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The Golden Rule of Gambling

By Corey Dragge

If there was ever a key to success in gambling, this is it. This is the golden nugget that separates those that wade in mediocrity and those that don't. This is the gem that if followed will set you apart from all those other weekend warriors who claim to be Guru's and have the "Lock". The funny thing is this is something that is so simple and you probably do on a everyday basis already. The thing is you don't associate it with gambling. So are you ready to receive this little gem of knowledge? Do you think you are ready to become a true gambler? Well let's get on with it.

The first thing you have to realize is that no matter how good you are, no matter how sure you are about your cards or your picks, you WILL lose. That is right, you will lose. You may have a friend that has a sister that knows a guy that worked with the roommate of this guy who is riding pine for some team and he says that the game is going to go this way or that but in the will lose. That is part of gambling. You win some and you lose some but if you truly want to enjoy gambling and make a little bit of money doing it you have to except that fact of life. If you can accept that then you are truly ready to receive to golden rule of gambling. STAY WITHIN YOUR LIMITS!

That may seem simple and you may be saying to yourself " I know that", but think about it for a second. As a avid sports gambler I have lost my fair share of money over the years but it wasn't till I started handicapping that I began making money over the long haul. And it was not because of my client's fees but because of my own personal bets. See, I was talking to a fellow handicapper and avid poker player friend before one of our monthly poker night get together and the subject of how much I had made or lost over the past few years came up. The truth is I didn't know. I couldn't even estimate. I was pretty sure I was at least braking even or maybe up a little but I still wasn't sure. He looked at me kind of oddly and asked me why I bother keeping track of all these players, teams, trends, and information when I don't even keep track of my own plays? I was dumb founded. Here I had been researching factors that played into my personal gambling picks and I couldn't even begin to tell someone the one most important piece of information related to my gambling. That was a wake up call. Think about it. Do you honestly keep track of how much you wager and how much you win or lose? Do you keep track what sports you make the most money on and what ones are your "lose leaders"? If you don't then you will never truly make any money gambling.

The information that one gathers on their own gambling trends and habit could be the most vital information in making ones picks or wagers. For example, I use to gamble a lot on baseball but after I started keeping track of my personal records it struck me that I wasn't doing half as good as I thought. Matter of fact, I was losing money over the course of a complete season. Knowing that I lowered the amount of my wagers and the number of wagers I placed. Sure I still gamble on baseball but I don't lose half as much as I did before. Keeping track of your personal plays also allows you to cut through the ego and really see just what sports you can handicap and profit from. Me personal, I can handicap baseball but not half as good as I can handicap basketball or football. By knowing that and by knowing my personal track record within certain sports I can place my wagers, still have fun, and stay within my limits. The amount of money I have saved from tracking my personal wagers is enormous. If your going to take the time to research a bunch of athletes why not take the time to track the guy that is throwing down his hard earned cash.

The key to gambling is staying within yourself. Know your strong points and being honest with yourself about your shortcomings. If your looking to go to Vegas, throw down some cash and walk away then this doesn't apply to you. If your looking to go to Vegas, throw down some cash and walk away with some still left in your pocket or maybe even more then you started with then you need to pay heed to my warning. Be honest with yourself about the games that you do well at and those that you just never win. You may love to play Poker or bet the ponies but if your losing more then your making over the long haul then either you need to practice more or move on. Believe me, you will be doing yourself a HUGE financial favor.

Speaking about finances. Gambling is a risk business and the majority of people out there lose and lose big. Lady Luck is a fiction character like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. This is a lie force fed into your sub conscious by the power that be. Look at Vegas. There is an old saying, Vegas wasn't built on the money of winners. They want you to associate gambling with luck so they can build another monster casino with Eiffel Towers, Pyramids, or the Empire State Building. So if you want to contribute to the building spree of one of the fastest growing cities in the United States why don't you just walk in and hand your money to the desk clerk and go back home. Sure so of the game if up to luck but not half as much as they want you and pocket book to believe. With that being said you have to stay within your honest financial limits. If you don't, you will be dead broke trying to bluff a pair of jacks to a full house for a $30 pot on your first night. Believe me I have been there. Knowing how much you have to spend only makes you play smarter and hence stops you from placing iffy bets or staying in on "River" card (the last down card dealt in a game of Texas Hold'em) when your chasing a low straight. Believe the allure of a big win or making a ton of money on one hand is very temping and sure you can chase that dream once in awhile but make sure your staying within the starting rules (what hands you will play with and ones you will fold on) and boundaries you have set up for yourself. The biggest problem I see though is when you are staying within yourself and your WINNING! How is that a problem you ask? When was the last time you went to Vegas, or anywhere else for that matter and won a ton of money and then walked away? How many times have you won a bunch of money on a big play or hand and then ended up losing it all back to the casino? I am willing to bet that the latter happens more times then the former. If you start winning a lot of money and are doing well for god's sake take half of your winnings and put them in your pocket and leave them there. That way if your winning streak comes to an end (and it will) at least you still have those chips to put you ahead or at least even. Let m leave you with a example from my own personal book of horrors.

About 3 years after I started handicapping, I went to Vegas for a weekend "getaway" with the guys. I love the game of Poker and can hold my own at the mid level tables so I found a comfortable table and got to work. After about two hours of playing I was up $300 bucks. Not bad for two hours of fun. I was playing smart and staying within my starting rules and all was well. After another 3 to 4 hours I was up a total of $450 bucks. Not bad. I left the table after that and retreated to my room for a nice dinner and a date with my laptop to do some research for the Saturday games. I did my research, got some rest and went down to the book to place my wagers about 15 minutes before game time. After all was said and done I had won 2 straight up plays, lost one and more importantly won a big 4 game parlay. I collected my money, grabbed a beer and savored the moment. Up $1200, not to bad for a weekend get away so what do I decide to do? Time to hit the Poker tables. I mean I am up $1200 right so why not? I will tell you why not. In less then 4 hours that $1200 turned into $800 and in another 3 hours I was back down to $475. The rest of the trip was pretty even keel and I left winning about $350 bucks. After meals and what not I left with the same that I came with. Not bad right? I broke even and it could have been worse right? Guess what I was thinking the whole way home. You got it. I should have put half of it away. I should a, I should a, I should a. They say hindsight is 20-20. Well use that your advantage and learn from your mistakes, keep track of your plays, and stay within in your limits. And sooner then you think you will be making money, instead of giving it away, and having more fun doing it.