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Is Cheap Gambling Possible?

Vicki Wood is a self-employed mother of four grown children living in Mid-Missouri. She was formerly a nurse and is getting back to writing.

Is it is possible to ever hit a jackpot with a very small casino play budget of $20 once a month? I've been playing this way for over a year now. I know I'm not a great gambler. My biggest jackpot has been on a penny slot machine for $65. My daughter-in-law, however, will sit down at a machine, hit spin about three times, get a $175 jackpot, and cash out. It drives me crazy with jealousy. So I tell myself that I just love to play, win or lose. And I do. But winning once in a while would sure be nice!

A slot machine.

A slot machine.

Seeking Advice About Gambling on a Budget

In search of whether it is possible to get any real winnings on this small budget, I went online to seek help. In my quest, I found a lady who has made her hobby of gambling into a profitable venture by writing about it. The Frugal Gambler is a good place to start.

"The Gambling Grandma"

Jean Scott in 1998 became a household name to casino players across the country. Known as "The Gambling Grandma," she has figured out a complete guide to playing on the cheap, as well as making a pretty good way to travel completely free on comps. Now, Jean probably has a lot more money to put into it than I do, but it's a good place to start. She can guide you to which machines sit where on a casino floor, and how they pay off better, and which ones to avoid if you don't like wasting your very small budget.

Tips on Stretching Your Budget at the Casino

So on this quest to stretch my limited monthly casino budget, these are few of the things that I've learned so far.

  1. Get a players club card at every casino you visit. I have quite an impressive lanyard full, especially after my weekend trip to Northern Oklahoma last year. These cards usually comp you free play to start, normally five to ten dollars. You have to insert a dollar at a lot of them to get your free play to start.
  2. Find a casino you are comfortable with but far enough away so that you are not tempted to go all the time. Get a place to play where minimum bets are low. The one I go to is an hour and a half away, and I usually only go on special nights, like when they are having unlimited crab legs on the buffet or giving away great gifts. These nights are fun! The energy is high, and people are friendly and in a party-like atmosphere. It is usually very crowded, but I find that the machines are looser on these nights.
  3. Stay away from machines that surround the table gaming floor. I have found that these don't pay off as well. I think they don't like that distracting from the table excitement.
  4. Do play machines near the stage, the bar, or on the end aisles. These tend to pay off better.
  5. Don't drink a lot of alcohol. This makes you tend to not care and spend more. These are the nights I have found myself hitting the ATM. My rule is to have one cocktail when I get there, drink a lot of free soda, then have one more about two hours before I leave, followed by another round of free sodas.
  6. Pick up the penny tickets people have discarded. I have found these a lot to lay on machines. Usually three to ten cents. One time, I put one of these three-cent tickets in my machine and won ten bucks.
  7. The final tip I have found maintains my spirit about the night and my feeling about going back. I take one good cash out and put it in my purse and do not touch it again. Even if I am way down for the night, if I have a good ticket to cash out with, I feel better walking out that night and want to come back.
Roulette wheel.

Roulette wheel.

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Vicki Wood (author) from Eldon, Missouri on September 12, 2018:

thanks, i don't like losing money either that's why I don't spend much.

Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on September 07, 2018:

I went into an Atlantic City casino once to play blackjack. I lost fifty bucks in ten minutes. That taught me a lesson: I'm not good at gambling so do not gamble. Good info here, though.

Vicki on January 10, 2018:

Thanks for commenting Kelley. Thats what I like about the casino, there are so many different things to do and me being a little ADD that helps.

Kelley Marks from Sacramento, California on January 08, 2018:

My gambling tip is to stay away from the slot machines and play either craps or poker. Your odds are much better in those games of chance. Of course, when playing poker you only have to beat other players, which is much easier than besting the house; it's a lot more fun that pumping coins into slot machines, too. At any rate, I'm too much of a cheapskate to gamble these days, so I keep my precious money and watch TV instead.

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