If you haven’t heard of it, there’s an old and fundamentally accepted statement of what is known as Murphy’s Law. Simply stated, “What can go wrong, will”.
In the life of an inveterate and consummate gambler, this rule seems to be permanently in effect, yet in all candor, it applies as well to the plumber, architect, or game show host. As a sort of warning shot, and as a service to would-be and established professionals alike, here is a ‘Laundry List’ of the kinds of challenges one will face chasing down the big pots and hot streaks.
Fundamentally, Murphy’s Rule tends to strike at just the wrong moment. Of course, such small strokes of bad luck can slow a hot streak, or bring on the adverse conditions that can sideline a gambling sortie in a flash. Not only will this list include the majority of the glaring dangers, but will include the more rare (and yet perhaps more annoying) risks the lifestyle can throw your way. And, as an added bonus, the list will even include recommendations as to how to avoid those particular pitfalls.
To begin with, these challenges fall into three categories. I call them delays, deltas, and deal-breakers. Fundamentally, Delays are the nuisance problems. Usually fairly easy to avoid, they crop up at the beginning or the end of a “run”, and just mean a slower trip getting into the bankroll, or a greater delay before ending one. Deltas are more significant (Delta meaning change in mathematics and physics) and usually call for a serious reconsideration of actions, and often are borderline catastrophes. Finally, Deal-breakers are those errors, mistakes, or ‘acts of god’ that simply stonewall the situation. Even these big issues can be handled with a little preparation and a lot of presence of mind. Shall we have a go?
Facing down a particularly tough loss on a single roll of the dice or flip of a card can be devastating. If you’re working your plan and such happens, it can seemingly derail you for some time.
Until you recover your composure, bet small and conservatively, to reduce a second impact. Generally, the plan you devise will take such into account, and the ups and downs of regular play will kick in again soon, so just weather the storm, because that is all it represents.
It is good advice to be prepared before you start a gambling ‘run’, that you secure the proper amount of cash to accommodate the ups and downs for the planned time frame. Should the money not be brought together sufficiently, this can lead to problems during the sortie.
If you don’t have the adequate bankroll for your strategy simply don’t play at all. Period. You can try to change strategy or try to find lower table minimums to solve the low bankroll problem, but in the end be truthful to yourself. Do you have a big enough bankroll that can overcome all possible bad streaks or bad beats? If you don’t, don’t even start. Never, never place bigger bets than your bankroll can stand. Fortunes have been won and lost just due to bad bankroll management.
You start a gambling sortie, and lady luck closes the door on you; your plan and strategy seems to be absolutely wrong, and you are clearly heading for a series of adverse outcomes. No planning, programming, or strategy seems to be able to shake it.
Several different choices lay before you in that moment of realization. First, you have to tighten up immediately, to reduce the impact. Gambling is not a science, but loss mitigation is a constantly evolving strategic process. Wager smaller amounts, and take fewer risks, until your confidence returns. Withdraw, when possible, for a period of time, to shake the psychological results and prevent catastrophic decision-making that seems to be associated with the downturns in the business. Finally, reconsider the duration of the run, and where you are along the strategic path. Early withdrawal from a run is an option, but not always the best alternative.
Loss of confidence
Beyond the delay of a ‘bad beat’, it is a common occurrence to simply lose heart, lose sight of the objective. In those times, it seems that the whole business is futile.
It may seem trite, but self-talk is a great way to mitigate the loss of confidence. Recall your successes, even the small ones, and when they occur during the ‘run’, congratulate yourself internally. Remember the odds, and focus on the plan. As your successes mount, they will bolster your confidence. And just as in the case of adverse results over time, remember you can always live to play another day.
The Casino Shuffle
The game might move to another venue. Your skills may require you to depart a location, or perhaps other circumstances require you to play elsewhere. Changing venues may cause discomfort, or even change the odds and the outcomes of your play strategy.
The changes that a different casino or game location can have can be considerable, but keeping the basics of your strategy in place is one of the greatest means to overcome this. Make adjustments early enough, and you may even find your outcome is better than it might have been at the original location. By keeping your eyes on the prize, and adjusting appropriately, this challenge, while annoying, does not mean the end of the run.
Costs of Doing Business
Similar to the delay based on not having a full bankroll, the increasing cost of the process and the demands of the High-Roller lifestyle can adversely impact your lifestyle. Keeping up with the perception of success and skill can cause more problems than are measured otherwise.
While there are no gears for a gambler other than full-speed ahead, paying attention to the odds and the games in which you compete can alter the need to play at the high rate. Further, with some serious brinksmanship, one can negotiate rates and costs early, reducing the operational output.
Casinos vs. the Professional
Generally speaking the Casinos in Europe, Las Vegas and all over the world are focused on the casual player, the easier mark. Because of that, there has always been a challenge, a conflict between the gambler and the house. Sometimes, that conflict becomes downright adversarial, despite the potential increase the casino could reap if they reduced the animosity.
By far the easiest route is to move the game from player vs. house to player vs. player, but that is not always the satisfactory option. Some ways to mitigate an increase in stress is to spend some of the earnings at the facility in question, so they see some of that money at least flowing back their way. Taking breaks, even in a hot streak, can also reduce the conditions a little, and keep you playing in a tolerable condition.
Ηaving alternatives in place usually solve many of these, but nothing beats preparation in handling any of the delay issues you might encounter. From the most annoying small thing, to the greatest, most difficult objection possible, the core solutions generally come from the conscious decisions that lead to a successful tour. Whether you make the plans in advance, or have to adapt on the fly, ultimately “Murphy” doesn’t have to get invited to play; just make sure you take him into account, and you’ll do better than you could have imagined.