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Mama Said There Would Be Days Like This
Part One

If I told you:

Winning is easy.


Losing is tough.

You would probably think that I was confused, or at that I had things reversed.

You already know that in a casino, winning is NEVER easy.   In fact it’s darn hard, and even more difficult to do it consistently.

You also know that in a casino, losing is ALWAYS easy.  In fact it’s damn easy, and even easier to lose consistently.

So what is this “winning is easy, losing is tough” stuff all about?!

Well, I’m talking about how you handle those wins and losses.

When you win, it’s easy to handle the accomplishment.   You generally feel on top of the world, and you think that you’ve got this Precision-Shooting thing perfectly figured out.

When you lose, it’s tough to handle.  You generally feel like you are in a pit, and you think that this whole Precision-Shooting thing is way over-rated, or at least much more difficult than it first appeared.

That’s what I mean when I say that winning is easy, and losing is tough.

So, what I am talking about is how to better handle those wins and losses.  Because, how you handle those two extremes of the casino experience, pretty much determines how we feel about our progress in the Precision-Shooting world.  It also determines our rate of progress when it comes to continually improving our game.

It also pretty much determines our level of belief in what we are doing, and how we view how well others are doing with the same pursuit. 

It seems that if we can’t string together enough consistent profit sessions with Precision-Shooting; then we either start to lose faith in ourselves, or we figure that no one else could possibly string together enough of them to make a living off of it.  Our belief in ourselves sets up how we view other people’s success, and how much we value our own chances of succeeding to the same degree.

Learning Precision-Shooting can be SO frustrating because we usually see almost immediate improvement in our rolling as soon as we start to practice and play.  However, we usually soon run into the “inconsistency wall” where we sometimes will have great rolls and then immediately turn in a terrible roll.  All of that will be interspersed with glimmers of hopefulness with moderate-length rolls.  At that point, there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the inconsistency.

On the other hand, when we do have back-to-back-to-back winning sessions; we start to wonder and even fantasize about making Precision-Shooting into a money-making career instead of it’s current hobby status.

Either set of thoughts can be dangerous because one, or two or even five good or bad sessions in a row does not determine our future.  Rather, it is a small snapshot of what is happening to us at the current moment.  It only serves as a benchmark to either indicate our progress or lack of it.

Simply, our own success or failure tends to shape and determine our own belief systems.  The thinking generally goes, “If “I” can’t do it despite all the long practice sessions and all of the studying and message-boards postings; then no one can possibly do it better than me.” 

Conversely, a few winning sessions puts us into the “I think I’ll ratchet up the size of my base bets now because I’ve got this thing down perfectly.”  Either set of thoughts can endanger our goals and shroud our view of what is really going on.  You can rationalize almost anything, and you can convince yourself to believe even the most irrational of thoughts.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you that that kind of tainted logic is just plain WRONG!

No matter how good you get at Precision-Shooting; you will still have losing sessions.  There ain’t nothing you can do about it.  Also, no matter how bad your Precision-Shooting may be right now; with continued development and practice, it WILL improve.

Losing sessions are a part of the game, even for the professional player, and they pop up at the most unlikely, inopportune time to kick you squarely in your testicles.  If you don’t accept that fact, then when the inevitable losing session does happen, it will have a bigger negative effect on your game than if you learn to accept small losses.  You have to use that losing session as one more step towards your next winning one.

Listen, I HATE losses.  I hate losing money, and I hate it when my game is not on par with my normal high level of performance.  However, it is how we mentally handle those losses that will determine how frequently and how big of an effect they have on our overall game.  The big effect can be for the good, or it can be for the worse.  It’s all in how we look at things. 

Our perspective determines how we view the entire world, and not just our dice-shooting universe.  Our upbringing, our education, our work experiences, and our lives that we have lived thus far, determines what we believe in, and what we consider to be likely or possible.  While we all have different life-experiences; in the craps-playing world, we hopefully have the same goal of making some money from it. 

I hope you agree that there are some players who win more sessions and more money than most other players.  Simply, some Precision-Shooters are better than others, and a few are really, really good.  But even the great ones still have losing sessions.

The worst losses that I have suffered in the last ten or so years, is when I refused to accept small losses, and I let them turn into BIG losses.  I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  Why?  Well, as Heavy is fond of saying, “Any win beats any loss, any day.”  It’s true of course, and it’s excellent advice.  Let’s add to it a little bit, and say, “Any small loss beats any huge loss, any day.”  Okay, okay, it’s not as eloquent as Heavy’s saying, but hopefully it will still help you out.

I call my own major session-losses, “meltdowns”, because sometimes, all of the discipline, and patience, and money-management just seems to erode and meltdown into a pyroclasmic nuclear-plant catastrophe.   Those meltdowns are never good, and they are never pretty.

I’ve previously written about averaging 19-out-of-20 winning sessions.  That still holds true.  I’ve also previously written about keeping the actual money-losses from those 1-in-20 losing sessions to an absolute minimum.  All of that advice comes from my own experiences in the casinos over the past couple of decades.  With all of that being said, I can admit that I still experience losing session “meltdowns” once in a while.  They don’t happen very often, but when they do, it’s always ugly!

Yep, I am STILL working on the discipline thing after all of these years.  Mostly, I can stick with those “iron-clad, will-not-compromise” loss-limits that I put in place to protect my session bankroll; but sometimes I slip.

So the question becomes, how should you handle those losing sessions when you break your own rules and when your losses exceed even your own loss-limits.

Well, let me ask you how you feel after a major loss?

It doesn’t feel too good, right?

If you want to avoid those feelings, then you can do something about them.

First, we have to put everything into proper perspective. 

If you already haven’t begun to do so, I would urge you to start making session-notes after EVERY session. 

Yes, I’ve suggested it before, but have you done it?  

There’s a good reason to do so, and I’ll explain again.   By making note of not only session-statistics like roll-lengths and betting-range; you should be keeping track of your mood, your energy level, your level of excitement and expectation before and during your session.  

After your session ends, you should be making notes about what went right and what went wrong. 

You should be making notes about what you would do if you had the opportunity to play that session over again. 

You should especially make notes about what you want to do differently at your next session.

The fresher the notes, the better the perspective.  The “colder” and more analytical you are in your critique of how you performed not only with the dice, but with your session bankroll, your betting methods, your discipline, patience and skill, your approach and attitude, and especially your actual thought processes during your session; the greater the likelihood of carrying-over the lessons into your next session.  By doing so, you will have a higher chance of reaping greater benefits and bigger improvements in trying to get to more consistent and profitable results.

By making notes, and being specific about what worked and where you need to make improvement, acts to force you into a “contract” with yourself.  That is, you are making an agreement for improvement. 

By casting your notes to paper or e-paper in the case of electronic notes, you are creating a session-diary that you can and should review on a very regular basis. 

Over a short period of time, you will hopefully notice if you keep making the same errors and mistakes, whether mental or physical, and how faithfully you are sticking to your plans.

Again, by doing so, you are critiquing your session immediately after you finish.  Depending on how stubborn you are, how long it takes you to convince yourself to correct and improve certain parts of your game will vary from person to person. 

One thing is certain.  If you make the commitment to make those notes and then to properly act upon them, not once, but ALWAYS; then you are making a very professional commitment and a very professional attitude adjustment towards improving your game.

There will be losing sessions, and losing days.  That is the nature of the beast that we call craps.

Mama said that there would be days like this, but she also said not to make things worse than they already are.

In craps, you WILL have some bad days or at least some bad sessions.  The secret to improving your game is to prevent them from becoming total bankroll-meltdown losses, and we need to prevent any small losses from becoming worse than they already are.

Make accurate notes; then act upon the lessons that each session, whether winning or losing, is trying to tell you.  Make firm, actionable and workable commitments to yourself and then stick to them.   Mama would be proud!

In Part II of this article, I’ll show you the notes that I made just after a few of my own ”meltdown” losing sessions.  It provides a little insight into my whole thought-process, but more importantly, the notes show what happens when discipline gives way to greed, exhaustion and frustration.

Until then,

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

The Mad Professor

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