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How to lose less and play longer

An expert shares gambling tricks to help you save money and extend your time at the tables
Image: Roulette
GamblersRobert Mora / Getty Images
/ Source: Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel

Several common-sense rules can be applied to stretch your play time.

Drop down in bet size. If you’re losing too much or too fast on the dollar slots, switch to quarters—or switch from betting green ($25) table-game chips to red ($5).

Change your game to a similar one with a lower house edge. If you switch from video keno to video poker, you can probably halve the usual casino edge (8% to 4%), even if you haven’t studied proper video poker strategy.

Play the same game, but look for a better version. Change to a single-zero roulette game where, over the long run, you’ll lose about half what you would on a double-zero game.

Stick with the same game, but choose better bets. In craps, bet the pass line with odds. This keeps the house edge under 1%, opposed to the potential double-digit disadvantages associated with hardways and proposition bets. You can still scream and holler just as excitedly when there’s a good roll!

Keep the same game, but study to play it more skillfully. Learning basic strategy at blackjack will cut the casino’s edge against “seat-of-the-pants” players from 2%-3% to .5% or less.

Look for gambling opportunities where you can make small bets at a very slow pace. In the keno lounge, you average about seven bets an hour and you can bet just one dollar (or less in some places) for an average loss of $2 an hour. In the sports book, you can bet $11 on a football game and have three hours of entertainment with an average loss of about 50¢. If you can’t put away enough complimentary drinks to cover those losses, you aren’t even trying!

Take time to use gambling coupons. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but you may find that the big edge that comes from coupons allows you to win more per hour than you can in any other casino activity. I’ll be giving you more details on this in Chapter 7.

Excerpted from More Frugal Gambling, Copyright © 2003 by Jean Scott. Used by permission of Huntington Press, Inc., New York. All Rights Reserved.