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The Ten Commandments of Slot Machines, Part 130 August 2007
When Moses went up the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights to receive the commandments of God, the recently freed Israelites took a leaf from the book of the vanquished Egyptians, built themselves a golden calf, and threw a wild party. Moses was in spiritual retreat communing with the Lord, while his people were in the 1,400 BC version of a Las Vegas night.
But all parties must come to an end, and the Israelites soon learned that imitating the vanquished Egyptians was not the smartest use of their time, talent and gold. In short, they soon realized that the best way to run their lives was to follow the commandments of the Lord.
Slot players are faced with something of the same problem as the ancient Israelites. They want to be free to pursue their pleasures but they don't really want to pay too big a price for them. What can they do?
They can listen to me! Okay, so I'm not Moses bringing the word of the "On High" to former slaves of an ancient empire, but the 10 Slot Commandments that follow are a sure way to have fun and reduce the impact of the house edge on your golden calf - that is, your bank account. I can't take you to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, but I can help you keep your fortune and position you to take advantage of the good luck which just might befall you.
Commandment #1: Thy Bankroll is Thy Master - so create a 401G!
You have $100 to play the slots today but you want to play a $100 machine. You also want to play for several hours. Obviously, the chances of hitting on your first spin of a $100 machine are about 15 percent - the other 85 percent of the spins will be losers. If you want to play for several hours the worst thing you can do is play a machine that is way above your economic head. Devastation awaits you if you do. With $100, you should play a 5-cent machine and enjoy several hours of play.
Yes, a 5-cent machine has a higher house edge, but with $100 and a desire to play for a while, you have no choice. Your bankroll dictates which machines you can play and for how long you can play them.
The key to any casino player is his or her bankroll. Your desires, your hopes, your wants, your wishes, your needs are all unimportant if your bankroll shrivels and dies, which it will if you play above your personal economy. A $100 bankroll is a very, very (oh, go ahead, add some more verys) small bankroll indeed. If you want that money to last, you must play a small-denomination machine - such as a 5-Center. And you should play no more than three coins in it at any one spin.
If you have a $1,000 bankroll for a session, you can play up to three quarters - and on up it goes as your bankroll grows.
In the long run, unless you have unfathomably good luck, you cannot beat the slot machines. That is a fact that the casinos take to the bank each and every day. The slots are their gravy train. Check out the slot charts in this issue and you can see what kind of edges you're playing against in the various venues around the country.
Just about all slot players know this fact - although some wish they didn't - the slots are unbeatable. But having a sufficient bankroll is attainable and can help you weather the bad storms that inevitably await the casino slot player.
Creating a sustainable slot bankroll is not that hard to do. You can start tomorrow in fact. Open a 401G account at your bank. Your 401G is an account that is used for gambling only. That's what the "G" stands for - gambling. If you are a salaried worker, take a small percentage of your pay each check and put it in the account. If you work for yourself, take a small amount each week and sock it into the 401G. If you are retired, you can also put a small amount each and every check into your 401G.
You never stop adding to the 401G. You want to build that account up so you never face those awful losing days where you say to yourself, "Gee I could have used that money for my heart operation." Steadily, consistently, you save money for your casino forays - indeed, it is possible that your 401G will build more quickly than your slot losses drain the account. You might find that you can go from a nickel to a quarter to a dollar machine as that 401G expands.
Commandment #2: Thou Shalt Take Advantage of Slot Clubs, Comps and Cashback
If you are an inveterate slot player, then getting comps is a must. You are going to play anyway, so take advantage of everything the casino offers you in return. If you have not done so already join the slot clubs of the casinos that you frequent. You'll find many slot clubs have sign-up bonuses and in the quiet times of the year, they offer tremendous discounts on rooms and food. You'll also discover that the comps come regularly in the form of "things you can do" (parties, shows), "things they give you" (gifts), and "money in your pocket" (cashback). It does not cost you any more in play to get these comps, so get them!
Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Get Credit and Avoid ATM machines
Smart casino gamblers know that the casino has the edge on all slot machines. That edge can be big; it can be little, but it is always there working on your money. However, there are other edges working against your money in the casino as well. The biggest, meanest, most intrusive edges are often found not at the slot machines but at the ATM machines that have sprouted up in many casino landscapes. These machines give you money but before they do, they take a chunk in fees and service charges from the money you want. There is absolutely no reason to use them when you can establish a credit line in the casinos where the casino gives you a short-term, interest-free loan in order to play.
Setting up a credit line is easy to do - a short application and a check with your bank that you can pay off your markers - and once you have credit you won't have to carry around too much cash or use those awful ATMs. Now, it goes without saying, but say it I must, you should make your credit line what you can afford to gamble with and it should be based on your 401G account.
Commandment #4: Thou Shalt Maintain Thy Rhythm
The casinos have a 24-hour 7-days-a-week rhythm. A human being has about 14 hours of energy in him or her (energy that goes up and down throughout a day) - and is a creature of habit. Unfortunately, many casino players try to match the ultra-rhythms of the casino when they go to their favorite places to play. They stay up all hours; drink too much; eat at odds times - and they break all their normal habits. That is a big mistake. I see these players leaving the hotels of Vegas and Atlantic City and they all look so exhausted. They look as if they need a vacation!
Try to establish your normal rhythm in the casino world. Get up at the same time as you do at home; eat at the same times; drink in moderation and go to sleep near the normal times as well. You space your slot playing in the times when you'd normally be working, reading, or watching television. If you keep to such a normal rhythm, you'll find that your fun actually increases and you fatigue decreases. And when you go home you won't need a vacation from your vacation.
Commandment #5: Thou Shalt Not Play Progressives
This piece of advice is tough for many slot players to follow. After all, those giant mega-jackpots are seductive. Check out a mega-jackpot machine and see millions of dollars as your prize and you think, "Someone has to win it!" The fact is that some of the mega-jackpot machines are almost 50 million to 1 against you. To generate such monstrous jackpots, the machines are paying back in the neighborhood of 85 percent, give or take. Your chances of coming home a winner tonight on such machines are much worse than your chances of coming home a winner tonight on a non-progressive returning 95 percent. Now, if your response to this advice is "Scoblete is nuts. I want a chance at the big money," then do this: Take 10 percent of your session stake and use that in the mega-jackpot machines. You'll get the thrill of trying for the big money but you won't be facing such large edges with all your hard-earned cash.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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