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Aren't You a Little Too Old to Believe in Fairy Tales?

There's an old joke about a guy who is about to leap off the Brooklyn Bridge.  An old withered-up hag approaches him and asks him why he's going to jump.  He's says that he's a bank manager who has embezzled millions of dollars and gambled it away.  The auditors are about to discover the theft; and he'll be jailed.  When he told his wife, she immediately moved out. 

The old witch-like hag says, "Sonny, I can help you.  I have magical powers.  All you have to do is make wild, passionate love to me all night long, and I will make everything right again."  The guy says, "Wow, this is just like a fairy tale; I'll do it!" "Poof" she says, "the money is back in the bank vault, the paper-trail is fixed for the auditors, your wife has forgiven you, and she is on her way back home. 

Now take me to a motel and fulfill your end of the bargain." He's is so relieved, he puts aside his revulsion of her appearance and makes good on his agreement.  When he's finished and is getting dressed, he says "Gee, I can't believe how lucky I am that you came along; now I can return to my perfect life."  The old hag asks him how old he is, and he replies that he's forty.  She says, "Sonny, don't you think you're a little too old to still believe in fairy tales?!

Anecdotal evidence can sometimes fool the mind into thinking that a point has been proven. Anecdotal evidence in most casino settings is worthless.  For example, a craps shooter rolls the dice, and one of the die fly off the table. A seven shows on the very next toss. Someone snaps, "After they go off the table, 99% of the time the next roll is a seven." 

Other players nod in agreement with the myth.  Actually, after dice go off the table, 16.67% of the time over an extended period of time, the next roll will be a 7. That's the same probability of a 7 on any roll. Previous events are irrelevant. But those who want to believe they have special insight into predicting results take instances when 7 occurs as proof, and ignore the other cases.

Casino shift-managers and Pit Bosses have bizarre beliefs, too. Quite a while back, a mid-Strip Las Vegas casino started offering "full five-times odds" at its craps tables. At the time, it was fairly innovative for a "carpet-joint" to do that, but they were hurting for business. 

They experienced two shifts when these games lost money, and then on the third shift a high-roller friend of mine hammered the house for close to $80,000. Quintuple odds instantly became history at that place in less than 24 hours.

The casino bosses cited this anecdotal "evidence" to prove they were being hurt by the drop in "house advantage" from the old to the new odds (0.375 and 0.251 percent difference, respectively, on $15 Pass Line and Come bets).

Statistically, neither percentage is high enough to significantly affect table "win" on a single day.   I guess someone forgot to tell them that they were in the gambling business.

Let me ask you this. Who do you thank when you win, and who do you blame when you lose?  If you don't answer "ME", then perhaps I could interest you in a nice game of solitaire.   If you are relying on the random nature of both, the dice and of luck; then you are on the wrong web-site.

An old  proverb says "triumph has many mothers, and failure is a foundling."

Simply put, success has many fathers, and failure is a bastard child.  People take credit for random success, and blame others for random failure.

Random-rollers on a "hot streak" credit themselves for being shrewd, sophisticated, endowed with prowess, and able to control conditions that mystify other mere mortals. Losers blame everybody and everything in sight, from dealers and cocktail waitresses to other players and spouses. 

They blame the season, the full moon, the black cat that they saw that morning, the idiot whose hands got hit by the dice, the pattern on the box-man's tie, and everyone agrees that the newly-arrived tour-bus occupants from Stinkfoot, Minnesota just unloaded a pile full of bad-luck baggage. 

Some players believe that they are naturally lucky, while others think they're cursed with chronic misfortune. Few players, though, admit that chance has much to do with winning the kind of money they have in mind.

What about if a player has honed their skill, knowledge, and discipline? I am not talking about good gamblers who merely understand the table layout and payoffs, then pat themselves on the backs for being so clever. When they win, it's because they're experts and deserve it.

When they lose, something's awry beyond the risks inherent in the games.  They may be good gamblers, but unless they re-engineer the game so that the dice are de-randomized, then they are simply that: Gamblers hoping for luck.

I ask again.  What about the players who have honed their skill, knowledge, and discipline with Precision-Shooting?  Of course, they are still involved with casino gambling; however, the house edge can be turned substantially in their favor.

Let's talk about de-mystifying the game of craps.  Can discipline be applied, so that your chances of walking out of the casino with a profit is substantially increased? 

Better still, can you drive away from the casino in your own vehicle bought and paid for, solely with casino winnings?  Happily the answer is YES.  Sadly for some, it involves discipline.  Here's one example:

When to quit playing for a session sometimes looks like the hairiest decision you'll make in a casino. It's tough to quit when you're ahead; you could win more. It's tougher when you're behind; you could catch up. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't tried it.

The problem for frequent players with an excellent grasp of the total game, is that they know the rules, the bets that coax statistical advantage from the house, and the benefits of probabilities over hunches.

But, most such players are net losers. It's not because the house edge erodes their equity. It's not because they lack the bankroll to last through normal downswings. It is because they show poor judgment and discipline about quitting.

Stopping at set loss-limits, or walking away after a back-slide of say 20% from some high point oversimplifies a complex problem.

Only you can set the parameters, and only you can enforce them upon yourself.  If you lack that self-discipline, then craps will continue to be a moderately expensive form of entertainment for you, and nothing more.

Motivation and resolve have a lot to do with achieving your gambling goals.  Will you be happy with a modest win, or are you driven to sacrifice small profits for more of a shot at a big hit?  Are your session times compressed because of other commitments and considerations? 

How long can you play? Are your friends bugging you to quit so everyone can go to the buffet? Have you been standing at one spot so long you've been assigned your own personal zip-code right at the craps table?  Do you have the time, bankroll, constitution and patience to weather the occasional down-swing?

If you're losing, tired and find your attitude has soured, do you have the discipline to quit, and if so, can you restrain yourself from making "one last bet", to see if things turn around?

There are natural quitting opportunities, such as when a hot shooter 7's-Out. If you often play at the same level, you should have a sense for what represents a substantial upswing. If you've been in the hole and have just climbed out, whether you're now ahead or still a little behind, is it reasonable to expect a further gain?   Or do you take a small loss on the chin, while you still have the self-respect to go home and look the dog in the eye.

This is where fantasy plays a role.  The coulda, shoulda, woulda, of potential windfalls is triggered by your subconscious, and can fool you into staying too long because of some fantasy of striking it rich during one session. 

Your mind tells you, "This could be the ONE!"  Your gut should tell you, "You've locked-up yet another small profit session, let's get the hell outta Dodge City!"  Do you have the discipline to follow common sense, or do you cave-in and follow your fantasy?  To that I would say, "Sonny, don't you think you're a little too old to still believe in fairy tales?!

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

By: The Mad Professor

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