Finding your comfort zone
by Bill Burton
Avoid stressful casino visits by knowing, and staying, within your limits
I’m sure you’ve all heard stories about the big wins (and losses) that your friends have had at the casino. People love to tell stories about their casino adventures, especially when they win big. But when I hear someone talking about a “big hit,” my first thought is, “How much were they betting?”
Unless they got very lucky and hit one of the rare, top-line slot jackpots, chances are they did not win thousands of dollars playing just two or three quarters. They were most likely betting a sizeable amount to begin with. And to do that, they need something more than a large bankroll; they need to be comfortable playing at higher limits.
Determine your comfort zone
For most players, the lure of gambling is the excitement they feel when they risk money playing the games. Some players get excited risking very little, while others only get a kick if they have a lot at stake.
The perfect betting limit is one that gets your heart pumping but doesn’t make you sweat. I call this your emotional bankroll, or comfort zone. You need to be certain your limits are within this range. If the amount you’re betting causes you stress, or if you start thinking about what you could have bought with the money that you’re gambling, then you’ve gone beyond your comfort zone.
Some players are thrill seekers who like to live on the edge. To these players, money is only a way of keeping score, and credits are simply ammunition. For them, the real excitement is in the action. They only get enjoyment when their bets are high. They will take chances even when they can’t afford them.
Conservative players are perfectly happy risking two or three coins on a nickel slot. They may be able to afford higher limit play, but they don’t feel comfortable at that level. They’re concerned about the price of their entertainment. They want to play but don’t want to risk a large portion of their bankroll on a single outcome or during one playing session.
Most gamblers fall somewhere between these two types of players. What’s important is that each player finds that the thin line that separates thrill from fear. The best way to determine your comfort zone is to slowly increase your level of play. Nickel slot players may move to quarter or fifty-cent machines, and then on to the dollar slots. If you are playing a machine with multiple paylines, you can increase the number of coins you bet per line until you reach a comfortable amount on each spin. When the risk factor begins to bother you, decrease your bet and return to the previous level.
Your bankroll also affects your comfort level. If you only have $50, you won’t enjoy playing max coin in a dollar slot—you’ll be broke after only a few spins.
Avoid Peer Pressure
There is no shame in betting less because you can’t afford it or it makes you uncomfortable. Betting is a very personal decision; you shouldn’t be influenced by the amounts other gamblers bet. Some players go to the casino with friends and then feel embarrassed if they don’t join them at higher limit tables. And it’s all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of the casino and increase your bet—they’re designed that way on purpose.
Don’t be influenced by other players and don’t give in to friends who try to get you to play at higher limits. Only you can determine the amount of money you feel comfortable risking. Once you determine your comfort zone, make sure you play within those limits. It will help make your casino experience an enjoyable one, not a stressful one.
Remember, luck comes and goes, but knowledge stays forever.
Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide for About.com: www.casinogambling.about.com and author of “1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets” available at: www.billburton.com. He an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
Controlling Your Cash in Casino.