Dear RV Shrink:
My wife loves casino camping. She tries to convince me it’s free, or that many times we are given money just for signing up for a players card. Simple math tells me this is just not true. She loses more money gambling than we would have paid for full-hookups at a commercial park. I’m not saying she is a candidate for gamblers anonymous – but casino camping is not free in our case.
Am I the only one who thinks casino camping is expensive? Is my wife the only RVer in denial? Do we need an investment advisor or video poker lessons? —Broke Even When Parked in Parker
There are several ways to look at your situation. You can get free or cheap parking at many casinos. That can turn into a savings if you don’t go in. Casino management often expects you to sign up for a players card and a parking permit to draw you in, but that doesn’t mean you have to actually play.
If you get free money you can limit yourself to playing just what you are given and quit if you don’t win. Some have strings attached. You must throw some of your money at a machine before your free money is available. They are all different, so you have to approach them all differently.
Now, how about a head adjustment. You could think of your losses as entertainment. Your wife seems to enjoy dancing with a one-armed bandit. Those machines are called that for a reason. Ever heard the saying, “The house never loses”? The odds are always stacked against you. If you play long enough you will lose.
You might want to come to an agreement with your wife as to how much she can lose before she bails. Decide how much a night’s camping is worth to you and decide to lose only that amount. She could keep track of her winnings and run your casino camping like a ledger sheet.
Poker lessons are not a bad idea. There is an online site called the “Wizard of Odds.” It not only teaches you a method, it tells you what to look for before you sit down at a machine. If there are 10 poker machines in a row, they will have different odds. Spending a few minutes looking them over will help you pick the machine with the best odds for winning.
If your wife just enjoys playing the game, download one on a computer. You get the same thrill without using money. It will not only give her a lot of practice honing her skills, but also show her how seldom she wins over a longer period of time. An added bonus is she won’t smell like a smokestack when she returns to the RV after losing all her FREE money. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink
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