KEEPING THE RHYTHM
Escaping reality can be a costly mistake
By Jerry “Stickman” Stich
If you are an average gambler on a multiple-day trip to Las Vegas, you arrive at your hotel, drop your bags oﬀ in your room and immediately head to the casino. You then plop yourself down at the ﬁrst open machine or at the ﬁrst open spot you see at your favorite table game. From that point forward you are in a totally diﬀerent world. You are in a world where time no longer is a factor. You are oblivious to whether it is day or night or whether it is sunny or raining. In short, you’re totally unaware of things going on around you. All that matters is the game you are playing. You have left the normal routine and entered a “bizarro” world where all of your normal concerns and routines are abandoned.
This is what many (if not most) patrons of casinos are looking for when they travel to a casino. They seek to forget their everyday cares. They seek to abandon all the controls and schedules inﬂicted upon them by their daily working lives.
It is normal for people to look for an escape from oftentimes humdrum and boring lives. Even those whose lives are anything but humdrum and boring but instead ﬁlled with enormous amounts of stress also look for a bit of a respite. And casinos are more than happy to provide everything they can to facilitate that escape from reality. From scantily clad cocktail waitresses to the absence of windows and clocks to the use of colored chips rather than actual currency to the easy complimentary alcoholic beverages, they are all carefully calculated by the casinos to provide a sense of escape.
By giving the player the sense of escape, casinos also set the trap. In a world where nothing is as it was back home, so too are the worries about money no longer valid. After all, this is fantasyland, where anything is possible and anything that used to matter no longer does matter. Unfortunately, in this environment, bad decisions tend to be made.
“While still being a break from the normal, maintaining the same rhythm will help keep your risk awareness intact. By maintaining your rhythm, you will make fewer bad decisions. Fewer bad decisions translates to fewer lost dollars, which translates to more fun in the long run.”
When a player runs out of money, to continue the fun of fantasyland, they hit their casino credit or the ATM to replenish it. No need to worry, this is all make-believe. When they begin to get tired, they brush it aside in an attempt to continue their fantasyland adventure. I have run into people who have spent more than 24 hours of marathon playing without taking a break—and they look and act like it.
When a player is so invested in maintaining the illusion that things including bankroll and sleep no longer matter, profound consequences are in the oﬃng. When someone is that tired and drunk, they cannot make rational decisions. The decisions that are made tend to favor prolonging the experience rather than protecting oneself. Oftentimes this can lead to a total wipeout, both ﬁnancially and physically.
Now, I am certain that no one reading this article is that totally invested in escapism. In my opinion, however, it is better to guard against the pitfalls that go along with it.
How can you do that?
Obviously, when you are staying and playing at a casino, it is not the same environment as when you are in your normal daily life. That does not mean that you must totally abandon all of your daily routines. Indeed, trying to stay as close as possible to your normal routine will also help you maintain your normal risk awareness. And that is what you really want to do.
Instead of immediately heading for your favorite casino game, take some time to rest up in your room. If possible try to keep all your activities on the same schedule as when you are at home. Go to bed at about the same time. Get up at about the same time. Have your meals at approximately the same times. Fit your gambling sessions into the times in between.
By doing this—by keeping the same schedule as is normal—you will be able to maintain the same rhythm as when you are in your normal life. Your normal routine will be carried over into the casino routine. While still being a break from the normal, maintaining the same rhythm will help keep your risk awareness intact. By maintaining your rhythm, you will make fewer bad decisions. Fewer bad decisions translates to fewer lost dollars, which translates to more fun in the long run.
An escape is truly nice, but we must live with the eﬀects of that escape. Keeping a normal rhythm will help the escape be a pleasant experience— even in the long run.