Self-Awareness and Wagering, Part III

This is the final part in the 3-part series on Self-Awareness and Wagering. Part I and Part II can be found at these links. While this is the final part of this series, much more can and will be said about self-awareness and wagering throughout the blog and accompanying books. Here I will cover:

  • Tilt: We’ve all experienced “tilt,” that combined feeling of lack of control, need for higher amounts of betting, and need to get even that occurs in gambling. It usually sets in after a horrible beat, such as a last minute (or second) change in the score or result that takes you from win-to-lose. An improbable poker loss, a poor result in a photo finish, or a last second turnover can all push us into tilt. Under the influence of tilt, we take more chances and risk more capital than we normally do. If we are not careful — and we rarely are during tilt — it can wipe out months of capital accumulation. It may be the hardest emotion to fight in wagering. But it is extremely important to recognize the change in yours bets — bet size and bet frequency — and shut down betting for a while. I’ve seen pro players put down cards or bet slips and literally walk away for a while. You should do the same if you recognize it — time is typically the only salve.
  • Balance: You need to be aware that you are considering all the factors that make a good gambler and that you hold them in balance with each other. It is somewhat the opposite of tilt, but not entirely. It is a feeling that you are considering both short-term and long-term and are betting within your budget. You are maximizing your edge. You are experiencing flow, a sense in which you are one with the wagering and that you’ve found the right amount of risk. And you are balanced with other activities in your life, which makes your gambling less susceptible to burnout.
  • Dealing with Losing: Losing streaks happen. They are part of betting on uncertain events. Flips of a coin rarely, if ever, comes up at the long-term probability; you rarely see heads-tails-heads-tails-head-tails, even though this is the long-term expectation. You need to be aware that you can be doing everything right in your wagering and still lose. Besides from the need for sufficient capitalization, emotionally you must accept the losing. Importantly, you must separate it from your process and not let unjustified negativity seep in.

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