20. Discipline and Control

At this point, you should have a good understanding about how to use the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy to win money at roulette. You should know when to bet, how much to wager, and when to quit. You know about how your bankroll determines the size of your wagers and about using game bankrolls. You should have some definite ideas about how you want to interact with casino personnel. You have learned some ways to improve playing conditions by interacting with and tipping the dealer. You also have been introduced to the idea of playing on casino credit and playing for comps.

Now you have to deal with the largest obstacle to your success.

The greatest single threat to your success is not the LIVE roulette casino personnel. It is not a bad run at the tables. It is not the risk of consecutive losses eating up your bankroll. It is not the wine, the women, and the atmosphere. The greatest single threat to your playing career will be yourself. Surprised? Read on.

Self Control

Ultimately, success at casino gambling, business, romance or life, for that matter, largely depends on self-control. Winning at gambling is all about self-control. It is about controlling the amount of money used for gambling. It's about reducing losses.

It's about limiting the amount of money used for any session of play. And ultimately, it's about walking out the door a winner.

Gamblers are a lot like fishermen. They like to talk about the one that got away. How many times have you been in a casino winning and ended up leaving a net loser? In the real world, the only wins that count are the ones you go home with.

Actually, it is no great feat to get ahead playing roulette. Probably over 75% of all roulette players are ahead sometime in their play. But do they walk out the door winners? No. Probably close to 95% of all roulette players end up losing money. The typical casino hold is about 20% for a roulette table. Hold is a term referring to the amount the casino keeps as its win out of the money dropped at the table — e.g. the drop. If you buy in for a hundred dollars and play for thirty minutes and leave with $85, you have lost $15 out of $100. Your contribution to the drop was $100 and your loss gave the casino a hold rate of 15%.

Winning at gambling is first about controlling yourself. It is about accepting responsibilities for your own actions. In the long run, you don't win because you were lucky, and you don't lose because you had a string of bad luck. Using the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy will help you create your own luck. Used properly, you will be able to play at an advantage over the casino and be a net winner.

If you think about the times you were ahead in a casino and ended up giving it all back plus whatever additional cash you scrounged, who is to blame? The casino? The game? The house edge?

Don't get angry with me for pointing this out. What is wrong with setting aside your winnings when you are ahead? And what is wrong with limiting your losses when you hit a losing streak? And what is wrong with leaving a losing table? I hope you answered "nothing." Doing these things requires selfcontrol.

They are easy to think about doing but may be much harder to actually accomplish. I am a former smoker. I always thought I could quit smoking when I wanted to. But I failed to quit a number of times. When I finally quit, I realized how difficult the process really was. It was easy to think about quitting smoking but doing it was quite challenging. Now that I have quit, I am out of the woods, right? Well, not quite. I believe that smoking is much like a drug addiction, and as a former addict, I am never cured. I am only one cigarette away from becoming a smoker again.

Control in a casino may require much the same discipline as that of a reformed smoker. Having a large monetary loss only requires a temporary loss of control.

Trust me, winning is habit forming. Losing, especially at a game like roulette when you know you are using a winning strategy, is tough. Some professional gamblers, especially traditional blackjack card counters, will lose for months at a time. I am not sure that I could continue to play blackjack under those circumstances. The documented losing streaks for the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy tend to be fairly short. If you play roulette regularly using this strategy, it is highly unlikely that you will ever encounter two back to back losing casino visits. But it can happen.

Once you are in a losing streak, you will be hard pressed to continue with your set game plan. You will begin to question everything about the strategy. The wheel spins will not seem right. You may feel like the dealer has it in for you. You will start to think that no matter how you wager, your bets will lose. When your larger bets lose, you will begin to question the betting strategy. After you have encountered a few very cold tables, you will even question whether selecting the time you make your wagers is really worth all of the effort.

Trends are a dominant factor in gambling. Every roulette table has streaks. If you are in a winning streak, you may begin to feel omnipotent. However, when a losing streak hits, you may start to question every aspect of your playing strategy.

Perhaps the best thing you can do whenever you encounter losing tables is to first change tables. Your next option is to quit playing roulette for a time. Depending on your feelings, you should either quit gambling altogether during your break, or if you are still in the mood to play, switch casino games. I have found on many occasions that a switch of games was exactly what I needed to improve my mood.

Many players seem to become chained to a particular table at some point in their play. This may be fine when the table is winning, but could spell disaster during a prolonged losing spell. While losing is tough, winning may be even tougher for some people. Many players subconsciously feel that gambling winnings are "ill begotten gains." Many times persons raised with a strong work ethic cannot adjust to the reality that winning at gambling requires a great deal of effort too. Gambling winnings may not seem real or may even seem shameful. Many people feel guilty when they win. For these people, walking out with some of the casino's money doesn't feel right.

Gamblers never cease to amaze me. Gambling falls into some special category of human behavior that escapes the normal rules we usually live by. People change their behavior dramatically in casinos. Consummate misers can't wait to throw their money away in casinos. People who clip coupons every week to save ten bucks on groceries think nothing of dropping a hundred, five hundred or even a thousand in a casino.

Discipline is all about the ability to develop a winning plan.

Control is about being able to follow it.

Ego Needs

We all share a need for recognition. We like to talk about our triumphs. Once you become a successful consistent winner at roulette, you are going to feel the need to talk about it occasionally.

You need to curb the urge to discuss the fact that you are a winner, especially while you are in a casino. If you have a big win at the craps table, feel free to comment on your success. The casino is not concerned with craps winners, because they do not believe that anyone can gain an advantage over them in this game, at least not without cheating.

Obviously, you should never discuss your roulette winnings with any casino employees. Your goal is to look as much like another losing gambler as possible. Casinos don't like winners, and you are much more likely to get the royal treatment if you look like another losing gambler.

Occasionally, outside of the casino, I have been asked about how my strategies work. When I first learned to beat the casinos, I was quite enthusiastic and wanted to share my enthusiasm with other people. The typical reaction when I have revealed that I have a winning roulette system is total disbelief. I am simply not believed. My best advice is to act like the vast majority of casino patrons who don't have a clue as to how to win.

Play the Part

I have given a number of suggestions about looking like a gambler. Everyone has his own style, and I am not suggesting that you disguise yourself physically or change your identity. However, persons who look serious, never drink, never tip, or don't talk to dealers or floormen do not look like gamblers and will not get the full benefit of casino generosity, including comps.

I have tried to give you as much ammunition as I can, but you can add your own finishing touches. Using casino credit is a must if you are a black chip player. You simply don't want to walk around with ten thousand dollars or more on your person. Not only are you literally risking your life should a mugger decide to target you, but you could run afoul of U.S. laws if you leave the country with more than $10,000 in cash on you and don't declare it. Using the casino's credit and signing markers will make you look much more like a gambler, and it actually is a very convenient way to play.

You should also play for comps. Once you are playing with black chips, you will have comps offered to you and you might as well enjoy them. Even mid-range gamblers and low rollers can avail themselves of substantial comps.

The Casino is Not Your Enemy

The dealers, floor persons, cocktail waitresses, pit bosses, shift bosses and casino hosts are not your enemy. While pit bosses often scrutinize the play of high rollers, they are just doing their jobs. Many of the casino employees are actually rooting for you to win. We have discussed how to get a dealer on your side by being friendly and using your tips advantageously. But your floorman, who, incidentally, is just as likely to be a woman called a floorman, is not against your winning. As long as you are not perceived as a threat to the casino's bankroll and are not engaged in behavior the casino objects to, e.g. card counting, you are free to win occasionally. Just don't rub it in their faces.

Floormen are the primary decision-makers on the amount of comps you get, and I always chat with the nearest floorman.

Starting a conversation is easy. Once you are a credit player, you will interact with the floorman as soon as you buy in, by signing a marker. After establishing some rapport with a floorman, I will occasionally ask him or her for advice on certain roulette wagers.

It is always better to down play just how knowledgeable you are.

Most floormen enjoy helping players and like to show off their own expertise.

In dealing with all casino personnel, your goal is to always be a polite, friendly person who likes the casino, enjoys talking to pit personnel, is impressed by the floorman's tremendous knowledge of roulette, makes large wagers and doesn't quite know how to play roulette correctly. This act will buy you a tremendous amount of unrestricted playing time, and your comp rate should go up exponentially. You are the perfect player from the casino's viewpoint, and the casino bosses will be willing to pay to ensure that you play in their casino.

Things to Avoid

There are some things I just won't tolerate when I play roulette. Top on my list of "the things I like least" are rude dealers. If a dealer starts making comments about my play, or is rude to other players, my advice is to just leave.

You don't need this kind of aggravation. If you have a bad feeling about the table, trust your instincts and leave. I also refuse to play with rude players. I recall one instance years ago at the Desert Inn when there was a young and obviously drunk player at the opposite end of the table. He made comments about every shooter and was constantly harassing the female dealer next to him, making off color comments about her clothes, her shape and her dealing. I finally told him that no one thought he was funny and that it was time to back off.

He told me to f___ off and I told him that it was time for him to go. By this time the boxman had signaled security. Up walked two burly security guards. Mr. Jerk was escorted out of the casino. After the uproar had subsided, the dealer he had been harassing gave me one of her biggest smiles and thanked me for supporting her. The floorman gave me a thumbs up and he comped me to a delicious gourmet meal.

Drinking

You've been waiting for this part, haven't you? I have yet to read a book on gambling where the author does not admonish the reader not to drink. Professional roulette players, I guess, are too engrossed in observing the game to even lift a glass to their beleaguered lips. If they do manage a drink, it has to be Evian water. For the bosses and for most players, having a drink while you play is part of the fun. Gamblers do it for sure. And you want to look like a gambler, right?

I generally have a few drinks while I gamble. I also drink straight orange juice, coffee, iced tea and even ice water at the tables. Drinking something alcoholic at the craps table is one more signal to the pit that you are not a threat. I generally go slow on the alcoholic drinks and time my drinks. In general, the fact that you are a roulette player will go a long way towards enhancing your reputation as a gambler.

Superstitions

Superstitions really have no effect on the outcome of cards or dice or little balls spinning around inside of larger wheels or do they? Most gamblers and many pit personnel are superstitious. Gambling itself seems to breed superstitions. What happens is that we remember certain events that occurred prior to, or in connection with other events, and we assume that there is a causal relationship between two seemingly unrelated occurrences.

The dice game is rift with superstitions. Lady shooters are lucky, as are virgin shooters, who have never rolled the dice before. If a die or the dice fly off the table, many old pros call their odds, place and buy bets off on the next roll, as everyone knows that sevens come after the dice fall on the floor.

Blackjack players have their own superstitions. Many of these concern upsetting the natural order of the cards. If you have been playing one hand of blackjack and suddenly spread to two hands, the other players may become unglued at the move. Likewise playing a hand differently than they would have can cause a barrage of negative comments.

Poker players may wear their lucky hats, and where would a slots player be without her lucky charm bracelet? Many casino bosses have lucky and unlucky dealers. A craps crew which loses too much money may find itself fired, or at least broken up and the members rotated into different crews. If a blackjack player is winning too much money, a boss may bring in a lucky dealer. In the good old days when Vegas was mobbed up, the lucky dealer may well have been dealing seconds, with a real reason behind the luck. In this day of corporation controlled casinos, a cheating dealer is unlikely, as a casino is not willing to risk its license over one winning player. However, many bosses believe certain dealers are lucky for the house, just as other dealers are unlucky. If a boss decides a dealer is unlucky, the hapless dealer is not likely to have a fruitful career with that casino.

Because gamblers and bosses are superstitious, it makes sense for you to at least appear to be superstitious too. If you lose, it is because the table is too cold, or in the alternative, if you win, you are on a hot streak. Hot and cold streaks do occur, but it doesn't hurt to play them up.

In addition to enhancing your conversation with bosses, you can use your superstitions to influence dealers as well. More than once I have told a dealer that I feel that the next wheel spin will be lucky and placed a larger bet when the floorman was watching.

Use superstitions to justify certain plays when you are talking to the bosses. Just don't get caught up in believing too many casino superstitions yourself. Your lucky hat is not likely to have been responsible for your last win, nor is a particular casino necessarily unlucky.

I will admit that I partially subscribe to the "unlucky casino syndrome." There are some casinos where I never seem to do well. I have no rational explanation for this. However, since I tend to play in Las Vegas where dozens of casinos vie for my attention, I can easily avoid the casinos that are unlucky for me.

Moving Up Your Betting Levels

If you devote much time to roulette using the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy, at some point you will want to increase the size of base bets — jumping from a betting series with a $5 Base Bet to a higher level, for example. Many players find that an emotional adjustment is required to make these moves.

The size of the wagers required may intimidate them to the extent that they feel compelled to modify the Maximum Advantage Roulette Betting Strategy.

Of course, you must adhere to all of the requirements I have described before you decide to increase the size of your base wagers. You never want to over-bet your bankroll, and you should only increase the size of your wagers when your bankroll is large enough to justify it. If you are undercapitalized, then you clearly are out of your league to jump from green chip to black chip play.

However, once you have built the prerequisite bankroll, you should be able to increase the size of your wagers. To acclimate yourself to making larger wagers, try moving in steps. You might increase from being a $5 Base Bet bettor to using $10 wagers as your starting point.

Probably your biggest hurdle will be moving up to black $100 chip play. You will receive a great deal more attention from the casino than when you were a red chip or green chip player. Most of the attention will be positive. When you play with black chips, you automatically join an exclusive club with significant casino comps to be made available. However, your play will also be under greater scrutiny, and this bothers many players.

In addition to being showered with comps, you will also find that black chip play has other privileges. It is usually much easier to find uncrowded tables as a black chip player.

I suggest that you start wagering at a comfortable level for you. Your comfort level may be as a $3, $5 or a $10 player. Stay at this level until you have thoroughly mastered, not only the technical side of playing correctly, but the emotional side of dealing with players, bosses and dealers. When you are ready, both psychologically and with adequate bankroll, try moving up just one step and then playing at this level for awhile. Continue to hone your casino people skills at each new level and don't forget to look and act the part. Black chip players do act differently than nickel chip players.

The Casino As Your New Office

Walking up to a roulette wheel the first time can be an intimidating experience. If you have not played much, you will not fully understand the roles of the dealer, the floorman, the pit boss, the other casino personnel, and the eye-in-the-sky cameras following your every move.

If you are unfamiliar with casino surroundings, you may want to progress into your new role as a winning roulette player on a step by step basis.

You can first play using a lower level Betting Series. This is an excellent approach, and you will win plenty of money using this approach.

Once you feel very comfortable playing roulette, you can gradually increase your betting level, using casino profits to build your bankroll. It may take a number of trips before you feel confident enough to move up to higher level play.

Only after you have completely mastered the Maximum Advantage Roulette Strategy should you consider moving up to black chip status. At this point, you should feel that the casino is your new office, and the casino personnel are your fellow workers. Remember that the casino is not your enemy. The primary functions of modern casino personal, including bosses, are to make sure the casino patrons have a good enough experience that they will become repeat customers.

Once you become known in a casino, you will find yourself interacting with the casino personnel even more. Dealers will welcome you by name. Cocktail waitresses will remember your favorite drink. Bosses will invite you to coffee. A casino host will work with you to make sure that you get all of the comps to which you are entitled.

Once you sense that everyone in the casino is genuinely rooting for you to win, you will know that you have done your job well. In order to reach this level, there is no substitute for putting in your hours. You will need to demonstrate that you are not only friendly, but reliable, honest and consistent in your fair treatment of all you encounter.

Too many players complain to bosses, dealers and anyone else who works in the casino. Grumpy players are all too common, and you want to make sure that you don't present this face to your "fellow workers." If you are tired or grumpy, don't play. It is important to take breaks frequently and use the time to relax. You should be at your peak emotionally when you play, and this includes having a positive mental attitude and interacting with players and casino personnel on a friendly and helpful basis.

Eventually the casino will recognize you as congenial, reliable and dependable. And, if you decide to make playing craps your new profession, your relationship with your new associates will serve as the foundation for your new business.

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Special note: There is no guarantee to the amount of money you will win or lose. Roulette and other casino games are entertaining games of pure chance and luck. I cannot be held responsible for persons having a lot of bad luck or taking risky chances.