GAMBLING: Becoming the Zen Master of Panny Slots, Schadenfreude, or just dumb luck

Yesterday, I played better on a Penny. Following some of my new Zen of Penny Slots, I had an interesting experience.

A lady sat down to play next to me. She was very concerned with how I was doing. I was playing max bet max lines on a low progressive slot. Buck and a half a spin. And, was doing pretty good.

I was trying to be the Penny Zen Master and not get caught up in the “feeding frenzy” of push push push the button as fast as you can. After all I had two hours to kill and the Mac Book Air only runs for an hour on the battery. (That’s why I don’t recommend it and if I had known that I would not have bought it.) So so I was following my “timing the machine” strategy. (Three deep breaths between pushes. Being mindful of “speed kills your wallet”. Letting it count out all pay offs. “Respect the machine”. Calculate the eventually total of what ever I’d win with what I had. Setting stop limits. Being calm. Being in the moment. Being mindful)

So this lady goes to sit next to me. She bumps me hard. Puts her hand on my back to steady herself. (A real no no. Don’t touch me!) Mumbles something. Starts playing with a voucher from another machine. I could not help but notice she started with 80$. But, I was in the moment with “my own” machine. I was hitting a lot of small stuff.

And I noticed she was very interested in how I was doing. That usually is a giant turn off for me. I am, correct that — was, superstitious and had believed it brings you bad luck. Like an evil eye. Completely irrational I know. But that’s, — correct that — was, my feeling. Conflicts with my new belief — Zen of Penny Slots – Point #10 – It’s a random number generator — and I’m trying to master my emotions at the slots.

Any way, I’m not doing badly. I played off my “free” money and put in my planned C-note stake. Two spins later, I hit the free spins.

Usually I would avoid this kind of game since you have to pick in a “concentration” style bonus game. I am usually a terrible picker. So I used my “randomizing technique” of taking the top bill in my wad and using the digits on it to pick. (Hey, the casino has a random number generator; why can’t I? I probably should print a card of random digits from 0 to 9 at home. I’m not sure those bill digits are that random.) In this case it was my innermost twenty. Good old Andy Jackson. So I plunk out the numbers and sure enough I get top number of spins and top multiplier with a wild card for five additional spins. Now this machine is imho notoriously stingy in the bonus round. But I am the aspiring Zen Master of Penny Slots. And it’s just a random number generator. Any way, bout half way through my free spins, it hits big. 70$ or so.

And, the lady next to me is going nuts. She stops playing and starts watching me.

When I notice this, my machine stops hitting and the bonus round ends. Up about 90$. Normally I’d be pissed and move on. But not the new ZMoPS. I just calmly sit there as it pays off. She says to me: “How did you get so much?” DUH. Now usually I’d be all in a snit. Say something real nasty, but I’m now the new ZMoPS. So I reply: “Just dumb luck. Besides you shouldn’t be too concerned with what I win. You need to win.”

She obviously didn’t like that answer.

So she resumed playing and watching. Her husband sits down and she laments on her fate of a “bad machine”. And, tells him I keep winning and winning. With a thick Russian accent. She starts playing again. Stupidly imho. She’s tells hubby: that she’s varying her stake to bring out the luck. In a loud voice for everyone and presumably the machine or “god of the machines to hear”. I feel like yelling at her: “No, Grasshopper, that leads to the dark side.” I really do wish her the best. Don’t you know she hits the bonus, picks max spins, with max multiplier, with 5 extra, … … with a minimum 30¢ bet.


She goes nuts. Meantime, she focuses back on me. I’m still waiting for it to count out my win. But she doesn’t know that so she thinks I’ve hit again. Starts muttering under her breath and yelling at the husband. To which he says: “Lets go eat.” She says something. He walks away. She’s going nuts.

Any way I continue to play with a new stop point set of 150$. I hit some more. Get the bonus a few times. Use different bills. Nothing big. My stop keeps edging up to to two hundred. She goes nuts, eventually puts more money in, and finally busts out down about 300$ by my eye.

So naturally, without her to distract the “god of the machines” giving her bad luck, that fellow turns his attention on me. I start bouncing in and around the 210 to 225 range. At 230, my stop would move to 210. Without her to draw away the bad luck, I’m fated. Can’t seem to get up to 230. Eventually the machine “turns cold” and I hit just under 200$. 199.12.

And like the ZMoPS I am, I cash out.

Thanking the Universe for a nice hour and ten minutes of fun. It was “fun”. Go to the cage and throw in 88 cents and get two nice c-notes for my trouble.

Split with the old lady. Played a long time on her card for comps. And I can come another day.

I didn’t ever indulge in schadenfreude at my “companion’s” loss. But it did teach me that I’m on the right path to control my losses at the casino. Now if I can just find another loser to distract the “god of the machines” and draw away the bad luck.

Just kidding.

It really is just a random number generator. You can’t anthropomorphize it.

Or can you?


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