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Stick to these rules when gambling in casinos

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My first rule in casino gambling is: Never bet with "scared money." Scared money rarely wins. Your investment capital (that's what you must consider it) should consist of "mad money"—money that, if you lose it, won't affect your lifestyle. If the cards and dice don't go your way, tough! When I lose—and, yes, there are times I do lose—I just shrug my shoulders and tell myself "tomorrow is another day. . . ." Victor Lownes, who ran the Playboy Casino in London when it was the most profitable casino in the world, aptly phrased it when he advised that, if you lose, just consider it "expensive entertainment."

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My second basic rule is: Never take credit. Casino hosts masquerading as your friendly Dutch Uncles are eager to set up a credit line for you. Beware! Don't—I repeat, do not—ever bite the bait. If you do, you will live to regret it. Through the years enough credit has been offered me to buy the Empire State Building. In forty years of casino gambling, I have yet to swallow the hook, not even once.

Take special note of my next rule: Your credit cards enable you to ravage the ATM machines that are conveniently located throughout casinos: LEAVE ALL YOUR CREDIT CARDS AT HOME! If you must carry a card with you, take one that doesn't give access to ATM machines. Sure, there have been times when the dice went against me and my working capital was wiped out. But I never used my plastic card to restock the plastic chips, though 1 sometimes had to use it to buy a meal, or even a wee drop of the grape. (Yes, occasionally I do take a drink or two to help restart my motor. After three or four hours of casino-hopping a vodka-and-tonic tastes great. Still, if alcohol affects you adversely, stay away.)

As for the ever-conspicuous ATM machines in the casinos, I sometimes stand and watch those sad souls standing in line awaiting their turn to take money out of one casino machine, just to put it into another casino machine. And most probably never to see it again.

If you're going to Atlantic City or Las Vegas for a weekend, split your bankroll into three equal packs—one for each day of your stay. Put one pack in your pocket and the other two in the hotel safe. Don't imitate the hotshot from California who went to Vegas for a weekend. While his wife was waiting on line to check in, he hightailed it over to the craps table. Before she even got to the registration desk he meekly sidled over to her and said, "We're going home, honey. I just blew our bankroll."

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