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11:47 a.m. Fri, Sept. 19th

Can you beat the odds? Gambling tips for vacationers

Jan 31, 2012, 11:48 a.m.

Taking a casino vacation can be exciting and fun...but it can also get expensive. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and drop several hundred dollars (or more) before you realize it. If casino gambling is your favorite kind of vacation activity, here are a few tips for coming out ahead (or at least breaking even.)

  1. Take advantage of the freebies. You don't have to be a high roller to cash in on casino freebies. Most casinos, even the ones without an accompanying hotel or resort, have some sort of players' club. These range from simple to quite sophisticated depending on the casino. Don't even think about putting a nickel in a slot machine without first enrolling. Rewards range from free food and beverages to show tickets to even free stays for regular gamers. You'll also want to ask at the customer service desk if the casino offers a coupon book. Many do, and offers frequently include free match play at the casino, free food and other niceties.
  2. Do your homework. Just like you wouldn't enter into an investment without doing your due diligence, don't go to the casino to gamble without thoroughly understanding the rules of the game. Some games have better odds than others (try video poker and blackjack), but none suffer fools lightly.
  3. Don't drink. If you're serious about increasing your odds of winning, don't you want all of your wits about you? Enough said. Save the cocktails until after you're finished at the casino.
  4. Sort the truths and myths about slot machines. Just a few winning slot machine tips and myths: 1. Slot machine play accounts for up to 70 percent a typical casino's profit. There are much better odds to be had on the tables. 2. Slot machines are run on computer chips that are pre-set at the gaming machine factory. It is against every gaming commission's rules for the casino to alter that preset programming. 3. Every pull of the slot machine lever is a separate event. A slot machine that hasn't paid for a while isn't "due" and the one that just paid can easily pay again soon.

Ultimately, it's best just to look at the money you spend in the casino as the price of the day's entertainment. However, with a little homework, you can make your allotted gambling funds last appreciably longer.

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