Keys to vp truth

Feb 28, 2005 3:16 AM

Gambling is one of those interests in life that never ceases to amaze those infatuated with winning and losing at the drop of a card, the roll of the dice, or the push of a button. It can and almost always does become a habit of sorts — especially to those who, because they lose so often, feel a need to label it recreation or by saying "it gives us something to do with our time." It does make one think.

I’ve been around the casino life since 1990, and although I’m no expert in gaming at anything other than video poker, I find it relatively simple to both talk with those who play any casino game and understand what they’re trying to say even when they just can’t say it. Looks say a lot in gambling, and there’s some things even a seasoned poker player just can’t bluff his way out of.

Take Blackjack players for instance. A whole lot is made about those who supposedly count cards, but when you actually talk to a professional card counter, you’ll find the effort is hardly worth the time and effort put forth, and/or the potential winnings able to be realized. It’s no secret casinos don’t welcome these counters, because if enough of them came in the house take would theoretically be lower. THEORETICALLY. It creates big heads, but the reality is casinos can do as they please. Yes, the big buildings seem to always survive, but few professional gamblers ever do.

Publicly, of course, it’s an entirely different story — especially from those who derive their income from the sales of products or services that purportedly will make you a winner. And is it no coincidence that a high percentage of these folks claim to have been winning Blackjack players in the past? Naturally, if you ask them WHY they stopped playing when they ”˜made a living’ playing Black Jack, they’ll inevitably say, "I got tired of getting thrown out."

All well and good, except for the fact that gamblers are the most creative individuals in this world, and if I were a money-making card counter there’s no way on earth I’d stop or get stopped. I’ve worked the system in video poker for years. Sure, I’ve been restricted and/or tossed several times for my play methods. But not only have I returned to play at these casinos — I’ve won at them and continue to do so — as well as get offers galore. There are ways around every situation if you know what you’re doing, AND you are honest with yourself.

Therein lies the challenge most are never up to. Certainly, nearly all gamblers tell fibs and whoppers about their gambling prowess to almost everyone they come in contact with. But that’s not the real problem. Where it goes awry is when players are unable to be truthful even unto themselves. And what facilitates this anomaly? Yup”¦.none other than LOSING.

How do I know these people so well? Because I’ve been there folks, and it’s really not somewhere anyone who says they enjoy gambling wants to be. One need look no further than at all your friendly fellow video poker players to come to this realization either. But it doesn’t stop there.

With all the losing going on all the time, where do you think many of these players get their encouragement to keep it up? Right, from all those slick sales people who somehow are able to twist classroom mathematics into personal money-making ideas aimed squarely at impressionable losers. Proper knowledge is one thing, but when you are repeatedly bombarded with scenarios even Einstein wouldn’t have a snow ball’s chance in you-know-where of attaining along with continuous, unsupportable self-portrayals of yearly success beyond all comprehensible and ethical reasoning, it’s not too difficult to see why video poker is more of a business than anything else these days.

What am I getting at? For one thing, not a day went by from 1990-1996 where, even though I was a perennial loser at the game, I didn’t either tell someone how well I was doing, or make believe I was successful simply because I received so many comps, all that cash back, thousands of free giveaways and gifts, and the oh-so-important special attention from all of my casino hosts. Similar to what we continuously see today, I applied an insane value of all this junk that ultimately surpassed all that I lost JUST TO SAY I WAS A WINNER OR WHENEVER I WANTED TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL GOOD! In a word, it was ”˜justification’ to continue on with my sickness.

Now, tell me the truth doesn’t hurt. Then tell me that honesty doesn’t help. This is the process I followed that led to both my recovery from a ridiculous video poker addiction as well as gaining the knowledge I needed for what it took to transform myself from a long-term/optimal-play loser into a short-term/goal-oriented type consistently winning player.

For this reason and this reason alone, I KNOW that no one wins without 100% truthfulness with himself or herself. When you’re fighting an inner need that has you making up stories time after time with your friends or family, you will not win. When your agenda first calls for a requirement to paint a rosy picture to the public that’s not at all true, you will not be a winning player.

It once again all boils down to simple common sense. Eventually everyone ends up paying the piper, and I did long ago. That’s why there’s no other way to be successful in gambling for the amount of time you intend to play, other than to go at it with complete confidence in what you’re doing, an iron clad determination, an extreme amount of self-discipline, and being totally honest to yourself. After that, imagine how it will be telling others about your play, and how they will listen.