How to Minimize Your Losses at a Casino

Whether you are a high roller or a penny slots fanatic, you probably don't want to go home with empty pockets. No matter how much you spend, there are several ways to avoid going broke whether you are visiting Las Vegas, cruise ship or Native American casinos. This guide will show you how.

Jeff KubinaFirst, set a limit on how much you want to spend. Always make your limit the most you are willing to lose or less, since realistically, losing is what happens most at casinos! For example, let's say you are willing to gamble (and lose) $300. Withdraw that amount in cash before going to the casino and leave your debit and credit cards at home (or at least in your hotel room or cabin!). If you stick with your limit, you won't find yourself at the end of the night with your bank account emptied and no way to pay next month's mortgage.

Next, consider what style player you are. If you'd rather play slots or video poker for a long period of time, play slot or video poker machines with cheaper max bets to maximize your potential winnings. Please note: penny slots and video poker seem like they should be cheap, but more often than not, the max bet is actually HIGHER than the nickel or quarter slot machines. If you're interested in winning the most in the shortest period of time, play the more expensive slots, but keep in mind you may also lose your money faster. If you prefer table games, the same guidelines apply. Play at tables with lower minimum bets if you want to play longer, or max out your bets if you want to win (or lose) quickly.

Jamie Adams (Wikimedia CommonsThis is the most important tactic to making sure you don't go home broke: pocket your winnings. By this, I don't mean play until you hit big and then quit gambling. Here's an example: Let's say you are playing the slots and you start with a $20 bill. If you win more than $10 (for a total of $30 including the initial $20), cash out, put the $10 away and gamble with your original $20. Put the winnings in a separate part of your purse or wallet so they won't get mixed in with your gambling money. If you lose the whole $20, that's okay, you were planning on spending that anyway, right? Apply the same rules to your next $20 bill. You can of course determine what winning level you want to hit before pocketing the winnings, and how much you want to gamble at each machine or table.

If you follow the guidelines in this article, you will ensure that you have fun at the casino while protecting your assets. No one wants to come home from a casino feeling like they just lost their life savings. Make sure you have the experience you want to have at the casino by setting up some rules for yourself in advance. When you get home and find that you "won" back a quarter or half (or more) of the money you spent, you'll feel much better than if the only thing in your pockets is lint. Have fun, and be safe. If you are concerned you may have a gambling problem, seek help by contacting the National Council on Problem Gambling or calling their 24-hour hotline at the number below.

National Council on Problem Gambling