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Managing Your Dough in the Casino

It stands to reason you can lose money more quickly at blackjack than at the slots, or bingo, or one of the lesser casino games.

Your bet is at your discretion, instead of being fixed as in the others. You are free to double your bet during a hand, and absolutely free to bet any amount from hand to hand. You stand to lose less, unit for unit, at the craps table, as long as you play the pass-don't-pass line.

The first standard piece of advice to all gamblers of any kind is this: When you've lost your pre-determined limit, walk away. The reason you hear it, over and over, is that it's one of the simplest sentences on earth to say, and one of the hardest things to do.

If every gambler followed this one principle, Las Vegas and Atlantic City would dry up and blow away. Why? Because the casinos aren't getting rich on the five and seven-percent edge given to them by mathematics.

They're getting rich on all the money over their legitimate percentage that's lost by people who don't know any better, or won't admit that it's time to walk away from the tables; the average tourist gambler loses not five percent of his or her money, but a thousand percent - ten times what he or she wins.

With gamblers like this, the house doesn't need its edge.

Every gambler should have a budget - for the day, the week, and the game, whatever. It doesn't matter what the rules are that you set up for yourself, as long as you follow them.

You know what you can afford to drop at the blackjack table. Of course, you hope not to drop it. That's the fun of gambling. But you must look on it as a probable expense, and never, ever, throw good money in after bad.

Your gambling loss is what economists call a sunk cost, not to be figured in as a factor in decisions for the future.

As in any game, when you have a substantial amount of the house's money to play with, you can loosen up.

Suppose you started out with a hundred dollars, and have run it up to two hundred, in an hour. That's also a good time to increase your basic betting unit by half, as long as you're winning.

This can't be stressed enough. As soon as you start to lose again, decrease the size of your bet to the initial figure.

Besides an upper limit of losses, you should have a figure at which you begin to take profits.

When you've won a hundred dollars, take fifty out, so that it's no longer part of the betting fund. If you can do this twice, you will have recovered your original investment. From then on, your fun is literally on the house.

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