Five commandments of successful gambling

Nov 20, 2001 5:08 AM

Before I begin, it should be understood that I rarely play any casino game other than video poker. But that does not mean all of the following do not apply to those who choose to play something else. I believe all casino games have certain ties to each other when we’re talking about successful approaches. Let’s see how often that holds true here ”” whether you live near a casino or just visit several times a year:

Become 110 percent familiar with your game: How many people do you know who have told others about their lucky jackpot on their very first casino visit? And how many of those people do you expect are still ahead lifetime? If you guessed 0 or 1 percent, you’re probably closer to being correct at zero. Why? Because lucky winners almost always neglect to understand every facet about the game they like to play as well as the system in place that allows them to play, since their first time around was so easy. Knowledge is power ”” and in gambling it is financial power.

Go in with a plan, and always stick to it: There are some people out there who hate to see this subject in print. Why? Because they believe it is best to “hope” that the math will eventually swing in their favor, and gambling with any sort of plan other than playing often and fast is a losing proposition. What they miss, however, is the fact that no one can do anything successfully without preparation and a plan. My own history of gambling is a case in point. I used to subscribe to the theory that long-term strategy would somehow equate to a tiny win percentage, when in fact it resulted in a huge loss percentage every year ”” results not unlike nearly every “skillful” player who has ever tried it. But since I’ve changed over to a structured program of common sense planning before every visit ”” and strictly adhere to it ”” it’s a rare day that I see a loss any longer. If you’re prepared you go into it with confidence, and remember, scared money never won a dime.

Bankroll, Bankroll, Bankroll: Here’s a subject that’s almost always taken either all too lightly, or presented to the gambler in a way that makes it seem the author required an advanced degree from M.I.T. just to be qualified to make a statement about it. Of course, neither is actually true, but in gaming perception is a powerful stimulant. On one hand, if you waltz into a casino each visit with whatever cash you have lying around ”” and/or if you’re foolish enough to take your ATM card with you or sign up for casino credit ”” you really haven’t the bankroll for winning. Unless you have a lucky day, you will do what at least 90-95% of gamblers do on any given day and simply make a deposit. On the other hand, if you’re one of those who claim to understand the mathematics of having a long-term bankroll and what it is supposed to do for you throughout infinity, you’d be better off fishing on Lake Mead. Proper bankroll is simply nothing more than planning ahead for the amount it should take within your strategy to leave the casino with a pre-set win amount. This requires that you play to and expect to go home with a profit every time you play ”” clearly unlike the thinking of those who cannot let go of the math.

If comps are important, winning isn’t: Some people know that using a slot club card can be an advantage if they are able to control their play. Others are sadly misinformed about the concept, and they pay an irreparable price. If you are the type who is impressed and infatuated by reading about someone else who not only plays for the points, but continually announces how easy it is to get freebees, you not only will never win a penny ”” you’ll soon be selling personal possessions to feed your habit. In gambling, winning is the only important concept. Other attitudes are for losers.

Learn discipline””without it you are dead: Only the very lucky have ever won without doing what they said they were going to do within their gambling plan ”” and extreme luck never lasts. If everyone had discipline, the casinos would be closed. It is not easy, but those who possess this trait while involved in mesmerizing casino action are the select few who know how to consistently go home a winner. It is truly the only attribute that separates those with big egos from those with climbing bankrolls.

Finally, if you’re not a professional gambler, or you’re not wealthy beyond belief, try to have fun while playing the games. That’s why it is often called “gaming,” after all. Have fun with the games.