Set your goal, reach
it, then enjoy life!

Oct 16, 2006 2:00 AM

It was mid-August this year. It’s the time of the year that I attain my minimum win goal playing for-profit video poker. Each year has a different goal, but I always do the same: I quit playing for profit at higher levels, and if I play again it is at low levels just for fun. Unlike some, no way will I ever give back to the casinos the money I took from them.

And that’s what it’s all about. I realize few players actually set goals and live by them.

From the many e-mails I’ve been receiving, there seems to be a general feeling that the casinos are doing some serious "belt-tightening," that is, they’re doing something to the machines that makes them tight as ever. I understand what they’re saying but since I just had the easiest playing year of my life, it’s not that simple when the complaints come face-to-face.

Let’s look at a scenario in which the player attains a win goal yet lives in Las Vegas and played almost every day before reaching it. So then what? That’s up to him, but one thing he shouldn’t do is succumb to the temptations of the game and allow his success to go to his head. The machines will still be there in 2007.

For every player who writes me to brag about how they met a particular goal and were able to find something else to occupy their time, there are a hundred who tell me they tried but could not stay the course. Again, advantage casinos.

When I announced my choice not to play any more for-profit video poker this year because I had met and surpassed my win goal, the e-mails came pouring in. The very curious were interested in how I would abstain if I were still going to take trips to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe during the remaining months — which I am doing.

The answer is simple: discipline. My only play will be to go through any free-play one time only and accept whatever I win or don’t win. Anything can happen when going through a hundred bucks once. You just have to learn to quit once you’re finished playing with "their money."

I will also break the mold and play in a few tournaments, now that I have the time and they won’t interfere with my play.

But one question I was not prepared to answer was why, when I reached my original stop-win goal in early May this year, did I then alter my goal upwards and continue playing.

I had to think about that for a moment, and the answer still hasn’t set all that comfortably yet. But I’m guessing it was for the challenge.

I had the time, my health is good, and I truly did not play that many hours at all in attaining my original goal. In fact, even after quitting the year for good in mid-August, I had put in a total of just 50 hours of play. I had very strange luck this year with jackpots, which goes to show you just never know how the machines will treat you, and if you don’t give them all the opportunities to feed you a big winner, they rarely will.

I’m also becoming interested in understanding the world of sports betting on a higher level. Because I’m an avid fan of almost all sports and I’ve followed the pro leagues very closely as far back as I can remember, I’m using my interest in the NFL as an excuse to make five $100 bets/week. I started with the final week of exhibition, and to date I am 1-9.

I say that with enthusiasm because I am learning a little more as each week passes, and everyone knows you don’t become a success in this business overnight. I’m finding it is not the simple guessing game I thought it to be. Besides, it’s something to pass the time with as long as it doesn’t interfere with cheering of my New England Patriots, and as soon as the Super Bowl is over I will begin my video poker playing for 2007 once again.

The point of all this is to help players understand that there indeed can be other things out there to do or even not to do, other than to continue banging away at the machines once you have met a goal for the year. It can even be peeled down to the level of how to handle winning a session goal without giving in to the urge of going right back to the machines loaded with overconfidence.