You Can’t Teach Discipline – But You CAN Lean It

I’m already questioning decision to do this article, since the premise is that no one can teach discipline but a motivated individual can learn it. No, I can’t teach you how to become a disciplined player. I can give you some suggestions on how to learn to discipline yourself, but ultimately the learning part is up to you.

So why do you continue to do what you’ve always done when it continues to give you the results you’ve always gotten? The answer is simple. The pain of losing is not great enough to make you change your ways. If the pain of losing becomes so great that you can’t stand it anymore you’ll either change the way you do things – or you’ll quit playing altogether and (perhaps) find yourself a seat in the corner of the room at a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting.

If I WERE going to try and teach you self-discipline I’d start early in the morning with a little Meditation and some Positive Affirmations. Being a “sales” kind of guy, I’m big on positive affirmations. They help you maintain a positive attitude. They also help you keep specific things in mind, such as “In everything I do today I will emerge a winner.” Take the time to write down a list of obstacles to discipline, then write your positive affirmations as to how you’re going to overcome them. Keep the list short – five or six affirmations are plenty to work on for now. You can add more as you accomplish more.

Second on my list plays to some of the “survivor” type reality shows popular on TV these days. It’s fairly simple. “Eat the big brown bug first.” If you’re going to survive on one of those shows you have to find a source of protein. And while bugs can be a good source of protein, most Americans have an aversion to eating them. So let’s just get the big brown bug out of the way on day one. If your bug is the fact that you tend to enjoy and adult beverage or two while playing craps – let’s get rid of it. Your drink of choice is now cranberry juice. If your bug is the fact that you tend to re-buy when you are losing – get rid of it. Leave your next session’s bankroll in the room safe. If your bug is that you never regress during a hot hand – get rid of it. Set up a system where you count a specific number of hits the make a habit of regressing at that point. On hit number eight you regress to $88 inside, for example. Again, figure out what your big brown but is then eat it.

Third is the Magic Pill of Accountability. Yes, it’s time to stop the blame game, forget the excuses, and own up to the problem. There is no longer an “if only” excuse for your failure at the tables. The fault lies 100% with you and your actions. Once you realize that and hold yourself accountable things will magically start to improve. That leads me to the next suggestion.

Write Everything Down. That means you keep a log of all of your play, including the date you played, the casino, which table and table position. You want to track buy in, betting strategy, average bet, trends and indicators noted, your reaction to those trends and indicators, cash out, win-loss, comps earned, average bet rating from the pit. Any and everything you can think of relative to the session needs to be written down. Only then can you begin to grasp what you’re doing from one session to the next and how it is impacting your bottom line.

Get a Play Partner to Help Hold Your Accountable. You are not the only guy in the casino with a discipline problem. There are plenty of others out there who deal with the same problem every day. Find someone you like, partner up with them for team play and help each other out with your discipline. It works in the gym – and it can work at the craps table as well.

Discipline doesn’t come easy. If you are trying to learn it at the craps table – it doesn’t come cheap. But you have to start somewhere. Will you? That’s up to you. When losing gets painful enough you’ll either change your ways or find another hobby. I hope you change your ways.