Sound money management is an ongoing issue for recreational gaming enthusiasts. It revolves not only around the amount of money you gamble and the loss limits that individual gamblers establish for themselves, but also the amount of money you win and what you decide to keep.
Building up playing credits on slot and video poker machines carries seeds of destruction for players who wish to employ smart money management. When you are playing with electronically metered credits instead of cold, hard cash or even metal tokens, it is easy for the money you’ve won to lose its value.
That’s why it is extremely important to be aware of exactly how much money you have in the machine in credits. The predominance of low-denomination slot games makes keeping track of exactly what we’ve won kind of difficult. If you’re like me, sometimes you have to take pause and figure out what those credits really add up to in money.
Dollar units are a no-brainer. Each earned playing credit equals one dollar. Fifty-cent machines are also pretty easy. Just take the number of credits on the machine, divide by two, and the result is the whole dollar equivalent. Similarly with quarter machines, just divide the number of credits by four. Four hundred credits on a quarter machine are equal to $100.
Penny and nickel machines require reason to pause. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you’re playing them to make sure you know what you’ve won and have the good gambling sense to cash them out and have the casino "show you the money"!
Penny machines: 1,000 credits = $10.00, 10,000 credits = $100.00, 100,000 credits = $1,000.00
Nickel machines: 200 credits = $10.00, 1,000 credits = $50.00, 2,000 credits = $100.00, 20,000 credits = $1,000.00
Some casinos make it easy to keep track of your winnings and give you the opportunity to take the money and run. If you win a substantial amount during a bonus round on multi-line video slots, the machine will go in lock-down mode and require a "hand pay" from a slot services representative. Take advantage of this option and preserve a percentage of the winnings.
One technique that I advocate is to break your session bankroll into $20 bills and play them one at a time instead of inserting multiple bills or larger denomination bills into the currency validator in the machine.
Any time you win a substantial amount of money during the course of play, hit the cash-out button and collect. This is a great rule of thumb when playing quarter video poker. If you catch four-of-a-kind and win 250 coins, 400 coins, 800 coins, or even 2,000 coins, depending on the game you’re playing, cash out and start playing with another $20.
Leaving those credits on the machine makes it SO easy to keep on playing them down until you’ve squandered away your good fortune. Winning is hard and those four-of-a-kinds are few and far between!