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Gaming Guru

 

How To Handle Losing Streaks

28 September 2012

If your go to the casino on a regular basis you have undoubtedly had your share of winning and losing sessions. The excitement of gambling comes from the anticipation that the next spin of the slot machine or hand of cards may be winner. When we visit the casino we hope that we will get lucky and hit a streak of winning hands that will allow us to take home a little extra money from our gambling session. Of course it is just as likely that we may experience the opposite results.

I think everyone knows that the casino has the edge on most games and will win in the long run. However, in the short term Luck will be a big factor in determining whether you win or lose. This is true of games that have positive expectations as well as games with a high house edge.

When we visit the casino we are at the mercy of the fickle goddess Lady Luck. Over the course of decades of casino visits I have noticed that luck rarely alternates between winning and losing sessions, but rather runs in streaks of several winners followed by several losing sessions. Some of these streaks can be quite long, which is fantastic when you are winning, but it can be quite disheartening when you have a prolonged losing streak.

I remember a line I read many years ago that said, “Winning is easy but losing brings out the true character in a person. How you handle adversity is a true test of you inner strength.” I think that everybody who has experienced a prolonged losing streak can relate to this quote.

Another quote you often hear in regards to gambling is that "you don’t know you were a streak until it ends." This is usually associated with the strategy that you should bet more when you are winning and less when you are losing.

Personally I believe that you do know when you are on a streak, especially a losing streak. When you have lost numerous sessions in a row, you can usually conclude that you are on a losing streak. Once you determine that you are having a bad run, you then have to decide how to deal with it to save your bankroll and sometimes your emotional well being. The last thing you want to do is go on “Tilt”

Going on tilt is the expression used when poker players become upset and lose control of their emotions. Consequently they start making poor decisions and play badly and irrationally. Going on tilt is not confined just to poker players. Anyone who gambles on any casino game can find themselves on tilt. Once a player starts losing money they are a prime candidate. They have lost money and are trying to make it back quickly by raising the size of their bets or playing a higher denomination slot machine. This will usually just lead to more loses.

Several months ago I wrote about one of my most profitable casino trips. Well as things seem to have a way of balancing out; last month I had one of my worst. It reminded me of a trip I had several years ago when I lost every single session I played for several straight days.

Having gone through it before I knew what to do after several losing sessions and I’d like to share some of my tips for handling losses.

Try to relax.

I was playing blackjack when my string of bad luck started. I would be dealt a good hand but the dealer kept getting better hands. This type of situation can get you a little angry as well as stressed.

First you have to remember that the dealer is only doing his/her job dealing the cards so it is not their fault that you are losing. Don’t take it out on them. Try to relax. The first thing to do is take a deep breath. Breathing gets more oxygen to the brain and will help clear up your thinking. It is the first thing you are taught if you have ever tried any form of meditation or deep relaxation exercises. It is very simple and can be done right at the table or machine. Take in a deep breath through your nose. Count to four as you are doing this filling your lower diaphragm.
Hold your breath while counting to four again. Slowly exhale through your mouth.
Repeat this four times.

If deep breathing does not help soothe you, get up and leave the table or machine. Take a walk around the casino or go to the rest room to get away for a few minutes. If the walk does not calm you down try washing your face and hands. If you are still feeling upset then you should take a longer break. Go get something to eat. Sitting down away from the games to have a cup of coffee or soft drink can help you relax.

After taking a break, if you want to continue playing it might be helpful to change games. Starting off fresh with a different game may help to change your luck. If you find that you are still losing but want to keep playing then try lowering the denomination of the game you are playing. This way you won’t be losing as much. If the losing is still upsetting you then it is time to quit and do something else.

How you handle your losing sessions will also be determined by the length of your casino stay. If you are only on a day trip you have the option of just going home and putting an end to your losing day. Of course if you have flown across the country to spend several days at the casino you can’t just pack up and go home. However there is nothing forcing you to stay in the casino. You can take time off to do some non-gambling activities. This is another reason why you should always plan some non-gambling activities on a vacation itinerary.

Gambling should be fun and we all expect to have our ups and downs, but keep in mind that a long losing streak does not have to spoil your entire vacation if you take the time to plan in advance what you will do if you find yourself in a losing situation.

Until next time, remember: Luck comes and goes, but knowledge stays forever.
Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

> More Books By Bill Burton

Bill Burton
Bill Burton is a gambling expert and best-selling author of Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em and 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets. He is the former Casino Gambling columnist for About.com.

Burton's Texas Holdem book was published in 2002 long before the game became a national phenomenon. The producers of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown used his book during the first season to teach the game to the participants.

He writes for several national gaming magazines and newsletters. These publications include: Casino Player, Strictly Slots, The Southern California Gaming Guide, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Southern Gaming and Destinations magazine, Midwest Player and Blackjack Insider.

Burton is an instructor for the Golden Touch Craps dice control seminars teaching players how to gain the advantage in craps. He is an expert at all casino games and can teach players how to play any casino game as well as offering them advice to get the most out of their casino visits.

Bill Burton Websites:

www.billburton.com
www.goldentouchcraps.com

Books by Bill Burton:

1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets

> More Books By Bill Burton