Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lady Luck Smiled On a Low Roller

Beautiful wife Sandy and I consider ourselves to be quite expert at playing deuces wild poker on slot machines. We practiced for years during short vacation trips to Wendover, Nevada, from our long-time home in Ogden, Utah.

Of course, we didn't need many trips to learn the golden rule of slot playing--stay there long enough and you will lose. Casinos are not charities, and the odds are not in your favor. I also learned the hard way that my father's advice about gambling in general was wise counsel. "Never play any games you don't thoroughly understand, and don't risk a penny you can't afford to lose," he said.

We developed our strategy in the days when casino visits could be quite pleasant. Excellent buffet meals for a couple of dollars and the famous ninety-nine cent breakfasts were nice benefits. Dropping real coins into slots was fun and occasionally needing hand-washing breaks stretched the time one could play with a small stake. Slot players actually had pleasant conversations with each other. Noise levels were far below those of today when greedy casino managers cram together as many slots with outrageous musical accompaniments as possible.

Those good old days are long gone, but an occasional 15-mile drive to an elegant casino operated by a local Indian tribe provides exceptional meal offers to seniors like us and has a few slots we enjoy playing. So we go there about once a month to savor the food and risk a bit of surplus money.

Our gambling strategy is simple. We start with equal small cash stakes. We play only deuces wild poker on machines that accept nickels, because we know how to play them well to improve the odds a little, and at worst our stakes will last quite a while. We play only five nickels at a time, although messages on most machines strongly encourage playing ten. We establish a time when we will leave no matter what. If one of us loses the stake, he or she simply waits for the other to lose or the departure time arrives. If we happen to hit a substantial jackpot, we cash it out as it happens and go home with the proceeds.

We are the ultimate low rollers. But sometimes we leave with a profit. Yesterday was one of those times. The biggest deal of the day was when Sandy broke our rules by accident.

Four deuces popped up on Sandy's machine, and the jackpot bells started ringing. I knew that was a $50.00 winner for her quarter investment, so was amazed when the total went higher than that. "What's going on?" I asked.

She laughed and said, "I made a mistake. I looked over at a lady who was acting strangely a couple of machines away and hit the ten nickel bet button instead of the five."

The $50.00 win thus became $100.00. Sometimes disciplined play is not the best way. Our expert was hardly embarrassed at all as she took that hundred home.

12 comments:

Rummuser said...

Your father's advice makes a lot of sense.

I have never been to a casino but hope to visit one before I pop off. My poison was playing cards and horse racing including being part owner of a horse, till 1998 when my late wife one day casually suggested that I spend more time with her. She had never objected to my gambling before. I stopped. I have never gone back.

Dick Klade said...

Ramana: My father also offered advice about card playing: "If you are tempted to sit in on a poker game, remember that two people at that table will be smarter than you." He played often, but only with opponents he knew well.

PIedType said...

I've never been to a casino either, but would be interested in going just once to see what they're like. (I've always heard the food is good and very inexpensive.) My brother took me to the horse races a couple of times and gave me a few dollars to bet with. It was a fun experience, although I enjoyed admiring the horses more than the betting (and I didn't win anything).

Dick Klade said...

Pied: Food prices at casinos aren't what they used to be, but good deals are possible. For example, the one we visit frequently offers a special menu with $5.50 meals for everyone older than 55. I recommend checking a casino's website before scheduling a visit to see what discounts they are featuring.

Ginnie said...

I've only been to a few casinos and had absolutely no luck but the atmosphere was fun. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I've followed your comments on "Big John" from England for a long time.

Dick Klade said...

Welcome, Ginnie. I've, of course, also seen your comments for several years on John's entertaining site.

joared said...

Congrats on your win! I've played the slots in Vegas a few times with mixed win results, but no big jackpots. A friend goes to Vegas occasionally to visit her son and I went along once in recent years. She and husband usually manage to win enough to pay their expenses including their hotel and driving expense to and from L.A. She usually has the same sort of good fortune when they've gone to am Indian-owned casino near the Calif.-Arizona border. She designates only so much cash to play with before she starts as most of us probably do. Key is quitting when you're ahead she says. I often have never got ahead to be able to do that. They've really speeded up the process now that we don't pull the handle any more so can run out of coins faster -- or spend more.

Big John said...

I spent three days in Vegas back in the early 1980's and came away $25 richer. Mind you, that didn't include the free drinks at the tables. I remember one casino had a fountain spouting Bloody Marys and Sparkling Wine for 'free' ! Blimey !..even the 'Laundromat' had a row of slot machines.

Dick Klade said...

John, going home ahead $25 after three days in Vegas should be considered a major victory!

Kay said...

Oh my! What luck! I have never won anything in Vegas. Then again, I've only been there twice and wagered $10 that first time and $1.00 the second time. My sister-in-law, on the other hand tells me she wins big every time.

Dick Klade said...

Those "win every time" folks should be taken with a dash of salt. After all, if they truly win every time, why do they visit only occasionally or leave to return to jobs?

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A friend goes to Vegas occasionally to visit her son and I went along once in recent years. She and husband usually manage to win enough to pay their expenses including their hotel and driving expense to and from L.A.

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