Sunday, October 12, 2008
Gambling - Getting Out While You Are Ahead
I went away for a mini-vacation this weekend. It was the girlfriend's birthday, and we decided to get out of town. The destination was Palm Springs, something that was a complete surprise to her. Neither of us had been there, and that was part of its attraction. I did not really know what to expect. I knew it was hot. I knew that the residents there tended to be older. And I knew that there tended to be lots of casinos around the area.
Now, I'm not much of a gambler. In fact, I've never actually even approached a Casino table. I have played slots before, and it is the only thing I ever plan on doing since the tables don't have much draw for me. So the casinos of Palm Springs just were not a big attraction. That being said, we still decided to go to one, Fantasy Springs Resort to be exact. We just walked around the floor for a while and got a few drinks. The girlfriend likes to play the penny and nickel slots so we started on those. Now, the penny and nickel slots are designed to just take your money. It seems like you should be able to play quite a while this way, but it is a big con. They are some of the worse odds in any casino. But it makes her happy, so it was a relatively small price to pay. All told, we played until we had lost $25.
Now I happen to know that you will get much better odds on the higher denomination slots. Casinos do this to keep the higher bank roll people interested and in the Casino. Like all gambling, the longer they can keep you in the casino, the more likely they are going to take money away from you. So I found a bank of $1 slots that was promising a 98% return. Not the best return on your money in the world but probably the best you will find on the casino floor. (Actually given the current market, maybe it is the best return you can find)
I have simple rule. When I play slots, I set aside a fixed amount of money. It is an amount I feel perfectly happy going to $0. In this case, it was $40. I play until I either hit $0 or I can be up by 50%. In this case $60. I leave the casino whichever one comes up first. By doing this, I have the discipline to not let the casino get too far ahead of me. So as I played on Friday night, my bank roll continued to go down. When I got down to about $12, I decided to go for broke and just play $3 at a time. I figured I would get 4 more plays, and be done with it. But then, the slot started turning in my favor. I got back above $20 in a few spins. It then climbed up to $48 after a few more. I was tempted to leave at that point, just to take a small winning away. But I stayed disciplined, and kept playing.
In two more spins, I got a row of triple bars, and that netted me $150. At first, my girlfriend was excited, thinking I just won $50. But she forgot I was playing 3 at a time, and so that tripled my winnings. I immediately cashed out and left the casino. I made sure I was going to get out while I was ahead, and not give the Casino a chance to take it back from me. The thing is, my strategy usually works for me. Of the half dozen or so times I've actually gambled at a casino, I may have only lost money one time. So overall, I'm definitely ahead. I think I'm only ahead by about $200 or $300, but I'm ahead.
So how about you? Do you gamble much, and if so, do you win more than you lose? Do you have a strategy.