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Handling money in the casinos9 August 2014
And what about managing that cash when you gamble on the tables or machines? Do you have a plan for what you are going to do if you start losing? What about winning? And what would you do if you won some serious money? How would you get it home, safely? The point is that how you get, use, access and manage your money when you gamble is just as important as which games you play and how you play them.
Every player — high roller, low roller, table or machine player — must do the following if they want to partake in the casino action.
1. Convert money into a playing bankroll.
2. Manage that bankroll when they play.
3. Convert what’s left of the bankroll into cash and head home.
Step 1. Converting “Money” into a Bankroll.
This is a fact — you can’t gamble in a casino without a bankroll. Therefore, some way, somehow, you must put together a bankroll before making your first table bet or dropping a coin into a slot machine. You’ve probably heard this a hundred times but it’s worth repeating. The funds you use to create that gambling bankroll shouldn’t come from money you need to pay rent, buy food or pay for your kid’s college education. The money you earmark for gambling should come from your discretionary income that you’ve smartly saved for activities that you enjoy, like gambling. Assuming you’ve done this, these are your options to convert that money into a gambling bankroll.
This is a no-brainer and what most players do — they simply use good old American greenbacks to create their bankroll. It’s uncomplicated and gives the player flexibility in the sense they can use the cash at any casino and it costs nothing to use it. Moreover, you can’t lose more than you brought, so you have a built-in stop loss.
Using cash also offers you privacy, which some players prefer (use cash and you don’t even have to give the casino your name if you don’t want to). However, there are some negatives. You could lose it or, worse, get robbed of it. And nowadays, if you carry a lot of cash through airports you’ve got to be concerned it could be confiscated as part of the government’s crackdown on money laundering (slim chance, but still a possibility). If you decide on using cash, here are some commonsense tips on how to protect it.
1. Don’t flash wads of cash around in a casino. That might impress the pit boss, but you never know who else might also get a glimpse of it, if you get my drift.
2. Men should always carry cash in their front pants pocket. That minimizes the chance that a professional pick-pocket could wind up with it.
3. Ladies, keep that cash in your handbag, which you should hold securely at all times.
4. Consider putting your cash in a money belt, which you can purchase in airport stores or any luggage store.
5. Use the free safety-deposit box provided by most casino hotels to store your cash. Some hotels have in-room safes (some might charge a fee to use them). Never stash cash in a secret hiding place in your hotel room.
For years, this was and still is my personal favorite way to bring cash into a casino. You can get traveler’s checks free if you are a member of the American Automobile Association. Many banks and some credit unions also offer free traveler's checks if you have an account with them (I always get mine at my local bank — for free). Traveler’s checks are universally accepted and you have peace of mind knowing if they are lost or stolen, you can get always get them replaced (not so with cash).
This is cash that you deposit with the casino and then draw from when you play. You can either wire the cash ahead to the casino (so you don’t have to travel with it) or simply deposit it with the casino when you get there. Front money offers you privacy. You only have to sign a signature verification card, and you don’t have to give the casino your bank account number or other private information. Secondly, you have a built in stop loss — if you lose it, that’s it. Thirdly, it gives the perception to the casino that you plan to gamble with all that money that you deposited with them — a plus when it comes time to ask for comps.
Don’t even think of this. Yeah, I know it beats carrying around a lot of cash, but wait till you see the fees that casinos charge to access your own money when you use their ATMs. An ATM card also gives players down on their luck an easy way to get more cash. My advice — leave your ATM card at home.
This is another bad way to bankroll your playing session. Fees are exorbitant — you’ll get charged an upfront fee based on the amount of money being advanced to you and, of course, you are going to have to pay interest on that cash advance. This is not a smart way to get funds for your bankroll, so fuhgeddaboudit.
Henry Tamburin is the editor of the Blackjack Insider newsletter.
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