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New Year — New Goals

Play smarter and have more fun doing it

by Bill Burton


Wow! Another year flies by and now as 2005 heads into the history books we turn the page and start a new chapter in our lives entitled 2006. Each year many of us start by making resolutions on New Year’s Day to improve ourselves or change some undesired habit. You know the ones I’m talking about; lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, etc. We all have made and broken them year after year. They sound good on New Year’s Day but most resolutions go out the door within a week or two. Some psychologists theorize that the reason this happens is because we don’t have the desire or true passion required to give it our full effort in order to make it work.

The resolutions and goals that do get achieved are the ones that we enjoy doing and find pleasure in accomplishing. So this year why not just resolve to have more fun doing what you like to do best. Since you are reading this issue of Strictly Slots magazine, one of your interests is obviously visiting the casinos and playing casino games. This year you could make a New Year’s resolution to “have more fun in the casino.”

That sounds simple enough, but if you are like me, the real fun in visiting the casino comes from winning. In order to be a consistent winner you have to play smarter when you visit the casino. So let’s change the resolution from ”have more fun in the casino” to “I resolve to play smarter in the casino!”

There are several ways you can accomplish your goal to be a smarter casino player and here are some suggestions. I realize that all of these resolutions may not be of interest to everyone. You don’t have to do them all. Read the list and determine the ones that best fit your casino personality and resolve to do one or two.

I resolve to always use my player’s club card. Not using your player’s card is the equivalent of turning away free money. The casinos give you comps for your play and the only way they know how much to give you is by tracking your play. If you don’t use your card, the casino can’t track your play. Using your card does not affect how the machine will pay out, as some players falsely believe. It does however affect the amount of comps that you earn.

I resolve to read a book about my favorite game. Knowledge is power and you can increase your knowledge by reading about your favorite game and studying the strategies to help you make the best decisions when you play. Even if you are not looking to study a specific game, there some excellent books that deal with general casino topics such as comps or the house edge on games that all players will find interesting.

I resolve to take advantage of casino promotions. Many casinos run promotions to attract players. These may include special drawings, tournaments or double-point days. Taking advantage of these promotions is a smart way to get a little something extra. Many promotions are listed right here in Strictly Slots.

I resolve to learn a new game. Table games have a lower house edge than the slot machines when you learn to play based on the correct strategy for the game. If you are a slot player, why not give a table game a try. If you play the table games, why not learn a new game for a change of pace. Poker is hot right now and it is a game that you can have the edge over the other players.

I resolve to have a game plan. Many players simply go to the casino with a pocket full of money and jump from game to game until all their money is gone. You can have a much better time if you just spend a few minutes to make a plan for your next casino visit. Know ahead of time how long you will play, how much money you want to risk and what other activities you will do there.

I resolve to learn the correct video poker strategy. Video Poker is one of the best games you can play. The house edge is low if you learn to play the correct strategy for each particular game. Many players sit down and rely on hunches for playing their hands, which increases the house edge. You can learn the game at home using tutorial software such as Bob Dancer’s WinPoker or Jean Scott’s Frugal Video Poker programs.

I resolve to keep a gaming log. Smart players keep a logbook. The law allows you to deduct gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings. You can only do this if you have documentation of your losses. Keeping a diary or logbook is the way to do this. It is the beginning of a new year, so now is the time to start your log.

I resolve to lock up a win when I play. Many players find that they are ahead at some point during their casino visit. Unfortunately they play too long and give it all back. If you are ahead, lock up your buy-in and a small profit. Play with the excess and when that is gone, get up and take a break.

Those are a few of my suggestions that can help you play smarter in the casino. Some slot players have no desire or intention of playing a casino table game, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t keep a gambling log or have a game plan when they enter the casino. Pick one or two that you feel passionate about and give them a try over the coming year.

I wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Until next time, remember:

“Luck comes and goes…Knowledge Stays Forever!”

Bill Burton is the Casino Gambling Guide for ( He is the author of 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets and Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em. He is also an instructor for Golden Touch Craps.(

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