How to cut your losses and still have fun playing
by Frank Scoblete
This magazine is geared to helping all slot players enjoy their playing more and that is just fine by me. After all, I am able to write about something I really enjoy, which is challenging Lady Luck, and I am paid to do this as well. It doesn’t get better than that for a writer. Gambling and writing, two great pastimes, working hand-in-hand to make me happy—which is what it’s all about.
You should be just as happy too—at least with your slot play.
Gambling in the casinos should be fun, win or lose, shouldn’t it? But sometimes you have to take a pause and ask yourself the following questions, “Why am I playing slot machines and are the effects of that play—on me, my family, my bankroll—universally good?” Not all slot players can answer those questions in the affirmative. They need serious help to make their leisure-time activity more worthwhile. After all, if playing slot machines is not a fun activity, why do it?
Here is an example of a letter I received from a distraught woman: “I love to play the quarter slots and I go twice a month to the casinos for weekends. But my losses in the past two years have averaged over eight thousand dollars each year. I earn about $32,000 at my job and I can’t keep putting this much into the machines. What should I do?”
Now I know we can be sarcastic and say, “What are you, an idiot? Quit playing!” But casino gambling for many players is their greatest leisure-time pleasure and they don’t want to quit. They just want to have some better way to play—get the same thrill but not quite as expensively.
Let’s do a little math, just to put this in perspective and then we shall come up with a solution to the problem, a solution that should satisfy this woman, and a solution that you might wish to consider as well.
Let us assume that the quarter machines have an eight percent house edge, meaning a 92 percent return, which is about what quarter machines average in return throughout the country. Playing three coins per spin in a quarter machine (75 cents), 12 spins per minute ($9), 60 spins per one hour ($540), and playing five hours in one day ($2,700) and 10 hours in two days ($5,400) will equal expected losses of $432 per weekend. If she goes two weekends a month, plays two days each weekend, her expected losses are $864 per month. In a year her expected losses are $10,368.
If you are earning $32,000 per year at your job such expected losses are monumental. In fact, even if she were earning $100,000 a year, such losses are still pretty big.
Now our lady in question actually did better than the math example but she is in the general range based on such play. So, what should she do?
She does not have to decrease the number of her casino trips; she only has to decrease her losses. Here are the steps she should take to bring down her losses to manageable levels.
1. Do not play any progressive slot machines. While the average of the quarter machines
might be a 92 percent return; factored in that average are all those progressives where the return is much worse. If you stick to playing non-progressives, you will most likely increase the return percentage for yourself. If our letter-writer did this, her expected losses might be reduced by one-eighth (meaning her machines are returning 93 percent) so her $10,368 expected theoretical loss is now down to $9,072.
2. Only play one coin in the machine per decision. While many slot players think that playing full coin is the way to go, the fact is you are playing three quarters to increase the payback by a fractional percentage as most slot machines only reward you if you hit the big jackpot. That fractional increase in return doesn’t make up for the fact that you are putting in three times more money with each spin. Her $9,072 loss now gets cut by two-thirds, and that means her expected loss is now about $3,021.
3. Reduce how many spins you play. Instead of playing 12 spins her minute ($9), only play 10 spins per minute. You are just taking an extra second to spin the reels, yet this reduces your expected losses by another 17 percent. Our letter writer now has an expected loss of $2,507 for the year.
By following these three simple steps, this woman can now go to the casino and not take such heavy expected losses. If she were to reduce her full playing time, knocking off an hour from her five-hour days and also follow the above steps, her losses would be reduced by another 20 percent. Now her slot playing does not hurt her bankroll very much and she can still go to the casinos just as frequently as she did before.
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. He is executive director of the Golden Touch advantage-play seminars in craps and blackjack. His websites are www.goldentouchcraps.com, www.goldentouchblackjack.com and www.scoblete.com in association with CasinoCityTimes.com. His recent books are Break the One-Armed Bandits: How to Come Out Ahead When You Play the Slots!, The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! and The Golden Touch Blackjack Revolution! His new DVD is Golden Touch: Beat Craps by Controlling the Dice! which shows over 200 controlled dice throws – many in slow motion. For a free brochure or to order Frank’s products, call 1-800-944-0406.
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