Finding your comfort level

Dec 14, 2004 4:27 AM

How do players really know if they’re playing within the correct denomination for their own particular bankroll? And how much of their assets is the correct amount to risk in quest of those not-so-frequent winning visits to the casinos?

Both questions are tough, but there are several answers that aren’t laced with what is most common for players — a confusing array of calculations along with an explanation of unrealistic bankroll requirements.

Most video poker players fluctuate their levels, something they rarely plan on doing as they prepare to go into the casino. Name someone who hasn’t heard — or even said — something like, "I’m strictly a quarter player" or, "I’ll never play the $5 machines. Too rich for my blood!"

People mean these things when they talk to others outside gambling venues, but don’t expect to hear the same claims as they look for a lucky machine. Motivation, excitement, anticipation and humiliation all play a part in the decisions most gamblers make while involved in casino action — usually resulting in the right choice for their favorite casinos and the wrong choice for them.

If you feel safe playing nickels, stick with nickels. The machines are there for a reason — and not warm-up waiting for you to advance to quarters if you hit a jackpot.

If you play quarters, don’t let their proximity to the dollar machines throw off your game plan. At the dollar level, resist the urge to "give the $5 machines a shot" when you collect a nice payoff and it’s burning a hole in your credit meter!

Unless you’re doing this for an income supplement or a living, you have no real reason for risking more than you should. Remember, most of us are in the casinos for entertainment, and playing and/or winning is only a part of our goals.

Players often find that, if they step up to a play level when their bankroll doesn’t really fit in, they’re often flirting with financial ruin. It’s not that hard to understand why.

Many people say they play at one level to hit a jackpot so they can advance — if only for a little while — to a higher denomination, where they might hit something they feel really will make a change in their lives.

Beware of this philosophy! Even if two jackpots are hit in this manner, the only way it will change your life for the better is if you completely stop playing.

What usually happens to folks who are very lucky on any given day? First, the casino owns them in a sense that they did so well, they feel very lucky playing there, and they’re treated with respect. Roping them back in with promotions and gifts is not necessary, because they’ll return on their own anyway, eager to bang away on the higher limit machines as if there were no tomorrow.

But what about the casino? Do they really want this type of lucky player coming back? Shouldn’t they exercise their option to bar them from playing?

Friends, let’s get real. The bottom line is the casino knows winners who play a lot at any skill level will, for that reason alone, put it all back in — and then some.

Don’t believe me? Then stand at the corner of Tropicana and the Strip for a moment, and wonder just how it is the most beautiful and spectacular hotels in the world are all within immediate sight!