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Best of R.D. Ellison

Gaming Guru

 

The Constructive Aspects of Losses

12 September 1999


Sometimes, when you lose, you win.

Annabella Sciorra, from the movie
What Dreams May Come


Winning is good. Losing is bad.

Enough said, right?

Not necessarily. To those who take their gambling seriously, for those who make a living playing table games, losses can be constructive, even therapeutic. It all comes down to one's perspective, in situations that involve real need.

It took me many years to learn this, but the best way I know to handle losses, to be prepared for losses, is to anticipate them, to look for them. They are destined to occur. You're better off if you stop denying their right to exist.

Of course, you don't cherish them, but they do represent a cleansing of sorts, a purging of the bad stuff out of the system. They are the obstacles that periodically must be dealt with before you can resume the task of winning.

Don't get me wrong. For most ongoing table play, losses are nothing but a pain. All they do is hurt you and hold you back. In those cases, the above is not applicable. I'm talking about series play.

One of my favorite strategies is the closed progression. A simple 1-2-3 wagering structure that seeks a win before exhausting the series, but when a series loss occurs, you eat the loss and go back to the beginning. For me, this technique is most effective when used to place numbers at craps, with bets that are activated only when a predetermined wagering trigger has been identified. If you stick to the plan, this technique will grind out a steady profit. But there are times when an unexpected series loss can throw your game off balance. At that point, it's not one bit difficult to abandon your discipline and resort to wild and chaotic bail-out attempts. This is what can happen to us humans, and it's the most pernicious trap in gaming.

If you're waiting for that other shoe to drop, so to speak, its appearance is almost welcome, because now a balance has been struck. You knew you couldn't keep winning forever; this puts things back into their proper place. Now the field ahead is clear. You're ready to resume your winning ways.

Playing this strategy, I recently had a run of 11 consecutive winning sessions. Strange as it sounds, this long winning streak was starting to bother me. I was actually relieved when my next session produced a loss!

When playing progressions, don't fear the reaper. A loss is a necessary catharthis which resets the counter and puts you back on track: toward the wins!

© 1999 Rick D. Ellison

R.D. Ellison
R.D. Ellison is a professional gambler with more than twenty years of successful gaming experience. He has lived and gambled in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and in the Midwest where he has frequented riverboat casinos. He now maintains his primary residence in southern Ohio.

Books by R.D. Ellison:

> More Books By R.D. Ellison

R.D. Ellison
R.D. Ellison is a professional gambler with more than twenty years of successful gaming experience. He has lived and gambled in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and in the Midwest where he has frequented riverboat casinos. He now maintains his primary residence in southern Ohio.

Books by R.D. Ellison:

> More Books By R.D. Ellison