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Moderation in all spins16 May 2011
I've seen them and you've seen them. The bleary; the buzzed; the disheveled; gambling's blanked, blinked and bonkered ones; playing too long; playing too fast; playing too much at the slot machines. Spin after spin after countless spins at a speed almost matching that of light. If Einstein wanted to measure light, all he had to do was watch a typical slot player pounding away at the spin button. Whoosh!
In my first forays into the casinos, I was one of them; perhaps you were (or, worse, are) one of them too. Nothing good comes from losing one's control at the machines; nothing good can come from playing in an altered state of consciousness that makes time fade into the relativity of oblivion as one's money fades with it.
In a negative-expectation game where the casino has an edge, the more decisions played, the better the chance the casino will come out ahead. That is math. It's pure; it's simple; it's right. Slot machines are decidedly negative-expectation games, with edges ranging from a decent 2% to an abominable 17% on some linked progressives. [Yes, there are some slot machines that at some times become positive. I write about these in my new slot book Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines!] Yet many slot players get themselves into a feverish pitch as they play the machines, as if such a fever is good, when in almost all cases fevers are bad.
Most serious slot losses -- the type where you say the next morning, "I lost how much?" or your spouse says when you return to the room, "You lost how much?" -- are the results of false impressions concerning one's chances to win. Many slot players actually think that a winning session at slots somehow translates into a justification of their own individual worth and thus they play faster and faster and more and more in order to get to that state where one feels important because one won.
"I just won 10 thousand dollars on that machine!" might translate as "Look at me, I am so special and that is why I won 10 thousand dollars on that machine!"
Playing and winning -- or playing and losing -- means nothing about you in the grand scheme of things. A monkey can win or a monkey can lose; doesn't matter, the creature is still and will always be a monkey. A philosopher can win or a philosopher can lose; he is still and will always be a philosopher. You are you whether you win or lose. Of course, you are not a monkey and very few of us are philosophers. We are who we are.
Interestingly enough, an intersection occurs for many inveterate slot players at some period in their slot playing careers; they become far more cautious in their play. They have experienced the true nature of the casino edge and while they enjoy playing the machines, they now know they have to take it a bit more slowly and plan to play a bit more circumspectly. In short, some slot players have suffered those "I lost how much" moments enough times to reconsider their style of play. Instead of throwing themselves headlong into the casino edge, they now take a more moderate approach.
Perhaps the great Greek playwright Aeschylus in his brilliant play "Agamemnon" said it best:
Wisdom comes through suffering.
Playing the slot machines in a moderate way means several things. You take your time spinning the reels and playing your credits. You think of your play as a meditative experience designed to relax you and take away the cares of the day. You do not play in a feverish manner as if this is in any way, shape or form a meaningful activity. It is simply a fun period of time in the casino.
When you finish playing the slots and head to your room for sleep, you sleep deeply and restfully because the horror of thinking "I lost how much?" never once crosses your mind. You had fun; you played within your bankroll and there is little or no negativity regardless of the ultimate results.
Only experience teaches us through our own individual suffering that there are better ways to do things than the way we have been doing those things. We "learn to practice moderation" because the other course is fraught with peril and losses that we might not be able to contain.
I can tell you from my own experience that containing one's tendency and desire to play faster and faster is not an easy thing to do. The Hindus talk of the mind as a "wild monkey" and when facing our games with Lady Luck we must control that monkey or it will scoot away from us and scoot away with our money as well.
So put this saying from Aeschylus in your mind: "A man must suffer to be wise." It applies to playing those slot machines too.
Get the Edge! Join Frank Scoblete in Las Vegas, October 21, 2011 for Advantage-Play Friday.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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