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Best of John Grochowski

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New Year's resolutions

14 January 2016

As I sat down to write two days after Christmas, my wife Marcy stopped me with a question.

“Which one is top of the list?”

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, and I needed context: Which what, and what list?

“Resolution,” she replied. “That’s what you’re writing, isn’t it? It’s that time of year.”

Indeed it is. All year long, I write about exciting new game features, strategies for established casino games, comps and other pieces of our gaming experience. But as we enter each new year, I like to take one column to urge a little caution and offer a few resolutions for gamblers.

No. 1 on the list, to answer Marcy’s question, is just to stay within your bankroll and not bet money you can’t afford to lose. Before you play, take stock of how much you're willing to spend on your entertainment for the day.

If you have a winning session, great! If not, stick to your limit. If losses approach the amount you're willing to spend, slow down. Take a timeout, get a snack, watch the roulette wheel for a while. If you hit your limit, quit. Period.

Losing sessions are inevitable, and when the losses come, make sure you don't have money earmarked for life's necessities on the line.

A few other resolutions as we enter 2016:

Resolve to learn the games before you play: A little homework goes a long way in helping to cut the odds against you at casino games. If you play blackjack, learn basic strategy. Craps players should check out house edges on different bets, stick to best plays and avoid the sucker bets. No matter what game you play, do the research, whether through books or online resources.

Resolve to keep part of your winnings: Your winnings aren't "their money." As soon as you've won it, it's yours, and you don't have to give it back.

Resolve never to chase losses: What's worse than losing money? Losing even more in a desperate attempt to win it back. You're never "due" to win, and wins and losses don't have to even out in the time we play. A losing streak means it's time to ease back or quit, not bet more.

Resolve never to use credit card cash advances for gambling money: Think the house edge is high on some games? Try comparing it to credit card interest rates. The house edge added to interest on borrowed money and ATM fees — that's a tough combination to overcome.

Resolve to go easy on the alcohol: If you want to have a drink while you play, that's your business. You don't want your judgment impaired with money on the line. Have a good time, but keep a clear head, too.

Resolve to keep perspective and play for fun: Gambling in a casino is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Only a handful of blackjack and video poker players have the skill, discipline and bankroll to enable them to make money in the long run. Most of us will lose more than we win at any game.

Most players are best off to treat losses as the price of admission for a day's entertainment. If you take a little extra cash home, so much the better. But even a losing day can be fun if you keep your expectations realistic.

May you have a happy 2016, and may you keep your bankroll healthy.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski