What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Well, my money happened it Vegas, and you can bet that it stayed in Vegas too. Fresh off of the plane from Vegas, I have some mistakes I made to share with you so if you go you will be better prepared to gamble wisely. There are smart ways and dumb ways to gamble. Getting caught up in the moment is not hard to do. Flashing lights, bells, whistles, free drinks, and so many different ways to lose money contribute to a lack of concentration when you need to be able to.
Having an extra three hour layover in Denver pushed my arrival time from 7:30 to about midnight. Once I landed at McCaren Airport in Las Vegas, I was just feeling the rush to get checked in, get a players card and get to the casino. By 1:00 AM, I was gambling. I started out playing blackjack with Toni Lynn Bisconti, a lifelong friend who shares my joy of gambling. We were at a $10 minimum table. After about an hour of back-and-forth wagering, the dealer caught fire. I was out about $200 in a very short time. The next day, the craps table, the roulette wheel, and the Captain kicked my ass.
The Captain? Captain Morgan. I am not much of a drinker. At about 9AM, after I had a good breakfast, I settled in at a video poker machine and was getting ready to start playing when a cocktail waitress asked me if I would like something to drink. I told her that I would take a Captain and Coke. This turned into an all-day thing. I’ll bet I killed a bottle myself. I was in bad shape and needed to sleep by 9 PM. The group I was with went downtown and had a blast while I watched my room spin.
My final day, I battled a hangover, but won back some money betting on the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup. I put up $50 to win $90. People were all over the Red Wings and were putting up $240 to win $100.
Here are some tips:
If you are a drinker, build your tolerance before the trip so you can keep focus while gambling. If you are not a drinker, or only drink on special occasions, don’t get caught up being Mickey Mantle while you are gambling. You will lose more times than you win because of mistakes caused by a lack of focus.
Find time to go downtown. Old Vegas is nice because you can play $1 craps or blackjack. The atmosphere is more fun because your focus is allowed to wander a bit due to the reduced stakes. The Vegas Strip is a brightly lit trap for the casual gambler. Downtown is missing that new shine and luster, but offers better play odds and more affordable table minimums.
If you have a hangover, avoid loud slot machines. My last day there, I put a twenty into a machine. On my first spin, I hit one cherry on the payline. The audio blared at me and almost knocked me out of my seat. It was louder than a KISS concert, for one cherry. I cashed out and moved on.
Plan your days but not each event. If you want to go to New York, New York on Friday until 5 and then to Rio until 9, and then to Bally’s until 11, leave windows of time, just in case. If you find something you are really enjoying or winning at, stay. Don’t cash out at 10 minutes to 5 because you have to be somewhere. Stay on the roll. It only happens a couple of times while you are there.
Player cards are great if you are Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island. You need to drop some very serious cash to have your status moved from gold to platinum on your rating card. The comp trap is usually good for a free breakfast or a T-Shirt, but never panned out to much else. I gambled for two days straight and was only a quarter of the way to platinum status.
Know when to take a break. If you get your clock cleaned in ten minutes at any game in Vegas, either switch games, switch tables, or take a break. I was persistent at craps and lost major cash because no one was making a point. Discipline adds to your chances of winning.
The trip to Vegas is one I will continue to make every year or two. I don’t want to swim or ride a rollercoaster, I want to gamble.