Credit Card Roulette Strategies for Increasing Your Odds of Winning

Disclaimer: You are not going to find tips for responsible spending or using a credit card wisely in the article below. The information provided is not for the broke, stingy or risk-averse. By continuing reading, you agree that you are a fun-loving individual with a bit of a gambling streak and the means to spend a little extra every now and then.

Credit card roulette is a little-known game that still hasn’t made it’s way into the mainstream, but those who do know of it and play regularly take it seriously. Unlike most games in which there is only one winner, credit card roulette makes a winner of everyone involved, except for one unlucky person. The game is best played with friends with whom you go out often, and you know won’t whine if they end up losing.

Credit Card Roulette Rules

While there can be slight variations in how the game is played, credit card roulette rules are pretty simple: When it comes time to pay the check after a meal, every person at the table puts a credit card into a hat, napkin or even just a pile on the table. The cards are scrambled and an objective third party must pick a card at random (generally, this person is the waiter). Whichever credit card is pulled will be used to pay the entire bill.

Credit Card Roulette Strategies to Increase Your Odds

Credit card roulette is a game of chance in which anyone can end up the loser. There’s no surefire way to avoid a loss — but there are definitely ways to increase your credit card roulette odds.

1. Use a Discover Card

Poor Discover. As Peter Griffin put it, “I would rather take two live chickens than your fly-by-night credit card.” While there are certainly benefits to being a Discover cardholder, there’s no denying that a good portion of merchants won’t accept Discover cards due to higher processing fees.

This is exactly why you should always pull out a Discover card when playing credit card roulette. When the waiter looks down and sees it among a pile of Visas and MasterCards, you can be fairly sure another card will get picked instead of yours.

2. Dine in Large Parties

It might seem counter-intuitive since the more diners who are involved in your game of credit card roulette, the greater the damage will be if you’re stuck with the bill. But hello — this is gambling, and you can’t expect to come out on top if you don’t take risks. Plus, if you know anything about credit card roulette odds, the more people at your table, the better your chances of avoiding having your card chosen.

3. Avoid Pictures

Anyone who throws down a card covered in puppies is just asking the waiter to choose it. Credit cards with pictures or bright colors are much more likely to stand out and be picked up by the server. Try to remain inconspicuous and use a card that blends in with the rest.

How to Mitigate Losses if Your Card Gets Pulled

As mentioned, there’s always a chance your card could be picked; if you can’t accept this fact and be OK with losing every now and then, just don’t play.

But if that fateful day comes, ensure you don’t make it more expensive than necessary with these three tips:

  1. Play at lunch: Lunch menus tend to be much less expensive than dinner menus, making the final bill a little easier to handle. Depending on the kind of company you keep, there might also be fewer cocktails, which are what really add on to a meal’s total cost.
  2. Use a low APR card: Of course, you should be paying your credit card bill in full every month, and the fallout of a credit card roulette loss should never be allowed to collect interest. However, if you were really that responsible, you wouldn’t be playing credit card roulette in the first place. That’s why you should always play with low interest cards so you don’t turn one meal for your friends into an ongoing debt problem.
  3. Use a rewards card: If you’re going to foot a monster bill, you might as well get something out of it. A rewards credit card can help you earn back some of what you spent, whether it be in the form of points, miles or cash back. Some cards even offer bigger rewards for spending at restaurants in particular.

Obviously, credit card roulette is not a game that should be played often, or by anyone who is dealing with overspending or debt issues. If you want to have a little fun with your friends and everyone agrees to participate, credit card roulette can turn another get together into an exciting meal out. And if you’re not comfortable putting your credit card on the line when others want to play, just tell the waiter you’ll pay your part of the check separately.

Photo credit: Anthrocopy