Would You Play Credit Card Roulette?

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shutterstock_125422331A few years ago, I was on a weekend camping trip with a bunch of friends. As luck would have it, a huge storm thundered in on Saturday and we were forced to cancel our hiking plans. With not much else left to do outside, we opted for exploring the nearby town.

Eventually, we decided it was high time to grab some food and drinks. Once we’d all had our share of eats and treats, it was time to settle the bill. This is when I was first introduced to the game of credit card roulette….

What is Credit Card Roulette?

When you engage in a game of credit card roulette, you’re playing a game where at the end of the meal when the bill comes, everyone at the table puts their credit card into a pile and one card is picked. That “lucky” person is the one that pays the entire bill for the table.

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It might not be as dangerous Russian Roulette, but it can definitely do a number on your budget!

How to Play Credit Card Roulette

There are two versions of the game. In the first, the cards are all put together (typically in a hat or bag) and the waiter or waitress gets to choose a card—ideally without looking. Whichever card is chosen loses the game and pays the entire bill.

The second version, things can get a bit more exciting (and of course this is how my friends & I decided to play). The cards are still all collected together but now they are randomly chosen one by one. This time, you want your card to be chosen sooner rather than later because the last card in the hat is the one that has to pay up.

Emotional Side of the Game

There are many words to describe the range of emotions witnessed during a game of credit card roulette. From cheers and excitement for those who don’t end up paying a dime to scowls and even tears from the losers who foot the entire bill, this isn’t a game for the faint at heart.

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As someone who has lost a round of credit card roulette in the past, it’s safe to say that you’ll feel a pit in your stomach if you’re the one signing the bill. Luckily, I only had to pay for a round of beers for everyone, so my risk was much lower than if I would have had to pay for the group’s dinner expenses (which would have easily been in the hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the number of entrees, appetizers and cocktails that could have been tacked on!).

Have you ever played credit card roulette?

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Jen is the owner of The Happy Homeowner, where she writes about living a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time. Previously, she paid off $14K in credit card debt in less than a year and hasn’t looked back since. Follow along on Twitter with her financial, fitness and travel adventures @bthhomeowner!