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10 money-saving tips from the Frugal Gambler

10 frugal gambling tipsBankrate.com asked Jean Scott, also known as the Frugal Gambler, to distill her years of casino-chip-pinching advice into 10 simple rules:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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4. 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 get home.

5. Don't drink too much alcohol, even if the drinks are free. It will cloud your judgment.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Make 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.

Learn more at her Web site, www.frugalgambler.biz


 

 

 
-- Posted: May 13, 2004
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