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Quitting As A Winner In Las Vegas

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I wish somebody had taken me by the hand and given me this sage advice. Oh, how many times have I stayed too long at a table! How many times have I waited around for "just one more hand," "just one more shoe," only to see all my winnings—and sometimes my table stakes—swept away? Remember, just as fast as you won it, that's how fast you can lose it, so pick up your chips and head directly to the cashier's cage, and then right to the exit door, with the casino's $20 in your wallet. It's yours. You won it. As Jackie Gleason phrased it, "How sweet it is. . . ."

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Now you're off to the Next Casino, with your original bankroll of two or three hundred dollars, plus your $20 winnings. Now let's see you do it again. This time shoot for twenty-five bucks. Sure, you can do it again,- just don't be greedy. Stick to your hit-and-run strategy and, voilal you'll now be $45 richer. Keep doing this up and down the Strip, or all along the Boardwalk, and soon you'll be stuffing hundred-dollar bills in your wallet. I can't emphasize enough that having a specific goal in mind is essential to quitting as a winner.

Here's a case in point: It was Saturday afternoon in New York. My girl friend at the time was embroiled in a messy and expensive divorce. Her court case was on the docket for Monday. The distraught lady was up a tree financially,- she had to come up with $1,600 for her lawyer by Monday morning. Inspired, I grabbed my hat and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" she asked

"Off to the Strip, of course. Let's see if I can win some lawyer money for you."

And of course I did. At JFK I took TWA Flight #57 at 5:30 (after all these years, I still remember my "usual" flight to Las Vegas!), arriving at the old McCarran Airport at 8:30 Pacific Standard Time. By 8:45 I was at the blackjack tables at the Hacienda. (The Hacienda, along with the Sands, was imploded on national television on New Year's Day, 1996. It had outlived its usefulness. When the new McCarran Airport was built, the road out of the airport ran in the opposite direction. Isolated and alone at the bottom of the Strip, the Hacienda became like Australia prior to the invention of the airplane—everybody knew where it was, but nobody went there.)

But, back in the days when you had to enter Las Vegas by way of the old airport, the Hacienda was the first casino you came to.

In ten minutes I left with $175 of the Hacienda's money, then I hit-and-ran at the Tropicana for another $125. And so it went, all the way down to the Sahara, at which point my total Strip winnings topped $2,200, which more than covered my goal plus expenses. Looking over my scorecard, I never made more than $175 in any one casino. I had a goal and I systematically moved on my goal. I accomplished what I wanted to do by disciplining my table action from the first casino I entered. My lady now had her lawyer money, and her newly-paid attorney creamed her ex-husband in court Monday Morning.

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