“How to Gamble Like a Christian”
Here are a few helpful tips for those inclined to play games in the Casino during our cruise.
1. Decide how much money you wish to budget for gaming and stick to that budget. Plan to lose ALL of that money. If the thought of losing ALL of your budgeted money affects your joy, DO NOT play games in a casino.
Once you have agreed with your spouse on how much you are willing to spend to participate in casino gaming, STICK TO THAT AMOUNT. This is RULE NUMBER ONE!
2. The odds of “winning” some of your money back are actually fairly good, but the casino is not in the business of wanting you hold on to that money. Each table game/machine in a casino has different percentages of payout (odds), some higher than others. Ultimately, these odds are ALWAYS in the casino’s favor.
If, for example, a penny slot machine pays out an average of $70 for each $100 wagered, it means the machine has an average payout of “70%.” The key word here is “average.” Some people will “win” more, others will “win” less.
Casinos make more money when people re-bet whatever the machines pay out. If a person re-bets the $70 s/he just “won” and gets another 70% payout, s/he now has less than $50. The casino hopes s/he will repeat this process until all of the original $100 is gone—and more.
The same principle applies to table games/card games. If a person sits down at a “$5 table” with $100 in chips in their “Bet” pile, there’s a high probability s/he will “win” some chips back as s/he plays through their initial $100.
If, for example, you’re playing Blackjack at $5 per hand, your “Bet” pile will be completely empty after twenty hands. If you “won” back 50% of your chips during those twenty hands, you would have $50 in your “Winnings” pile. Some players at your table will have “won” more, others will have “won” less.
The question you now face is what to do with the $50 in your "Winnings" pile. The casino’s goal is to entice ALL players to re-bet whatever they “win”—big or small. They want everyone to keep playing until ALL of their original chips are gone. Then, they hope people will get more money to get more chips, but YOU won’t do that because YOU follow RULE NUMBER ONE.
3. Gaming is a form of recreation and entertainment, not a means of prosperity. Don’t play hoping to get rich or make money; you won’t.
Keep greed out of your heart. Casino games are like carnival games. They proudly display the big prizes and make it look easy. It isn’t. Casinos are businesses and you are a customer. They provide a form of diversionary entertainment in exchange for your cash. It’s as simple as that.
Approach gaming in a casino like you would going bowling, playing golf, getting a massage, seeing a movie, renting a beach condo, visiting an Escape Room, going to a live NFL game, catching a Broadway show, and so on. All of these outings and adventures cost money, and memories are all that remain after its done. Gaming is no different. When it’s over, most/all of the money you paid to play will be gone. If you had a good time, let that be enough. If you didn’t have a good time because you didn’t get entertainment AND to keep your money, casinos aren't the place for you.
4. You will lose money. Make sure it’s money you can afford to lose. Use only funds designated for entertainment and recreation, not money needed for Kingdom service, household operation, bills & debts, or savings.
5. Don’t dip deeper in your wallet, purse, bank account, cruise pass, ATM, or credit cards to try to “win back” what you’ve lost. You will not be able to win it back. Pulling out more money is a guaranteed way to lose more money.
And don’t increase your wagers in an attempt to recoup losses or win “grand” prizes. Only wager the machine/table minimums and stick to your level of play. It’s about having fun for a few hours, not winning enough money to retire.
6. Casinos are bathed in second-hand cigarette smoke. It sucks. There may be a non-smoking section, but the air is still stinky in most areas.
7. Don’t combine gaming with drinking. There’s no need to mingle bad judgment with terrible odds.
8. DO NOT yell at machines or hit them because they “took” your money. Machines don’t have guile. They are programmed to pay out at pre-defined percentages, and those percentages are calculated among ALL players who play the machine at all times of day/night over many days, weeks, months, and years—not just the ten minutes during which you played your $20. Getting angry at a machine is a fool's move; you're not a fool.
DO NOT abuse, belittle, or blame dealers or casino staff for bad hands or plays. The casino team has NO control over which cards are dealt to anyone. They have nothing against you personally (unless you’re acting like an idiot), and they are not there to “take” your money. They couldn’t take your dough even if they wanted to; the eye in the sky is always watching.
Being rude to a dealer or member of the casino staff is a low-class move; you're not low-class.
Here’s a secret: the dealers actually WANT you to win big money because happy players give better tips. Speaking of tips, if you get a GOOD payout on a hand, show the dealer some love. A few chips thrown his/her way makes their TOUGH job slightly more tolerable.
9. Learn the rules of the games you desire to play. If you are playing at a machine, click through the info pages to see how to wager and play. If you choose to play a table game, stand back and watch a few hands to get a feel for how things work.
The dealers are there to help you; don’t be afraid to ask. They can’t tell you what to do, but they are usually willing to say what they would do in a given situation. It’s best to listen to them, even if they turn out to be wrong.
DO NOT CHEAT or attempt to scam a machine or table. It’s not Christ-like, and it’s a doomed endeavor. You will get caught and it will be bad for you. Besides, no amount of money is worth sacrificing your Christian witness or integrity.
10. DO NOT pray to win or consult the Holy Spirit about what you should wager. Don’t bind the devil to keep him from interfering with the cards/machine. Don’t ask for the anointing to play well or make “Favor” confessions before sitting down to play. All of this is silly and unscriptural.
You wouldn’t anoint a deck of Uno cards with oil or keep your Monopoly dice next to your Bible for good luck. You wouldn’t pray for a “seven of hearts” to come up in Rummy or ask God to let you “run a Boston” on your opponents in Spades. Don’t engage in such nonsense during casino play either.
Further, as often as possible, avoid following "hunches" and "feelings" about machines, tables, bets, and cards. Enjoyable gaming demands a logical approach. Focus on mathematical realities instead of voodoo and JuJu.
While we’re at it, please remove “luck” from your mindset and vocabulary. When it involves casino payouts, “odds” is the name of the game. Your chances of losing big and winning big are constant every time you play. You have no control and God doesn't tread into trivialities. Decide to enjoy the games for what they are; keep spiritual things where they belong.
Oh, and there's no curse for playing casino games. You aren't opening yourself up to the devil or setting yourself up for judgment. That kind of thinking comes from bad doctrine and dead religion. Keep your heart right and motives pure. Let the chips and cards and tumblers fall where they may.
These simple tips should equip and empower you to have an enjoyable time if you choose to play casino games during the cruise. Gaming is not for everyone. Know your limits and be honest with yourself and others. It is not God’s Will for you to be under the control of anything other than His Holy Spirit—not food, money, sex, success, power, pride, work, or sleep. You are the head, not the tail. You control the gaming, not the other way around.
If you ever find yourself compelled to play beyond your limits or at the cost of Peace in your heart/home, STOP PLAYING AND WALK AWAY IMMEDIATELY. Gaming has no power over you; God lives in your spirit; you are an overcomer. If you feel like you’re above-ness is slipping away, be WISE and HUMBLE enough to ask for help. We all need it from time-to-time. Call 800-522-4700 or visit www.ncpgambling.org.