.
Facebook and Facebook Messenger Wikimedia Commons. Sorry for making the app for normie boomers, blame u/Bricknight again. For Facebook Messenger, I changed all white to black, for Facebook, I used the Android icon (because Wikimedia Commons didn't have the iOS one), extended the bottom from the previous peasant circle (which is an off-brand iOS squircle, just like Android is an off-brand iOS), removed the exterior (which is a useless solid-fill) and copied over the Facebook Messenger gradient.
Roku Wikimedia Commons. Made background black, multiplied brightness by 1.5.
Target Wikimedia Commons. Made background and interior ring black. Respect to whoever had the brilliant idea and mad skills to make the icon an SVG doughnut with a red outline of the exact correct thickness instead of making three concentric doughnuts.
Amazon Wikimedia Commons. I couldn't find the app's icon, so I used their logo and put the 'a' above the arrow thing. I couldn't find an SVG of the shopping cart, but that's okay, because it's probably subliminal messaging to make you shop more at Amazon, and the 'a' might be too small, but that's okay, because the original size ratio was probably subliminal messaging to not question Jeff Bezos' participation in the Illuminati.
Sprint Wikimedia Commons. Music Method.
Snapchat Wikimedia Commons. Remember when Snapchat made their icon's outline thicker, and then everyone got upset, because it made the logo more ugly? Well, you can be less upset because I changed the outline to be more of the ghost and the background to be black. But I disapprove of Snapchat, because it seems to be for vain, generic white girls to post and message photos of themselves with cringey effects, delete messages to hide evidence and get spoon-fed misandrist garbage that barely passes as news.
ESPN Wikimedia Commons. Music Method. (Also, some of your ESPN subscription goes towards maintaining Disney's monopoly*, and betting on sports is a bad idea. Here are some free alternatives which are more intellectual than watching people playing sports.)
Google Chrome Wikimedia Commons. It wouldn't load properly in Affinity Photo (with a square appearing around it), so I used my massive intellect to subtract a circle from a rectangle to make it look like it loaded properly. Music Method, but then I also made an alternative one where I inverted the central small circle to make it dark grey.
PayPal Wikimedia Commons. Music Method. I made the central part the sum of the two P's, then scaled it down to fit in our puny human spectrum. It's pretty realistic, though, and looks like the P's are transparent. No longer shall we have huge swaths of whiteness in our home screens when trying to access online payment, what an age we live in.
Twitch Wikimedia Commons. Music Method, I couldn't find the speech bubble, so I changed it to the 'T' in 'Twitch'. There's a white-filled and black-filled 'T'.
Pinterest Wikimedia Commons. Music Method. White-and-black-filled 'P's.
The Weather Channel Wikimedia Commons. Made text blue and background black.
BBC iPlayer Wikimedia Commons. Music Method. (It was already pretty dark, but there was an ugly gradient, so it's now pure black.) It's slightly different, because I used the logo with 'BBC' and 'iPlayer' horizontally across from each other, but I made them both centre-aligned and moved 'iPlayer' down so that it's the same distance from the squares as they are from each other, then made it 75% of the total width. This seemed to work very well, but it's slightly bigger, especially 'BBC'.
App in the Air App Store. Music Method. (The background wasn't quite black enough before.) Also, I deducted the background colour from the lines.
Pages & Keynote Some Apple.com webpage. Reconstructed by hand. The circles may be slightly off, from upscaling and overlapping while antialiasing, but it's extremely subtle and you're not going to notice it in a tiny little icon.
Firefox & Firefox Focus Wikimedia Commons. Music Method. Also made one with the Earth dimmed (to make it look like it's night), but that one doesn't look as good as I thought. Firefox Focus also had this crazy file format that made Affinity Photo decide to remove the shading on the fox and turn it into a completely white monster that engulfs the Earth, burning humanity's eyeballs. 2019 update as well, for regular Firefox.
Brave, Microsoft Edge Wikimedia Commons. Music Method.
BBC Sounds Their website, but I used a Firefox extension instead of the built-in Safari Resources Viewer, which doesn't get HTML tracings. Music Method.
Spotify Wikimedia Commons. It already has a black background (as far as I can see, I haven't checked), so I made the green circle the largest that could possibly fit into the square, then made it black and made the three bars green.
Compass and Measure Their App Store pages. The backgrounds were dark-grey instead of black, so I reconstructed them and then made the backgrounds black, decreasing all other colours by to keep the contrast as it was. The Measure app's spacing may not be perfect, but it's probably more accurate than a human eye can see, and for the Compass. I couldn't find out how to make a rounded triangle, so I used a regular one. It approximately fits what it should have been, but I couldn't get it to exactly fit, so I put it upright and on top of the app's square and then rotated it 45º around the square's centre.
TypeWise (TypeWise.app) e-Mailing the developers (I don't think I'm allowed to share it here, but it's probably okay with them, since my defacing of their icon is free publicity. Made background pure black instead of white, and made a 'darker' version which does the same to the text.
Telegram Wikimedia Commons. It's now the paper-aeroplane upscaled and against a black background.
YouTube Studio Their App Store page, then reconstructing it in Affinity Photo. Music Trick, made the Play button optionally black. I used an Affinity Photo gear, which isn't quite the same. I got it extremely close, and centered it. The only difference you can see is that the outer and inner parts are now rounded, as opposed to straight lines. However, it's a tiny app icon, and is a small price to pay for salvation.
GarageBand The App Store page, then reconstructing it in Affinity Photo. Books Trick.
Fantastical The App Store page, then reconstructing it in Affinity Photo.
Things 3 The App Store page, then reconstructing it in Affinity Photo.
Music Bot Apple Music icon. Inverted.
Best Brokers Their App Store page, then reconstructing it in Affinity Photo. Made suit completely black, halved brightness of shirt, kept tie the same.
App Store Updates Found the Save icon in SF Symbols, which is like the Updates one but not filled. I put it at 3/4ths of the icon height, then gave it the same gradient as the App Store. I would make this for all App Store sections, but this is the only one we use on a regular basis, and this lets you skip the advertising on the 'Today' page.
*The Kenobi series, however, is a perfectly justifiable reason to maintain Disney's monopoly, because Ewan McGregor.

##### Maps of Meaning Challenge: The Test of Truth [Day 50 of 109] Part 1

Before midnight March 24, 2020, Jordan Peterson will tweet, on three consecutive days, "I accept the Maps of Meaning challenge."
~A. Believer
So, be honest with me, what do you think the odds of that coming true are? A million to one against? More likely? Less likely?
In this post, I'll show you why I think it's so likely to happen that I'm prepared to say that it's a foregone conclusion, as good as if it were determined by God that it will happen.
OK, so no doubt you've, in some way or other, calculated the odds of Jordan Peterson accepting the Maps of Meaning challenge. I'm fairly certain most of you will say that it won't happen, not even allowing for the possibility. But what if it did happen, would you consider it to be a sign, a sort of miracle powerful enough to change your thinking, powerful enough to get you to rethink everything I've said so far in this challenge?
I think the odds are that it wouldn't be enough to effect any real change in you. That is to say that even if Jordan Peterson ends up accepting the Maps of Meaning challenge, this wouldn't be enough to cause you to think or act differently. It's just not a big enough "miracle". You'd find some way to explain it away and then go about doing whatever it is you do. If you had calculated that it was in fact impossible, you'd quickly come up with some justification for why it was only unlikely and not really impossible. If you thought it was highly unlikely then you'd say that I beat the odds but it proves nothing. Life, your life would then carry on just as it always had, leaving you unchanged.
Now, what if I managed to do something spectacularly impossible, something so unlikely that you'd bet your life I couldn't pull it off? Would things be different in this case? Would you then be ready to change? Let's see.
Here's what I plan on doing. I will perform a "miracle" in three parts. I'm sure you will find that each part, in and of itself, will be very unlikely, even impossible to accomplish. Succeeding at all three will be astronomically impossible. If I succeed at all three, then I will have performed a true miracle. At least that's what I plan on doing. I'll let you decide whether I've succeeded.
One miracle - three parts:
1. Whether you've read Maps of Meaning or not, I'll illustrate it for you in one diagram that will completely summarize the most important aspects of Maps of Meaning so that you can "see" for yourself what Jordan Peterson is "looking" at.
2. For those who have watched the Jordan Peterson/Sam Harris debates, I'll show you how to reconcile Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.
3. I'll provide empirical proof of the existence of God. Einstein was trying to see the face of God by unifying all of nature into a single framework, a unified theory. In Exodus 33 Moses also wants to see the face of God and God answers his request in verse 20 by saying, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." Since we can't see the face of God, I've decided to settle for God's fingerprint. I'll provide the fingerprint.
So, what do you think the odds are that I can succeed at all three of the above. The first is hard but not impossible. The second should be near impossible given the fact that Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris couldn't pull it off themselves. And the third, providing the fingerprint of God, well that should be literally impossible. Each one is exponentially more "impossible" than the preceding one. The third is even considered impossible by scientific standards. Clearly accomplishing these three things represents a level of impossible on a scale so much greater than the odds for or against Jordan Peterson accepting the Maps of Meaning challenge that pulling off all three would be truly worthy of the label miracle. Wouldn't you agree?
So let's get to it.
Part 1: Picturing Maps of Meaning
Very few people have actually read Maps of Meaning. Of those who have, only a tiny fraction have any real idea what it's about. Part of the problem is that the book doesn't really read sequentially. Peterson has done a great job of laying it all out in an organized fashion but he hasn't provided the reader with a way to make sense of it as a whole. Most of us are good at handling linear ideas but Maps of Meaning isn't really linear. To understand it, truly understand it, you need to think in terms of scaling. The book covers the same patterns over and over again but at varying scales and at each scale they look a bit different. He goes from brain functionality all the way up to civilizations and he paints a picture of what he sees at each of the different scales and tries to tie it all the scales together using mythological imagery. As far as I'm concerned, he's done a great job, a magnificent job, but, frankly, Maps of Meaning is well out of reach for the average, even above average person who has not learned to think in terms of scaling effects.
The nice thing however is that you can choose which scale to look at, the very small (like the internal workings of the brain), somewhere in the middle (at the scale of the individual) or at the largest scale (civilization). The most important scale, the one where we all live out our experience of life, is the scale that is focussed on the individual. So, for this purpose, I'm going to focus almost exclusively on that scale.
If you go through Maps of Meaning and extract the very most important aspects described at the scale of the individual, you are left with a handful of very clear characteristics. At the individual level, we all face a choice, the same choice, which is whether or not we will voluntarily carry the full weight of our responsibility in this life. Peterson notes that, "... in truth, we are merely unwilling to bear the weight of our true responsibility."
The lie, then, is a thought, a belief, that allows us to circumvent carrying this weight, that allows us to justify abdicating our responsibility. It's any thought that short circuits our desire or will to think things through for ourselves.
What's important about this willingness to shoulder our responsibility is that, as Peterson sees it, there is a right and wrong. Right and wrong are real and so there is a right "Way" to live. That right way starts with, hinges on, voluntarily shouldering that weight of responsibility. The mature (as opposed to immature) adult shoulders this weight or at least gives it their best shot. This willingness, this attitude of wanting to shoulder our responsibility is maturation.
Maturation means expansion of ability, differentiation of self and world, transformation of possibility into actuality, but loss of potential as well, as anything developed develops in one direction, and not in any of the innumerable alternates.
...
Maturation is a frightening process.
...
Adoption of group identity should constitute apprenticeship, not capitulation; should constitute a developmental stage in disciplined maturation, requiring temporary subjugation and immolation of immature individuality, prior to its later re-emergence, in controllable form, under voluntary direction.
...
Law provides the borders that limit chaos, and allows for the protected maturation of the individual.
...
The Bible, considered as a single story, presents this “process of maturation” in mythological terms.
But the nature of this weight is almost impossible to bear perfectly. The reason is that the person who wishes to bear this weight will have to face conflict at all levels. First, the individual will be assaulted by intrapsychic conflict as they struggle to make sense of their personal existence. Next, they will experience interpersonal conflict which Peterson doesn't spend much time on but which forms the foundation of group dynamics. For a group of any size to be cohesive, that is to continue to exist as a group, interpersonal conflict needs to be minimized. The group, therefore, introduces rules that govern the behavior of the individuals within that group. This creates a conflict between the individual's desire for autonomy and the group's desire for cohesion (i.e. avoiding dissolution of the group.) Each group creates it's own culture, including laws, in order to maintain itself. The individual now needs to find a way to resolve this higher-level conflict while keeping in mind that the group protects him from other, threatening, groups and even from threats within the group.
In all, the individual who considers bearing the full weight of responsibility needs to reconcile all of these conflicts. This is simply part and parcel with what constitutes shouldering this weight:
The admirable adult – an identifiable individual – keeps her house tidy and neat, reconciles her warring brothers, and learns hard lessons, when such learning is necessary. The archetypal hero makes order out of chaos, brings peace to the world, and restructures society, when it has become rigid and anachronistic.
The Way, therefore, is a choice to face all of these conflicts, within and without, and resolve them or keep trying to resolve them. This conflict resolution becomes the individual's highest personal priority. There are very few who are interested in living this life. So most will avoid it. But avoiding shouldering this burden has serious consequences for the individual and the group.
The habitual act of avoidance – of rejection – weakens the personality, in a direct causal manner.
...
The threatening aspect dominates, when the contact is involuntary, when the exploring agent is not up-to-date – when the individual has run away from evidence of his previous errors, failed to extract the information “lurking behind” his mistakes, weakened his personality, and destabilized his “world.”
Jordan Peterson says, bear the full weight and stand up straight. He says this because he sees that failure to shoulder your responsibility shapes, twists and bends, your personality. In Maps of Meaning he makes it clear that this twisting and bending of the personality happens in one of only two directions, to the left or to the right of bearing the full weight, as it were. To the left, you have what Peterson calls the decadent and to the right, you have what Peterson labels the fascist (alternatively the totalitarian.)
The decadent looks to subvert the process of maturation – looks for a “way out” of group affiliation. Group membership requires adoption of at-least-adolescent responsibility – at least of the responsibilities associated with respectable behavior – and this burden may seem too much to bear, as a consequence of prolonged immaturity of outlook.
...
The fascist adapts to the group, with a vengeance. He builds stronger and stronger walls around himself, and those who are “like him,” in an ever-more futile attempt to keep the ever-more-threatening unknown at bay. He does this because his world-view is incomplete. He does not believe in the heroic aspect of the individual, he does not see the negative aspect of the social world, and he cannot visualize the beneficial aspect of chaos. He is frightened enough to develop the discipline of a slave, so that he can maintain his protected position in the group, but he is not frightened enough to transcend his slavish condition. He therefore remains twisted and bent.
...
The fascist and the decadent regard each other as opposites, as mortal enemies. They are in actuality two sides of a bent coin
So, the decadent abdicates responsibility and the fascist goes to the other extreme and exerts control in order to establish and maintain something like a static existence. In either case, they have failed to resolve the conflict between the individual and the group. This tension between the group and the individual is central to Maps of Meaning.
Two, the ability to absorb a complete individual is, so far, beyond the capacity of any society, including those that call themselves Christian.
The group and the individual have competing, and, currently anyway, mutually exclusive competing interests, meaning that you are dealing with a win/lose or lose/lose situation. At least that's as far as Peterson gets with this. That is, he has failed to reconcile these warring opposites. Just how difficult it is to reconcile these two is captured in Maps of Meaning this way (in Frye's words):
The significance of the life of Jesus is often thought of as a legal significance, consisting in a life of perfect morality, or total conformity to a code of right action. But if we think of his significance as prophetic rather than legal, his real significance is that of being the one figure in history whom no organized human society could possibly put up with. The society that rejected him represented all societies: those responsible for his death were not the Romans or the Jews or whoever happened to be around at the time, but the whole of mankind down to ourselves and doubtless far beyond. ‘It is expedient that one man die for the people,’ said Caiphas (John 18:14), and there has never been a human society that has not agreed with him.
Nevertheless, the person who shoulder's the full weight of responsibility must wrestle with this conflict and, if possible, resolve it. So the individual who consciously, that is with full understanding, sees what it means to shoulder the full burden and nevertheless, accepts this challenge, is signaling a desire to live in the Way, the right way.
I've said all of this so that you have a clear enough understanding of what Maps of Meaning says so that when you see the image, the diagram that I said I would produce, you will be able to see how the diagram captures Peterson's thinking in Maps of Meaning.
Of course, it's not such a big deal to take all of the above and come up with a way to capture it in a diagram. It's a totally different thing, however, to produce the diagram before reading Maps of Meaning which is what I've done.
[For those paying attention to detail, you will discover that the diagram in question is actually in the epilogue and that I created that diagram while I was about halfway through listening to Maps of Meaning for the first time. This, however, doesn't diminish much because this diagram is based on a previous diagram in the book which was drawn before I started listening to Maps of Meaning. The connection between the two diagrams and the content of the book is such that it is undeniable that the diagram is not an afterthought thrown in after being exposed to Maps of Meaning. Careful examination will show that it correctly reflects the content of my book. So, as far as I'm concerned, it was created before I could possibly see it in Maps of Meaning.]
If you download my book and jump to the very last diagram (on the last or second last page depending on your e-reader) you'll see a diagram that captures everything I've just summarized about Maps of Meaning at the scale of the individual. The only difference is that where Peterson uses the label decadent I've used the label < 100% Responsibility (i.e. less than 100% responsibility). And where Peterson uses the label fascist, I've used the label > 100% Responsibility (i.e. greater than 100% responsibility). It really doesn't take much to see that while the labels differ, the meaning is the same.
Take a look for yourself and you will see Peterson's main ideas about the way perfectly captured in the diagram.
End of Part 1
Part 2: Reconciling Peterson and Harris
When you walk in the Way, what you need presents itself to you when you need it, not before nor after.
~A. Believer
Yesterday, I came across a post by Peterson on LinkedIn. It's a good summary of the above. Here's what he said:
It isn't obvious to me at all, that you can establish a functional relationship with yourself, unless you hold yourself respnosible for your actions and you regard yourself as a free agent ...
And there are situations in which our actions devolve into determinism. That's obvious neurophysiologically. It has to be the way the world works, is that once you execute a decision, there comes to a point where that decision is manifested in something approximating a deterministic manner. And I think the evidence for that is overwhelming.
But that doesn't mean that, when you're looking out into the future and you're contemplating the many paths that you could take, that what you do to make your decision then is deterministic in a simple manner. I think if that was the case, there'd be no need for consciousness at all.
Despite our own inclination, we hold ourselves responsible for the sins that we manifest—for the manners in which we wander off the path. People berate themselves for the actions they took or otherwise, should have taken. If we were masters in our own house without that central moral compass, there'd be no reason for us to torture ourselves with our moral inequity.
And then if you have a friend or a family member, and you insist upon treating them as if they're a deterministic agent, with no effect on the future and no responsibility for their choices, it's actually impossible to have a relationship with them.
...
And we act that out and then the next level of evidence seems to be that if you found your polity on propositions other than that, that the sovereignty of the individual and the responsibility of the individual, the whole thing goes sideways so rapidly that it's almost indescribable, and it doesn't just go sideways, it goes sideways and down. And so like, I don't know exactly what to make of that as a proof. You know, it's a strange sort of proof, the proof being that while there doesn't seem to be any reasonable way for human beings to organize their social interactions at any level of social organization without accepting those initial, I would say Judeo-Christian assumptions.
The key to reconciling Peterson and Harris lies in the word determinism. Peterson sees that determinism plays into the picture but if we are to hold ourselves responsible for our actions then determinism must not, cannot be the complete picture. Now turn to Harris and his "vast fabric of causality" and you find someone who's drawn a clear line. To Harris we do not have free will. The cause of our actions and thoughts remains outside of our ability to influence. For Harris, it's impossible for someone to act and think of their own free will.
There's the conflict. Peterson believes we need to take responsibility but how exactly can we do that if our thoughts and actions have causes, causes we can't see, except through technological tools, and can't control, causes that always, always precede our actions and decisions. To Harris, we are puppets and the fabric of causality is the puppet master. The unresolved question is how can we be personally responsible, how can we take responsibility for that which we cannot control?
Now, if Peterson were to take Harris seriously, very seriously, and to accept what Harris is saying as correct, then he would be able to solve his problem. Peterson has everything he needs to solve the problem. He laid it all out in Maps of Meaning. But he remains blind, even twenty years after having written Maps of Meaning. He can't put all the pieces together correctly.
Peterson needs a "hook" by which consciousness can break the pattern of determinism but he can't see it. He's actually given the answer already but he can't see that either.
Here's how to resolve Peterson's dilemma. Start by accepting Harris' position as true. That means that the past and the present, what has already happened and what currently is, cannot be changed. Since these cannot be changed we must accept them. We have no influence over these things and to spend time trying to affect what we have no power to affect is a waste of time.
If Peterson wants to know how responsibility plays into the picture he needs to accept that the system is deterministic. But part of this deterministic system involves "programming" to compare what was expected with what happened and, when these don't agree, to try to determine why. He points to the "hippocampal comparator" as the biological system that handles this. It's at this point that consciousness can be used but only if we look in the right direction.
We are the system. The output of the system, our behavior, is the result of the current state of the system along with what it is facing in the moment. If we accept this then we can see that the only way to change the behavior of the system is to change the inputs. We have no control over what we end up facing from moment to moment but we do have access to the current state of the system and we do have the ability to update incorrect ideas, thoughts, assumptions, and beliefs, the inputs to the system.
When we realize that our biology is producing actions based on what we believe to be true then whatever we've learned today, right or wrong, these are the basic inputs that drive the output. If we see this then we can see that if we want to change our future behavior, the one and only thing we can do is to change these inputs. When they are wrong, we act in a wrong fashion. When they are right we act in a right fashion. It is our responsibility, therefore, to examine our thinking, to see where it's wrong and to update it when we need to. This is the pattern, the archetype of the hero.
We act, driven by the puppet master, the deterministic system, within a vast web of causes that produced the reality that we find ourselves in. We act and we watch what our actions produce. We then have an opportunity to learn. That is, we have the opportunity to ask, what thoughts and beliefs did the system use as inputs to generate the action that it did? If we are ruthless about this, we will see that faulty assumptions and unexamined thoughts were the inputs. That is, we may discover we believed a lie and acted on it. Here we have the power to do something. We can examine the thought, we can face the lie as it were, and update our thinking. That is all we can do but it's all we need to do. It's sufficient. Once we update our thinking, our behavior changes and the process continues. Only now, because we are operating from a different set of inputs the deterministic system is producing a different outcome.
That is the pattern of the revolutionary hero who faces reality, makes sense of it and updates memory accordingly. This doesn't change the present, only the future and it does so by changing the inputs that the system uses to produce action.
Things that are wrong must be set right.
Things that are wrong in our thinking must be set right or we simply repeat the same mistakes. The right way forward is discovered by fixing our past way of thinking, our faulty assumptions, thoughts, etc. These, taken together, are the lie, the dragon that we need to face within ourselves. More specifically we find, we travel, the best way forward by updating our understanding as best we can so that it aligns with reality. In this way, the inputs in our biology are the best they can be. This requires sacrifice. We continually sacrifice our old, incorrect, incomplete understanding for a better understanding. We need to do this continually and vigilantly. Then and only then can we move forward rather than sideways and down. Then and only then will we find ourselves walking in The Way.
That is how Harris and Peterson can be reconciled. Take the best of each of them and put them together correctly.
End of Part 2
Part 3: The fingerprint of God
If you want to be like Jesus... view human behavior through a wider scientific lense of causation.
...
If we are going to be guided by reality ... our view of ourselves need to change.
~Sam Harris (Taken from an online video on free will)
It is now commonplace for evidence in criminal court to include identifying individuals by their fingerprints or by their DNA. This sort of evidence is strong enough to be considered proof yet they are statistical in nature. That is, they are not absolute in their assertions but statistical. Nevertheless, despite not being absolute, they provide a way of being confident of things that we cannot be absolutely sure about.Take fingerprint matching for instance:
In biometrics and fingerprint scanning, minutiae refers to specific plot points on a fingerprint. This includes characteristics such as ridge bifurcation or a ridge ending on a fingerprint.
www.webopedia.com › TERM › minutiae

The more minutiae or "points that match", the more certain you can be that the fingerprints are a match and that the identity of the individual who possesses those fingerprints can be determined. The closer the match, the higher the degree of certainty. That is, this sort of matching is valid empirical evidence that allows for a high degree of certainty, so high in fact that it can dispell even the shadow of a doubt in most people's minds. And so, we have no problem convicting people of crimes and locking them up in prison based on this sort of proof. We have no problem basing our decisions on this sort of evidence.
This same sort of evidence-based thinking can help us tell a forgery from a genuine work of art. Even if two works of art look identical to the untrained eye, the expert will pick out subtle differences that reveal the forgery to be just that. The expert may notice contradictions in things like brush strokes or use of certain pigments, things you and I would never notice but are clearly there if you know what to look for and perhaps how to look for it.
Now I want you to keep all of that in mind while considering Sam Harris' puppet master, his "vast fabric of causality" and try to imagine how two separate individuals, with no prior contact, could produce, in essence, the exact same, non-fiction book. Now, when I say exact same, I'm talking about the same ideas and not the same words. If both books wrestle with the same issues and they match, point for point, minutiae to minutiae, then despite the fact that they express those points in different words using different metaphors, etc., if these ideas are essentially the same and there are enough of them that are common between the two then, empirically speaking, they match. Two such matching books, produced by a vastly different causal chain of events would constitute what Peterson calls, "a form of convergent validation."
Now, what if Haris' puppet master possessed intelligence, that it wasn't just random but purposefully? Then the Puppet Master could "reveal" himself in this way, could provide evidence of his existence in this way.
Consider the following.
Approximately thirty-five years ago Jordan Peterson set out to write Maps of Meaning. It took him approximately 15 years to produce it. At the very time that Peterson embarked on this "journey" I was starting out on my own journey. For me, it would start by bowing the knee to Christ and be followed by a 20-year discipleship/apprenticeship. The two of us would continue our separate journeys until October of 2018 when Peterson would first appear on my radar. Then in Feb of 2019, I would begin to write my book. It would take me 91 days to write.
Now, what I'm saying is that both Peterson and I were driven by Sam Harris' Puppet Master to write the very same book, point for point but from very different perspectives. If you take both books and identify all of their major ideas and use these as "minutiae" or points of contact, the similarities will be so blatantly obvious that the empirical mind will feel compelled to insist that mine is a copy, a forgery of Petersons.
The fact that they match in this way is indisputable as far as I'm concerned. Both are the product of Harris' chain of causality. The same Puppet Master produced both books. The fact that they match is evidence of the Puppet Master's fingerprint, evidence of the fingerprint of God.
But, you are far from convinced, I'm sure. You will do with this the same that you would do if Peterson accepted the Maps of Meaning challenge. You'd find some way to justify not believing that God would provide his own fingerprint this way.
Fair enough. But now you have a dilemma set before you. You see my book doesn't only match Maps of Meaning in minutiae. It goes beyond that and, wherever Peterson raises issues and questions and leaves them unresolved, it provides the answers. So my book maps to Maps of Meaning and it answers the questions that Peterson couldn't resolve. How can you account for that?
As I see it, there's no getting around this now. But it gets better. If you look at my book, it was created by cutting up the world, the Judeo-Christian world, the Bible, into pieces and then recombining those pieces so that they make sense, better sense than they did before. What's more, this recombining doesn't negate the past understanding but subsumes it in a broader framework of understanding. This, interestingly enough, is exactly how Peterson's Maps of Meaning says a revolutionary update to the central myth of a civilization must be done. So how do you explain that?
Finally, when you factor in the fact that the revolutionary hero must undergo an apprenticeship and transcend his culture and it's dogma after having voluntarily descended into hell, you are left with a constellation of unexplainable, extraordinarily unlikely facts that constitute "the impossible".
But, if the expert on Maps of Meaning, Jordan Peterson himself, were to examine my book he would find exactly what I've just described. That is, he would find that all of the important ideas in my book are important ideas in Peterson's. The things he's left unresolved, the conflicts he could not reconcile, I've resolved and reconciled. And, the answers aren't mine in any personal sense. The answers are what emerges from recombining the pieces of the "world" in a way that makes sense in the light of modern science. And then there is my journey and how I came to write my book. Combine all of this and treat it as evidence and you will see the fingerprint of God.
What's my explanation to all of this? It's simple. Before I read Maps of Meaning, I lived it. I have lived out what Peterson wrote about in his Maps of Meaning and I have produced an update, a Maps of Meaning 2.0 if you will. But the real Author of both of these is Harris' Puppet Master.
The New Testament has been traditionally read as a description of a historical event, which redeemed mankind, once and for all: it might more reasonably be considered the description of a process that, if enacted, could bring about the establishment of peace on earth.
The problem is, however, that this process cannot yet really be said to be “consciously” – that is, explicitly – understood. ... This means that the true “believer” rises above dogmatic adherence to realize the soul of the hero – to “incarnate that soul” – in every aspect of their day-to-day life.
...
The pilgrim voluntarily places him or herself outside the “protective walls” of original culture and, through the difficult and demanding (actual) journey to “unknown but holy lands,” catalyzes a psychological process of broadening, integration and maturation.
~Maps of Meaning
End of Part 3

##### My in-depth guide on how I make over \$500 a month thrifting and flipping/reselling quality men's shoes.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliate links, no plugs, and nothing to sell you. I am working on a freebie in exchange for email sign-ups for my website, but this is down the road when I actually get things off the ground. This is some practice, plus sharing helps the world go round.
Of all my random endeavors, I'd say my most successful (and enjoyable) has been thrifting and flipping sartorial footwear. It's not the sexiest side-project, and I'm not living on my earnings, but it has done far better than I first expected.
To simplify it all, I find high-quality men's dress shoes, repair and/or clean them, and sell them.
I also thrift menswear items and do some resale, however a lot of that is for my own wardrobe. This isn't a massive enterprise, although my last month has been my most profitable to date (\$500 in earnings, which is about \$400 in profits), and I'm hoping to take things more serious moving forward. Link to stats: https://imgur.com/q8gC2pI - I've actually just passed this and am nearing \$700 in earnings.
I think I've stuck with this more than other endeavors because 1), its almost immediately profitable, and 2), I honestly enjoy it, so it doesn't feel like to huge chore to for look and list items. Having a little extra here and there certainly helps fund other hobbies and interests.
If you're interested in fashion, want some extra money, or want to seriously fund a project you're working on, you might find thrifting and flipping can do just that.

## The process

If you've ever flipped something before, it's pretty much the same idea: find something at a low, discounted price, make any required repairs or fixes, make it look presentable, and sell it at a higher price than you bought it.
I choose quality shoes because compared to items like t-shirts, coats, oxfords, and pants, they are available at a low price point, hold onto their value better (generally), are pretty durable, clean up well, and just resell better than the rest.
Here's my general workflow when it comes to buying, fixing up, and selling shoes. The rest of this guide is broken up into these 8 sections.
1. Hit up a thrift store: thrift stores are your haven. Some days, you might come home with five pairs of fantastic shoes in near-perfect quality. Some days you'll come back with nothing and broken dreams. Others, you'll get annoyed that there's nothing worth buying and you end up buying an overpriced pair of crap boots you know you shouldn't have bought. Regardless, thrift stores are where you'll do most of your hunting due to their lower prices.
2. Searching for shoes: following a number of criteria, you will search for quality shoes that can be resold, and require minimal work to do so. Shoes of a certain brand, quality, model, condition, colour, leather, etc. will sell better than others. It sounds obvious, I know, but it's important to take this into consideration. Shoes that look 'cool' to you might be worth nearly nothing, while that beat up pair of oxfords might be worth \$300 to the right buyer after a good cleanup. I'll give you a number of criteria so you can identify what's worth buying.
3. Purchasing the shoes: once you've found a pair (or two, or three), now you need to see if the price they're being sold for is worth it. I've never been to a thrift store where I can haggle, so my advice to you is to not bother unless it is stated. eBay is your friend. Download the app and under the additional search criteria, click on 'Sold Items'. This gives you items that fall within your search query that have already sold, so you know what prices buyers might buy for a similar item.
4. Get them home and do additional research: you'll get better at this with time, so you'll need to do less and less research before/after you buy a pair of shoes. Once you're home, take a look not only at how much the shoe sells for, but what type of leather the shoe is made from, the welt (how the leather part of the shoe is attached to the sole of the shoe), the style of shoe, etc. This isn't just education for your sake; knowing the various properties and * of the shoe will help you describe it better in your selling descriptions on eBay and other sites.
5. Clean the shoes and apply leather conditioner: I'll provide more in-depth instructions, but you'll take time to use leather cleaner (water works in less severe cases) and leather conditioner, along with a brushing with a good horse hair brush to give the shoe some shine and encourage oils to spread throughout the leather. You may or may not want to polish the shoes with shoe polish, but 95% of the time I don't bother. In certain cases, you may want to apply some shoe stain or polish that matches the colour of the shoe to hide scuff marks.
6. List items online: there is no end to what site you can list your goods. For the most exposure, I recommend eBay. There are a number of tips to help you determine a final price, and how to optimize your listings and get exposure.
7. Package and ship them out: I admit I could do better here than I am currently, but I'll share what I currently do to ship out shoes.
8. Profit!
Let's begin. Please excuse any mistakes; I'm going to go over this a few times. It's also a bit long, but I haven't added anything that isn't important if you want to take this a little more seriously than others.

## 1. Hitting up a thrift store

Thrift stores acquire goods through a number of different sources. Some are donated direct to the store, while other times dry cleaners with past-due clothes will donate the clothing. Those charity boxes where you donate clothes (think for cancer, diabetes, etc.) also give these clothes to thrift stores like Value Village (or are actually owned by the company) and they sell it for a profit.
No matter where these items come from, they'll be available to you at a discounted price. Obviously, used goods will be cheaper than brand-new, and shoes are no exception.
I live in Canada, so I don't have access to the same number of discount/thrift stores you'll find in the US, however my favourite tends to be Value Village, simply due to the fact that their stores are much larger than other chains, and generally have a well rotated shelf. You can go into a Value Village one day and the next they'll have a few new items to check out.
Some tips for thrifting:
1. Go during your work lunch, on your way from work, or early on weekends. Don't bother going at the same time everyone else does, which is sometime after work in the evenings, or later in the day on weekends.
2. Have an understanding of stocking size. Shelves at thrift stores are generally a set size. This means if a shelf can hold a maximum of 20 items, it will only every house 20 items. If a store has a small shelf dedicated to men's shoes and they don't sell many of them or cycle through them, you won't find new items. Check locations with larger shelves/more stock more often and make the most of your time.
3. See how often new items come out, and when. Thrift stores don't usually work like clock work, however there are vague schedules when new items come onto the floor, or when items are rotated in and out. If you're aware that someone stocks new items sometime in the morning before noon, for example, try timing your visits to take advantage of these facts.
4. Go out at least 3 times a week, and not to the same location. Make this a habit. Go when you can, even if it is on a weekend, but use the previous rules to thrifting to make the most out of your time.
5. Don't be discouraged. You will find nothing some times. You will also come back with more than you can managed. Understand that it is all luck, with a little strategy. If you remember this, that there are ups and downs (just like life), you'll do fine.
6. Try to hit up areas with an older, more wealthy population. Thrift stores ship out stock between locations to ensure they have relatively full shelves. However, much of what is donated in an area is kept there to be sold. That means if you go to a thrift store where the populace is older (is more willing to own older or higher-quality goods to some degree) and wealthier (has disposable income and may rotate through old goods quickly), you might have more luck. Areas with a high student population are often picked clean, although sartorial goods aren't always picked through.
7. Give yourself time. Give yourself at least twenty minutes if there is a sizable shelf for shoes. I like to give myself half an hour at a thrift store to check out everything, but if you're just selling shoes, twenty minutes is enough.
If you take just one thing away from this sections, it is time. Hit up stores regularly, and don't rush yourself.

## 2. Searching for shoes

Please refer to section 4's 'Beginner Shoe Brand List'. Use that list as a guide to find shoes. Use that same section's 'Signs of Quality' list to understand what some of the hallmarks are of a good shoe. Please, take a look at these shoe brands, take a look at the hallmarks of what makes a quality shoe, and use this information to inform your purchasing habits.
1. Discard your perspective that thrift store goods are filthy and disgusting. Sure, goods like clothing don't smell great (luckily shoes often don't smell), but it doesn't mean they're unwashable/untreatable. You'll never find the good stuff if you let a few off-smells scare you.
2. Look at the men's shoes section, but don't ignore the woman's shoes as well. I don't mean look at all the woman's shoes (unless you want to get into woman's shoes, which is certainly a profitable niche), but look out for mislabeled shoes and boots that could be male. Shoes without heels, are generally larger, and have less feminine features could possible me male shoes, so keep your eye out.
3. Check out the showcase/high-end sections. You can find some good items in these areas, but be careful. They sections are notorious for counterfeit items, but only for the designepopular brands. When dealing with dress shoes, this isn't as much of an issue, but if you see a pair of Gucci loafers, take into consideration that you might be looking at a fake. Also, although an item might be genuine, it might be priced too high for the risk to be worth it.
4. Dirty or scuffed shoes aren't write-offs. A little dirt might be masking a wonderful pair of shoes underneath. What looks dirty and dull can, more often than not, be restored with a little water, leather cleaner, leather conditioner, or polish. With time, you'll be able to spot what can be fixed, cleaned and restored, and what isn't worth your time. For example, shoes and boots made of chromexcel or 'pull-up' leather can look nearly brand-new after some leather conditioneoil, and a good brushing. What looks horrible on the shelve will always look better once you've done the bare minimum restoration work.
5. But don't just pickup a pair to take home without checking for less than apparent issues. Check the entire shoe for damage that might discourage buyers.
1. Look at the underside of the shoe; the sole. Is there a visible welt (a line of thread around the perimeter of the shoe)? How worn is it? Is it almost gone, reduced to mere dots of thread? Are the soles showing heavy cracking or damage? Do you see any cork on the bottom of the shoe? Any holes? Are any layers of the sole separating or breaking apart?
2. Look to the sides of the shoes, then the top. Are there any cuts or cracks in the leather (cuts and cracks are different than creases, as this has compromised the leather and cannot be fixed in the vast majority of cases)? Any heavy discolouration that seems to be deeper than surface level? Any heavy scuffing that cuts deeper into the leather? Any marker or paint stains? Have any seams (especially on the back of the shoe) begun to come loose? Did the previous owner step on the back lip of the shoe?
3. Look on the inside of the shoe. Does the inside shoe heavy discolouration (from sweat, pressure, general age, etc.)? Are there any large tears? Anything that looks really off? Is any leather peeling away along any seems?
6. Use your senses when trying to determine if a shoe is worth buying. Many of your purchase decisions will be made by identifying a shoe's brand name and model, but there are times where it's more difficult than that to determine more about the shoe. You'll need to get a feeling of the overall quality, and various unique features of the shoe to tell you more about it. Touch the shoe's leather, see if the inside is lined or unlined, if it has a quality welt...all of these indicators might tell you if your shoe might sell well online by a buyer who knows what they're looking for. Just because its not on eBay, or hasn't sold on eBay, doesn't mean it won't sell.

Honestly, there isn't much to say here. If it's an independent thrift store that allows haggling, feel free to do so. I've dealt with consignment shops that are open to budging a bit, but that's about it.
My rule of thumb when buying shoes to resale is to sell the shoe for at least x3 it's original cost. If a shoe costs \$20, I should feel confident that I can sell it for at least \$60. The pricing on shoes seems to be very haphazard, even at chains, and these companies often price well known designer brands highly, but lesser known ones they have no idea.

## 4. Take them home and do additional research

Before I get deep into this section, I'd like you to think about how often you see these brands.
Aldo, GEOX, Ecco, H&M, Dockers, Old Navy, American Eagle, Steve Madden, Call it Spring, Zara, Rockport, George.
These brands are what I generally refer to as 'fast fashion' brands (GEOX and Ecco aren't per se, but you'll find your fair share of their plasticky, misshapen shoes donated, anyways). They really won't make you money unless they're in perfect condition (ideally with price stickers still intact) or are a limited run, disproportionately popular model, part of a collab, or are made in countries associated with higher-quality menswear (Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, etc.)
Okay, fine. So what should you buy?
Let's start with the importance of brands in evaluating worthwhile footwear. Brands are important when dealing with men's shoes for a number of reasons.
• Story: All brands have a history; a story. Some are quite interesting; others...not so much. Some companies will buy the rights to old, historic brands, just so they can say they have over 100 years of heritage (you wouldn't believe how rampant this is in the watch world). Think Viberg, Rancourt, Allen Edmonds, etc.
• Clout: Especially relevant to designer items, you're paying more for the prestige behind the name. This doesn't always (or often) mean an item is of higher quality. Think Gucci, Prada, etc.
• Quality: Some brands are known for better quality goods. Quality is subjective, of course, but there are a few markers to watch out for. You can generally expect a shoe from Allen Edmonds (at least their vintage shoes till now) to be of excellent quality compared to what the average consumer wears. Think Vass, Edward Green, etc.
• Materials: Some materials are simply more expensive to source, purchase, and to work with.
• Production Location: Brands produce their shoes in various countries. Some are known to only create goods in countries associated with ethical treatment, which increases cost.
• Production Methods: Some brands make their shoes fully, or partially, by hand (also called 'benchmade'. This increases cost and generally means you're looking at a quality piece of footwear.
When a retailer sells you a shoe, the price is based on a combination of these factors. It's just like with purses, clothing...you name it, these factors dictate price and worth to consumers.
When you're buying a designer brand of nearly anything, you're usually paying a premium for the story behind the brand and for the clout associated with it.
If you see the brands below in good quality (not deep gashes, cuts, heavy discoloration, heavy sole damage, etc.) :

A Beginners Shoe Brand List
• Red Wings
• Wolverine
• Johnston & Murphy: If they are vintage are are in good condition, or have a goodyear welt, buy them.
• Allen Edmonds
• Cole Haan: This one's tricky. If they're not made in India and don't have a rubber sole, they're likely a good purchase.
• Florsheim: Also difficult. If not made in India, consider them.
• Salvatore Ferragamo
• Hugo Boss: Hit or miss. Some mainline series aren't fantastic, but a few show high-quality construction.
• Alden
• Carmina
• Loake
• Meermin
• Herring
• Beckett Simonon
• Charles Tyrwhitt
• Dack's: Generally a good buy if the style isn't too dated.
• Grenson
• Frye
• Common Projects
• Bally
• Crockett & Jones
• Trickers
• John Varvatos: Made in the US or Italy are of higher quality.
• Aquatalia: Hit or miss, as their shoes quality can be all-over the place.
• Chippewa
• Grant Stone
• Church's
• Tod's
• Rancourt
• Alfred Sargent
• Oak Street Bootmaker
• R.M. Williams
• Vass
• Viberg
For the most part, I have excluded items that even if you see, you should consider that they might be replicas. Brands like Gucci and Prada are notorious for this.
As great as brands are, there will be some that don't come up very often. Sure, an eBay search can help, but will be times when you stumble upon something incredible, but didn't take the time to look into it. That's why being able to recognize the markers of a quality shoe is so important. When you're searching along a rack quickly to make the most of your time, too many times I find myself searching for a brand. Sure, well known brands make money. But every so often, you find something new that scores you BIG.
Consistency, I honestly believe, is the most important factor when hunting for shoes. Sure, a pair of Gucci loafers might sell because of the brand name, but you'll make more money by selling shoes that are well-made and resonate well with the sartorial crowd. The people who buy these shoes aren't often considered with brand name, particularly; they're not hypebeasts.
Those one-off mega-finds don't come around too often, so always be on the lookout for quality footwear. You won't regret it.
Below are some marks of quality that you should look for. Some of these will jump off the shelf at you, saving you time at the thrift store.
Signs of Quality:
• Stitching: Goodyear welts, blake welts, hand stitching, etc. These welt are sometimes simulated, but are marks of better quality. The soles and the leather upper are stitched together (in different ways depending on the stitch) but the main thing is that they are NOT cemented, or simply glued together. Shoes that are 'cemented' together generally do not last long and are a pain to repair when the upper separates from the sole.
• Actual, non-corrected leather: Corrected leather often looks and feels plasticky, and has been sanded down to remove any signs of discolouration, poor hides, etc. Hell, even before we talk about corrected leather, you should ensure you're dealing with leather at all (check for 'genuine leather' and stay away from 'made-made upper'), as some simulated leathers can be convincing on first glance. It will take time to understand what corrected-grain leather looks like, but take a look at nearly any typical shoe from ALDO, and you'll have your answer.
• Clean, even stitching: Sure, mistake happen, but high-quality shoes have very clean stitching that should be the same on both shoes.
• Layered leather soles: It can be hard to tell if there is simply a wood veneer on the sides of a shoe's soles, however they try to replicate a stacked leather sole, which is multiple layers of leather that are cut and polished. If your shoe actually has these, it's another element that bumps up the cost of the shoe. Shoes that only have rubber soles are very likely of a lower quality.
• Chromexcel, pull-up, and more durable leathers: Bad for the planet due to the toxic materials used to dye the leather, they offer outstanding durability and develop a great patina with time. It can be hard to tell if a leather is chromexcel or pull-up, but generally they are thicker, have well-faded scrapes or scratches, and sometimes exhibit a lightening of the leather if you press upward on the underside of the leather (why it's called pull-up).
• Rounded toes vs square/box toes: For the most part, square toed shoes aren't often made by quality manufacturers. I'm not saying they aren't, but many sartorial shoe makers with history or prestige don't make them. 99% of the time, if a shoe has a box/square toe, it isn't worth looking at. Shoes with round toes (and that includes the 'pointy' toes) are a safer bet.
• Handwritten sizing/details: This might seem a little random, but older shoes, or shoes made by hand, often have the sizing and additional details (like model number) written in some permanent ink by hand. Not all shoes of quality have handwritten details, but those that do are generally benchmade and worth a closer look.
• Made in a country where production is more expensive: Think Canada, the US, UK, Italy, Bulgaria, Peru, Australia, and, in general, Europe. India, Malaysia, China (with a few exceptions), Sri Lanka, and other countries offer cheap labour and lower quality control. Be aware that countries like Italy still make great shoes, but there are large-scale factories that take advantage of that old-world assumption that Italian goods are high-quality.

## 5. Clean the shoes and add leather conditioner

Now for the moment of truth: cleaning the shoes and making them look like a million bucks. Here are my tips for cleaning regular leather (and not suede, which is that fuzzy, nappy leather that isn't smooth and shiny).
1. Brush your shoe well with a horse hair or soft plastic brush. Brushing the shoe, from top to bottom, will remove any dust and large particles, and also result in a less dirty cleaning cloth. Remove the laces and pull the tongue out so it can be brushed and cleaned as well.
2. Lightly dampen and wring a cleaning cloth (preferably cotton) and clean the shoe with circular strokes. Leather doesn't love water, so it's best to use a little while you clean your choose and not to soak them. DO NOT use soap. Leather cleaners can be effective, although try to stick with brands like Saphir, who have a good name with a good reputation, as to not damage your shoes. Cleaning in circular strokes does the trick well, especially when spot cleaning. Use an old soft-bristle toothbrush with a little water to clean where the sole of the shoe meets the upper (the leather body of the shoe).
3. If a shoe is especially dirty, let it dry after a few go-overs. Don't over wet the shoe, as you might end up staining the leather and causing water damage. If there is a significant amount of dirt on the shoe, or if the shoe has excessive polish or stain, resort to a leather cleaner. Most leather cleaners help dissolve dyes and other compounds on the surface of a shoe, and usually don't strip shoe stains much.
4. After the shoe looks pretty clean, let it dry for a few minutes, give it a brush, and apply your leather conditioner. Again, giving the shoes a few minutes to dry is a good idea. Brush the shoes to remain any additional dust or debris that might come from your cloth. Next, get a fine terrycloth (or a cotton cloth this is very fine, or even some woman's stocking or hose) and add a tiny bit of leather conditioner to a section of the shoe. Only apply leather conditioner to non-suede or nubuck leather (again, none of that fuzzy leather, else it will most certainly ruin the texture and colour). My all-time favourite is Saphir Renovateur, which goes for a pretty penny compared to some Amazon brands, but it works wonders. Rub it on in a circular motion until absorbed, and do so until you covered the leather upper of the shoe.
5. Brush, brush, brush. Brushing shoes seems a little odd, but the process helps redistribute the oils naturally present in the shoe, as well as the conditioner we just applied. Under certain conditions (like with Saphir Renovateur, it also adds an excellent shine that makes the shoe pop Brush the shoe until you're uncomfortable, then brush a few moments longer. Brush the technique below:
1. Brush horizontally on a piece of leather, side to side.
2. Then on the same section, turn the brush 90 degrees, brushing up and down.
3. If you brush with this technique, you are brushing the surface of the shoe evenly.
If you follow these instructions, you're probably going to end up with a pair of shoes that look quite a bit better than they did initially, especially if they picked up some dust and grime on the shelf at the thrift store.

## 6. List the items online

If you only ever listed shoes on eBay, you'd do rather well. However, some shoes, especially if you don't stick strictly to dress/sartorial shoes, will sell better on other platforms. Grailed is a fantastic website for more 'hype' brands and leather sneakers. Some of my favourite or commonly well-loved options include:
• The Real Real: More luxury brands, plus they take a more significant cut
• Poshmark: Generally anything, especially mass-market designer items
• Depop: Quirky items
• Etsy: Vintage items
I don't do much listing of items locally, as I've found I get minimal hits/traffic compared to eBay or Grailed. However, don't discount:
• Kijiji
• Letgo
• Craigslist
• Other local marketplaces
A lot goes into properly listing an item online. There's tons of room for optimization, which I'll be delving into when I work on my first ebook, course, or whatever I end up doing. But I'll give you a few tips below.
• The more photos, the better. A newer phone camera will do just fine, but high-quality shots help sell items. Try to have a neutral backdrop. Take photos of the top, the sole, and all sides of your shoes. Make sure at least one photo includes the brand logo. Ensure you have a photo of the shoe's sizing, which can be found on the tongue or the inside near the heel. Make sure you take photos in a bright area (natural like is often preferred). Finally, take photos of any damage that might catch someone's attention, like cracks, cuts, or deep craps or nicks. You will need to make note of these.
• Ensure the title includes the shoe's brand, series/line, colour, size (US and EU, preferably), width (C, D, EE, etc.), and anything else of note are included in your listing. Giving browsers key information immediately will work in your favour.
• Ensure all fields are filled out (that are applicable) to the best of your ability. eBay has tons of fields, especially for shoes, but be sure to fill out the sizing, material, brand, colour, and description/condition fields. The latter is especially important, as seasoned users will look to you to provide details on the condition of yours shoes, such as damage or wear. Be clear. You do not want to deal with returns, so don't give the customer a reason to prompt one.
• Start buy using historic 'Sold' prices on eBay to determine listing prices, and start off with 'Buy Now' listings. Do your due diligence and see how much the same brand of shoe has sold for in the past, and try to take an average of those. You can push your listing price to the high end, but you will likely see fewer inquiries. Because auctions with reserve prices (basically your item MUST sell for more than the reserve price, which means you won't accidentally sell an item for \$10) cost money to list, I stayed away from them at the beginning and just listed 'Buy Now' listings. I added a minimum offer value, so I automatically refuse offers under a certain value, so low-ballers don't waste my time.
• Do your research on how to set up shipping, especially to an international audience. I'm still struggling with this myself, but I'd save a good amount of time figuring it out in advance. Nearly all the questions I get ask how much shipping to a certain location will cost, so I encourage you to get ahead of the game and set up a shipping table with eBay. Most of the time you can guesstimate the general weight of the package by weighing the shoes in advance.

## 7. Package the shoes and ship them out

Wohoo! You sold your first pair of shoes. If you didn't change your default eBay settings, you have about 2 days to ship out your item. You can change this setting to give yourself more time to prepare.
Here are a few tips to ensure your shipping goes off without a hitch:
• Before you buy any boxes, save and use the boxes from your past delivers from Amazon, etc. These boxes are perfectly fine for your shoes, as long as they fit. If you live in a condo or apartment building and have shared recycling, go and grab a few clean boxes and use those. Don't be ashamed; you're saving yourself from paying \$2-5 for a damn piece of cardboard. If you need to buy a box, look at which post offices/providers have the cheapest boxes.
• Invest in a roll of packing foam (by-the-roll variety) or packing paper. I often get enough packaging and wrapping goods from my Amazon orders, but investing in packing material isn't a bad idea. It not only protects the shoes in transit, it also looks more professional. You can order some from a few shipping/logistic companies, and you can even try your luck at a Home Dept or similar store.
• Use eBay's Shippo to easily print labels. Shippo is eBay's built-in label creating platform that integrates with nearly every courier and delivery service. Go to your sold items section and click on 'Print Label' in the dropdown beside the item. It will take you to Shippo, where you can create an account, attach a payment method and create a label immediately. It will import nearly everything about your listing. The only thing you need to insert is the size and weight of the package, and fill out any customs info. Select the company you would like to use (it will show you the cheapest ones first, but try to use what you advertised in your listing). Pay for the label, print it, and tape the correct section of the label onto your package. Done.
At this point, you can drop your package off at the applicable postal office or box. At this point, hold onto the tracking info if you have any, and send it to the buyer. This not only creates trust with the buyer, but you would appreciate it in their position. Just for some piece of mind.

## 8. Profit!

If you use eBay, you will most likely have your funds held until the buyer receives their item. Don't despair! You'll get your money soon.
As you can also see, I haven't calculated my actual profits or anything. I could, but I just haven't yet. But just like anything with entrepreneurship, you just need to do it. I have excuses, but I'm trying to work past those. I would encourage you to keep records and see how much you spend on buying goods, and your margins after selling.

And that's about it! Feel free to ask any questions you have, about thrifting, reselling, and menswear in general. It all comes naturally for me at the moment and I'm sure I've missed a fair bit (although I am saving some of the sauce for my website content in the future).