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Planning Ahead

Preparing yourself to enjoy your casino sessions in 2012

By Bill Burton

“Live each day as if it were your last, but plan your future as if you will live forever.”

It’s hard to believe we’re at the start of another new year. Each year seems to go by faster than the one before.  And every decade or so, there are new predictions of doom and gloom that overshadow the start of the New Year. Remember Y2K? It was 12 years ago when they predicted the worldwide crash of all computers and electronic devices. This year, we have the supposed Mayan prophecy that says the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012. (Actually, it depends on whom you listen to. The doomsayers are predicting the end of the world, while others interpret the prophecy as a spiritual enlightenment which will have a positive effect on all inhabitants of our planet.)

I have to admit, I’m highly skeptical of the ancient prediction about this coming year. Even with all of our science and technology we can’t accurately predict the weather next week, let alone what will happen 5,000 years from now—and the Mayans were so primitive, they didn’t even use email or have Facebook pages.

Judging from what I’ve seen in recent years, my prediction is that we’ll have our ups and or downs throughout the next 12 months—much like our casino sessions go. And with a little luck, by the end of this year we’ll be winners. I like to keep in mind a wise piece of advice I once heard: “Live each day as if it were your last, but plan your future as if you will live forever.”

Having a Plan

Many people find the first part of that advice easy to follow. Unfortunately, many of them interpret the word “live” each day to mean “spend money” as if today were your last. This is why there are so many people with large amounts of credit card debt. They fail to plan ahead for the future, which basically means saving a little money while properly budgeting the money you have to spend for day-to-day expenses.

The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to sit down and make a realistic budget that you can  live with for the year ahead. Since this magazine about casino gambling, I want to offer some suggestions to help you plan your upcoming visits in the year ahead.

Plan Your Visits

If you only take day trips to the casino, it’s still a good idea to plan your visits in advance. Part of the fun and excitement of a vacation, holiday or big event is the anticipation leading up to the special day. By planning your casino visits in advance, you’ll have something to look forward to—and this increases your excitement and anticipation as the day approaches. My friends and I get together once a month to play and have dinner. At the beginning of the year, we set up a tentative schedule for the upcoming year. This lets everybody plan far enough in advance for the upcoming sessions.

If you’re planning to take a longer casino vacation this year, it would be a good idea to start shopping around now for bargains and promotions that can save you big money. Because of the economy, travel numbers are down, and many airlines are joining with the casinos to offer package deals that combine a hotel room and airfare to give you savings on both. These packages sometimes include shows and other discounts that will save you even more. In many cases, you’ll be able to pick up a hefty package (including travel, hotel and extras) for the price that you would normally pay for airfare alone.

If you only need lodging, you should plan on checking the casinos’ websites for any promotions or deals they may be offering. While you’re on the website, sign up for their email list. Many casinos are cutting down on mailing costs by sending their players exclusive offers via email. If you don’t want to use your personal email account, you can set up a new account with Yahoo or Google just to receive your casino offers.

I’m not saying you need to have your next twelve months totally planned out with a rigid schedule. Spur of the moment trips and gaming sessions can be fun, too. But be sure to stick to your budget. If you’re the type of player who likes to visit casinos on a whim, factor this into your budget.

I have an easy method for doing this. I advise anyone who visits casinos on a regular basis to maintain a separate bank account to use for your gambling activities. Money in that account should be earmarked for casino play only. By maintaining this account responsibly, you should always have money on hand when you want to go play.

When You Arrive

Planning your casino visits isn’t just about picking the days you want to gamble. Ideally, you should plan to enjoy some non-gambling activities as well—by doing so, you’ll get more enjoyment and value from your trips. Most of these other activities have a fixed cost, so you can factor these costs into the daily budget that you map out prior to your trip. This also helps to break up your day so you’re not spending all of your time gambling. Knowing that you have other activities on your schedule can help to discourage you from overspending in the casino.

A little planning at the beginning of this year can keep you on track all the way through 2012.

Until next time, remember: luck comes and goes, but knowledge stays forever.

Bill Burton is the author of 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets and Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em, which are available online at www.billburton.com. He’s also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com

Preparing yourself to enjoy your casino sessions in 2012.

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