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Frank Scoblete - Playing Within Your Means

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  • Frank ScobleteThe casinos utilize various tactics to make a profit from us. Like any good business, they have refined their sales pitches to the point where everything they do is done with one result in mind -- get the money. Just about all casino games, and just about all bets at all casino games, come with light, medium or heavy house edges. This is similar to all products coming with a built-in wholesale and retail price.

    You don?t think the cost of the book you just bought is really $28.95, do you? No, the publisher sells it to the wholesaler for 60 percent off and the wholesaler sells it to the retail store for 40 percent off and the retailer sells it to you for 20 percent off (or no percent off). Those are the various edges of the product. No one would be in business if he or she couldn?t tack on a profit. The casino tacks on its vig or vigorish on the various bets it offers either by winning more decisions (the pass line, for example wins 251 times for the casino but only 244 times for the player) or by taking a tax out of the winnings (you are paid 4 to 1 on the 5 to 1 Any Seven bet, for example).

    So why do we buy books if we know that someone is making a profit on us? Obviously, we buy books because this book will make us smarter, or that book will make us healthier, or wiser, or this one will thrill us, or scare us, and those will touch us, or they will give us insights on life, on money, on our loved-ones, on God or the universe around us or within us. Those are the hooks that keep the publishing companies going. Publishers exist to make money. We gladly give them our money in exchange for the contents of the book.

    Of course, all businesses do this. Cars are sold ostensibly to get you from point A to point B, but the selling point isn?t just transportation. It?s attitude. Self image. The car commercials make you think that the sexy salesgirl comes as an option with the car, or that a daring adventure is just a purchase away in your four-wheel drive, or that you?ll be cool, or with it, or where it?s at, or that everyone will know just how wealthy you are and boy will they be envious. You buy the car but you also buy the vision.

    So too with casinos. They sell their games as glamorous, as lucky, as a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a fortune. They sell hopes and dreams. They appeal to our sense of adventure, our desire to engage in combat, our greed. But casinos also sell a pecking order, a caste system, a class system in their comping policies. The high roller is king or queen, the medium roller is a ?preferred customer,? and anyone with a slot card is considered a ?most valuable player.? Those of us who don?t merit any comps - well there must be something the matter with our play and, thus, with our ?selves.? The casino caste system sells identity, belonging, and in no small measure - envy.

    The medium rollers (and they are legion) of red-chip to green-chip table-game players and one-dollar slot players look with envy on the high rollers who are wined, dined, courted and pampered. The medium rollers wish they could eat in the gourmet rooms and not just in the cafes and that their free rooms were available on the weekends and not just Sunday through Thursday. The low rolling players want to graduate from buffets to cafes and want a free room Sunday through Thursday.

    Like America, casinos sell the dream of being upwardly mobile. How is mobility achieved in the casino class structure? Bet bigger. Play longer. Show them your money! And, of course, many players do just that. They so desire the accompanying glory of being in a higher echelon of players that they will play for stakes they can?t afford. That is a mistake every bit as stupid, every bit as dangerous, as buying a car the payments for which you can?t make! So what happens? The car buyer loses his car and his dignity while the casino player loses his money and his self-worth.

    Let me ask you this: If you can?t really afford the stakes involved, is it worth losing hundreds of dollars to get a free meal in a cafe and a free stay during the week? Is it really worth losing thousands to get a gourmet meal and a suite? Of course not! The players who bet beyond their means are players who will very shortly find themselves unable to play their favorite games. For example, if your total gambling bankroll is $1,200 and you insist on placing the 6 and 8 for $120 each in order to impress the pit boss who is rating your play, you?ll be broke very soon if a few shooters seven-out in relatively short order. If you have $1,200 as a total stake, consider yourself a $5 player. Divide that stake into 10 equal session stakes of $120 each and never bet more than, say, $6 on the 6 and 8. You might not get the great comps. You might not get the glory. You might not even be noticed. But you will give yourself plenty of bang for the bucks that you can afford. It is far better to be a player who can play than to be a ?rated? player who can?t because he went belly up. By way of analogy, if you can?t afford that book for $28.95, it?s not a bad thing to take it out of your local library.

    Some of Frank's most popular books can be purchased by clicking one of the image links below:

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