Who’s bankroll are you playing with?

Jan 1, 2002 12:24 AM

Casinos count on distraction as their number one weapon in separating players from as much money as possible. Even those who have been able to concentrate on keeping their blood pressure down as they enter town find it difficult not to get caught up in all the whoopla of sight and sound while scouting the casino or simply checking in. And casino execs know this is the critical point at which strategies go out the window, plans go up in smoke, and plain old adrenalin begins to take over. House odds have no meaning now, as all that is believed in is the ability to take the tables for thousands, or hit one or more of the machines for a giant jackpot. Although overmatched and almost always under-bankrolled, the player will have no part in any common sense as the quest begins.

One of the major errors gamblers start out each session or trip with is in their planning of just what it is they are looking to accomplish. Once the “what” is determined, it’s then time to figure out if there’s enough bankroll to attain that goal. But how many players do you think actually think things out? In the case of video poker players, you’re right if you guessed slim or none. Those who come in from out-of-town usually plan on losing a set amount, while locals tend to grab whatever cash they have available on any given day just to give it a shot. And it only gets worse from there.

Regardless whether you play nickels, quarters, five-dollars or beyond, it’s frequently proper bankroll that determines success or failure, if you are able to quit at a pre-set win goal and either stop or leave for the day. To be able to actually perform this unusual feat, however, you have to be willing to put a final end to fooling yourself about the amount of cash you truly have on hand today to comfortably play with ”” in other words, that amount which you can lose and chalk up as simple entertainment expense.

So how do we really know what this entails? Players have to learn to notice the following severe pitfalls if they truly want to be winners, and they must be willing to take corrective action in order to change their losing ways:

1. Never cash your paycheck in the casino.

2. Never use the casino ATM.

3. Never take casino credit.

The reasons are obvious, but if you need to be reminded you’re not alone. If you cash your paycheck at the cage, you’re likely responding to a promotion. So then what’s the real reason you came in? It certainly wasn’t to win, and don’t tell me you wanted a key chain or expected to be the lucky one to get that million dollars! What about the famous ATM’s ”” aren’t they there to assist us in obtaining money to gamble with? Yeah, right.

Next time you have about 45 minutes to spare, take a seat nearby any casino ATM and watch the collection of down-on-their-luck losers who line up at these things. See how many times some patrons have to keep trying for a lower amount, or walk away in a daze as their fistful of colorful cards have all been declined. Then quickly look at their stoic facial expressions until these poor souls notice those impatiently waiting behind them, when facial contortions immediately turn from regret and guilt into a look that tries to imply “I was only checking my balance.” It’s really a show in itself.

Every gambler has been an actor in this production ”” some have even become famous. And Casino Credit? Please, is there any better way to put a smile on the casino manager’s face? And if you do it for the recognition, you never came in to win in the first place.

While casinos hold all the odds against us as we walk through their doors, learning to use your own available bankroll is one method of helping to control those odds. For those who love to win, you couldn’t get off to a better start.