Hit or Run

In Poker, it’s called the Bad Beat. It’s when you did everything correctly and you are expecting a nice payoff but then the game turns on you and leaves you devastated. When it happens, the best answer is to run. It’s not a good time to continue to gamble.

A similar scenario can unfold in Craps. Playing conservatively, you have made only Pass and Come bets, and you have taken the Odds on each number, and now you have good money invested on three or more box numbers. You hope to win each of those bets, and probability says that you should win at least one. But no, Big Red sweeps them all away. Again you load up several box numbers, and again Big Red is an assassin. Your luck is clearly awful. Don’t make another bet. Don’t even color up. Just run away.

The money that you salvage by not chasing your losses is very important. In the big picture, the money that you take away from your losing sessions will turn out to be substantial. If you want to become an overall winner, then the money that you salvage will be a big percentage of your winnings.

While gambling, keep thinking that you are always testing your luck. It’s always about you, personally. It’s not about the cards, or the dice, or the shooter. It’s you. Along with everyone else on the planet, you have both good luck and bad luck, and both kinds seem to come in waves. It’s OK to gamble for as long as you want, except when your luck is bad.

Be prepared for long waves. Sometimes your personal luck can remain unchanged for weeks. If it is good, then keep on gambling. If it’s really hot, then don’t stop even to eat or sleep!

Here is a good story that you can verify. Gambling on several different games including Craps during an amazing run lasting several months in 1994-1995, Archie Karas won forty million dollars. However, he continued playing when his luck turned. He lost it all within a few weeks.

Here is another good story. The late Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer was a very aggressive gambler who ended up an overall winner. On several occasions he took millions of dollars away from Las Vegas casinos. His style was simple; he would walk up to a Blackjack table and test his luck while still standing. After five or six hands, he would know whether he was lucky, in which case he would sit down and play. If not, then he would walk away immediately.

You can do the same. Using small bets, test your own luck for a short while. Stay and play with regular bets only if your luck seems reasonable. If your luck remains sour then you may have to walk away again and again. Be patient; your luck will eventually change.

When testing my luck, my technique is to make only Come bets without taking Odds (a Pass bet without Odds is awkward). Unless I break even or better after five or six bets, I just walk away.


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