Tips for playing smarter, and winning more often, in 2013
By Bill Burton
This year, you could make a New Year’s resolution to “have more fun in the casino.” That sounds simple enough, but if you’re like me, the real fun in the casino comes from winning.
I remember hearing one of my older family members say years ago, “The days are long but the years are short.”
Now that I am quite a bit older, I have learned the relevancy of that statement. Each year seems to go by faster and faster. It seemed like it was only a few months ago when we celebrated the beginning of 2012 and wondered about the Mayan prophecy that predicted that the world would come to an end on December 21, 2012. Since we are still here, we can file that one away with the Y2K prediction in 2000, when some people worried that all the computers in the world would crash.
Now we’re headed into the year 2013 and that may cause some concern for those people who think the number 13 is unlucky. Triskaidekaphobia is the name of the phobia for people who fear the number 13, and they will have 365 days to worry about it until 2014 rolls around. For the rest of us who are not superstitious about the number 13, a new year brings hope and promises of new beginnings, new opportunities and hopefully a better year than the one before.
Every year, many of us start by making resolutions to improve ourselves or change some negative behavior. You know the ones I’m talking about. We all have made and broken them year after year. They sound good on New Year’s Day, but most resolutions are broken within a week or two.
Some psychologists theorize that the reason this happens is because we don’t have the passion required to give it our full effort in order to make it work. The resolutions and goals that do get accomplished are the ones that we enjoy doing and find pleasure in accomplishing.
This year, you could make a New Year’s resolution to “have more fun in the casino.” That sounds simple enough, but if you’re like me, the real fun in the casino comes from winning. In order to become a consistent winner, you have to start playing smarter. So let’s change the resolution from” have more fun in the casino to “I resolve to play smarter in the casino!”
Several years ago, I made a list of some resolutions to help me get the most enjoyment from my casino visits. Over the years, I have changed some and modified others. Here are some resolutions you might consider for the New Year.
I resolve to set aside a few extra dollars each week to spend on my casino visits. Even if you don’t know the next time you’ll be visiting the casino, now is a great time to start setting aside a few dollars each week into a casino fund. This way, you will have the money on hand if you receive a great promotional offer, or if you just want to get away for a trip to the casino.
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 keep a gaming log. Smart players keep a log book. The law allows you to deduct gambling loses 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’s the beginning of a new year, so NOW is the time to start your log. There is even an iPhone app named “Gamblers Anonymous” that will let you keep your log on your iPhone.
I resolve to take advantage of casino promotions. Casinos are constantly running 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 here in the pages of Strictly Slots.
I resolve to learn a new game. Table games have a lower house edge than slot machines when you learn to play based with the correct strategy. If you’re a slot player, why not give a table game a try? And if you already play table games, why not learn a new game for a change of pace? If you prefer to stick with slots exclusively, then try a new slot machine for a change of pace.
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. Instead, I suggest you learn the game at home using tutorial software.
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.
Those are a few of my suggestions for playing smarter, and winning more, in the casino. If you have no desire to try your hand at table games, you can still keep a gambling log or have a game plan when you enter the casino. Pick one or two of these tips that sound appealing to you, and give them a try over the coming year.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. And until next time, remember: “Luck comes and goes…knowledge stays forever!”
Bill Burton writes for the Casino Gambling Guide section of About.com. (www.casinogambling.about.com) He is also the author of 1,000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets and Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold’em. In addition, he is an instructor for Golden Touch Craps.(www.goldentouchcraps.com)