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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I found two strategies to doing better in a gambling place like Vegas or Reno.

Find a place that actually closes

I learned this in Puerto Rico in 1999.  It’s much harder to gamble away your winnings when they throw you out at closing time.  Of course, this kind of place is very rare as most casinos are 24×7.    One might also equate this to “bring a spouse along” but that’s not the case for me.

Track your winnings and losses

Gambling can play tricks on your mind.  You might buy in for some amount and try to mentally keep track of “I’m up this much or that much” but once you dig in your pocket again, or forget how much you bought in for, you can get lost in how much you’re actually up or down.

For my Reno trip, I decided I was going to track every gambling session by how much I bought in for and how much I walked away with.  I’d type into my blackberry the casino name when I got there, the game, the  buy-in and the walk-away.

Did it help?  Maybe.  I think so.

Much like when you track exercising or food intake, the simple act of accountability forced a different behavior.  Knowing that I was recording my walk-away-money made me think about leaving ahead more often.

I will now share some of my stats with you, by time, game, and hotel.  Since giving specifics on dollar amounts may cause unwanted tangents (“you only bet THAT MUCH?!?!? what a marooon!” or “how could you bet THAT MUCH when there are children starving in Africa??!?!?”) I decided to give my stats in percentages of my actual budgeted gambling amount.  The amount is mostly irrelevant to the stats, the budgeted bankroll may have been $10 or it might have been $100,000.

The first day was incredible.  I more than doubled my money!  I wasn’t down until the 2nd half of the last day, and just as I was down 50% of my bankroll, a fortuitous win brought me back into the positive side.

Thank you, Star Wars Slot Machine.

These other graphs show how I did per game and per hotel:

One can infer from these statistics that next time I go gambling, I should go straight from the Airport to Siena hotel and just play craps.  When done, go directly back to the airport and only play Star Wars slot machines.

All in all, the trip ended up being close to “free” because winnings and comps took care of most of cab fare, food and tips.  The flight and hotel were free already.  That’s about as good as a vacation as you can realistically hope for.

In case you’re sick of hearing about gambling stats, here’s something for you so you can hear about gambling funnies.

And lo, the people did comment thus:


  1. Dave2 says:

    I just set an out-of-pocket limit for each day. When it’s gone, I’m done. Whatever I win gets put aside and is never added to my gambling money. This has served me very well over the years, because I always know what the expense will be. Oddly enough, I tend to be pretty lucky in gambling. Maybe because I don’t do it very often.

    Dave2´s last blog post..Bullet Sunday 127

    • whall says:

      Dave2 – I forgot to mention (but meant to) that after the first day, I socked away half of my gambling budget into my suitcase and was leaving that to come back home with, no matter what. But I like your idea – had I followed it, I would have gambled more conservatively the 2nd day and probably would have come up MORE ahead.

  2. Avitable says:

    I usually just stick to the quarter slot machines and play all lines. I play until I’ve doubled my bankroll and then I’m done forever.

    Avitable´s last blog post..Amazon Fail – more to the story #amazonfail

  3. Sybil Law says:

    I am so not a gambler. I actually had some luck at Keno, but gah – all of it. I do what Avitable does, if I do anything, anymore.

    Sybil Law´s last blog post..S.O…L?!

    • whall says:

      Sybil Law – the little hand-over-your-mouth thing is an important “tell” in the game of poker – it generally means you’re lying or bluffing.

      Are you?

  4. Tug says:

    I worked at a casino in Vegas for awhile, and it was just sad to go into work & see certain people (still in work uniforms – headed straight there after work on payday) there when I went in, and again when I left after an 8 hour shift. Usually in the same place. Taught me RIGHT away that Vegas isn’t built on winners.

    Tug´s last blog post..On break…again.

    • Ren says:

      Tug – Certainly not build on winners, no question there.

      Back in the mid ’90s I visited the newest casino in Vegas at the time, the Luxor. Took the no-longer-existent river ferry tour during which the guide told us that the casino cost over $300 million, but that the casino made that much on opening weekend. No idea if it was true or not, but it was a good example of the fact that the house always wins.

      Ren´s last blog post..Macro Monday #5

    • whall says:

      Tug – no, but it was built BY winners 🙂

  5. marilyn says:

    I just can’t gamble. I used to work for an indian tribe and they’d put me up at casino hotels for conferences and give me a roll of quarters to lure me into the slots. I took it home and spent it doing laundry.

    I have family from Reno and I know that the house always wins in the end.

    marilyn´s last blog post..Seven Habits

  6. Jen says:

    This is one of my two favorite songs by JC. This and A Laptop Like You.

    “Help me to smash my opponent’s fat face, so Lord help me take money from my friends….”

    “And I don’t want to cheat them, because I know that’s a sin…I just want to defeat them, make it, make it huuurt when (win) (nguyen) I win, make it huuuuuurt when (win) (nguyen) I wiiiin…”

  7. Robin says:

    You know my gambling strategy? I go clothes shopping, that way I always end up with something in the end.

    Robin´s last blog post..My MO

  8. Sybil Law says:

    Aren’t lying and bluffing kinda the same thing?!
    And if I played poker, I have the greatest poker face in town – no lie! I CAN be an excellent liar/ bluffer – I just choose not to, most of the time.
    Or do I?!

    Sybil Law´s last blog post..S.O…L?!

    • whall says:

      I re-replied to your blog post from back then. I can’t believe I forgot you blogged about it! That’s my memory for you. When I saw the slot machine in Reno it was an honest surprise, and I was sure I had never heard of such a thing. But you had given the tip ahead of time and I forgot.

      One of my best spins on Star Wars was when I got Cloud City free spins – you keep spinning until both Han Solo and Lando show up anywhere. When they show up, it “freezes” (heh heh) the column where Han is and makes all the spots on that column a wildcard.

      You can imagine the wins you get when the first of 5 columns is completely wildcarded and you’re playing 30 lines (I was playing max lines / max amount)

      So what happens? I’m given 8 free spins. 4 of them go by and I make about $100 with the wild cards. With 4 left, I hit ANOTHER Han Solo/Lando combination, and it makes the SECOND COLUMN a wild card also! HOLY COW. moneymoneymoney! I go from about $50 in the machine to $800 with all those lines. I literally was just sitting there for about 20 minutes as I watched the machine self-spin and spit out money (when doing the free spins, it spins for you).

      • martymankins says:

        Wow. $800 from all those free spins is great. And yes, the Cloud City mode that gives you those free spins is pretty exciting.

        And you have to play max lines at least (which I do, but not always max bet and max lines) in order to get those bonuses.

        Of course, in the 20 mins, did the drink girls come around and refill your adult beverage?

        martymankins´s last blog post..Snowy Sunday #17 – The Season Ending Episode

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