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D'ya Wanna Win, or D'ya Wanna Gamble?
Part III

read Part I here or Part II here


Before we begin, I just want to remind you again:

The reason most skilled Precision-Shooters don’t make more money is because of the way that they BET, and NOT the way that they SHOOT!

“I Have to Keep My Job Just to Afford These Bets”

That is precisely what one friend said as he was commenting on my observations about how expensive some of his long-shot craps bets were.  When I pointed out that even his lowliest $4 “See a Horn, Bet a Horn” approach to random-rollers was costing him on average $24-per-hour, he seemed genuinely surprised.  While he may have suspected just how expensive they were, it struck a chord with him because that $24/hour cost equally matched what his day-job paid him (pre-tax).  He replied, “I guess when you put it that way, it’s like working all day so that I can afford to make these stupid bets at night.”

At that point, I didn’t want to burst his bubble any further by explaining what his progressive Hopping Big Red bets on random-rollers were actually costing him on an hourly basis.  I don’t think he would have taken the disappointing news very well.  My only reply was, “I guess that’s a good enough reason to keep your day job then”.

Risk-Taking INCREASES Your Loss-Tolerance

An occasional high-risk win will generally wipe out memories of all the losing bets that led up to that single victory.  Selective-memory lets you merrily view that one winning bet as a reason, and further motivation, to make more and more riskier bets. 

It gives you a false sense of confidence in your seeming ability to correctly select and time your bets on random-rollers.

In fact, fueled by greed, some people will actually step up their betting-level, betting-frequency and betting-intensity based solely on ONE random win, instead of carefully weighing each subsequent decision on it’s own merit. 

Unfortunately, the more often that you put your money at ever-increasing risk, the more you are preparing and NUMBING yourself to the effects of higher and higher losses.

Conservative Start, Disorderly Ending

When you mature as a player, you are more likely to begin each session with a pre-determined game-plan.  As your skill and knowledge of the game improves, you’ll probably find that your pre-set win-goal, loss-limit and betting strategies become more clearly defined.

However, once most players begin a new session, a lot of them forget about their plan, or they simply choose to discard it altogether.  For example, they will start out quite conservatively.  They’ll look at the mood of the table and the trend of the dice.   They’ll maintain a sober perspective as they “size up” the game, and they won’t be too anxious to jump in to the betting-pool with both feet.  Yet once they are comfortable, many seasoned players not only let down their initially cautious guard, they loosen up their betting discipline to the point of near recklessness.

Simply stated; Once you are comfortable with the risks that you are taking, your loss-tolerance will usually increase. 

Once they reach their comfort-zone, players often loosen up the purse-strings, and lower their opportunity-to-bet threshold or their bet-size-to-bankroll ratio beyond all reason or proportion.

If you start out with a conservative betting approach, but end up with no control over your bankroll, it’s time to figure out WHY.

Something To Ask Yourself

If that scenario continually happens to you, let me ask you this:

On the occasions where your game-plan gets thrown out, is it because you are generally winning or generally losing?

In MOST cases, your betting-plan gets tossed out because you are losing. 

Many players figure that since they are “behind” the winning-curve, they need to change their betting-methods in an aggressive attempt to recoup their loss.  In most cases, this is a disaster waiting to happen.  Once in a while, you will manage to pull one out of the fire, and fall backwards into a profit; however, most times it is just the opposite. 

In most cases, a small loss turns into a HUGE loss simply because you abandon your game-plan since it didn’t appear to be living up to its potential, or it didn’t appear to be living up to its potential, FAST ENOUGH to satisfy YOU.

What Leads You into Temptation? 

FRUSTRATION and IMPATIENCE can erode discipline as fast as any unfettered fear or unbridled greed. 

Frustration and impatience leads directly to taking bigger and bigger chances to get back to “even”.  As you increase the amount of risk that you are willing to take in your quest to regain those losses, your pain (your losses) mount until there is virtually no hope of salvaging that session.   At that point, you can mark another one down on the loss-side of the ledger.  For the undisciplined player, huge losses are never alone on that side of the win/loss list, and they are certainly never alone for long. 

The fact is, your big losses NEVER WILL BE ALONE until and unless you change your betting habits, ease your frustration, increase your patience, and beef-up your discipline.

Starting Strong, Finishing Weak

A lot of players start each session with a ton of discipline, patience and resolve.  Slowly, as more and more bets are made, their resolve starts to erode and their discipline diminishes.

The first thing you have to do about starting strong, but finishing weak, is to determine just why it is you are allowing this to happen to you and your game-plan.

       Is it because other players are making bigger bets than you are?  Does that make you feel inferior or self-conscious?

       Is it because other players are making more money than you are?  Are you jealous, envious or just plain feeling left out of the profit-making process?

       Is it the frustrating perception that each dice-outcome that you haven’t bet on is a “lost opportunity”?  Do you belong to the gamblers club that subscribes to the “I’d rather have a losing bet out there, than to stand idly by as numbers roll and have no money in action at all!” mindset?  To some people, a “missed bet” can be more aggravating and maddening than actually losing a bet that never paid off in the first place. 

       Do you get the strong urge to “do something”, instead of just standing there and waiting for an outcome?  Do you start to feel anxious or nervous when you don’t have money out on the table?

       If you only have one or two wagers on the layout, do you feel that certain betting opportunities are still passing you by? 

       Does your impatience grow as more and more numbers roll, but none of them are generating payoffs for your particular bets?

       If you don’t have any wagers on the table, do you feel any ever-growing sense of urgency to get into the action?

       If some of your bets start to lose, do you sometimes ramp-up the size or the risk-factor of any new bets that you are making?

If you answered, YES to any of these questions, do you know WHY you do the things that you do? 

Other than the obvious, “because I’m trying to recoup my losses” answer, the underlying fault may lay with the fact that steady and frustrating losses have a way of NUMBING your senses, and dulling your COMMON-SENSE.   As we lose more money, we place LESS and LESS value on our remaining funds, and we are therefore willing to risk more and more of them in an attempt to recoup our current losses. 

In some cases, the feeling of anxiety over missing out on a possible profit-opportunity is so strong that it overpowers your patience and discipline to stay within your well thought out game-plan. 

That way of thinking pretty much guarantees that you will end up just like 98% of all the other players who feel and think exactly the same way as you do.   You will continually LOSE, just like THEM.

When the urge to bet outweighs the discipline to wait for proper betting opportunities, we momentarily ignore our pre-game plans.  With each subsequent outcome of our bets in an ongoing series, we may become more likely to continue ignoring or even completely abandoning our game–plan. 

When you toss out your game plan, you usually toss out discipline, patience and resolve right along with it. 

Does Your Pre-Game Resemble Your Post-Game?

It’s always interesting to watch sportscasts where the commentators are running down the key elements that each team will have to address if they want to win the game.  Many times the pre-game interviews with players will show optimistic outlooks and indicate steely determination to overcome certain disadvantages one team may have over the other, and talk will turn to certain determining factors that are seen as critical linchpins in the success strategy that each team plans to employ.

The mindset of a professional Precision-Shooter BEFORE he approaches the table is pretty much the same.  He knows his current skill–level, and his existing strengths and weaknesses.  He knows where he is vulnerable, and how he is going to defend that weakness and shore up his defenses. 

The professional Precision-Shooter tailors his game-plan to meet the challenges that he can anticipate, yet builds in enough flexibility to cope with any contingencies that might come along.  His intention, purpose and objectives are clear. He knows how he is going to exploit opportunities when they occur, and his plans specifically include methods to create and increase his own chances for profitable victory. 


The post-game sports interviews are sometimes a completely different story than what you heard during the pre-game.  The victorious team will talk about how they seized opportunities, and how certain players made outstanding contributions.  They’ll also talk at length about the flawless execution of their game-plan strategy and tactics. 

They’ll talk about how they handled a couple of unusual circumstances, how they overcame adversity, and how they adapted their style of play to match the real-world conditions out on the field.  On the other hand, the losing teams representatives will shed a somewhat dimmer light and insight into how they missed opportunities, fumbled sure-things, how discipline eroded, concentration failed, proper plays weren’t executed and game-plans were abandoned.

For a Precision-Shooter, the post-session thought-process is equally important to look at.  You are compelled to take a long, cold and sober look at what went right, what went wrong, and just how various betting-opportunities were handled when they presented themselves. 

Your post-session review provides a 20/20 rearward view of exploited chances and missed opportunities.  You also get to determine whether any mid-session second-guessing cost you money; if your decision-process was paralyzed by fear, or if any of your well-laid betting-methods were struck down by greed. 

You’ll be able to clearly see whether victorious profit was easily within your grasp and you let it slip away, or whether you squeezed it by the throat and grabbed every last dollar that trickled out. 

This is the time for determining WHY things turned out the way that they did.  Whether victory eluded you right from the start, or gradually eroded, you should be able to honestly assess the factors that contributed to your success or failure. 

       What were the elements that were in your control, and what should you have dealt with better? 

       What would you do differently when faced with the same situation right now? 

       What were the factors that were outside of your control? 

       Were there any situations that you didn’t anticipate or didn’t handle as well as you could have?

If you aren’t asking yourself all of those questions after each and every craps session, or you aren’t coming up with actionable answers; then you will continue to lose on a very consistent basis. 

Post-Session Notes Improve Your Next Game

They say that the definition of “gambling insanity” is to continue doing the same things over and over again, but expecting to get a different result.  Once in a while YOU WILL GET LUCKY, but for the most part, YOU WILL CONTINUE TO LOSE, over and over and over again.  Now that is just plain crazy!

If you aren’t answering those key questions about what just happened at the tables; then how on earth do you expect your next session to be any better. 

A Not-So-Gentle Reminder

Repeat after me:

The reason most skilled Precision-Shooters don’t make more money is because of the way that they BET, and NOT the way that they SHOOT!

In Part Four we’ll continue our journey towards ACTUALLY WINNING, and away from MERELY GAMBLING.  Until then, 

Good Luck and Good Skill at the tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor


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