Things have been going well for you. You've managed to accumulate several back-to-back wins whether the game is blackjack, poker, dice or the slots.
You have a bankroll.
Even better, it isn't a small bankroll. It feels satisfying in your pocket, as big as a log. You don't only want to keep the bankroll -- you want to add to it. The question is, how do you accomplish this?
Based on my four decades of enjoying casinos in America, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and other exotic ports of call, it is anything but easy -- but it can be accomplished.
In my younger days, I was a salesman. While in college, I spent my summers selling everything from used cars to time shares (Yes, Dear Reader, I was one of those accursed telephone callers who phoned you just as you sat down to watch your favorite soap opera and who had a canned sales pitch that you generally reacted to by hanging up).
When you are in sales, you have a supervisor who tells you the best approach which can usually be summed up by the statement PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN. The same approach can be applied to gambling. If it is handled correctly, it will work.
Here is rule number one for protecting your bankroll: Never put all your eggs in one basket.
Let's say you had a good night at your favorite casino. The cards ran perfectly for you and you won over $1,000 at limit Texas Hold'em, Omaha High-Low or another game.
Flush with victory, you enjoy a good night's rest and you wake up to a sunny day filled with promise. Your first inclination is to return to the casino and do it again -- only bigger this time.
WRONG! DON'T DO IT.
After a big winning session, take a day off. Even two. Hang around the house or the apartment and take care of the tasks that you have been postponing for too long. Mow the lawn. Clean out the garage. Wash windows, do some shopping, wash the car. Anything but gambling is fine.
By staying away from the casinos for a period of time, you accomplish several things. You give your body and brain a chance to renew their energy. You learn to appreciate what you have done well. And you protect your bankroll.
Okay. You have recuperated from your victory. You feel refreshed and charged up. Do you return to the casino with all your winnings in one pocket ready for the Battle of the Bulge?
If you do, you are simply asking for trouble.
Here is how I would approach it. Take a certain portion of the previous win, certainly no more than 40 per cent. I would limit it to 20 percent just to maintain discipline. Put the rest of the winnings in a cookie jar or in your bank account and take a maximum of $200 to the casino.
Play tight. Play like you don't have a backup bankroll. You may be amazed at what happens.
In the past by using this approach, I have duplicated my previous win, not once, but many times. Several years ago while playing poker at The Meadows and the Rivers Casino in Washington and Pittsburgh, PA., I had 13 straight winning sessions before booking a loss. My younger brother and the poker players at the two casinos are witness to this.
Rule number two: Be generous with your winnings.
I am not suggesting that you throw your money around like a drunken sailor. I am suggesting you look for opportunities to help others whether it's by giving to charity, helping a homeless person get a meal, or donating to your church building fund.
Eddie Rack was a professional golfer who had a passion for playing blackjack and poker. He loved taking a couple of days off from running the two golf courses he and his family owned and heading to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. A wealthy man by anybody's standards, Eddie played hard and he generally won. And when he won, everybody won, from members of his family to friends and strangers.
When a business associate playfully challenged his generosity, Eddie, who was in his 90s, told him with a smile, 'Lou, if we were supposed to keep all our money, it would have handles on it. Money doesn't have handles. Spread some of it around. It'll come back.' And it almost always did.
RULE NUMBER THREE: If things aren't going well for you -- the cards aren't coming, the slots refuse to pay off or the dice keep sevening out on you -- call it an evening. Find a good restaurant or show. Order the filet mignon or the steak and lobster. Leave a good tip and a smile.
That is how to protect your bankroll. Believe me, the casinos won't miss you. You'll sleep better. Your family, friends and even strangers will appreciate you. And it will do wonders for your mental health.
Let the games begin.