Set casino goals before you play

Oct 26, 2004 2:38 AM


Video poker is like a merry-go-round ride, only much of the time it’s not so merry. Yet the lure of the game, for most, is far too strong to deal with in a common sense format. While walking away is almost always the proper approach when those lows get to you, the desire to win wins out almost every time.

Trying to defeat the video poker machines is not an easy task. Success comes with tedious planning and an exceptional will power to always do the right thing. Planning, following through and a merciless determination are the only ways to take a permanent piece of the casino pie.

Since I’ve played at casinos, video poker isn’t the only game I have taken profits from, but while it’s the only game at which I’m a true expert, my few sports bets in the past have allowed me to be a bit over $5,000 ahead of that game with very limited betting. And I do not abuse the luck I’ve had. Small bets are still few and far between — they’re placed only on the same couple of past and present home teams to win it all every year.

But recently another casino game caught my eye, and I decided to give it a one-time go. Although live keno is hardly the game of champions with its tradition of having the worst house edge around, when I spotted a 25¡ game that paid $10,000 for hitting 8-out-of-8, my mind began to work. If I took my birth date, my son’s, and his newborn son’s, those nine figures had one common number within — which resulted in eight different numbers. That scenario was strangely the same for my wife’s, my daughter’s, and her new daughter’s birth dates. So there it was — two 8-spot tickets. Sort of a family feud — the boys against the girls!

I suppose I’d have never even thought of this if it weren’t for the fact that one of my recent "romps through town" didn’t turn out so well. After a $90 win at Monte Lago, I dropped $2,400 at the Westin Casuarina in several sessions (how many people can lose that much at the Westin?). After a good session at the Rio, the Palms, the Gold Coast and the Aladdin, I hit a very cold spell that ended with my overall trip in the negative to the tune of $7,600.

I was packed and ready to go when the idea hit: Play $200 on each 8-spot for a total of 800 games for the boys and 800 for the girls.

Like all big jackpot games, you usually either win next to nothing or hit the pot. When I checked the boy’s ticket it spit back a whole $10. But the girl’s ticket began chirping out a tune when it was swiped, and I saw ”˜Winner! $10,020!’ appear on the tiny screen. I immediately began to be thankful that my granddaughter, Isabella, was born on such a lucky day, and when I returned home I put every dime from that payout into her college fund.

Lost in all this was the true importance of this profitable trip to Rob Singer. In 2004, I set my win goal from video poker (not counting cash back, comps, or any other intangible gambling item) at $100,000, and this keno award put me over by a thousand. Not being one to get caught up in anything other than my own goals, I announced that my win limit had been attained for the year and I would no longer be playing for profit in 2004.

Now, please think back, everyone. When’s the last time you ever heard a professional gambler say he was able to quit playing for a number of months because a goal was reached?

Well, other than me every year, you’ve never heard it, because others who play to the math are simply unable to walk away from the game at any time. Certainly, session goals are a very important part of my game, but yearly goals are just as important.

I threw a keno win into the mix as an excuse to not have to play. Can you think of anyone else with the willpower to do such a thing? That’s what breeds success. That’s what makes gambling an enjoyable endeavor for me.

Everyone talks about money management, which is indeed important. But a crucial element of that management is the setting and keeping of goals. Try it, from session goals to weekly goals to yearly goals. You’ll find that when you hit your mark, you’re going to feel a world of satisfaction.

It sure beats the feeling of walking out of a casino and wondering what you’re going to do next.