Guy Question: Do You Splurge If You Win Big at the Casino?

by Darwin on October 2, 2012


I love when I have a real life situation that’s totally a blog post.  I immediately email it to myself to remember for future reference, especially when there’s drinking involved and I’m not prone to remember too well.  So, this weekend, I was in Atlantic City with a relative and he hit it big on the penny slots.  Big for him, like he never really gambles and was playing the penny slots and hit $450 in one shot – wow!  He came over laughing with the receipt and beers in his hand and was like, “Lap dances on me tonight!” LOL…  (let’s not go there)… but anyway, it reminded me of prior times I’d been out with a group of friends and the different ways people handled a big night.  Sometimes, a big winner would be real generous and be buying rounds and food and whatnot for the crew; other times, it’s every man for himself.


If you’re out with your boys for a night at the casino and you win big, what is the protocol as far as sharing the love?  

Do you keep those winnings to yourself?  

Do you splurge and buy shots, drinks, dinner and more for the guys?  

Do you base it on how generous they’ve been in the past or just open the spigot if you win a bunch of dough?  

When I think back to my earlier days when my friends and I would hit the casinos now and then, I think for the most part, we’d always kind of act the same regardless of who won what.  We’d usually just pay for ourselves, with maybe 1 person paying for gas/tolls on the way home if somebody won big or whatever, but for the most part, nobody was sharing the wealth.  I think a few things contributed to that – for one, we were younger and money was more scarce.  Additionally, we went frequently enough that I suppose the thinking was that sometimes we’d win, sometimes we’d lose and net-net, we’re probably all in the boat from a winnings/losses standpoint, so why bother?

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I used to go to casinos in highschool (underage-not a great idea) because it was a big deal and my friends and I were into gambling for everything from baseball cards to betting on Nintendo games and ping pong.  We really liked to gamble.  It was fun socially and I ended up way ahead in the end, so it worked out for me.  This spilled over into college and for a few more years as my best friends and I would hit AC now and then for fun to keep in touch.

Fortunately, as you know from my writing and what I read, I am very much a student of statistics, probabilities and, well, reality.  I fully admit that with regard to casino gambling, it is a net loser, even if you think you’re a great gambler, can count cards, or think you’re real lucky (reminder, there is no such thing as luck in life, only random variability which is unpredictable).  So, I’m not an advocate of going to casinos with the intent to make money.  We were in AC for a wedding and the guys and gals went separate ways so that’s how we chose to spend our night.  These days, I consider a casino once in a couple years as an entertainment expense and nothing more.  By the way, I won $50 playing Blackjack which I can’t complain about.  In my younger years, especially after reading about counting cards in the amazing story Bringing Down the House I used to only leave after either winning or losing at least $400-$500.  In this case, I was fine bailing after being up or down just $50-$60.

So, back to the main premise.  Regardless of what you think about gambling, on the rare occasion that you’re out with the boys and hit it really big, do you act as though nothing’s changed and everyone buys for themselves or would you splurge on them a bit, especially if you won thousands while they lost for the night?

Would Love to Hear Your Crazy Casino Stories.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents October 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I never won (net winnings) at casinos. I view those times as just entertainment and I was willing to spend the paltry sum of $20-40 for entertainment. It helps if I went more than 3 times. I have won some money at the race track, although less than $100. I only bet $2 a race so you cannot win big with those bets. There is a trend here, I don’t really believe in traditional gambling to make money. All my gambling has been in business where the odds are more even.


Darwin October 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Oh, but business is an “investment” and not gambling LOL! (I’m speaking from experience here taking losses on some recent investments…)


Roger @ The Chicago Financial Planner October 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Literally my two casino experiences as an adult were in the mid 90s at a casino on an Indian reservation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and last year in New Orleans with my wife and daughter. The former was a business trip and in the latter case we split $30 and entertained ourselves for almost an hour. I think if I was out with the guys and won a few $100s I’d likely buy a round or two and leave it at that.


Darwin October 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Well, there ya go – a modern day Robinhood! I was curious if some would feel inclined to do zilch.


Glen Craig October 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

For my bachelor party the guys to me out to a casino to close out the night. I did real well at blackjack. In fact at one point I was paying for 2 friend’s hands so they could keep playing. Since things were basically paid for already I made sure to make the night memorable and bought shot glass keepsakes for everyone.


Darwin October 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Sounds awesome; how much you win!?!


Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey October 3, 2012 at 3:46 am

I have never been to a casino my whole life, or did any gambling for that matter. But given the money to splurge and I win big, I will definitely share a part of the winnings with my family and friends. We will celebrate, dine, and drink but of course, save a part of the money, too.


Darwin October 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Yes, I always had this little mini-budget thing in my head when I was up big. Never wanted to live with regret of driving home as a loser after being up big at some point.


101 Centavos October 3, 2012 at 5:50 am

I’ve had the same experiences with some visits to Reno. One of our group won big at roulette, but kept his winnings to himself. At that time, we were all students and money was tight. No one begrudged it.


Darwin October 3, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Yeah, I wouldn’t expect anyone to pay for stuff. But I guess if the night was huge, like thousands, and they didn’t buy a single drink or anything, we’d definitely goof on him!


Molly October 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

Is there a reason you are just asking men this question? Do you think there are no women in casinos?


Darwin October 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm

The only ones I see are asking, “Coffee, soda, juice?”…

Totally kidding. Yes, of course, the same concept could apply to women, but based on my totally unscientific and anecdotal experience, it’s usually the guys playing table games and betting bigger bucks while the ladies they came with go dance, play some slots or do something other than gamble the night away. There are exceptions to every rule, but I’m sure some stats out there would validate my theory. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d look it up


Financial Samurai October 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I won about $1,200 playing poker on my cruise to Scandinavia. The problem is, it was hard work and took 8 sessions to win!

Hence, I didn’t splurge. Just used it to pay for all our excursions and onshore food.


Darwin October 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

$1200, nice! Did you have buddies with you that were less fortunate? Spread the wealth? Or just you and the lady?


Mike October 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm

I enjoy gambling occasionally, usually while on vacation. I’ve had varying levels of success and am certainly down more than up in the long run.

My approach to gambling winnings is 10% goes to charity, no more than 25% gets spent immediately, 50% is saved (“free” money right?), rest put towards paying for the trip (my trips are budgeted for in advance).

My best success was at my own bachelor party where I turned $75 into $150. I ended up spending all of my winnings on something I had wanted for a while – the official NASA Space Shuttle Lego set – I know huge dork, but I love it. That was before my savings/spending plan for windfalls.

Now, this plan is pretty much the same for most of my windfalls (cash gifts, bonuses, etc).


Darwin October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

That’s interesting. 10% to charity. This is just the cold hard objective calculus in me… if charity is a goal and you’re down over the long term, wouldn’t your charity be more well-served by just giving them money directly and not gambling (or not considering them as a recipient of winnings)? Nice thought either way though; my charitable giving is very random and not organized.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: