How To Make $100 Last In A Casino

So you and your friends decide to go to Vegas for a guys weekend getaway. But you’re strapped for cash and you really need to make your bankroll last, you’ve only got about $100 per day to gamble. What should you do? How can you maximize your gambling fund without being “that guy” that hovers around his friends as they get free drinks, win money and make you feel like crap for not having any money left? We’ve come up with a list of ideas that we think can be implemented for ANY size budget. But for those of you really looking to make your $100 last, try these tips!

Play tables games at a full table

This is a situation where there are a full 7 players at a blackjack table or 14 people at a craps table. The benefit to playing at a full table is that is really slows down the number of decisions per hour. The fewer decisions per our, the less you’ll lose in said hour. The dealer will have re-shuffle at Blackjack, the dealers have to pay out all the crazy bets on a craps table or figure out how much to pay to which players at a crowded roulette table. Point is, the more players at a table game, the longer it will take between money losing opportunities.

Play the minimum bet on a slot slowly

Ok, this one is probably the weakest recommendation on the list. Even minimum slots are somewhere around the .25/.40 depending on traditional 3-reel slots and video slots. But the idea here is much like the recommendation for playing video poker: Free drinks! The thought here is if you can slow play your money, you’ll be able to offset your losses with free alcohol. Now here’s the big difference between video poker and slots: With slots, you could literally hit the spin just as the waitress is approaching you, act like you’ve been sitting there playing for a long time and get yourself a free drink. CAUTION: Don’t have your players card in the machine. Remember this is really only relevant information if you’re NOT looking to build up your ADT. If you have your players card in and she can see you’ve only accumulated a point or two since she last visited, you’re busted and she’ll know you’re not really gambling. Of course, never underestimate the power of a generous tip for a server to look the other way. Ok, the downside to slow playing the slots for free drinks is that you’re at the mercy of the servers speediness. If she has a huge area to cover, you may not see her but every 15-20 minutes. If you’re just sitting a machine, you’re likely drinking a bit faster because you don’t have your slot machine to keep you entertained. So just keep that in mind.

Sign up fo playrs club and free play

This one is only good one time, if even an option. Most players club offer sign-up bonuses, frequently referred to as “Free Play”. You sign up for a players card and they will credit your comp account $5-$25 (typically) just for signing up. Now, you have to play it on a slot or video poker machine, but who cares? It’s free money! So if you brought $100 with you but the sign-up incentive is $20 on your players card, well then you technically have $120 with which to gamble while you’re in the casino. The best part: You only have to run the money through the machine in the amount equal to the free play. So, lets say you get $20 in free play, you decide to play $1 video poker, full coin-in (you really want that $4,000 Royal Flush), then you’ve now bet $5 on that hand. If you’re playing JoB and get a pair of Kings, you’re going to be credited with $5. If you cash out, the machine will give you a payout slip of $5 and show you with a balance of $15 let in free play. You play another hand and get dealt a Full House, now you can cash out $30 but still have $10 left in free play, get it? There is no downside to free play and anything you hit on, you can cash out.

Slot play VP for free drinks

Alright, here’s why I like this idea, quick drink service. You’re at the well, no need to wait for a waitress to come around. The bartender sees you’ve finished off your drink, he pours you another. You tip him the requisite $1/drink and you’re good to go! Now, there is one significant downside to option and that is the fact the bartender can see whether or not you’re slow playing the machine. I would recommend smoking (especially if you’re alone) as a way to have an excuse for not playing as fast. The cutting of the cigar, the toasting the tip, lighting, proper care while it’s lit, and so on and so forth. If you’re with someone, the bartender is going to cut you a LOT of slack if you’re taking time out to engage in a conversation. But as much as possible, always wait until the bartender is at or near you so that you’re playing when he’s watching and he’s watching if you’re playing. Don’t be offended if he asks you to speed up your play a bit. Again, for a generous enough tip, they’ll let a lot slide, but don’t put them in a precarious situation where their manager is asking why they let you sit there drinking for free without giving them real play. And one other point: You must play a full 5 coins on the video poker machine to be comped any free drinks.

Bet just the pass line at craps

The pass line at the craps table is the best bet in that game. And if I’m not mistaken the 2nd best bet in the casino (Blackjack with 3:2, dealer stands on soft 17 is #1). Plus what I like about craps is that you can last a really long time on $20 (assuming it’s a $5 game). You place your $5 pass line bet just before the come out roll and if the shooter rolls 7 or 11, you win!! If he shoots a 2, 3 or 12, you lose. Any other number and that becomes point. Then the shooters just rolls and rolls and rolls until he rolls either your point or 7’s out. Either way, that could easily last 5+ minutes…now compare that to roulette or blackjack where a decision will be made in 2-3 minutes. See how you’ll get less decisions per hour, thus making your money last longer?

Optimal BJ

How many times do we have to say it? Go out, buy one of those business card sized Blackjack strategy cards, place it on the blackjack table right in front of you near your chips and use it! If you play perfect Blackjack strategy at $5 with good rules, there’s no reason not to be able to last HOURS with $100 (your mileage may vary). Again, as mentioned, sit yourself at a full table and you should be there for quite a while.


Ok, this game is BORING, I’ll concede. BUT, it’s a legitimate excuse to get free drinks and only spent $1 every 5 minutes or so. Keno, in case you’ve been sheltered all your life, is nothing more than a cheap lottery whereby you pick the numbers you think will be drawn and then you wait to see how many (if any) get pulled. The more numbers that come up, the more money you will. This is a terrible game for the player from a house edge standpoint. But it’s soooo slllooooooww. So much so that $20 will easily last you an hour…if you don’t want to kill yourself first from boredom. The upside, of course, free drinks! And if you get an attentive waitress, you could get blitzed in no time flat. Of course, on the other hand, see the above paragraph as it relates to slot machine waitresses. Same thing here.

Even Odd at Roulette

This idea is essentially the same as the Blackjack and Craps concept. The more people at the table, the more time it takes between decisions. The major benefit to roulette is that if you’re a newbie to the casino (and table games in particular), this is a wonderful foray into table games and getting used to something that’s not a solo activity like slots and video poker. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing at the table, all you care about is betting black/red, even/odd, 1st half/2nd half or some other ALMOST 50/50 decision.

Pee Often

This may seem like a strange comment to make, but really, it makes sense, doesn’t it? The more frequently you’re away from the table (or video poker machince) the less time you’re making decisions which can deplete your $100. If you were to take a break at what appears to be the half way marker during a six deck Blackjack game, you’re buying time away from the action. When you come back, you’ve potentially sat out 1/3 – 1/4 of the shoe. Don’t (I repeat: Don’t) wait until the shuffle up of the shoe to wait to use the restroom. If you do, you’re playing hands you could otherwise being sitting out. One positive upside to setting away from the tables/VP machines is that you’re getting rated on your players card for time that you’re not actually gambling. Knowing that casinos are looking for a minimum of 4-hours/day, each bathroom break is worth about 10 minutes to you. Do this once every hour during your 4-hour “gaming session” and you’ve knocked 40 minutes off your potential money loss time!

Ok, so that’s what we’ve come up with. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, to the contrary! We’d like to know what you think? What other ways do you make your $100 for gambling last a bit longer when you’re in the casino?

2 thoughts on “How To Make $100 Last In A Casino

  1. AccessVegas Reply

    Good stuff. While some may prefer the “rush” of playing a dealer heads-up at blackjack, that is a great way to get killed in a hurry. Plus, you have more social interaction.

    With craps, sitting out a roll or two is no sin at all. Even if you just play the minimum bet with small odds and make no other bets, your bankroll is going to last quite a while. Combine that with sitting out a couple rolls during cold streaks and bathroom breaks and you really stretch your time.

    You are right on the money with VP. Sit at the bar. I don’t even put my bet in until the bartender is over to take my drink order. Tip $2 on that first drink ($1 for each one after) and you’ll be taken care of. Smoking a cigar is a good way to extend your play, as is following a sports game on TV. You will not be faulted for looking up and watching a play here and there.

    That combined with playing a low volatility, high-return game that you KNOW how to play (Jacks or Better, Bonus Poker instead of Double Double Triple Mega Quintiple whatever) and the odds are that $100 will last a long time on 25 cent VP loaded.

    My top VP tips? IF your machine has a speed selection (some still do), set it to the slowest. Let the game deal slower. If you can’t do that, don’t feel compelled to “keep up with the machine”. Just because the cards are dealt at lighting speed does NOT mean you have to select them at lighting speed. No one can yell at you for carefully and slowly holding your cards (then taking a puff on your cigar, then catching the next exciting sports play on TV).

    Brilliant advice on peeing during blackjack. (In the men’s room, not in your pants). Always time it so that you get back with plenty left on the shoe. Since you have to sit out until the next shoe, you get to spectate but still order free drinks and have your time rated.

    • Tony Snyder Reply

      Ted, thanks for the point about selecting the speed at which your VP hands get dealt. I like to set my speed at two of three arrows. I find the first arrow speed to be PAINFULLY slow. My wife, on the other hand, insists on playing at the third (max speed) arrow level and I try to tell her not to, that it takes her money faster.

      Now that you mention it, one other point I should have made was to NOT press the “deal” button when the machine is paying you your winning credits. My wife does that too. I tell her to allow the machine the few extra seconds it takes to allow the credit meter to tick upwards to slow down play!

      You are spot on about the idea of sitting out an entire shoe due to a bathroom break. I’ve seen a fair number of players who do NOT want a new person jumping in, mid-shoe. Now that casinos are also starting to implement this (albeit for anti-card counting reasons), you have a good excuse to go off to the bathroom, continue to be rated, and wait for the next shoe to jump back in!

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