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GETTING AND MANAGING YOUR CASH IN A CASINO

by Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of five books on casino gambling, featured blackjack writer for dozens of magazines and web sites, editor of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter, and host of www.smartgaming.com.

Note: The audience for this article is recreational casino players.

Whatís the one thing you positively must have if you want to gamble? Of course, c-a-s-h. Most folks just use folding money. Nothing wrong with that, but there are other options, some better, some worse. Moreover, 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 Ėhigh roller, low roller, table, or machine player Ė 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 whatís left of the bankroll into cash and head home.

Step 1. Converting "Money" into a Bankroll.

This is a fact Ė you canít gamble in a casino without a bankroll. Therefore, some way, some how, you must put together a bankroll before making your first table bet or dropping a coin into a slot machine. Youíve probably heard this a hundred times but itís worth repeating. The funds you use to create that gambling bankroll shouldnít come from money you need to pay rent, buy food, or pay for your kidís college education. The money you earmark for gambling should come from your discretionary income that youíve smartly saved for activities that you enjoy like gambling. Assuming youíve done this, these are your options to convert that money into a gambling bankroll.

Cash

This is a no brainer and what most players do - they simply use good old American Greenbacks to create their bankroll. Itís 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 canít 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 donít even have to give the casino your name if you donít want to). However, there are some negatives. You could lose it or worse are robbed of it. In addition, nowadays, if you carry a lot of cash through airports youíve got to be concerned it could be confiscated as part of the governmentís crack down on money laundering (slim chance but still a possibility). If you decide on using cash, here are some common sense tips on how to protect it.

  1. Donít flash wads of cash around in a casino. That might impress the pit boss but you never know whom 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 pickpocket could wind up with it.
  3. Ladies, keep that cash in your handbag that you securely hold at all times.
  4. Consider putting your cash in a money belt, which you can purchase in airport stores or any luggage store for that matter.
  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.

Note: If you are traveling through airports with a large amount of cash, read the article by Loudon Ofton in this issue of BJI.

Travelers Checks

For years, this was and still is my personal favorite way to bring cash into a casino. You can get Travelerís Checks free if you are a member of the American Automobile Association. Many banks and some credit unions also offer free Travelers Checks if you have an account with them (I always get mine at my local bank Ė for free). Travelerís Checks are universally accepted and you have piece of mind knowing if they are lost or stolen you can get always get them replaced (not so with cash).

Front Money

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 donít 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 donít have to give the casino your bank account number and other private information. Secondly, you have a built in stop loss-if you lose it thatís 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.

ATM Machine

Donít even think of this. Yea I know it beats carrying around a lot of cash but wait until you see the fees that casinos charge to access your own money when you use their ATM machines. 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.

Credit card

This is another bad way to bankroll your playing session. Fees are exorbitant Ė youíll 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 forgetaboutit.

Casino Credit

This is a good option for most players because it eliminates carrying around cash and you donít have to pay any interest or fee. However, you will have to give the casino your personal information, including your bank account number.

To establish a line of credit with a casino, you must...

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