It’s time to answer some of the questions that have appeared in the “Comments” or come to me in private e-mails.
Where can I find out what casinos offer the best Video Poker Odds and what those odds are?
Your best friend – and the friend of all wise VP players – should be vpFREE2. You can search by game, casino, or particular section of the US – a wealth of data at your fingertips!
Are tips considered a deductible expense?
This is one of the subjects covered in Tax Help for Gamblers, in the sections talking about filing as a professional gambler. Recreational gamblers would not have a place on their return to deduct tips, but if you file with gambling as a business, either on a Schedule C or corporation forms, there is a place for work-related expenses. Some of these expenses might include things like travel, office supplies, mileage – and gambling tips might be added to that list. It is very hard to get the IRS to accept gambling as a business, so you would need to keep very detailed records, especially on expenses. As I suggested in the book, IRS Publication 535, Business Expenses, is a good resource to learn what deductions are allowed and their limitations.
How come you never talk about your losses, just about your big fantastic wins?
Over the years I have written about the valleys – but the mountains are always more dramatic and make for more interesting reading. Actually I don’t talk too much about particular sessions – winning or losing ones. If you notice, I talk about the long term much more frequently, because that is the only thing that really matters to us. No one session – good or bad – makes or breaks us.
That said, long losing streaks are difficult to weather for all gamblers. They are particularly stressful for gamblers who are getting too close to the bottom of their bankroll money. They are stressful for players who have a skimpy psychological bankroll – they “lose the faith” pretty fast.
Brad and I have a more than adequate financial bankroll for the level we play, and we have been doing this long enough – almost 30 years – that we have experienced long losing streaks and know that they do end and in the long run we will come out with a profit if we keep playing smart. (In 2012 we were in the hole the first 7 months but pulled out a nice win for the year.) However, let’s face it – losing is not as much fun as winning. And last month we may have had the worst month in our gambling experience. Not that we haven’t lost more money in one month – we certainly have. But in January, we had the biggest percentage of losing sessions. We played 20 sessions together, and we won in only 3. January seemed like a very long month!
And now a special message for a couple of readers – no names – you know who you are. You write very violent words in your posting to the “Comments.” I am not insulted by your rants – maybe you are losing more than you can afford – maybe your wife is nagging you – maybe it seems like the world is not treating you well. I don’t hold it against you. But, no, I’m not going to stop writing this blog because you tell me to do so. No, I am not going to take your suggestion to try to do something that is anatomically impossible. And, no, I am not going to “Approve” your comments so the whole world can see your bad grammar and bad manners. Perhaps it would be better for your blood pressure to just not read this blog.
And a word for the 99.99% of my readers who write polite and helpful comments – thank you from the bottom of my heart. However, don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up for a couple of days. I try to check and approve the comments every day – but sometimes I get busy and don’t have time to right away dig them out of the loads of spam that plague an open forum like this.