Friday, 21 November 2014

My 4 Rules for entering gaming venues

I don't often go to Casino's.  It's not that I have a particular moral objection to them - I just prefer not to play a game where the odds are mathematically tilted against me.  However I went to a casino recently (context to come later) and after doing so I now have new rules for myself about gabling generally.

My rules for entering gaming establishments
  1. I will never spend more than 2 hours in a gaming establishment
  2. I will never gamble more than $50 in a night
  3. I will never use a card of any sort in a gaming establishment (credit or debit)
  4. I will never enter a gaming establishment after drinking
...and now it's time for some context...

How did my personal rules for gambling come about?

I was at a bucks night recently (getting married seems to be the thing to do amongst my friends at the moment) which ended up at a casino after several hours of drinking.  We left the casino to go elsewhere however ended up back at the casino later in the night.

Before I go into what I saw and experienced that night let me just say upfront that I did not lose thousands of dollars and this is not a post of regret.  I bet $20, at one point in the night I was up $100 and I ended up down $10 at the end of the night.

When I looked around I was staggered at the amount being bet...and lost

I love people watching however people watching in a casino is one of the most depressing things I have ever done.  I was just on the regular gaming floor (on the cheap tables I may add) but the amount of money being bet was still staggering.

I saw one man playing
on a roulette table who would bet $100 on each spin on individual numbers coming up.  He wouldn't even bet on the more likely 'even or odd' or 'bottom third' type bets which are higher probability / lower pay-off type events.  He was playing single numbers.  That works out to a 1/38 odds for a 36x pay-off.  I know $100 bets are not that big in the scheme of things but I was at this roulette table for ~30 minutes and I must have seen him lose at least $2,000.

That wasn't even those most outrageous thing I saw.  I saw another person betting $500 on a spinning wheel and losing $500 each time the wheel was spun.  Maybe he ended up winning at the end of the night but I walked away he was $3,000 down.

These weren't high rollers either. And they weren't the exceptions to the rule.  The amount of money that was being placed on tables and lost on every hand, at every table was truly staggering.  Casino's really should be renamed money pits.

It is so easy to lose track of time in a Casino

I can't work out why but it is incredibly easy to lose track of time in a Casino.  I'm  not a huge fan of them but I still ended up playing on the tables until 2 am in the morning.  I didn't feel tired until I walked was amazing.

I set my 2 hour rule because after this point I personally was just going through the motions and keeping my friend company.  I also noticed that after a while 'bigger bets' were not phasing me as much as they earlier in the night.  I know 2 hours is arbitrary but I think after this point you should be able to walk out...and from now on I will be.

You really need to know how much you are willing to lose on a night

You will almost always walk out of a casino with less money than when you walked in...which is why it is important to know how much you are going to lose.  For me this number is $50.  I'm not going to fell bad after losing $50.

The problem when you don't have a set amount is that you are willing to play 'just one more game' or just put a little bit more into the game.  This is especially true if you have an 'addictive personality'.  I have no real definition for that term but most people know if they are the type to "just stay for a little longer".  I am definitely that type of person and I would have probably stayed playing for longer had my friends not decided to call it a know yourself and know your limits.

Never use a credit card / debt card to pay for gambling

Other than the obvious problem of going into debt in order to gamble, it is just simply too easy to lose track of how much you are gaming.  I know how much I've gambled if I started the night with $100 in my wallet and now I only have $50.  I have no idea if I have the same amount in my wallet but I've bought in at several tables with my credit card.

This one has no exceptions.  If you have to - withdraw money before you get to the casino...and then the card disappears!

Never gamble after drinking

Gambling away your hard earned cash is far too easy.  When you're drinking your not thinking straight and you're definitely not going to keep to the rules that you set when you were sober.  I went after a bucks event that had been going all day and I can tell you that it is far too easy to justify actions in your mind that you would not normally do.

If you want to drink - go to a bar and party.  If you want to gamble then do that too...but don't mix them.

One final word on gambling

Gambling is a huge problem for those who are addicted to it.  I hope that this article does not make it sound like I am pro-gambling.  I am not opposed to it like many are (spend your money however you like) but I definitely advocate having strict rules, not endangering your financial situation and having it as an occasional pastime...not a regular occurrence.

Unfortunately what I saw on the gambling floor at the casino was completely different.  It was people gambling (and losing) crazy amounts.  All those people couldn't have enough money to be able to waste $100 on a single roll, spin or hand of cards.

What is your view on gambling?  Do you go and do you have self enforced rules?

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