The Gambling Green Light

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Not being the gambling type, my mind searched for an alternative activity as we drove to the Sands Casino. I'd agreed to go along with a group of friends to the newly constructed casino, a first for our area of the state. However, I knew I was not going to feed my money to a slot machine or spend it on expensive food at the bar and grill. Instead, I decided to conduct an experiment in gambling, and I learned a few strategies that give a green light to gambling entertainment for the less than die hard gambler.


Think of your trip to a casino in these terms. It's a bit of a sight seeing trip if you're off to Atlantic City or Vegas. Consider your gambling money as money spent on a trip or entertainment instead of money thrown away. How much would you spend to go to the movies or a dinner show? If you look at the time you spend in the casino in terms of hours of entertainment, then making $20 last two hours in the slot machines is the equivalent of a movie and popcorn. It's not the best way to save money, but there is a reasonable way to have fun in these elaborately decorated casinos.

Make It Last

The first part of my experiment involved comparison. As we sat at a line of slot machines, we were presented with a choice. Do we bet to play one line, three lines, or five lines at each spin? Each line cost a quarter, so we could bet between $0.25 up to $1.25 for each spin. My mind evaluated my reason for being there. Was I there to claim the less than likely jackpot or to entertain myself?


Only the largest jackpots go to those who bet the full throttle, but I wasn't there for that slim chance. I was there to entertain myself, so the longer I could make my money last the better. I spun quarter after quarter until I was bored, spending significantly less than my neighbors who put in the full bets.

Set Limits

To set a limit on overall gambling is fine, but to make it last longer set individual limits. I'm a low better, so my limits are low. As I sat down at one machine, randomly, I set a limit for myself. I fed the lowest bill possible into the machine - $10. If I grew bored with the machine, I would move to another. If I stayed at the machine and won, I had a rule that I would cash out when I doubled my money - $20. However, if I hit it big in one spin, I'd move on because the naive gambler in me believes that the machines only pay out every so often. If I win but not to the point of doubling my money, I cash out when I fall to my original feed - $10. This way I have a happy medium, I haven't blown my winnings or lost my fortune, and I've entertained myself.


Aim Low

Since my purpose was to entertain myself rather than to reach an early retirement, the aisles that held $0.01 slots amazed me. It wasn't a thrill at first because as I won I realized that I'd won a nickel. However, I let the penny pincher inside of me take over, and I watched the win total rather than the monetary total. In other words, I won five "tokens" not five cents. My 125 win was thrilling, inspiring a miniature victory dance despite the reality that I have won $1.25. A 125% return is thrilling no matter how much goes in my pocket.

To anyone seasoned at gambling, the penny slots don't sound exciting, and, honestly, it was a pretty desolate area of the casino. My friends has deserted me at that point, but in the end, the area impressed me. I started with $5 and played off that $5 for nearly forty-five minutes. Not bad entertainment.

The Gambling Green Light

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June 28, 20101 found this helpful

I also play the penny slots. My husband calls me cheap, but I told him that if there were two for a penny slots I would play them too.

I go about 8 or 9 times a year with 100 one-dollar bills. I put a dollar bill in the machine and play the maximum number of lines (more chances to win). I mentally keep track of how many spins I have on that dollar (anywhere from 11 if it has 9 lines to 4 if it has 15 lines). When I've reached the amount closest to $1 I see how much money I've won. I may or may not move on to another machine.

Anyway, when I've bet my $100 I cash out. I usually go home with $75 to $80 in my pocket, although one time I went home with over $130. What ever I leave with is the nest egg that I start with for my next gambling trip. I save my loose change and add that to my nest egg.


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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

When I lived in CA I would go to Reno or Lake Tahoe with friends. I know I'll lose, so I, also, try to maximize the time my money lasts. The older casinos usually have the better deals.

July 5, 20101 found this helpful

Well a group of us just went to Vegas. And my niece won $1,110.00 on a penny Deal or No Deal machine. Guaranteed she had to play the full amount which was $1.45.


But she really won lots for her $1.45. And I was proud of her as she kept it and did not give it all back to the casino.

April 15, 20160 found this helpful

My husband and I went to Vegas for a CPA course and we were there for five days. We had 500.00 to spend on fun for those days and we came back with most of it after gaming and eating and shows. Not bad. My husband is pretty good at black jack. I fed the dollar machines and won a bunch too. Just luck. No strategy.


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