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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Money Management Tip from Reader

5 March 2003

The only way to become a true recreational gambling fan who derives maximum value and entertainment from each wagering dollar is to formulate and consistently use a money management plan.

There is no right or wrong technique when it comes to managing the money you bring to a casino, the money you don’t bring (credit cards), or for that matter, the money you win. As long as you exercise some form of checks and balances, you’re doing all you can to combat the forces that work against you.

I’d like to share with you an e-mail I received from Dave C. of Elgin, Illinois. His method of attack against the slot machines combines self-control, personal accountability, and a desire to “beat ‘em at their own games”:

“Don’t know if you have noticed that there are fewer change attendants flowing throughout the different casinos, which also makes you put in currency instead of waiting for one to show, let alone use the “change” button, which I sometimes feel isn’t even working.

“My method is to put in my currency, get my credits, cash in the credits, and then play. I never put in currency and play credits. When I put in my coins, I count them to a pre-determined number, depending on the value of the coin.

“In the case of a quarter machine, once I put in 20 coins ($5) I expect to have 30 credits. If and when I receive these credits, I cash them in and start building until I have used all 30 ($7.50). By doing this, I invest only five dollars and use $2.50 of theirs.

“Once I build up a decent amount of credits, I don’t put in any more coins. Cash in, one handful into the “bucket of no return”. Take that bucket to the cashier and cash in. The amount that was not put into the bucket goes to my pocket and I look for another machine that is calling my name.

“I am in no way rich, but I feel that I must have some control on how I do my gambling. By using this system, I feel that I win more than I lose. Plus, if you are not getting to your pre-determined credit point, you get to move a lot and see more of the casino without spending too much money.”

Thank you for your letter and for your valuable advice. If more of us exercised similar playing discipline, the casinos would be in a lot of trouble!

I agree with you that change attendants are disappearing from casinos nationwide. They used to be quite accessible. Currency validators in slot machines helped to hasten their demise. Unfortunately, making players “work” to get change also has increased the temptation to bet more. Do yourself a favor and deal with the inconvenience of strolling to the cashier’s change to break big bills. Over the long run you’ll be glad you did.

Dave’s “bucket of no return” is a great idea. Anything you can do to take advantage of a winning gambling session is your best bet in a casino.

A post-script to last week’s question and answer session with Larry Pacey, vice president of game development for Williams Gaming, manufacturer of some of the world’s most popular multi-line, bonus round video slot machines:

Q-On machines which give players the option of stopping the reels themselves, is the combination they get the same predetermined combination they would have gotten had they allowed the sequence to progress on its own time?

A-It doesn’t make any difference whether they stop the reels themselves or wait for the reels to stop naturally. The feature just gives the player control over the speed at which they play.

Analysis: My advice is to never use the “stop reels” option. The faster you play, the more you subject your bankroll to the casino edge.

Q-Do games such as “Pictionary” and “Monopoly” differ from games such as “Yukon Gold” and “Jackpot Party” in regard to lease agreements or the per diem fee that casinos pay to have the units on their floors?

A-With Pictionary and Monopoly, WMS owns each machine and charges the casino a daily fee to use them. In the case of Yukon Gold and Jackpot Party, the casino purchases each machine from WMS.

Analysis: Since the casino has an added expense with branded games, it may be better, over the long run, to play the games the casinos own outright.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp