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HOME > STRATEGY > Strategies & Tips > Getting cash in a casino

Getting cash in a casino

11 November 2017

By Henry Tamburin

What’s the one thing you positively must have if you want to gamble? Of course, it’s

Most folks just use folding money. Nothing wrong with that, but there are other options, some better, some worse. And what about managing that cash when you gamble on the tables or machines? Do you have a plan for what you are going to do if you start losing? What about winning? And what would you do if you won some serious money? How would you get it home, safely? The point is that how you get, use, access, and manage your money when you gamble is just as important as which games you play and how you play them.

Every player – high roller, low roller, table or machine player – must do the following if they want to partake in the casino action.

1. Convert money into a playing bankroll.
2. Manage that bankroll when they play.
3. Convert what’s left of the bankroll into cash and head home.

Step 1. Converting “Money” into a Bankroll.

This is a fact – you can’t gamble in a casino without a bankroll. So some way, somehow, you must put together a bankroll before making your first table bet or dropping a coin or inserting cash into a slot machine. You’ve probably heard this a hundred times, but it’s worth repeating. The funds you use to create that gambling bankroll shouldn’t come from money you need to pay rent, buy food or pay for your kid’s college education. The money you earmark for gambling should come from your discretionary income that you’ve smartly saved for activities that you enjoy, like gambling. Assuming you’ve done this, these are your options to convert that money into a gambling bankroll.


This is a no-brainer and what most players do — they simply use good old American greenbacks to create their bankroll. It’s uncomplicated and gives the player flexibility in the sense they can use the cash at any casino and it costs nothing to use it. Plus you can’t lose more than you brought so you have a built in stop loss. Using cash also offers you privacy which some players prefer (use cash and you don’t even have to give the casino your name if you don’t want to). But, there are some negatives. You could lose it or worse get robbed of it.

And nowadays if you carry a lot of cash through airports you’ve got to be concerned because it could be confiscated as part of the government’s crack down on money laundering (slim chance but still a possibility). But if you decide on using cash, here are some common sense tips on how to protect it.

1. Don’t flash wads of cash around in a casino. That might impress the pit boss, but you never know who else might also get a glimpse of it, if you get my drift.
2. Gentlemen should always carry cash in their front pants pocket. That minimizes the chance that a professional pick-pocket could wind up with it.
3. Ladies, keep that cash in your handbag that you securely hold at all times.
4. Consider putting your cash in a money belt, which you can purchase in airport stores or any luggage store for that matter.
5. Use the free safety-deposit box provided by most casino hotels to store your cash. Some hotels have in-room safes (some might charge a fee to use them). Never stash cash in a secret hiding place in your hotel room.

Traveler's Checks

For years, this was and still is my favorite way to bring cash into a casino. You can get traveler’s checks for free if you are a member of the American Automobile Association. Many banks and some credit unions also offer free traveler's checks if you have an account with them. (I always get mine at my local bank – for free.) Traveler’s checks are universally accepted, and you have peace of mind knowing if they are lost or stolen you can get always get them replaced (not so with cash).

Front Money

This is cash that you deposit with the casino and then draw from when you play. You can either wire the cash ahead to the casino (so you don’t have to travel with it) or simply deposit it with the casino when you get there. Front Money offers you privacy. You only have to sign a signature verification card and you don’t have to give the casino your bank account number and other private information. Secondly, you have a built-in stop-loss: If you lose it, that’s it. Thirdly, it gives the perception to the casino that you plan to gamble with all that money that you deposited with them, a plus when it comes time to ask for comps.

ATM Machine

Don’t even think of this. Yea I know it beats carrying around a lot of cash but wait till you see the fees that casinos charge to access your own money when you use their ATM machines. An ATM card also gives players down on their luck an easy way to get more cash. My advice: Leave your ATM card at home.

Credit card

This is another bad way to bankroll your playing session. Fees are exorbitant – you’ll get charged an upfront fee based on the amount of money being advanced to you and of course you are going to have to pay interest on that cash advance. This is not a smart way to get funds for your bankroll, so forget about it.

Casino Credit

This is a good option for most players because it eliminates carrying around cash and you don’t have to pay any interest or fee. But you will have to give the casino your personal information including your bank account number.

To establish a line of credit with a casino, you must complete a credit application. What the casino wants to know is the particulars of your bank account.

A casino representative will contact your bank to obtain your average six month balance in your account and with this information, set your credit limit (note that casinos are usually liberal when establishing credit limits).

Once your credit has been approved you’ll be given a VIP card that you can use at the tables to get chips (your bankroll). You’ll also have to sign a marker – which is a check that is written on your bank account. When you are done playing, you are expected to give the chips that the casino gave you back to them before you head home.

When you do so they will destroy the marker. If you don’t have enough chips because you’ve lost, you have a specific time period (usually 30 days) to send a check to cover the marker (or you could pay them by check before you leave the casino).

In the worse case, if you leave without paying off your marker, the casino collection agency will send you friendly reminders to pay up. If you don’t, the casino will simply cash the marker you signed when you got your chips (remember the marker is nothing more than a check that you signed made out to the casino with your bank account on them).

Each casino handles casino credit a little bit different so it’s best to contact the VIP department of the casino and get all details directly from them.

The disadvantage of casino credit is that if you use it in casino A you are limited to playing in casino A. Also, if you lose a lot, you can often have the casino extend you more credit, which means you could lose more than you intended to. And of course there is always the temptation to use your casino credit when you shouldn’t (like when you are really short on cash). Finally, don’t ever think of stiffing a casino. In Nevada, for example, the courts have upheld that markers are checks and if you don’t pay up you could be subject to civil and criminal prosecution.

[Next column: Managing Your Money]

(Henry Tamburin, Ph.D., is editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com) and host of smartgaming.com. Visit Henry at www.smartgaming.com.)

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

Henry Tamburin
For a FREE three-month subscription to Henry Tamburin's Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, which includes full membership privileges, sign up at www.bjinsider.com/free. For a free copy of Tamburin's Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or go to www.smartgaming.com. For information on the Golden Touch Blackjack course taught by Tamburin call 1-866-WINBJ-21 or visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com.

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