Good players always give themselves chance to win

October 23, 2001 8:48 AM
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REMEMBER WHEN GAMBLING WAS FUN and not a life or death situation? Don’t get me wrong; there was joy in winning. But, there was a thrill in trying to be a winner. It is a challenge that most of us accept with broad shoulders. Needless to say, there are more losers than winners. However, it never takes away the thrill of the gamble.

Last week while riding in the car to work, there was a public service program on the radio offering help to gamblers, calling what they do a disease. I don’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. This town is full of guys who think they’re mighty wise when they pick a winner. They have bragging rights and do so. I’ve been gambling since my early youth. It didn’t take long to realize that gambling could be a problem, just as booze or chocolate candy, if not done in moderation.

WINNING AT GAMBLING is an exhilarating experience. It gives a natural high. So does losing. It doesn’t take a lot of gray matter to realize one must control the urge to bet. It’s simply a matter of money management.

I personally take affront with anyone who paints me with the addict brush. It’s insulting. I think I have control at what I do, whether it be playing blackjack, betting a horse or turning a profit. It’s obvious that people who enjoy leading the parade take comfort in subscribing to Gambler’s Anonymous. That’s fine!

OBVIOUSLY, groups of this nature have value. If it takes a group like GA to help cure the habit, it makes plenty of sense. But, many people in Las Vegas live here because of gambling and that’s not something to feel guilty about.

To win a horse race after sitting in a bookie joint for several hours doping out tracks in the Daily Racing Form is the equivalent of a student gearing up for a major exam, passing it and then making the honor roll. Enter exhilaration. Although table games are running second to slot machines among casino players, I believe the real joy of winning a bet is the employment of strategy. We all know that luck outscores cleverness. But, pulling a handle to see where the reels stop is hardly based on strategy. To me, trying to perfect play at casino games makes good sense. It also makes the player keep coming back for more.

DOWN THROUGH THE YEARS I have bellied up to a table ”” usually a high-stakes one ”” to get the most enjoyment. The amount of money wagered is often determined by the player’s belief in his play. The only reason high-limit games have more appeal is that usually ”” not always ”” high-stake action attracts the more skillful players. It makes play much more enjoyable, knowing the guys sitting along side of you aren’t reckless fools. These are the dudes who arm the politicians with bullets to fire for anti-gambling legislation.

Needless to say, there’s a moral issue involved. It’s not right for a casino to allow a player to recklessly ruin himself. I don’t know what, if anything, can be done about that, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. Las Vegas grew up around slot machines and tables. They are the Himalayas. Climbers get a rush trying to reach the top. Some do. Most don’t. The difference between the two is the ability of the player to know when it’s time to pack it in and come back another day. All of the hazards of gambling ”” in my opinion ”” are led by players who lose control. It creates a real problem in the industry. Casinos are there to turn a profit; how can they be expected to turn away someone who’s reckless? They really can’t. Therefore, it’s up to the regulators to keep a sharp eye on the action at all times.

TAKE THE POPULAR treat of caviar. They tell me once a taste is acquired for the fish eggs they tantalize the taste buds. That may be so, but I’m still working on that one. However, gambling should be approached in the same fashion. Know when to win and know when to walk. It’s not easy. If one is to truly enjoy the art of gambling, the player must learn to be in control. Always remember that gambling is a game of chance. Have a designated bankroll limit for any one session. When you reach it, quit. Don’t try to chase lost money with good money. It seldom works. The highest high of all is to know you played the game and gave yourself a chance. That’s what it’s all about ”” giving yourself a chance to win.