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Go Up or Go Down?

Don’t expect to go from rags to riches in one or two sessions

By Frank Scoblete


You’ve taken a bit of a hammering at your favorite table game or games. It’s been a really tough session or day and/or night and/or trip. You’ve lost a significant amount of the money you brought for this trip and things are looking bleak. Really bleak.

You want to make a comeback. Of course you do. Who wouldn’t? But how? What should you do? Should you continue to bet the same amount as you usually do? Should you increase your betting levels to try to make up for all those losses? Should you reduce your bet size and just try to ride out the storm? Should you pack up and go home or to your room for a nap and then maybe just hang out until your trip is over?


The Same

If your bad luck continues, even for a short while, betting the same amount could make you get into a hole so deep nothing can get you out of it except looting a table and then getting arrested. (They will feed you in prison.)

Don’t stay the same. Going Up

One of the oldest systems for trying to eliminate losses is called the Martingale. You probably know what that is, as just about all casino players have learned their bitter lesson by attempting to play it.

Don’t think your luck will change immediately if you pursue the dragon. But you could be totally devastated if your luck even stays a little bad. Big bets can do a player in. The bigger the bets the inner you can get.

Don’t increase your bets by trying to get it all back in a burst of heavenly luck. Hell could await you. Should You Reduce Your Bets?

Short answer? Yes. Go down. Give yourself enough future decisions that if things start to turn around, you will be able to continue to play the game.

YOU SAY: So, I should just bet less, maybe much less, and pray? I’d need a streak of immense proportions to make a real comeback. Would that really happen? Would Lady Luck be that kind to me? If I…

Wait, wait, don’t “if” me yet. My plan for you is to partly go down but then slowly go up if things even go a little bit all right for you.

Punctuated Equilibrium

You want to stop getting hammered at your regular bet size or at an increased bet size. That’s the first order of business.

Bet lower, and if your luck still stinks, well, you’ll lose lower. That’s the first order of business. Get the losses somewhat contained.

Maybe bet half as much as you usually do.

YOU SAY: Well, I can’t bet half as much since I play at a $10 minimum table and I bet $10. Your advice isn’t helping me.

Who said you have to bet every decision? Bet half as many decisions. That will take your betting down if you can’t actually bet lower amounts.

Two things can happen to you: Your luck stinks and you realize that it is best to just go to bed or stand outside the casino with a cup and a sign that says, “Help!” Or, you start to see a slow increase in good luck coming your way.

Now, what do you do? You increase the amount of your bet by a little. Yes, you are now prepared to take your shot if your small winning streak continues.

Obviously, you aren’t going to win every decision with your new bet size, but if after five decisions things are looking somewhat better, keep your new betting level for another five decisions. If you still seem to be having somewhat better luck, you can increase your bet size (a little) once again.

Everything here is slow, slower, slowest. You aren’t looking feverishly to jump up your betting levels; you are merely hoping that you have enough bets in your bankroll to hop on a good streak. Be Practical

You also aren’t looking to make all your losses back. That probably won’t happen, even if things are turning around. Don’t expect to hammer the casino as the casino hammered you.

You want something of a comeback. That will make you feel better than thinking of yourself as the ultimate loser. Negative thoughts stink in all situations, especially all casino situations.

(Strong words of caution now: Don’t tell anyone other than yourself that you got hammered or that you came back. Just nod and say, “Okay,” if someone asks you how you are doing. No one needs to know anything about your recent luck, be it good luck or bad luck.)

Could you come all the way back? It is possible but highly unlikely. A small comeback would be great. Be happy with that if that actually happens.

By betting smaller and trying to slowly increase your bets if things start to go in your direction, that’s enough to give you a good feeling. It should be anyway. Don’t expect to go from rags to riches in one or two sessions

The Worst Happening

Yes, it all rots. You lower your bets and you still get creamed. That certainly can happen. It has happened to many of us. The casino edge does take its toll, even in a short period of time. It can go back and forth, yes, but sometimes it goes forth to the house and nothing comes back to you.

All the best in and out of the casino!


Frank Scoblete’s website is His books are available from, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, e-books, libraries and bookstores.

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