How to appreciate your losing sessions

Feb 5, 2002 8:04 AM

Regardless of the game you play, you will probably experience more than your share of losing. You will have some very lucky days, and more unlucky days. You will find that you are ahead at one point or another in nearly 80 percent of your casino visits, but in accordance with clever casino planning and a trait called human frailty, you’ll usually play on and on until the profits and more have all gone South. For a moment you’ll rejoice in the fact that your player’s card earned you a fistful of comps and some much needed cash back ”” but in time you’ll come to realize ”” as everyone eventually does but is too afraid to admit ”” all this means is a repeat trip through your favorite ringer. And gamblers are famous for even rationalizing the ringer, but the bottom line now is how to find a silver lining in a losing session.

When I first learned computer-perfect video poker play, I was taught to be ready for very few winning days. Well, at least they got that one right! I had no idea how to cheer up after losing simply by saying to myself that if I keep on playing perfectly ”” which is impossible for any human ”” I will see an itsy bitsy profit percentage at the end of the rainbow. The trouble with rainbows is they only come out in the rain, and when it rains in the desert, it pours. Even now, where I experience a losing session only once in a great while, a loser is still a loser. It’s a great disappointment, but the feelings are almost immediately mitigated by my own personal moment of silence. And it’s then that I realize I have not really lost anything.

The first thought I have is how very lucky I am to be able to enjoy the casinos I choose to play and be entertained at. I have many differences of opinions with some of the long-time well-known experts of video poker who make a living out of selling the math to hopeful players, but there is no division in our praise for our sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines keeping the dreams alive for the rest of us over here. So you’ve had a bad day at the machines or tables as your ATM card was drained? Think of the opportunity you’ve just had, compared to the many separated military families who juggle hope with fear every minute of every day. You lost more than you planned on today? Big deal. At least you can go home or to a nice hotel room.

One of the very first rules a successful gambler has to follow is learning how to deal with losing ”” and the only real way to work with it is to appreciate the opportunity you’ve just had. I came to understand this as I wrote my first book. I dedicated it to my late father, who spent two wars and nearly six years hunting enemy ships while encased in a vintage WWII-era submarine. His mission? To do his part to allow every one of us to continue to enjoy everything this great country has to offer ”” just as our service men and woman are doing for us all today. And yes, one of our freedoms is losing money while gambling. Another is rejoicing in the few times we hit the jackpot. Whatever way the dice roll or the cards fall, don’t let it get you too far down.