If you’re going to the casino for the first time, you may not know what to expect. If you’ve been to the casino before, you know what to expect, but might need a little support in remembering to do basic things to protect yourself.
It’s easy to get caught in the allure of all the flashing lights, near-miss wins and so forth that make the casino so enticing, but a few common sense steps can protect yourself.
Set a Budget
The unusual thing about a casino as an entertainment venue is that there’s no arbitrary start and end, specific spend amount, etc. Movies have a price and length; bowling has a cost per game; and so on. But with a casino you could be there for an hour or four hours. You could spend $10 or $100 or $1,000. This means it’s up to us as the players to make decisions about what makes sense for a visit.
Your casino budget should be your entertainment budget, but some people have an easier time sticking to this than others. If you have a tendency to break budget at the casino, consider withdrawing only the money allowed for this trip, and leaving debit or credit cards in an inconvenient place (at home, in your car, with a friend on site, etc.) to resist the temptation to pull more money out if you have a losing trip.
Your casino budget should include any cash you have on hand, plus any free play.
Get a Player’s Card
I’ve spoken at length here about how your player’s card is the one area where you are guaranteed a payback at the casino. If you are new to a casino, or have lost your player’s card, you should make your first stop at a casino the player’s card booth.
Don’t turn away free comps, casino offers, shop and restaurant discounts, and more just because you don’t want to wait in line for a card. Casino offers can return anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of your play back to you in the form of perks based on what’s recorded to your card.
Set a Time Limit
Decide how long you plan on being at a casino. Then set an alarm on your phone. Most players who go to casinos know there aren’t clocks or even daylight indicators at most casinos, as they want you to get immersed in the environment.
But nearly everyone carries a cell phone, and they generally have an alarm app. Set it, make sure it’s loud, so you don’t miss the indicator that you’re at or near your time to go home. If you still have money and have reached the end of your planned visit, that shouldn’t be a sign to keep playing – it’s OK to leave with part of your casino budget, or leave ahead!
Know Your Limits Per Game/Per Spin
The amount you bring to a casino for entertainment is your upper limit for the day, but what about per game or per spin? Well, to some degree it depends on how long you plan to stay at the casino. But if you’re going to stay for a few hours, you should have 500 times your average bet to minimize your risk of ruin.
What does that mean? If you bring $100 to the casino, and average 20 cents a spin, you’ll have a reasonable chance of leaving the casino with money. Change that to $2 a spin, and you have a mere 50 chances to make something happen – you could run out of money really fast! And that might psychologically encourage a trip to the ATM – that’s certainly not a goal for a casino trip.
Consider Bringing a Friend
Playing slot machines can easily become a solo activity, given the nature of the game. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a friend on site with you, playing elsewhere, and having two people together means it can be easier to work together to meet the above goals.
If one person’s getting sucked in, the other can remind of the time limit. You can hold each other’s debit cards and such to be supportive.
Get More Advice for New Players
For more advice for beginners to slots, as well as getting a better understanding of how slot machines work, check out the book I co-authored, “Mr. Big Talks Slots,” now available as an eBook on Amazon. You don’t need a Kindle to read it – apps exist for both computers and mobile phones. Check out the book by clicking here!