People who love to gamble -- my mother was one of them -- are often reluctant to travel to Las Vegas, Atlantic City or any place where gambling is legal. Some like one of my letter writers are terrified.
Claudia is a widow in her 60s who lives near Joplin, MO. She has a small trailer and two horses, a grey gelding and a brown mare that she delights in caring for on a couple of acres out in the country.
I met Claudia when I lived in Springfield. She is one of the finest, most honest individuals I have ever come across. She was happily married to a great guy for many years and when he passed away unexpectedly, it devastated her.
Claudia hates to be alone. Her trailer is less than 30 miles from three casinos and she began spending her leisure time here just to be around people and for something to do.
Now my friend Claudia is a reasonably intelligent woman but she does not claim to be a professional gambler. She doesn't study the odds like professional gamblers do. Her favorite games are the ones the majority of casino goers play -- slot machines and blackjack.
We have exchanged emails over the past couple of years and I pretty much know her pattern. She has won a couple of good-sized jackpots on the slots. Casino marketing teams at places like Indigo Sky, Downstream and Cherokee lure her and hundreds of players like Claudia with promises of free buffets, cash-back vouchers that she can use to play the slots, and even free rooms if she wants to stay the night.
The problem is that despite these perks, Claudia is a loser.
Her problem in my opinion rests in the games she plays.
I tried to persuade her to switch from games of pure chance, which slot machines are, to games of skill. Blackjack requires skill if you hope o end up with more money in your pocket than you brought into he casino. It is no recognized as a pure skill game like poker, which was my first recommendation to her, but it will at least give her a chance to recoup her losses from those games of chance.
Choosing the right game for your temperament and income is one of the most important things you can do before you enter a casino.
Before you go to gamble, check out the odds against you. It's easy to do this. Simply go to the Internet, do a Google search on the game you wish o play, and find out what kind of odds you are facing. That might persuade you to find another game that will be more in your favor.
I admire Claudia's spirit. Slot players are fantastic people who continually go against the odds to try to hit a big jackpot. When they do line up the symbols that fill their purses or wallets with cash -- and many of them do -- my hat goes off o them.
Over the years, I have had lightning strike me in the form of slot machines gone wild and roulette tables hat seem to line up my numbers. But I realize when this happens, I am swimming against he current and beating odds that will remain in place long after I leave.
Here is my point: use the games of skill like poker and blackjack as your main money games, and add slots, dice and he other games of chance as backup games for fun as well as profit. You probably won't hit a jackpot, but lightning does strike on occasion and you'll have a lot of fun getting there.