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Slumps Verses Money Management…




Anyone who plays enough cards or dice will eventually experience a slump. However, what may seem like a slump could actually have more to do with money management and controlling the losses.


I recommend keeping a journal of your sessions. Your journal can reveal patterns of your play and provide reasons why you are having difficulty with your game.


Awhile back, a former student called me about being in a slump. The first thing I asked about was if they had been keeping a journal of their sessions.


A review of the journal revealed that the student was not so much in a losing slump as they were losing more money than they were winning. In seven sessions, they had four wins and three losses. However, in two of the losses, the player went bankrupt losing thirty or more units in each session.


In my seminars, I teach students to be prepared to risk and play one entire betting stake. This does not mean to go out and play carelessly losing thirty or forty units. Even if you are losing, it does not mean you are out of control of your game. You may quit whenever the energy is not supporting your game or when the “fun” is done.


This student’s winning sessions had resulted in reasonable profit. The problem had more to do with experiencing the two bankruptcies. The loss of two complete bankrolls was reason enough for a feeling of a slump. I counseled on discipline and about paying attention to the energy of the game. I encouraged the student to recognize the positive. The units won were commendable and consistent for the winning sessions.


The student needed to play more alert during the losing sessions. The losses caused the imbalance and it affected the student emotionally as well. The student felt depressed and lacked confidence. “It ain’t no fun when it stops being fun!” Willie Nelson wishes that he had said that, but he didn’t, I did.


The defeated depressed feeling is harmful to the psyche. Confidence, as you should know, is a huge part of the game. Contrast confidence at the craps table to the confidence of a professional quarterback, a baseball pitcher or a golfer. One difference, when confidence wanes at the craps table, the craps player has the advantage of cutting their losses. When it is not going your way, it is better to call it quits earlier rather than later. It is better to accept a smaller loss than to lose an entire bankroll and risk additional injury of being demoralized emotionally.

Your battle plan should include minimizing losses. The student’s journal represented an upside down ratio of loss to profit. It turned out that the slump had more to do with money management. The student lost more than they had won. Emotionally, it felt like a slump to the ego. In reality, it was win one, lose two. Do your best not to lose more than you reasonably expect to win.

In the heat of a game, to go bankrupt or not to go bankrupt is always the challenging question. It is not wrong to play away one betting stake in the pursuit of a win, if you are in a worthy game. The dice or cards can turn in a heartbeat. Suddenly, someone rolls seven passes and you can come roaring back. However, if you find that you are experiencing more than one bankrupt session, out of say ten, it is something to scrutinize.


Upon a closer look of your play, a slump is not always just a time when you can’t win. Self-discipline and money management often are linked to the losses. Learn to recognize the difference between a cold streak verses an imbalance with the units in the win/loss columns.


Paying attention to the energy, in the first place, is the best way I know to keep out of the negative games. Prevent yourself from engaging in the losing situations. Limit your losses. It is simple really - lose less and you will win more. 


Michael "The Professor" Vernon

Playing 4 Keeps.com


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