It’s Not What You Win That Counts – It’s What You Keep

Ashile back a high profile player and gambling author was heard bragging about winning hundreds of thousands of dollars at craps during a prolonged streak. Is it possible? Certainly – if you bet big enough. I’ve seen students win over $100,000 at single sessions we’ve played over the years – the record was over $180,000 in one session. But I also know that these same players sometimes lose over $100,000 at a single session. What the player/author in question failed to mention, of course, is how much he has lost in his lifetime. Like it or not – it’s the long run that defines whether we are winners or losers overall.

Have you ever wondered how much you’ve won – then given back to the casino in a single session? The answer might surprise you. Consider the mid-level player placing the inside numbers for $100 – $120 each in a game running at a 90 decision per hour pace. This player will pick up a “win” on roughly 47% of the tosses in a random game. He will “lose” on about 17% of the tosses. The remaining 36% of the time he will “push.” That means in a random game the player’s $440 inside will win approximately $5900 and hour. In that same hour he will lose roughly $6600. All in all, $12,500 has swapped hands. And in the end, the player lost $700.

To be successful at craps you must have the financial strength to survive the ebb and flow of the game. You must also be mentally tough enough to tune out distractions. You must follow a conservative betting strategy that capitalizes on the lowest vig bets. You should also have the skill sets needed to play with an advantage over the house. A little luck won’t hurt either. Sounds simple, right? But the biggest factor in your success or failure is not skill, odds or even luck. The biggest factor is you.

In order to succeed you must have the ability to discipline yourself. You must plan your play and play your plan. You must maintain an even temperament with perfect control of your emotions at all times. If you are anxious, impatient, or easily excited you will not achieve consistent success until you learn to control these emotions. Discipline is just that – how you manage your emotions in the heat of the game.

If you can discipline yourself to accept regular modest wins and master your emotions during periods of high stress, the rewards can be substantial. Unless you are betting at a significant level, you will not win hundreds of thousands of dollars. But by combining good skills with rock-solid discipline and sound betting and money management strategies it is possible to achieve regular, consistent wins.

It takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow. But sometimes it’s easier to play in the rain than it is to find that pot of gold at the rainbow’s end. At the seminars we around the country we talk about the difference in playing for fun – and playing for keeps. Do you play for the emotional highs and lows? Are you fond of the camaraderie at the tables? Do the comped suites and steak dinners turn you on? Deep down, do you ever enjoy telling those war stories about how you dropped $1000 on your last session after being $800 ahead the session before? Or are you a savvy player who is there to win?

Give it some thought, then take a few minutes to make it “real” and write your answers down.  List all you can reasons for gambling you can think of and prioritize them, putting them in rank order. Is winning number one on your list? If you want to win consistently, it should be. But if not – that’s perfectly okay. Just be honest with yourself about the fact that you are playing for entertainment – not profit. Then adjust your bets accordingly.