Smarter Gambling

Casino Rule #1: Set a Budget, Set a Time Limit

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Written by Joshua
Mr. Big Talks Slots by Wayne Clingman and Joshua O'Connell

Today’s post is an excerpt from a book I co-wrote, Mr. Big Talks Slots, available as an eBook from Amazon. Each copy sold supports me directly so if you enjoy what you’re reading here on my site, it’s an easy and affordable way to do so.

The book is part of a series that also includes entries covering Blackjack, Craps and Texas Hold ‘Em. Each book is a quick read and affordable, so be sure to check them out as well! And if all topics interest you, there’s now an option to buy all four either on Kindle or Paperback, which also supports me.

When it comes to visiting a casino, setting a budget and a time limit is probably the most important step you, as a player, can take. Unlike other forms of entertainment, such as going to the movies, the casino is a potentially open-ended trip. There’s no start and end times, no fixed cost of entertainment. You can put $20 into one slot machine, or $100 each into 10 slot machines, and both could be considered a trip to the casino.

Veteran gamblers tend to have a strategy in mind when it comes to their gambling budget, and it’s always wise to learn from people who come before you. Whether you’re a new player or not, having a set budget going into the casino is a wise decision as the casino is designed to extract maximum value out of each visitor through a variety of systems and psychological scenarios. The easiest way to protect yourself is to set a budget, and stick to it, as well as set a time limit for your casino trip so you know when it should end.

If you aren’t sure you have the willpower to stick to a budget, or leave when time is up, consider taking stricter steps, which include:

  • Pull out cash from the bank and only use that
  • Leave debit and credit cards at home, in the car, or in a hotel safe (if you’re staying at the casino or nearby) – force a long break that requires you to cool off if you spend your budget and want to spend more
  • Set an alarm on your phone to alert you when your time is up or almost up – most casinos don’t have clocks visible with the goal of hoping you losing track of time
  • Have someone come with you and assist with sticking to a budget or time limit

If leaving debit or credit cards at home sounds extreme, keep in mind that a small percentage of the population become problem gamblers. Learning ways to stay disciplined is one way you can reduce your risk.

If your trip is going to be more than one day, you can set a trip budget, and then within it a daily budget. I know of many players who divide their trip budget into smaller envelopes so they don’t run out of money well before the trip is over, which can increase the chances of spending more than budgeted. Instead, if they run out of money one day, they know the next day more will be available, reducing the temptation of spending more than they have for the trip.

Slot machines (and other casino games) can be very enticing, and so protecting yourself by taking common sense steps is important.

For more tips on visiting the casino, and understanding slots better, be sure to check out Mr. Big Talks Slots, as well as other articles here on Know Your Slots!

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.

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