By Michael Dalton.
Gambling is a rather risky and stressful endeavor. Whether it is wagering on the stock market or placing a bet at a blackjack table the emotional roller coaster ride of winning and losing is a very real concern that everyone needs to address. When we are winning money it is easy! During these times we feel invincible and often take greater risk to make more money. On the other hand, losing money, let alone a large sum of money, is no picnic. During severe losses or bad beats your blood pressure and body temperature rise and you often find yourself mentally and physically tense, not to mention emotionally beaten. To continue playing in this state is often a big mistake.
After a bad beat, it’s not a bad idea to leave the game for a while to cool off. If you’ve had a severe loss over several sessions you may want to take several days off and reevaluate the basic game plan you have been using. On the other hand, if you are confident in your skills and feel you are in a great game you might try some of the steps that follow to tide your emotions over. You can often implement this technique during the shuffle or between hands.
- Adjust your posture so you are sitting straight and comfortable.
- Breathe slowly and deeply from the abdomen while concentrating on your breathing.
- Slowly close your eyes for about 5 seconds while breathing in.
- Count slowly to yourself and open your eyes while exhaling.
- Concentrate on relaxing your muscles while you continue to breathe through your nose.
- Now imagine a pleasant scene such as a lake or stream, a calm ocean, a blue sky, or a place that is special to you.
By the time you finish this exercise the dealer will be ready to deal and you should be considerably more relaxed. If you managed to fall asleep during the exercise that’s a good indication that it’s time to quit. But just remember, being relaxed does not get the money. A solid strategy, a bankroll, and discipline are the three ingredients that a player needs to be successful in the long run.
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Originally published in the Summer 1996 issue of Blackjack Review Magazine