Introduction to Identifying Gambling Goals
A player’s style of gambling is based on their gambling goals. To meet any goal, we need to understand what that goal is. Too many slots gamblers I’ve spoken with don’t know the reason why they are gambling because they haven’t gone through the process of identifying gambling goals. And, frankly, they don’t look like they’re doing well.
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Does Bankroll Size Matter?
Before we can discuss goals, we first need to understand their relationship with the size of our gambling bankroll. Why? Because how quickly those gambling goals are met is highly dependent on a player’s available bankroll.
A bankroll is the amount of cash a player has available to gamble at a casino for any given visit. If a player can afford a small bankroll or a relatively larger bankroll shouldn’t be a judgment of performance. Whether or not we’re meeting our goals is.
A relatively small bankroll can accomplish all three goals stated above. And, if a small bankroll is all you feel comfortable spending, then that’s perfect. You may never get to top tier player’s status within a calendar year, but that’s not itself a goal. It’s a gift.
Think of it this way. Good customer service is based on realizing what a customer really wants. A classic example often used is the customer that walks into a hardware store asking for a three-eighth inch diameter drill bit. But what do they really want?
It’s not the drill bit. That’s an intermediate step. What they truly want is a three-eighth inch diameter hole. Similarly, wanting an upper tier players status isn’t a goal. It’s just something that the casinos give you after doing particularly well at maximizing comps, take-home money, or entertainment value.
So, bankroll size doesn’t matter. It’s important to bring to the casino only what you’d be comfortable losing. And joining a players’ club is always important but a high tier status isn’t the goal. Instead, it’s a consequence of meeting your goals. So, focus on identifying gambling goals.
Is it Maximum Entertainment Value?
The goal of this style is pure and simple entertainment. Perhaps it involves going to a casino with a few friends, having a few drinks, maybe watch a sports game at the bar or have dinner and, of course, to gamble a bit.
If someone makes a few dollars, perhaps even wins one or two hundred dollars, then they have bragging rights with their friends until the next casino visit. And, in this way, an enjoyable evening is had by all.
An element of achieving maximum entertainment whilst gambling is to join and consistently use the players club card for any and all gambling in order to benefit from all the lowest-level complimentary gifts, i.e., comps, such programs provide.
This style of gambling, for entertainment purposes, is by far the most common. The parking lots or structures attached to casinos are filled with the cars and trucks of these types of gamblers. The total cost for a night of this type of gambling can easily be $100 or even less.
Players using this style bring with them only a set amount of money, have the intention of spending it all relatively slowly and don’t attempt to withdraw more from their financial accounts while at the casino.
Their financial goal is to be able to play for a while and perhaps, every once in a while, earn the aforementioned bragging rights along with the genuine or feigned respect and awe of their friends.
They may or may not be a member of the casino’s rewards club but, if they are, this activity level places them well within the lowest tier of play. And they’re all perfectly fine with that. In general, these are the happiest type of gamblers, by far.
Is it Earning Complimentary Gifts?
This is a common goal among slots enthusiasts. What had been introduced in the entertainment goal regarding comps needs to be expanded upon since, with this goal, comps have become the primary focus. To even get a single comp, however, joining the players club program is a necessity.
Casinos offer a wide range of comps to its patrons, but only if they join the players club. Some comps are available to all, such as various small kitchen and shop electronic items. Casinos work hard to make these comps interesting, and not repetitive.
These invitations to visit the casino to pick up your free comp generally arrive at your home in the form of a bulk mail flyer. Small physical gifts, along with invitations to slot tournaments, are common to all members.
Other comps are only available as players advance in the club’s tier system. For example, 3-day cruises are typical for second-from-the-top tiers while 7-day cruises are awarded annually to top-tier players.
So, the most common complimentary gifts are given to everyone, and that’s what most people know about. A bit of gambling when using the players club card also earns points redeemable at the casino gift shop or restaurants.
More gambling brings more expensive complimentary gifts. This progresses all the way up to top-tier status, which is a special place to be. Very busy and more than a bit overwhelming, but I found the experience to be very interesting.
Top-tier players club members are directly assigned a casino host. It can be startling to have your host show up at your slot machine 30 seconds after you put your players’ club card into the slot machine, asking quite sincerely what they can do for you. Every Single Time.
Is it Maximizing Take-Home Money?
Maximizing take-home money is a fine goal, in and of itself. But it can be mutually contradictory to the goals of entertainment and earning complimentary gifts. Simply put, one goal can get in the way of another. Let’s discuss how!
For example, let’s say that you walk into a casino, select a slot machine, put some money into it, bet, and win a taxable jackpot. If your goal was entertainment, then that was exciting – take a bunch of selfies! Celebrate!
If your goal was to maximize comps, then you’ll need to spend all that jackpot to push up your players’ club points. You might even get to the next level, especially if its double points day at the casino.
But if your goal is to maximize take-home money, then you have a decision to make. Is that machine a winner? If so, then maybe you’ll win more jackpots if you spent a bit of the jackpot you’d just won, to check. Or, maybe you decide that it isn’t, and leave.
I’ve won two huge jackpots within a few minutes of each other, then felt I’d done enough and left the casino after being there only 45 minutes. I’d planned on having hours of great entertainment, but a reminder of my actual goal of making money quickly set me straight.
One potential down-side of maximizing take-home pay is the possible taxes. It’s all taxable income. Comps are too, by the way, but that can be harder for the IRS to track.
But, you’ll need to keep a financial record of your trip to the casino when filing for annual taxable deductions. You can deduct what you spend gambling up to the amount won, but you need a written record to do it.
Summary for Identifying Gambling Goals
A slot machine player’s performance should be judged by how well their gambling goals are being met. Those goals are entirely the province of each individual player’s wants, needs, and desires.
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