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There are a few things to remember when gambling to maximize your fun and winnings while gambling. All of them would seem to be common sense, but it's amazing how many people don't follow them. If you follow all of these rules when you go to Vegas (or any other gambling spot), you're less likely to donate your bankroll to the house.

  • Limit your losses. When you go into a casino, set aside an amount for gambling. If you lose that money, you're done. Don't dip into your food money. Don't run to the ATM for more cash. No matter how much you might think things are going to turn around, just stop.
  • Don't limit your winnings. When you're on a winning ride, don't stop! Set a new plateau for quitting, and if you get down to that amount, then stop. For example, if you start with $200 and get up to $300, put $100 into your pocket, and don't bring it back out for gambling. Every time you get another $100 higher, put another $100 into your pocket along with the first. Too many people quit when they're ahead a little bit, too excited about having won to realize that their $50 win doesn't make up for last trip's $400 loss. To put it another way, don't quit your luck. Let your luck quit you.
  • Maximize your wins / Minimize your losses. This may sound like a rehash of the first two points, but it isn't. When you're on a winning streak, increase your bet. Make the casino pay through the nose when you're playing on their money. When you're losing, cut back. Play less money, or even drop back down to the table minimum. For those of you who've read my write-up on System Players, this may sound like I'm advocating being a Pattern Watcher, but it's not the same thing at all.
  • Don't be superstitious. In the words of a friend of mine, "Only superstitious people have bad luck." Don't get jumpy when your Blackjack total is 13. Don't get spooked if your Slot Machine credits are 666. It doesn't mean anything.
  • Don't let your fortune affect how you play. You should play the same (hopefully solid) game when you're on your last dollar as when you're $1000 ahead.
  • Don't play when your judgment is impaired. Simple... don't play (or stop playing) when you're tired, hungry, drunk, or stoned. Also don't play just after you've eaten... or eat a light meal if you plan on playing. Stick mostly to nonalcoholic drinks when the cocktail waitress comes around.
  • Don't make stupid bets. Don't bet on the 5-way spot (not to be confused with the number 5) on Roulette. Don't bet the C&E (Craps and Eleven) or the Hard Way bets on Craps. Don't split 5's on Blackjack. Just don't. You're throwing your money at the casino when you do.
  • Don't play any game you're not familiar with. Don't jump into any new game without researching it carefully. The casino may have flyers explaining the rules of their newer games, and some casinos have "classes" to teach you how to play some games. Even some games that seem like old classics that everyone knows, like War, are significantly different when played in a casino. My most expensive gambling lesson ever was learning this rule the hard way. I sat down to play a game of Texas Hold-Em, which I had never seen before. "It's just a Poker variant," I said to myself. 15 minutes and $200 later, I decided that maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all.

Miles Dirac had a Writeup here before, but it's gone now... I wrote the following as a counterpoint, so it will look a little disjointed with the disappearance of the points of his I'm countering.

The size of your opponent's bankroll is not as relevant as the odds of the games you're playing. I'd gladly take on Donald Trump in a game where the odds favored me. The only reason it SEEMS to have relevance is because someone with a similar bankroll (Say, your buddies on Poker Night) is most likely going to be playing against you in a game where the odds don't start out favoring anyone... like Poker.

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