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Gaming Guru

 

There's an App for That

23 September 2011

I have written about keeping a gambling logbook in the past. This month I want to share an idea for those who may not have one. The main reason to keep a gambling log is for tax purposes. When you win jackpot over $1,200 at the casino, you will receive a W-2G form. A copy of this goes to the IRS and you are required to list these winnings when filing your income tax. The law allows you to deduct gambling loses up to the amount of your winnings. You can only do this if you have documentation of your losses. Keeping a diary or logbook, is the way to do this.

Your gaming log does not have to be fancy. All you need to do is record:

  • The type of game you played. (Slots, Keno, Craps, etc.)
  • The date and location where you played.
  • Your wins and losses for each session or game.
  • Additional evidence of gambling activities.

Tax information does change and I am not an accountant, but this type of log has been accepted in the past. If you have a number of large wins, it would probably be wise to discuss this with a certified accountant.

Recording your wins and losses for taxes is only one reason to keep a logbook. If you play a game of skill such as poker or blackjack, you can use your logbook to access your skills. If you are serious about your game, it is imperative that you keep a log. Keeping records is the only way you will be able to tell if you are a winning player or not.

Why Players Don't Keep Records

The number one reason why people do not keep a log is because they feel it is inconvenient. Most players who keep a gambling log have it on a computer spreadsheet or in a notebook at home. They record their sessions after they play and then copy that information into their permanent log when they get back from their trip. This requires a little work and dedication and many players don't feel it is worth the effort to do it.

Some players have good intentions about keeping a gambling log, but then they forget to bring a pen or something to record their playing session with them when they go the casino. They forget to log a session or two. After this happens once or twice, they may give up.

If there was a way to record your playing sessions to a permanent log in a few seconds, would you be more inclined to keep one?

Well, the good news is there is a device you can use to keep your gambling log and the chances are you are wearing it on your belt or have it in your purse. It's your smart phone.

iPhone

If you own an iPhone you can download an app to keep track of your wins and losses. Gamblers Anonymous is an interactive gambling logbook that will record all of the necessary information you need in a logbook. Although the name could be more precise, it is by far the best and most useful gambling-related iPhone app that I have found to date.

The program is easy to use and you can easily record your playing sessions in less than a minute. When you open the app you start by clicking on the plus button to add a new session. The first line is where you select the casino where you are playing. If you play at more than one casino, you can enter them all in the program the first time you use it. You only have to do this once and after that the list of casinos will appear in a drop down menu and you can select the casino from the list.

The next line is where you enter the date and time of your playing session. By default the present date and time is displayed and you just have to hit the save button.

When you click on the next line, a box opens where you enter your "Buyin Amount" and the "Cashout Amount." When you hit the save button the program calculates how much you won or lost.

On the next line is where you select the game you were playing. There is a drop down menu with eleven of the most popular casino games: slots, video poker, blackjack, Texas Hold'em, etc. If you play a game that is not in the list, you can add it to the menu.

That's all you have to do. There is an additional line to add any notes you might want to record about your session. After you enter a few sessions into Gamblers Anonymous, you can get your ongoing win or loss amount by pressing the "Stats" button. You can even sort your results by game, by place or by year.

Finally you can e-mail your results to yourself or anyone else from the program. This is handy if you need to print out a copy of your log. The Gamblers Anonymous iPhone app sells for 99 cents. There is also a free "Lite" version you can download if you want to try it. For 99 cents the full version is a bargain.

Smart Phones

If you don't have an iPhone but own any other type of smart phone, you will still be able to use it to keep your gambling log. Most smart phone have the capability to use some sort of spreadsheet program that is perfect for keeping track of your gambling sessions. Most players who keep logs use this type of program already. For those of you who keep a log, you might not have thought about accessing it with your mobile device.

Using your mobile phone is an efficient way to log your playing sessions. You can do it right after you cash out or while you are standing in line at the cashier's cage. You no longer have to record your sessions on paper and then transfer them to a permanent log later. If you own a smart phone you really have no excuse for not keeping a logbook.

Until next time remember:
Luck comes and goes.....Knowledge Stays Forever.

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton