Lessons of A Gambler

poker photoPeople are just wild about gambling (ourselves included), and that goes for the brick-and-mortar and online casino varieties both. It’s a rush — like a roller coaster — a visceral experience that gets our heart pumping, our blood racing, and our neurons firing. And in the excitement of it all, far too often, when we’re immersed in the thrill of the online casino experience, we leave our heads at the door.

But Kenny Rogers had it right: You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, when to walk away, and when to run.

A gambler needs to know his game. He needs to know when he’s in good shape and when he isn’t. He needs to know his odds at any given moment — not necessarily the exact figure, but a general idea for sure. And he needs to know how to respond accordingly.

More often than not, this means stepping back. In poker, this means folding. Not every hand is worth playing. We’ll say that again — not every hand is worth playing. One clear sign of a novice at the poker table is indiscriminately calling every last bet.

In blackjack, this means staying. In craps or roulette, this means placing more conservative types of bets and taking a break from those riskier though potentially more rewarding bets where the house advantage is astronomical. In slots (or any online casino game, for that matter), it could mean taking a break, period. You can always go back later. The online casino will still be there, welcoming you with open arms.

Here’s what you do. Pick a dollar amount you plan to gamble that session and then stick to it. Decide on a strategy for dealing with winnings also, so that if you like you can prolong your online casino experience without blowing all you’ve just gained. Whatever you do, don’t chase your losses — that’s the surest way to keep on losing. An excellent rule of thumb (that we know you’ve heard before) — quit while you’re ahead.

Keep in mind as well that you can (and probably will) get tired, the longer you play. Untold hours can pass like seconds when you’re playing at an online casino — almost like magic. And just like the body in an athletic activity, the mind so engaged can and will grow fatigued, even when you’re sitting in your most comfortable chair, in your most comfortable clothes, with your refrigerator and bathroom both just a hop, skip, and jump away.

You do yourself (or your wallet, or your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/child) no favors by continuing to play while you’re tired. Pause before you get exhausted. One of the greatest things about an online casino is that it’s always there and open for business whenever you’re ready to go back. No harm will come in calling it quits while you recuperate.

And speaking of recuperating, never borrow money or dip into savings to bet at the online casino in an effort to recover your losses. See above about chasing losses. We believe we’ve made that point perfectly clear, yes?poker photo

The singular key to getting the most out of your online casino experience is to have the right motivation in playing there in the first place. If you are playing at the online casino purely to make money, you will be sorely disappointed. – maybe not 100% of the time (and this alone is what makes the industry thrive so) but ultimately, and again and again. Sadly (but truly) windfalls are few and far between. The online casino is not the place for you to earn a living or to get out of debt.

What’s it there for, then? In a word — fun. You play at the online casino to have fun. As long as you’re having a good time, play on. But the instant it stops being fun, take a break. Come back later. You play at the online casino for recreation — and if you keep that in mind first and foremost then no matter the roll of the dice or the deal of the cards, you can’t lose.

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