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The Wall




Energy expresses information that can be perceived in every situation. It is possible for a player to benefit, perhaps even to have an edge, using this information in casino games.


The “wall” is a phenomenon that occurs in both in both Craps and Blackjack. Hitting the wall is an energy experience. You can train yourself to recognize when you have hit the wall. Doing so may save your bankroll. When hitting the wall, it seems that you are waiting for something to happen and you feel trapped or stuck in the game.


After playing for a while, the game stalls. Financially, the game is going nowhere. You will notice that you are not losing and you are not winning. It is a limbo-like feeling. There are several ways to determine that you have hit the wall. Here are three examples.


  1. The bankroll is even, no profit no loss.

  2. The bankroll is down a bit say minus four to six units.

  3. The bankroll is up a bit say plus four to six units. (one unit equals your minimum bet)


Say that you are a $5 player. You have won eight units or $40. The $40 level seems to be a barrier. You are unable to go beyond an eight unit profit. At the $40 barrier the game stalls and you lose four to six units. You climb back to a profit of $40 only to experience another loss, and so it goes. It is back and forth when you are at the wall.


The same experience can happen when losing. You are down, say, eight units. Eight units becomes the bottom barrier. You claw your way back four to six units and backslide back to the eight-unit loss. Again, up, down, it is a stall at the wall.


From my many hours of experience, the smartest, simplest and most profitable thing to do is to leave the game upon hitting the wall. The energy evident for producing profit is gone. I call it “win one, lose one, push”.


No matter how you adjust your play, nothing works. Only the casino makes money at this point. I know of no magic that will change or perk up the stale energy. I have tried to bring up the energy. Sticking pins in a “boxman-voodoo-doll” is a sure way of being barred.


Leaving seems like simple advice, yet the tendency is for the player is to engage the intellect. The player thinks that the doldrums cannot go on forever. Intellect talks the player into staying with the game.


Perhaps the player thinks, “This game has to got to break away eventually. What the heck, I have only been here forty-five minutes? I have to show something for my time. After all, I’m not losing, I can make this table pay.” The intellect provides logical explanations to keep playing but the energy tells a different story.


I suggest playing sensitive to the energy or the “vibs” at the table. Follow the action closely. Be present and in the moment. Know what is going on all of the time. Keep yourself “switched on”, looking for a reason or signal to leave the game. Positive reasons to stay with a game are obvious enough.


More times than not, after hitting the wall, the game tends to break up and go down hill. Too often, when this shift occurs, it happens very rapidly. The player, asleep at the wheel and caught with their pants down, usually leaves the game that way, “down”.


The message to bail out is a feeling experience. It is a feeling of being in a stalled state of no progress, going nowhere. I was raised Catholic. That feeling of Limbo that Sister Mary Fatima always scared me with, comes to mind.


When you are in touch with the energy, you will experience a “knowing”. You can perceive the energy and know what kind of game you are playing by how it feels. It feels comfortable or it feels uncomfortable. Perceiving energy is real. When it is a negative feeling, ask yourself “why am I not feeling good about this experience”. Look down at your chips and you will see your answer.


You experience this energy feeling all the time in your normal daily life. It is that little voice. The one you always promise to listen to next time… “if only I had listened to myself”. Working with energy requires discipline, quieting the mind and subjugating the ego and the emotions.


Perceiving energy is a subtle technique that intellect, ego and emotion easily overpower. You have to ask them to step aside while you notice your perceptions and feelings. It takes practice, but it is something everyone is capable of achieving.


Once the intellect or ego engages, it takes charge of the player and the player’s game. The player is not paying attention to messages that can be perceived from the energy at the table. Being aware of the subtle messages and their meaning is what I refer to as “reading the energy”. Most players follow their emotions not the energy.


The ego whispers, “something good should happen because… because I want it to, because it is due, because I am one heck of a player, this stagnate game can not go on forever, I want to win.”  The player’s perspective is not on the action.


Reading the energy is traded for an emotional perspective. A longing and yearning for the win, at any cost, is negative emotion. Desperately wishing that something good will happen is a sure sign that you do not believe or feel that it will happen. Negative emotion is like a magnet. It draws negativity. Detachment from ego, emotion and intellect requires strong will and discipline.


Without discipline, lulled into a kind of dream-state wishing for future success with the absence of anything happening, the player goes on autopilot. The mundane rhythm of the game gets boring and play becomes rote behavior. Place the bet, drag back the win or replace the bet after a loss. It is a bit like having that song that you hate playing in your head and you can not stop humming it. Your are in a trance. You have hit the wall.


The stage is set, ready for the fall. Without warning, the wind turns cold and in a matter of minutes, losing hand follows losing hand. The chase is on. Ego is not going to accept a loss. After playing “even” for an hour and a half, an entire betting stake can be wiped out boom, boom, in minutes.


Well what happened? You see, back at the wall, the player received a quick warning from the energy, or lack of energy. Ego or intellect took the helm, and “damn the torpedoes” it sunk the ship. “Hitting the wall” is a signal. It is a wake up call to pay extra attention to your game.


Here are a few more ways to work with reading table energy. Be in the present moment. Ask what is going on here? What do I see? What do I know? How do I feel about it? Be aware of what is going on with the game and especially with your self. Notice your breathing. Pay attention to your body. Listen to your heart. Are you comfortable? Are you experiencing any pain in your feet or legs? Do you have a headache or backache?


Usually, signs of discomfort are not apparent when you are having fun. If you catch yourself drifting from present awareness something is causing that distraction. It is not important to identify the distraction. It is important to recognize that you are not “in” the game. Be honest with yourself and have the discipline to admit when your intention is weak. It is like boxer in the ring not protecting himself. A knockout is inevitable.


Reading the subtle signs of energy in the game is a way of protecting yourself. It takes a bit of practice and like anything, the more you practice the more skilled you will become.


No matter if you are winning or losing look for the rhythm in your game expressed by the energy. When the rhythm changes, take action. Usually it is a signal that it is time to leave the game. Relax, casinos never shut. Play it smart, take a break then find a game with potential, a game with winning energy. It is never wrong to exit a game. Play from the heart, not from the head.


Michael "The Professor" Vernon

Playing 4 Keeps


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