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MP- Obtaining and maintaining a relaxed and calm mental state

Someone asked “I am assuming that if there was a choice of table, you play at the lesser populated high limit table

I was wondering if you could share with us :

How do you relax before a session?

How do you keep calm and relaxed while at the table?

How do you keep calm when you fall behind at a high limit table?

How do you keep yourself composed at really high limit tables?”


That's a good set of questions.
Yes, for all the reasons that you've given (plus a couple more); I seek out the higher-minimum tables in a multi-table setting.

 - For me, getting my hands on the dice as frequently as possible is the best way to make money.

 - The more I shoot, the more I make.

 - Though every hand is NOT profitable; my wins outpace my losses, and that is what advantage-play craps is all about.

There comes a time in every skilled-shooters craps-life where he realizes that he is going to have to increase the size of his bets if he wants to make more money. I mean, if your dice-influencing is good, but you aren't making much money; then you are really wasting your talent.

If you have the skill, then you have to put the money out there in order to take better advantage of your validated edge. Sure, you can stay at the red-chip level and hope that you throw a lot more 40, 50, and 60-roll hands, but that really isn't how A-P D-I works (though many wrongly think that is the mark of a skilled player, but they still can't quite figure out why they continue to lose despite the occasional headline-making mega-mammoth hand).

They may know how to shoot, but they have no clue how to bet; so they are pretty much stuck with betting at their current level, and will never get much beyond it because any money they win during their mega-hands is almost invariably given back on the ones that fall short of 20-rolls (which accounts for almost every hand that they throw).

A number of years ago when Stanford Wong and I first started talking; he said (and I'm paraphrasing here) that I was under-betting my then-current skills by an order of magnitude that should be embarrassing if it weren't already so pitiful.

Now understand that I thought I was betting pretty large. In fact, my bet-spreads were much, much higher than most other skilled shooters, and I was pulling down some very decent annual income (and had been doing so for over a decade)...but to SW's mind, I was severely under-betting my skills to the point of near-revulsion.

Admittedly, for most player, disconnecting from the money, is problematic, and to a point it was for me too.

I apprehensively tried some of his bet-focusing ideas, and further refined them over a period of a few months as I gained confidence in betting at starting-levels that I had only previously reached after much big-hand pressing.

The result was that my average net-income per hand immediately doubled (and then doubled again soon after tweaking the approach even further). I ended up making twice as much money in half the time (as measured by the average number of hands I have to throw to make a given amount of money).

Stated another way, my profit per hand quadrupled, even though my shooting-skill stayed pretty much the same. In the ensuing years, I pumped up the value of my bets still further (in bet-tolerant stores).

How do I relax before a session?
I buoy my confidence by throwing the dice a few times before I head out to the casino.

Sometimes it's as few as three or four tosses, and sometimes it takes several dozen. I throw until the dice are doing what I want them to do. I don't leave home (or my hotel suite) until the dice do what I want them to do, which is to produce three or four on-axis primary-face outcomes in a row.

On the way to the casino, I use music (preferably something with angst and torment, such as Green Day's 'Jesus of Suburbia')to 'gird my loins'.

When I walk up to the craps table, my attitude is one of quiet confidence (I know what I am there for...I know what I am capable of...I know that if I bet right, I'll likely walk with a neat profit). Notice that I'm not talking about a brash, "I'm here to take your money 'cause I'm a professional" swaggering false sense of bravado that a growing number of players think they have to don (which almost always coincides with a subsequent pit/flea/waitress-attributed loss.)

How do I keep calm and relaxed while at the table?
In between hands I often indulge in idle chit-chat with the crew. If they are relaxed and cheerful, it's easier for everyone else to be that way too.

When I am shooting, I relax between throws (if payouts are talking longer than usual) by sub-vocally humming (using breathing only, no vocal chords) a bar or two of a wordless tune (something ethereal like Aker Bilk's "Stranger on the Shore").

How do I keep calm when I fall behind at a high limit table?
It all depends how far we are talking about. To be down by $300 to $700 is not at all unusual; that's part of the normal hand-to-hand variance that you're going to endure when you start betting bigger.

You have to keep it in proper perspective though.

For example, if you aren't too concerned when you are down $50 when you are red-chipping it; then being down $250 when you are green-chipping it...or $500 at a $50 table...or $1000 at the black-chip level is the same order of session buy-in variance.

You slowly have to desensitize yourself to the higher limits. You can start by betting larger at your normal $5 or $10 tables. Just because $5 or $10 is the bet-minimum, doesn't mean that you can't start out with a higher bet-level. So instead of going to the $15 table, you can slowly desensitize yourself to them by betting bigger at the cheaper tables.

That way, you'll be less reluctant to walk up to a $15 or $25 game the next time you see one open and idle.

Disconnecting your emotions from the money starts with being properly bankrolled. You'll never be relaxed enough to bet at the black-chip table if you not only don't have enough money, but also if that amount of your money has no right being in the casino in the first place.

Good Luck and Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

Copyright © 2007-2008



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