Let’s Play Credit Card Roulette!

There’s always an awkward moment when you’re out for dinner with other people and the check arrives. Do you split it? How? Are the circumstances such that someone should pick up the whole thing? Frankly, I find nothing more irritating than this post-dining kabuki, especially when there’s some would-be accountant who wants to carve the whole thing up in bizarre and annoying ways. You can avoid this problem with a simple game: credit card roulette.

I learned about credit card roulette back in my consulting days. I was out on my own for the first time, just having f a major consulting firm. My partners and I were on a project with a major firm located just outside Toronto. After work, of course, we’d go out for dinner and drinks, with the latter pushing the tab far beyond the per diem covered by the client. Rather than get separate checks or bombard the waitress with painful instructions, one of my cohorts offered up the game.

The rules to credit card roulette are quite simple:

  1. Eat and drink like you’re going to win – this makes the stakes higher and the entire endeavor more fun
  2. Ask for the check
  3. When it arrives, everyone at the table puts down a credit card
  4. Tell the waitress to choose one
  5. The chosen card is used for the tab

It’s that easy.

Unlike the conventional form of roulette, there are ways to gain an advantage with the credit card variety:

  1. Use a “boring” credit card – platinums, sapphires and pretty designs are more eye-catching, which increase the odds of losing
  2. Put your card in the middle – the waitress usually goes for one on the end

We did instate a mercy clause after a while. One guy had a unique credit card and was always being chosen. This wasn’t fair, so we made him sit out a few rounds.

Spice up your next meal without artificial flavoring. Credit card roulette actually makes getting the check interesting.

photo by stoneflower via Flickr

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