money-saving tips from the Frugal Gambler By Jean
asked Jean Scott, also known as the Frugal
Gambler, to distill her years of casino-chip-pinching
advice into 10 simple rules:
Study before you go. Libraries and bookstores
have oodles of casino and gambling books that
will guide you on a money-saving path. The Internet
is full of information on the various casino games.
Learn which games have the smallest casino edge,
or have a skill factor you could learn, or that
enable you to risk your money more slowly. All
of these will allow you to lose less and/or stretch
your bankroll further.
Treat gambling as a form of entertainment and
budget it just as you do whatever else you do
for fun, such as movies, eating out, vacations.
Nothing takes away the fun factor more
quickly than losing money that you need for life's
essentials. Do not take your checkbook or ATM
or credit card to the casino with you. Decide
how much you can afford to spend (lose), and take
that amount in cash or safe traveler's checks
as your gambling bankroll.
Make your gambling
bankroll last the whole time you plan to be in
a casino by dividing it into segments, i.e., in
thirds if you are staying three days, in three-to-four
session bankrolls for each day. Then never "borrow
ahead" from the next session bankroll.
Join every casino player's club you can, even
if you don't plan to gamble there. You
can join many online before you get to Vegas.
Membership is free and many casinos give discounts
to player's card holders in their restaurants,
gift shops, and for rooms.
Use your player's card EVERY TIME you play, no
matter how small the amount or short the time.
This allows the casino to track your play
and thus know how much to reward you with comps,
those freebie meals, rooms, shows, and other benefits
that the casinos want to give their players. If
you play machines, there is a place for you to
insert your card. If you play the tables, you
merely hand the card to the dealer of any game
and ask that your play be tracked. Casinos can
not give you comps if they don't know you are
playing in their casino.
An added benefit of
joining and using a player's card is that casinos
often send mail offers to everyone in their database,
sometimes even to those who have played little
or not at all. You will be surprised at the money-saving
offers that will appear in your mailbox when you
Don't drink too much alcohol, even if the
drinks are free. It will cloud your judgment.
If you are losing too fast, go down in denomination.
Change from the dollar slots to quarters,
or from quarter to nickels. At the tables, bet
the lowest-value chip allowed.
Slow down your play -- savor the noisy, fun-filled
atmosphere. The bells and whistles, the
clanking coins, the high fives at the tables,
the excited screams of winners -- this is what
makes the casino such an entertaining experience.
Look for coupons and specials for discounted meals,
shows, and sightseeing tours. You can find
many of these in the freebie magazines around
town: at the bell desk, at rental car agencies
and motels, at the airport, and right in your
room. Read the marquees for menu specials.
Look for promotions that will add value
to a game you play:
a. bonus players club points, like double points
on holidays or on a certain day every week;
b. bonuses for certain events, like the top jackpot
on slots, a certain quad in video poker, or a
special hand in blackjack;
c. drawings for which you can earn tickets by
playing your favorite game.
your bankroll last longer by taking frequent non-gambling
breaks. Take in a show,
go sightseeing, have a long, leisurely meal, take
a tour or go shopping. Get your proper rest. A
tired gambler is a gambler who will make decisions
he will regret. Get a full night's sleep and take
a nap, if possible. Gambling is hard work!
About the author:
Jean Scott is the author of the best-selling book
"The Frugal Gambler," a casino guide
for thrifty low rollers, plus a sequel, "More
Frugal Gambling." She stresses sensible,
responsible gambling and shows how to stretch
out casino fun time whatever your gambling bankroll.
Her exploits have been featured on "Dateline,"
"Hard Copy," "Extra," "To
Tell the Truth," and "48 Hours,"
where Dan Rather dubbed her the Queen of Comps.
She appears frequently on Travel Channel shows
on Vegas and gambling.
Retired from the high school English
classroom, her passion is still education while
she continues as an active player in casinos all
over the country. She is a popular speaker and
writer on gaming subjects. She has a weekly Internet
column called Frugal Fridays which can be accessed
on her Web site. Today, Jean Scott, who, in her
words, is just an "ordinary grandmother,"
is the world's most famous low-rolling gambler
and her fans are legion.