Confessions of a Gambler

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I’ve heard its good to get things off your chest. I guess it does us all a bit of good, and from time-to-time we need this purge. Think of it as defragmenting your computer. You store little blips and blurbs for a long period of time and they start taking up space in your head. – So sit back and see if any of these will help you. They may engage you as a handicapper, or just give you that little wake-up call to focus on what you’re doing. Some may be tough, and others may make you smile. Either way, take a read and think it over.

When you have that big winner there is nothing better than to share the news. You’ve finally cracked the code and a few bucks are coming your way. – You buy a round or two of drinks, take a buddy out for bite, and still there is something lurking in the corner watching. – For the many times I’ve had a nice day at the races, there is someone you tell who will want to know how, why, and what made you bet that. They aren’t looking for the secret sauce, they are bitter. No matter who your crew is, you have a quiet member off to the back not rejoicing in your small win. They are really thinking “what did I do wrong,” or ” I tried to nail the race and missed.” – These toxic people are bad for your gambling outlook. As gamblers, we try and eliminate the negative and keep that positive perspective. – I’ll wrap up my first thoughts with a few examples. I worked with a guy who would sit quietly as he knew I loved to bet a guaranteed pick-four. When the last leg would be ready to hit the track he would always ask “are you still alive, and who do you have ?” – When the race would run, he would talk incessantly about who he liked, and would cheer loudly for his imaginary mind bet to score. He wasn’t looking to win anything, he just wanted to show you who was boss and that he is a great handicapper. I watched many of my last legs go down in defeat, and I can’t say he made it happen. But his negative vibes sucked all of the positive energy out of the room like a vortex. Keep these folks off your guest list.

When you’re going to make that big multi-race wager and want to share the cost, get with a few compadres who are ready to toss in some cash and sit down and break down the races.  – There is nothing sweeter than winning with friends who are all like minded in the venture. This takes sitting down, talking strategy and making concessions for the group. Just like any project at work or something you’ve been tinkering with. It takes time, cooperation, and a sense of joint venture. No player is bigger than the other, and it is all for one and one for all. – “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” – “Money won with friends makes for a lifetime of stories.”

Take someone new to the races. I like to take them to Keeneland and enjoy a day in the bucolic settings of the Sycamore tree in the paddock, or sharing an over-stuffed Reuben at the deli. – Don’t worry about making this your big day to win, just relax and enjoy. Explain what is happening, show them the difference in the finish lines. Watch the horses saddled and make a trip to the winner’s circle. Make small bets and let them take part without interference. There is nothing better in the world than picking your pony and watching them romp home. – This is how many of us got our first start, and think of it as passing the torch. “We’re not here for a long time, so we might as well have a good time.”

Share some winnings. When you have that big daily double, buy lunch, grab a beer, bring back a souvenir from one of your race track visits. – Nothing is better than not putting up a dime or even knowing what was happening. – But when your ship comes in, it is good to share a couple bucks and make everyone a winner. – Think of it as riding a great roller coaster. If you ride it alone there is nobody to share the great adventure. But if you share a few bucks, you have more folks happy to see you win and moreover happy to be a part.

Eliminate the negative as they’re mad at themselves, not you. – Keep an open mind and think positively. – Share when you’ve had a nice win fall. That beer will never be colder, and the sandwich will never taste better. – There is no sure-fire way to win and this isn’t about speed figures or the secret sauce to winning. This is about keeping the game in perspective and visualize yourself winning before you can see yourself heading to the IRS window to cash that sweet winner.