On a recent five day casino vacation Lady Luck abandoned me. I spent the next five days living every gamblers nightmare by losing every session I played. I tried blackjack, video poker, Texas Holdem, slots and even entered a couple of tournaments. Nothing would go right and by the third day I was literally talking to myself as I watched my bankroll dwindle down. I felt as if I were on the verge of going on tilt.
Going on tilt is the expression used when poker players become upset and lose control of their emotions. Consequently they start making poor decisions and play badly and irrationally. Going on tilt is not confined just to poker players. Anyone who gambles on any casino game can find themselves on tilt. Once a player starts losing money they are a prime candidate. They have lost money and they try to make it back quickly by raising the size of their bets or playing a higher denomination slot machine. This will usually just lead to more losses.
Sometimes a player will get to the point where they just don't care how much money they have lost. A player may be down a few hundred dollars and then figure “What the heck does another hundred matter?” It will matter a lot the next day to most players but at the time they will just throw good money after bad.
The length or your stay at the casino matters. If you are only on a day trip you have the option of just going home and putting an end to your losing day. If you cannot leave or want to stay at the casino there are several things you can do when you feel you are on the verge of losing control. Breathe
The first thing to do is take a deep breath. Breathing gets more oxygen to the brain and will help clear up your thinking. It is the first thing you are taught if you have ever tried any form of meditation or deep relaxation exercises. It is very simple and can be done right at the table or slot machine where you are playing. Take in a deep breath through your nose. Count to four as you are doing this, filling your lower diaphragm.
Hold your breath while counting to four again.
Slowly exhale through your mouth.
Repeat this four times.
Go For a Walk
If deep breathing does not help soothe you, get up and leave the table or machine. Take a walk around the casino to get away for a few minutes. If the walk does not calm you down, go to the rest room and wash your face and hands with cool water. If you are still feeling upset then you should take a longer break. Go get something to eat or drink. Sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee or a soft drink can help you to relax. (You should avoid drinking anything alcoholic when you are upset.) If that doesn’t work then quit for the day and go home.
Take a Day Off
If you are visiting the casino for several days as I was, you don’t have the option of going home but that does not mean you have to stay in the casino and gamble. I knew that I had to get away from the gambling for a while. After three days of losing I decided to do something different.
The next morning I went sightseeing around town. Later that day I bought a book and read it while I lounged around the hotel pool. I had a nice dinner that night and then went to see a show before turning in. As I got into bed I reflected on the fact that I had spent a whole day of my casino vacation without making a single bet. It did wonders for my mental health. I actually had an enjoyable day and found a way to relax during my prolonged losing streak. The next day I awoke refreshed and was looking forward to playing one more session before heading to the airport to fly home. I LOST!
I remember hearing that winning is easy but losing brings out the true character in a person. How you handle adversity is a true test of you inner strength. Sometimes you just need to know when to throw in the towel and quit. “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”
That’s what I chose to do. The casino will still be there on my next trip and maybe Lady Luck will even join me next time. However, this trip I learned that I could handle a prolonged losing streak and although I was beaten, I wasn’t defeated.