Any question related to gambling is fair game

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I find your columns very intriguing, but I must confess, I do not go to the casino but once a year with my daughter on my birthday. I do dabble occasionally with the California lottery and Wednesday night bingo. Thank you for writing not only about casino gambling, but also about some of the other offerings that relate to gambling. Doris M.

Over the past few years, I have received numerous letters from readers like yourself who do not gamble at all. One editor of a newspaper who carries Deal Me In told me that half of his (Deal ) letters come from readers who’ve never set a foot in a casino. They enjoy the column not only for the insider information-for my sins I spent my 18-year penance working in these grind joints-but also because all gambling questions, whether technical, societal, philosophical, or what’s my favorite buffet in Las Vegas, are open to discussion in my Q&A forum. So occasionally, I will answer questions on the lottery, sweepstakes, bingo, kitchen table poker, and even carnival games of chance. As long as it is your hard-earned money at risk, no question on any form of gambling is trivial to me. Hopefully, Doris, Deal Me In is the North Star showing you the way on the games you play.

I read where Mike Ditka was banned from a casino for three months for tossing a cigar at a pit boss. The pit boss made an unfavorable ruling when a die was cocked on a stack of chips. What is your take? Scott S.

In a frenzied game like craps, a boxman needs to make split-second decisions that are not always favorable to the player. In Ditka’s case, I visualize one of the dice leaning toward the number four, matching up with the three on the sister cube, and instantly you have seven-out, line-away. Without being there and knowing all the facts, I trust the judgment the boxman made on the call. He, or she, has made hundreds of similar calls before, and although it is not always advantageous to a former NFL player and coach, it most likely was the correct decision.

The other matter is the behavior of the disorderly player. For that, I agree with Nick the Greek, who said about sore losers: “The only difference between a winner and a loser is-character.” Ditka deserved the heave-ho!

Is there any set time that you should walk away from a cold machine? I ask because often I spend far too much time on a slot machine, not even knowing how much I’ve spent. Joyce G.

If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will jump out instantly. Yet, if you were to place it in a pot of cool water and slowly raise the temperature to the boiling point, the frog will unsuspectingly meet its fatal demise. As the metaphor suggests, we human frogs can cook ourselves to death in a casino, hanging around slot machines and table games far too long, waiting for our luck to turn. I am asking you to jump out of the pot NOT because a machine is cold. I have explained in past columns that each spin on a slot machine is an independent event based on the random number generator (RGN). I am asking you to jump out because I want you to develop discipline and fiscal awareness of your bankroll when you play. After you lose a certain percentage of your playing capital, like 5%, or five pulls with no return, learn to walk away. That way, Joyce, you will be smarter than the frog.

Gambling thought of the week: “It can be argued that man’s instinct to gamble is the only reason he is still not a monkey up in the trees.” Mario Puzo, Inside Las Vegas

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