Most of the time, if I use a coupon with a purchase, it’s for something I buy at the grocery store or household retailer. Items like food, paper products, cleaning supplies, and the like are most commonly where I might obtain such savings. I might use the occasional coupon for dining out, getting oil changes, clothes, and various other purchase categories as well.
Pretty standard stuff.
But what about using a coupon at the blackjack table?
First, to clarify: I don’t like to gamble in casinos, as I see it as a poor fit with my life as a father of 2. That said, when younger and pre-fatherhood, I liked to go to Las Vegas every few years and had a bit of a different perspective then. Even then, however, I was always the resident “Mr. Frugal”. In a 3-day trip, I might let myself lose up to $50 tops in the casino, and that’s it. Not many people really understood that, but I viewed it as purely entertainment and that’s it. The odds aren’t in your favor, so it’s not exactly a good investment:) Even now, I would rather food and shows if I were to go there.
Anyway, I mentioned the blackjack table, and yes – I did use a coupon at one! It worked like this: the hotel at which I was staying gave the guests a coupon book for discounts on food, gifts, and a few for gaming. One of the gaming coupons was a matching coupon at the blackjack table. It has been a while, but if I recall the specifics of how it worked, I believe that if you made a $5 bet on blackjack, the house would double your bet. So, if you won, your $5 bet could bring you back $20 – netting a $15 profit.
The part I remember most vividly was approaching a table that had just one open seat; the others were occupied, by guys in very expensive-looking suits. It was hot in Nevada that day, so I remember thinking to myself that these guys must have been roasting in those suits. Anyway, it was apparent that their native tongue was a language other than English, as they muttered what appeared to be some harsh words as they lost the several hands I watched before entering. I don’t blame them for being frustrated, as they were losing hundreds of dollars per hand!
So there I am, with my coupon in hand, being Mr. Frugal, and I then decided to sit down. I showed the dealer my coupon and put down my bet. The guys in suits all looked at me with a “who is this cheapo” type of expression. I then sheepishly played my hand.
I remember getting an 11 with my first 2 cards, and the dealer showed 9. The surliest of the guys in suits had 10. He proceeded to get out additional chips to double down (get only one more card while doubling your bet), and yelled out his first English words: “I want ACE!” That would have given him 21, and helped him stop his losing streak. He also had a big bet on the table, it looked like $700.
So, what did I do? I decided to double down as well, and added to the original coupon-driven bet. The surliest guy glanced at me like I was a nuisance, as he was totally focused on what his next card will be. There was tension at the table.
The dealer then proceeded to hand out the cards. I ended up with 21, the dealer had 20, and Mr. Intensity got 19.
So, I walked off with $40 on a one-time, coupon-enhanced cheapskate bet, while he lost $700 to continue his streak. He glared at me with contempt as I took my winnings and walked away. I’m glad I didn’t understand what he was muttering under his breath as I left the table! I just took my winnings, tried not to look right at that guy, and briskly walked away with a sense of sheepish satisfaction:)
I have to say that it was quite a way to leverage a coupon, and the frugal person ended up ahead in more ways than one in this case!
How about you? Do you have your own story about using a coupon for a purchase that’s a bit off the beaten path, or in a unique circumstance?
This article was included at Carnival of Money Stories #57 at My Journey to Millions