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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Take this Quiz to Better Understand What Draws You to the Casinos

24 June 2002

You've seen those puzzles in children's and other magazines, where the objective is to identify "what's wrong with this picture?" They include things like square wheels on cars, dogs walking aardvarks on leashes across the street against the light, backwards lettering on signs, and baseball batters at the plate hitting tomatoes out of the park with badminton rackets.

Casinos use images like these for advertising. An example might show a handsome, trim, immaculately coifed young couple - he at a slot machine wearing an elegant sport coat and a tie or ascot, she behind him poured into a chic sheath - both flashing capped pearly whites with dazzling smiles clearly radiating lots of fun. What's wrong with this picture? There's the obvious: patrons too young, fashion models rather than solid citizens, and dress-up wardrobes. But, more, the players look like they're having fun.

Notwithstanding the fairy tale, few folks go the casinos to have fun. They go for lots of tenable pastime, leisure, and entertainment reasons. Fun, in the sense of merriment or frolic, isn't among them. Most people get serious, intense, when they gamble. You don't see many smiles. Looking for fun when it's not there can only throw disappointment in the path of satisfaction.

Casino buffs have individual incentives. Within limits of rationality, who's to judge whether one person or another is right or wrong, wise or wifty? And, if someone does venture to pronounce such a verdict, would it be based on what is or can be known in advance, during the heat of the action, or in retrospect after a player who dropped his or her last dime into a slot machine either lost that, too, or hit for half a million?

So, what draws you to the casino? Take the following "know thyself" quiz by ranking how well each item applies to you - rating it zero if it's irrelevant, five if it fits you perfectly, or one to four to reflect the degree you're in between.
_____ Escape from the boring routine at home and/or work.
_____ Get away from the stress at home and/or work.
_____ Throw caution to the breeze at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
_____ See a stage show.
_____ Make new friends.
_____ Feel superior to the bezonians who waste their hard-earned money making sucker plays at games they don't understand.
_____ Invest a modest stake you can always put together in an admittedly remote shot at an amount you don't see how you could amass any other way.
_____ Grab a little of the casino's dough.
_____ Be treated with respect and courtesy.
_____ Get preferential privileges because you're an insider who knows the ropes and is a close personal friend of a host.
_____ Pretend you're someone your in-laws and everyday associates know you're not.
_____ Undergo the emotional highs and lows of wins and losses, and the adrenaline flows of anticipation.
_____ Put some verve into your life.
_____ Beat the odds.
_____ Earn bragging rights about how much you won, lost, were ahead and gave back, or were behind and recovered.
_____ Test a theory other people, especially the know-it-alls too smart for their own good, were too dumb to think of.
_____ Participate in an activity that was once restricted to strata of society you read about or saw in the movies but could never join.
_____ Obtain a better bang for your recreation buck than your acquaintances who think casinos are only about gambling.
_____ Spend some time in the lap of luxury where they pay people to pick up after you, not nag you about leaving a mess.
_____ Receive gifts like toaster ovens or logo beach towels, whether or not you need them or would want them if they weren't free, for doing something you would do anyway.

Honestly considering each item will tell you a lot. But, add up your score anyway. It'll be somewhere between zero and 100.

Tallies between zero and four indicate that you should find a cave and become a hermit; casinos certainly aren't for you. From five upwards to 49 means you know, increasingly, how to make the best of the casino experience. Rising from 50 through 74 suggests that you may be going more and more overboard and should watch yourself. A range of 75 to 94 tells you to cancel your casino credit and leave your bank card at home. Any higher, replace your fanny pack with a financial chastity belt and adopt as a mantra this memorable monody by the eminent muse, Sumner A Ingmark:

Motivations, somewhat contradictory,
Cause destruction, even when in victory.

Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.