Tips for Playing Credit Card Roulette
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Have any of you ever played credit card roulette? It’s the ultimate all-or-nothing-type game that involves a roller coaster of emotions, but for the bold out there who are willing to give it a try, it’s quite a rush.
The rules vary, but here's the variation I've heard most often:
After a meal out, when the bill comes, everyone who wants to play hands a credit card to the waiter, who picks one card randomly. That person is responsible for the entire bill, and the rest of the table eats for free.
Gambling is addictive, there's no doubt about it. The possibility of winning and losing are so far on the opposite ends of the spectrum that it builds a ridiculous amount of excitement. As they say, "Go hard or go home," and gambling, while heart-wrenching, gives us — just for a moment — the hope that something great will happen, and we'll be able to walk away a winner.
I played credit card roulette for the first time recently, and boy was it intense.
There were only three of us, and the total bill was just $45 plus tax. Still, it was a very nerve-wracking experience. I hate losing, especially when I'm usually the voice of reason and good financial decisions, and thought I could get away with a free meal!
Here's how it went down: We gave our credit cards to the waitress. She mixed them up behind her back, then, without looking, took the middle card out. And guess whose card she chose? Bingo. Mine. Awful feeling, of course, but I'll bounce back.
Like any gambling situation, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you ever decide to give this game a shot. They'll help you make a smart decision so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.
- Offer to play this game at the end of the meal. If everyone else orders a $20 meal and you order $30 worth of food, the meal will cost each of you an average of $22, while you consumed $30 worth. Being the only one who knows, while sneaky, gives you an advantage.
- Don't take on more risk than you're willing to lose. Even if 50 people were playing (reducing my odds of losing down to 2%), I wouldn't have included myself because I'm not willing to risk losing over $750 no matter what.
- Be prepared for disappointment. I figured I was in good shape by handing in my very plain grey Bank of America card, but even the blandest of card choices can be beat by blindly picking.
Would you ever play? What's the most you would risk losing?
Daniel Packer is a personal finance blogger at Sweating The Big Stuff, where he writes about spending money wisely while maintaining a high quality of life. Read more from Daniel:
- Why You Should Donate More Money to Charity
- Silence Can Be a Great Negotiating Tactic
- Why Squeezing Every Last Penny Out of Savings Accounts Isn't Worth It
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.