When we started our blog, we were freshly engaged, and had started to plan our wedding. Readers of our blog know that we had some expensive ideas for the wedding and not many of you agreed with our decisions. We went ahead with our own plans anyway a few years after that first post. Five years after that, we’ve made it through five years of wedded bliss. Oh how time flies!
While we took an extravagant European trip for our honeymoon, we decided to go a very different route for our five year anniversary and went to Las Vegas. There’s a lot about Vegas that I love: the bright lights,the sounds, the people, the shows, the restaurants, the ridiculousness of it all. Of course all of that costs money, not to mention costs for transportation and lodging.
There’s another activity that I love in Vegas: GAMBLING. I know, I know, a personal finance blogger who loves gambling? That’s bad news, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. I would say that over the years I’ve done quite well and quite poorly at gambling, and have come out about even. During one spectacular trip to Vegas, I won enough money gambling to cover my airfare, hotel, and food, and I went home with a $1,000 extra dollars (which I actually donated to my church!).
I do have rules, though. I always play at a live table. Friends of mine really like the convenience of being able to log in to an online casino from home. They have lots of fun doing that, but it’s not for me. I also have a limit as to how much I am willing to lose. I generally give myself $200 to play with. Depending on the night, though, $200 can either last 15 minutes at a very cold craps table, or it could last all night at a hot roulette table. I’ve heard of people who also have winning limits, but I think that’s ridiculous. If I put a winning limit of $300 on myself, I would have left $700 on the table, literally. But you must know yourself and follow your own rules.
My favorite game to play is craps. I’m a fairly conservative bettor and generally bet the minimum on the pass line and take the fewest amount of “free” odds. I’ll increase my bets only if I’m up 50% of my original allowance (so if I gave myself $200, I’ll increase if I get to $300). The best is when the table is full of rowdy people and there’s a hot roller. Everyone goes crazy every time the point is hit and everyone has a good time.
The second most favorite game of mine to pay is blackjack. Yes, the rules are fairly simple, and there’s tons of guides online of when to hit, stay, double down, or even surrender. I’ll play roulette at the end of the night to wind things down, or pai gow poker if I need some free drinks.
Fortunately this last time in Vegas was with my wife, who isn’t an avid gambler but is a good sport. She’s also good at keeping me honest and true to my rules. Anyway, I was there to celebrate with her, not just gamble my savings away.