Sunday, December 3, 2023


RV Shrink: Taking a gamble on free RV parking

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

Dear Broke:
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

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




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Gene Bjerke (@guest_55360)
4 years ago

I once had a friend who bought a roulette wheel in order to work out a “system” for winning. He soon found out that there is no such thing. He gave me the wheel, which is where I learned about how the odds are jimmied in roulette so that the players pay each other’s winnings and the house skims 5% of he money that crosses the table. However, I did find out that it is possible for the house to lose under some rare circumstances. I wonder whatever happened to that wheel?

John Koenig (@guest_55359)
4 years ago

The simple solution is DUCT TAPE. Wrap wifey’s wrists & ankles with duct tape and lock her in the RV. Then, you can go enjoy the buffet, entertainment or whatever. Cut her loose when you’ve all packed up and ready to hit the road. 😉

Traveler (@guest_55333)
4 years ago

If she looks at the losses/ wins as entertainment and you aren’t taking food out of kids mouths or not paying your bills- fine.
I agree with those who say I worked too hard for my savings than to feed em into machines.

Drew (@guest_55345)
4 years ago
Reply to  Traveler

We stayed at Seven Feathers last year in Ore. We had a scrumptious meal at their steak restaurant…spent a lot but never lost. It was really fun.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_55322)
4 years ago

The fun is gone from slot machines. No more handles, no more winning coins dropping into that ‘loud’ cheap tin collector at the bottom. As Thomas says, “Only buttons”. Buttons and receipts to take to the cashier for your winnings (or what money you have left if you give up). I don’t think you can even PUT coins in anymore. Just your credit card. What fun is that? We live in Nevada and luckily, don’t care a whit about gambling.

chris p hemstead (@guest_55376)
4 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

No machines I’ve ever seen take credit cards. I don’t see a lot of fun in winning $200 in quarters.

Alex (@guest_55317)
4 years ago

Lets not forget to include dining discounts such as early bird breakfasts and senior night buffets in the cost/benefit equation. Call ahead or visit casino websites and look for the specials like two for one dinner buffet admission on certain days. Sometimes, you can just walk in and ask other patrons about food quality and pricing. If you add money saved on cheap eats to the cost avoided in an RV park, you’re easily $50 bucks ahead, maybe more.

Thomas Becher (@guest_55313)
4 years ago

Not even “one armed bandits”anymore.Just buttons.
No thanks, I worked too hard for my money and being (like I tell anyone who will listen) unemployed,plain cheap,or simply smarter than most of those people standing there, not interested.

tom (@guest_55291)
4 years ago

Suckers always lose. Play with only cash that you could afford to start a fire with. I do have a friend who plays only with her SS check. Crazy.

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