Many vacationing casino players want to get rooms, food and entertainment expenses fully or partially comped. To do so most casinos want you to play a minimum of four hours a day at the games of your choice. The casino would prefer that you play longer, of course. In fact, if you were stupid enough to do it, the casinos would wish that you?d stay up for 24 straight hours and play until you droped. (And, yes, there are people who are foolish enough to catch the Las Vegas Flu -- even in towns such as Atlantic City and Tunica!)
Overall the players? best shot at beating the casinos at most of the games offered is over the short haul; the more time a player puts in, the more certain it is that the casino?s edge will begin to grind the player down. Readers of this article are fully aware that the casino has built in a small, or medium, or large edge into just about every game and bet. So if four hours is enough to get the comps you want, don?t give the casino any more than that! That should be the maximum you play. Four hours is a long, long time -- it?s half a work day, after all.
INCORPORATE YOUR PLAY INTO A REGULAR SCHEDULE
When my wife, the beautiful A.P., and I are on an extended casino trip - and we can be in casinos for a week to a month at a stretch - we make a point of keeping to a regular schedule. The Captain calls this ?maintaining your rhythm? and it is essential if you wish to have fun.
We get up at the same time that we get up when we?re home; we go for our morning walk, and we have a relaxing breakfast where we read the newspapers and stay current with the world?s events. We integrate the real world into our casino world -- which is and should be a fantasy world, a dreamland of relaxation and pleasure. Then around eleven o?clock in the morning we?ll play our first session of blackjack or craps. This will last about an hour or so. After this, I?ll wander around the casino and observe and talk to people, while A.P. will head to a nice spot where she can read a book. Then we?ll have a relaxing lunch.
After lunch we?ll go swimming or to a movie or play another session. (A.P. might even go to the library ? she is peculiar that way.) Then it?s naptime. After our nap, I might play a session, A.P. might find a shady spot outdoors and continue reading her book, and then we?ll go to dinner.
To me dinner is an event, so we pick a good restaurant, perhaps invite some good friends to join us, and we take our time savoring the food and drink. After dinner, we might go to a show or play another session. By the end of a day, we have put in about four hours of play but we?re relaxed, healthily tired, not overloaded, and ready for a good night?s sleep. And, yes, we?ve had fun. We are not exhausted, not ?off,? and we can keep this pace up for as many days or weeks as we?re scheduled to be in the casinos. When I mention to acquaintances that I?ll stay in a casino town for a month at a time, they invariably say: ?I couldn?t do that. I?m exhausted after four days!? Most of them are exhausted not because Las Vegas or Atlantic City is an exhausting city per se (after all, a place is just a place) but because they exhaust themselves.
Even on day trips to your favorite casinos, spend some time doing nothing. Yes, just sit yourself down and people watch, or wander over to the high-limit tables and watch the spectacle of people betting more money in a few hands of this or that game than other people make in a year. A.P. and I have a fun little game we play when we watch mega-high rollers in action. It?s called ?guess what that person does for a living.? It?s relaxing. It?s fun. It doesn?t cost a penny to play.
If you are in a city such as Vegas or Atlantic City where it is easy to walk from casino to casino, make a point of visiting different casinos each day of your visit. Soak up the atmosphere, check out the incredible shopping malls and displays, note the various clienteles. Or play a little here, and a little there. I once walked the length of the Boardwalk in Atlantic City making a single craps bet on a single shooter at each and every Boardwalk casino. It took four hours but I incorporated sightseeing, gambling, and exercise all into one outing. It was fun.
I realize that most people go to casinos to gamble. After all, no matter how good the food, no matter how good the entertainment, no one in his or her right mind would go into a Nevada desert only to hear Barbra Streisand sing or to taste Chef Alphonse?s gourmet cooking. Gambling is, after all, the lure that brings us to desert, delta, river, and bog. Still, the ocean is the lure when you go to the Caribbean, yet you don?t spend eight to 10 hours in the water when you go or you?d come back looking like human limburger.
So how should you gamble?
Very, very carefully. Choose your games and your machines wisely. For all the bad or worse gambles in a casino there are good and an even better ones. Learn which are which and how to best make them.
For starters, learn basic strategy if you like blackjack; play the 5-Count if craps is your game and never, never make a Crazy Crapper proposition bet. Stick to the outside even-money bets at roulette if the casino gives half of the bet back when the 0 or 00 shows, if it doesn?t, bet every other spin. Avoid the big wheel entirely; snub Sic Bo; take your time when you play Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride or Three Card Poker and always use the Bold Card Play strategy for the proper play of the hands at these new games.
Avoid all the bonus side bets at traditional table games. So don?t bet the extra dollar hoping to get 7-7-7 on your next hand of blackjack. Most of the bonus side bets are for suckers. If machines are your passion, consider playing video poker, especially full-pay or close to full-pay machines using the proper strategies; but if slots knock your socks off, budget your money wisely and think of slowing down the pace and maybe, horrors, playing a single coin (if progressives are your pleasure, you have to play full coin but realize that the casino has frightening edges on the big progressives) and also consider stretching your time, not your risk on the machines. Play coins, not credits, and get your hands dirty! On the new machines that are coinless, then count to ten before you press the play credits button!
As the Captain says, you must maintain your rhythm. No human being can match a casino?s 24-hour-a-day seven-day-a-week pace, nor should any human want to. It?s inhuman. The casino?s rhythm is a slam dance, hammering any and all who try to match it. A player?s rhythm is different. It should be smooth, controlled; it should be a waltz. Step here, step there, step here, step there but always step lightly! Do a waltz in a casino town and your vacation will be filled with fun and excitement; do a slam dance and you?ll be the one muttering to some indifferent statue: ?I need a vacation from my vacation.?
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