It’s been almost four years since Nevada authorized the sale and use of recreational marijuana. And since then, the Silver State has parlayed its pot-smoking community into a lucrative source of revenue to fund local school districts
As for the millions of visitors who make their way to Sin City each and every year, they now have one fewer indulgence to consider sinful as they explore the Strip.
On this page, I’ll explore several ways in which marijuana can impact your gambling abilities. This will be divided into two sections: how it could positively affect your gambling results and how it could negatively affect your results when gambling for real money.
How Marijuana Can Positively Impact Your Gambling Results
Before we get into it, we wanted to provide a bit of a disclaimer. While purchasing and consuming marijuana and THC-based products is legal under state statutes, every casino resort in Nevada maintains its own rules and regulations regarding usage on their property. Always be sure to adhere to the casino’s guidelines, which could mean no smoking in your hotel room or on the gaming floor.
Relax the Nerves Before You Hit the Casino Floor
We’ve all been there before, anxiously awaiting our first crack at taking it to the casino with a wallet stuffed full of dollars and dreams.
We’re familiar with the slow ride down the elevator, the long walk through the hotel and into the table game pit… This is when gambling nervousness and anxiety tend to strike for certain players. If you find yourself drying perpetually sweaty palms before you’ve even placed a bet, you know how nerves can impact your overall play and production.
A nervous player who can’t seem to get out of their own head will naturally make unforced errors along the way. While they’re wondering how everything will work out, and whether fortune will smile on them today, these anxious gamblers miss easy opportunities to exploit edges that calmer players pounce on.
Even worse, a bad case of the jitters can lead to a snowball effect, one in which that initial mistake is compounded by embarrassment. Soon enough, a smart and sensible gambler who knows their basic strategy cold still manages to stumble and make subpar decisions.
If anxiety becomes an issue when you’re touring a crowded casino, enjoying a moderate dose of legal marijuana or CBD oil is an effective countermeasure. Whether ingested via traditional smoking, “vaping,” or in edible form, so-called Indica strains of legal marijuana are widely documented to cause a calming, soothing effect on users.
If given the choice between gambling while you’re jumpy and on edge, or placidly pleased with the world around you, I know the route I’d prefer to take. And indeed, many gamblers use prescription drugs to smooth out their nervous nature.
For folks who prefer pot over pills, taking a toke or two before going out to gamble can nullify nervousness and set them up for success.
Staying Patient Comes Easy
Thanks to the carefully calibrated relationship between payout amounts and the odds of earning said payout, the house always maintains a healthy edge over players. In light of this cold statistical reality, winning players know they must remain patient while enduring the back-and-forth swings known as variance.
Staying patient might be easy enough for the grannies grinding their beloved penny slots. But for the rest of us, learning how to cope with swings patiently while waiting for the tide to turn can be more difficult than memorizing a basic strategy chart.
Of course, this lack of patience can easily eat away at your bankroll during a prolonged downswing. Unless you’re willing to hunker down, maintain your composure, and see your way through to the other side, losing sessions can soon spiral out of control.
Smoking or consuming legal marijuana is one easy way to instill a level of patience that you never knew you possessed. Because THC causes feelings of euphoria and enjoyment in its users, smokers don’t seem to let losses cloud their judgment as easily as non-smokers. Instead, they simply keep a smile on their face and stick to the game plan, contentedly taking whatever Lady Luck sends their way.
And wouldn’t you know it? When a gambler is able to maintain a pleasant mindset and stay patient, those downswings inevitably come to an end without additional damage done.
Maintaining Your Composure
But when was the last time you saw a sloppy stoner engage in such unsophisticated and boorish behavior?
Casinos are notorious for letting players drink themselves into a stupor thanks to a steady stream of complimentary cocktails. One drink leads to another. And before many players know what hit them, they’re betting big bucks despite being completely broke.
For legal marijuana users, however, this problem usually doesn’t have a chance to present itself. Those buxom cocktail servers aren’t exactly delivering tableside hits now, are they?
Opting for legal marijuana over alcohol may just bring out your best play.
How Marijuana Can Negatively Impact Your Gambling Results
As with any substance that has an effect on the mind, marijuana might cause gamblers problems that they weren’t prepared for, and this can be especially dangerous when there’s big money on the line. Here are a few ways that marijuana can have a negative impact when playing at casinos.
You Might Doze Off in the Casino
While legal marijuana might be better than shots of liquor when it comes to blackouts and bad behavior, it still has a significant drawback—drowsiness and fatigue.
Remember, the legal marijuana dispensaries that line every street in Las Vegas these days have turned THC usage into a science. New strains are cultivated and bred to create increasingly potent products.
If you want to avoid that ignoble fate, try sticking with Sativa strains over the aforementioned Indica variety. Legal marijuana that tilts toward the Indica end of the spectrum tend to cause users to become mellowed out, while Sativas generally increase focus and alertness.
Clouding Your Memory Makes It Difficult to Use Correct Strategy
One of the age-old clichés about marijuana use is that it causes short-term memory loss.
Whether or not the science has backed up decade’s worth of anecdotal evidence in that regard is above my pay grade. But speaking purely from personal experience, I can tell you that getting high before playing skill-based casino games like blackjack or video poker is a risky proposition.
In those games, mastery of basic strategy charts requires a healthy helping of memorization. You must be ready to quickly size up the cards and their various drawing scenarios, before recalling your charts to determine the most profitable play.
Most experienced players can make these decisions like clockwork when they’re sober, but doing so after smoking legal marijuana is a different story.
Before you decide to smoke and gamble, I suggest conducting a simple experiment to assess your memory. While sober, use an online strategy simulator to test your skills, then run the same test when you’re high.
If your results drop off significantly, it might be a better idea to save the smoke for the post-play celebration.
Other Players Might Respond Rudely
This one can only hinder your results if you let it, but surprisingly, many marijuana users do just that.
Soon enough, dirty looks turn into derogatory comments. And just like that, the session devolves into debate and controversy.
When you want to focus on the game itself, and not nosy players accosting you, be sure to mask the marijuana odor before hitting the floor.
Marijuana may not be up everybody’s alley, but neither are alcoholic drinks or tobacco-based products. And as of January 1st, 2017, all three substances are completely legal throughout Nevada for recreational use.
Just as the gambling community adapted to integrate drinkers and cigarette smokers, it will eventually embrace legal marijuana users as well. Deciding whether or not to use THC before your gambling session is a personal matter, first and foremost. But I hope this list of pros and cons helps you make that decision a little easier.