Introduction to YOUR Loss Limit Plan
Hidden within your slot machine gameplay is your loss limit plan. Do you know what it is? And is it doing its job successfully?
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Slots Golden Rule
My best tips for spending your bankroll wisely at the casino include stopping. My golden rule of slots gambling is, “Never take money to the casino to play slots which you can’t comfortably afford to lose.” And you do that by having a loss limit.
But there are so many ways to use a loss limit. And many folks don’t realize they’ve got an excellent loss limit approach that works for them. I don’t mean that I fail to see that it’s excellent.
I mean, they don’t realize their method of limiting losses. What’s your loss limit plan? Is it leaving your credit and debit cards in your car or at home?
Is it only putting a 20-dollar bill into the machine at a time? Both are loss-limit methods. I’ve talked about preserving gains or getting out of the casino with your winnings. But loss limits are something you’ve had to deal with for since the first time you played a slot machine.
First Casino Experiences Set the Tone
Do you remember that? Do you remember what happened to you? My first experience with slot machine gambling was in 2003 at a small, tribal casino in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
I was driving back to graduate school in Iowa after visiting family and found a hotel to spend the night at. A casino was located just down the highway from that hotel. I wasn’t aware of the casino being there until the hotel provided $20 worth of tokens to play at it.
I remember feeling a little nervous about entering a casino for the first time, but I gathered up my courage and went on in. I found it to be a highly distracting place with loud, flashing lights and a great deal of cigarette and cigar smoke in the air. I distinctly remember rapidly spending those $20 in tokens on slots.
Plus, another $50 besides which I could ill afford to lose. At the time, I was a poor graduate student on a research stipend working a side job as a temporary instructor of college physics. As I continued home on that long road trip, I started thinking about gambling with slot machines and have since never stopped doing so.
A Careful Loss Limit Plan
After a few months of thinking about it, or more precisely, occasionally dwelling on that first experience, I saw a casino on the river while on another driving trip near Omaha on the border between Iowa and Nebraska. With those months of thinking figuratively behind me, I’d concluded from my first visit that I needed a rule, a loss limit. I needed to decide how much I should allow myself to spend whenever I entered another casino.
The careful rule I devised was this: Take a fixed amount into the casino, say $25, and spend only that plus whatever you make from it. With this simple loss limit and $25, I entered this second casino at about 2 p.m. on a Saturday and left almost 12 hours later at 1 a.m. Yes, I’d carefully followed my rule.
Loss Limit Mistakes Happen
Not being prepared for success was my error. The mistake which my simple rule didn’t account for was, as would become usual, winning. Almost immediately after entering this second casino, I won $500 on a 25-cent slot machine.
Doing so left me feeling quite emotional, which inclined me to try to stick firmly to the rule – which I proceeded to do. As the afternoon and evening passed into the early morning, I continued to win minor, non-taxable jackpots but eventually spent my $25 and what I’d gained. And so, this was my second experience at a casino.
I should also mention that I did try to find a hotel that morning. Instead of driving home at such a late hour (and coming as close as I ever would to colliding with a deer on the highway), I wisely went to a nearby hotel. However, they wouldn’t accept a credit card, only cash.
This hotel policy insinuated that people would provide a credit card to the hotel upon arrival but then be unable to pay their hotel bill at checkout. Did they max out their credit limit at the casino and then not be able to pay their hotel bill the following morning? Why else?
My point isn’t about me being unable to get a hotel room but that this was my first real clue that gambling consisted of more than just the act of gambling. It exists in a unique environment where loud sounds, flashing lights, second-hand smoke, and gambling abuses can occur. And we need loss limits to protect our bankroll.
Emergency or Planned?
Have you heard the adage, “It’s not an emergency if you know about it in advance?”
Again, what’s your loss limit plan? What rules have you given yourself? And is it working for you?
I suggest you consider how you limit how much you spend at slots. Perhaps some elements of your loss limit plan might include:
- Keep your ATM and credit cards in your car, hotel room, or home.
- Only put $20 into a slot machine when you sit down.
- Ask your spouse to hold onto your remaining bankroll.
- Leave or stop gambling when you’re down by 30%.
Like being organized, start with what you do already. Then, improve on it until your loss limit plan suits you.
Summary of YOUR Loss Limit Plan
Hidden within your slot machine gameplay is your loss limit plan. If you know what it is, is it good enough? Or might it be improved?
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