Here’s to 7 years of good luck and winnings

December 31, 2007 3:07 AM
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As we all celebrate the arrival of 2008, many of us will also take the time to look back at the year that just ended and try to find the good that came out of it for us as individuals.

For some that can be scary — and yes, I’ve been there. But for others, such a review is good reason to look upon the coming year with revitalized hope and anticipation, and that is where I am now.

As a professional gambler, the outlook for the next year is generally based on how much confidence one can take with them as they cross over the Dec. 31st border. After all, winning money is the most important thing in this profession — or is it?

Certainly, taking money from the casinos ranks high on my list, and I’ve done it consistently well without all the associated fluff that others like to feed us. But as complicated as my video poker play strategies seem to many, I’ve made it an absolute necessity to simplify the overall process of playing to win.

One of my major goals each year has always been to spend as little time as possible playing the game in order to reach my goals. Why? Well, it’s obviously not that I don’t like casinos. They’re entertaining, spectacular, exciting, and very provocative. And while they do promote basic unhealthy habits for those who choose to visit them often or on a near-daily basis, I look at them as a means to an end above all else.

There was also a time in my playing life when I didn’t know any better, and I spent every moment home from overseas travel inside casinos in Laughlin and Las Vegas from 1990-1996. As an advantage player, I just knew the more I played the sooner I would attain what the writers of the game said they did.

That myth never materialized. In fact, I lost nearly $50,000 in my final year as an "optimal player." 1996 was further jinxed because I also got involved in a large financial snafu having nothing to do with the game. But when the New Year struck on Jan. 1, 1997 the tides were beginning to change.

For most of 1997, 1998 and 1999 I played my own strategy whenever I was home. For a change, I found myself on the positive side of the ledger each year. All my other administrative troubles were far behind me now. After having saved up the proper gambling bankroll and having secured my financial future, I decided to quit Corporate America to become a full-time video poker player.

As life-changing choices go, I couldn’t have done better. Playing video poker for "a living" has shown a very healthy profit each and every year since. It’s not that I’m making obscene, gigantic killings every year — just reasonable wins based on reasonable win goals, totally unrelated to greed.

But the winning is not the main plus gleaned from my decision to leave my job for the opportunity to gamble. There’s actually several other much more important aspects of making such a change. First and foremost there’s my family. While I am in nearby Nevada on a regular basis, I am home FAR more often now than I ever was during my working career.

Stand-alone, that is priceless in worth.

An unexpected successful aspect of my efforts in video poker has been my ability to get my common sense based words out to the video poker community. I’m all about helping other players become less frustrated with the game and hopefully winning gamblers. I’ve invested a lot of time and money in making that come true.

One way I do that is via my website. Another is through my books. But the most effective method I’ve had in helping other players realize their mistakes and how they’ve been misled by what’s out there is through this column.

Today marks my seventh straight year writing the Undeniable Truth column for Gaming Today. It has allowed many players across the country to get a side of the story rarely seen prior to 2001. It has meant many acquaintances, tons of meaningful correspondence, and even some close friends hopefully for life.

It has, in short, been seven years of very good luck. That type of good fortune is seldom seen in the gambling world, yet if many people took the time to look at their overall picture instead of just at their gambling results, they could be there too.

Good luck to everyone in 2008!