Champagne wishes, caviar dreams
Dear Mark: My wife plays slots only one way. She chases a high-end jackpot. If that does not happen - which it has not in more than 20 years since she last won $20,000 - she always ends up going home broke. Any chance you can write a column on her playing style. I hope that it will help change her ways. - Norm L.
All players who enter the friendly confines of a casino have but one incentive: the expectation of winning some money. For most players, it usually involves just coming out ahead. For others, like your wife, winning money only means hitting a substantial jackpot.
The problem with her style of playing is that her expectations are set far too high, hence, she ends up walking empty-handed. Sizable jackpots, Norm, are not easy to hit. When you start chasing them, the consequences are coming home tapped out, and an unhappy camper to boot. When it comes to winning, your wife has arbitrarily upped the ante to a significant jackpot, and nothing else.
Your wife could have more fun if she would change her mindset to that of, if you win a little, or only break even, then that's a win. Let the jackpots come when they may. Going for broke every time you visit a casino will result in just that, going broke.
The determination to preserve profits from a gambling session requires discipline. One strategy is to always set loss limits and reasonable win goals. You do this through control and learning to walk with $200 to $300 in winnings, meager as that may seem in her El Dorado theory of winning.
It is crucial to never allow the casino's biggest ally, greed, to dictate your gambling character. Greed will never allow you to quit when you are ahead. Winning $200, $300, or even a bit more is possible, but prudently walking with it is far more difficult. When you are ahead against the casino, the house doesn't beat you, you end up beating yourself.
Lady Luck, Norm, is very fickle. When it strikes, it means that for that one moment, someone just happened to be in the right place, at the right time.
Dear Mark: Why does my friend always think that she wins at slots in the casino? Personally, I think she loses far more often than she comes out ahead. -Anne C.
Within the casino, Anne, you see it all the time, the slot player who filters win-loss information. Your friend seems to be focused only on her wins and is losing track of how much she is actually spending. This creates a skewed view on the amount that she has won, compared to what she spent for actually playing.
Walk up behind many a player and they will vociferously proclaim "I'm up," by simply pointing to the credit meter. Yet, if this were true, then how could you explain the huge profits made by casinos, especially with their highest return coming from slot machines? In reality, far too many players are very surprised when they find out just how much they have actually invested into a machine versus what they actually won.
A simplified, verifiable accounting method is this. I walked in the casino with X number of dollars, and I walked out with this amount. Guesstimating, Anne, always makes for poor bookkeeping.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "I don't believe in hunches. Hunches are for dogs making love."- Amarillo Slim, Fast Company (1975)