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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Deal Me In: Spread your play around

19 April 2013

Dear Mark: When playing at a gambling destination where there are multiple casinos, how many different player's cards do you recommend I get? Jan B.

I would recommend at least three different casinos where you are a rated player and have one of their player's cards. Casinos all too often change their comp guidelines and host personnel. When doing so, changes might occur not to your liking. If you have several casinos that you enjoy, you will never have to worry that any changes to their comp policy will ruin your gambling experience. Every casino offers distinctive bargains at different times of the day, week, month or year. By spreading your action, you can get goodies galore 24/7, 365 days a year.

Dear Mark: I personally am not a gambler, but I thoroughly enjoy your column. I find it very informative. Between your column in our local newspaper and TV shows like the World Poker Tour, I get my fix of gambling without spending a dime, although this still leads me to a question about Las Vegas. This August, I will be going to the PGA Fall Expo and will get my fair share of golf in. For a non-gambler, any suggestions for a Foodie like me? Bill W.

Thank you, Bill, for your kind words.

I would advise anyone heading to Las Vegas that you should always plan other activities like shows, dining, shopping, sightseeing, the health club or, in your case, golf. Make it an enjoyable, entertaining trip, and not all gambling.

What the Mothership offers best, Bill, is that there are more quality dining options than just about any other place in the world, so don't skimp on your food budget. Enjoy Las Vegas as a food experience. You are not coming to Vegas because they have an In-N-Out Burger -- readers on the West Coast know exactly what I'm talking about -- but to sample some incredible buffets, steakhouses or sushi joints. Some of the greatest chefs in the world now own restaurants in Las Vegas, so you, Bill, being the food hobbyist that you are, should certainly budget some money for the ultimate feeding frenzy.

As for a culinary disquisition of which is the best place to dine, I will defer to the reviews from Yelp, or foodies like you. Oh, and for those leaving Vegas with but lint and loose change in their pockets, for that In-N-Out Burger fix, have your cabbie stop at one of their nine locations on your way to McCarran airport.

Dear Mark: In your answer to one of your questions, you write that the IRS allows you to write off your losses, which, for most, are greater than your winnings. The losses, however, can't exceed your winnings. I have had two clients that question this situation. Richard F.

What I meant by "losses exceeding winnings," was that most people generally lose over the period of a year, not win. In essence, I was flippantly saying that no gambler ever beats the casino over the long run.

Readers know (and may be sick of me saying) that you CAN offset your jackpot wins against other gambling loses, just as long as you itemize your deductions and do not take the standard deduction on your tax return. Gambling losses can only counterbalance gambling winnings, and not any other income, during that same tax period. Moreover, you cannot carry losses forward, or back, to any other tax year.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Get this through your head: slot machines, dice, cards or any other gambling device, have no memory! They do not remember past results and they don't give a crap whether you win or lose." - VP Pappy
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.