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What Would You Do If... You Hit a Jackpot?

27 January 2012

I grew up in an era when there were no video games or computers. As a youth my friends and I would sit around playing board games, cards or word games to entertain ourselves on a rainy afternoon. One of the games I enjoyed playing was a simple "word" game. One person would start a sentence with the words "what would you do if" followed by some situation and the other players would have to respond.

The only rules to the game were the situation had to be realistic and something that could actually happen, even if the odds of it occurring were remote and the answer had to be the same. Questions and answers such as: "What would you do if you were captured by Martians? I'd take out my ray gun and shoot them" were not allowed.

It wasn't until years later while attending a psychology class in college that I learned the game I played as a 12 year old was actually an "exercise in deductive reasoning." Many successful people engage in this type activity to work out solutions to everyday problems occurring in business or life. It is a form of planning or preparing for any type of situation that we may find ourselves in.

This column is all about the winners of big jackpots. Many of us like to dream about hitting the big one when we visit the casino. So now I would like you to take a few minutes and play my childhood game with me. Ready?

What would you do if you won a million dollar slot jackpot?

I'm sure many of you immediately thought about buying that new car or house, paying off your mortgage or telling your boss what he could do with his job. These types of answers fall into the category of immediate gratification, but they lack any long-term plans for the future of your winnings.

I recently read a report claiming that over 70 percent of the people who win a million dollars in the lottery or at the casino end up with nothing left of their winnings within a five years.

I admit that I don't know how the survey was conducted and at first I thought it must be a misprint or something that had been made up by the writer. However after giving it some thought I can see how this may be a pretty accurate claim. The simple reason is that many of these people don't have a long-term financial plan for their winnings and by the time they develop one the money is gone.

For every Warren Buffet who has parlayed a few dollars into millions there are thousands who have done the opposite and turned millions into pennies. Why?

One logical explanation is that those who work to build their wealth have a different mindset about money than those who came into the money through a lucky windfall such as winning a jackpot at the casino.

I know of many players who have had a win while playing at the casino and they give it all back because they lack the discipline to lock up a profit. Many of these players use the justification that they are "playing with the casino's money" once they get ahead. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once you win money, it becomes YOUR money. It doesn't matter who it belonged to before you won it. The casinos don't look at their profits as Johnny Smith's or May Jones' money. It's their money they are depositing into their bank account.

Have a Plan

Dreaming and fantasizing about hitting a big jackpot is only natural for anyone who visits the casino. (The Secret once was the top-selling book in the country so I'm sure many more players are visualizing winning a big jackpot these days.) Fantasizing about winning a big jackpot is similar to the "What would you do if?" game but in my question I'm asking you to go one step further and think about a long-term goal for your money when you win.

Those winners who keep their money have some sort of a financial plan to keep them from squandering it away. Some of them have given it much thought ahead of time while others have just been able to step back and think about the money instead of rushing off on a wild spending spree.

One of the most sensible solutions for dealing with a big financial windfall is very simple yet practical. Put two thirds of the money you win into a bank CD or some other investment that you cannot touch for a full year.

The reason for this is that it will give you time to think about the money and formulate a plan for your financial future. You can still use the third of your winnings you didn't lock away to celebrate and enjoy, but it will keep the rest of our money safe while you develop a plan to keep your newfound financial freedom for the rest of your life.

I hope you hit the big one!

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:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> 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