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Best of Fred Renzey

Gaming Guru

 

When Is the Right Time to Quit Gambling for the Day?

23 September 2006

It's an age-old dilemma whether your game is craps, blackjack, poker, or whatever. How do you know when you've made enough money to lock up your winnings and quit for the day? And when is it time to cut your losses and throw in the towel?

So watchful are gamblers of these two trends that countless home-spun guidelines have been invented in an effort to extract the maximum from Lady Luck. Some blackjack players say it's time to quit, or at least change tables, if you've lost four hands in a row. Many crapshooters believe it's time to pack it in if you've lost back half your winnings. Lots of others simply set a certain win goal for the day and quit if they've reached it.

Do you know how much good any of these rules will do you? Zero! Yet, the right answer to these two questions is so blatantly simple. That's because determining if it's time to quit actually has nothing to do with whether you're winning or losing.

That last statement may not seem to make sense to most gamblers, but the fact is that you absolutely cannot time your luck. There is no "curve" to look at when you're winning that will tell you when your "run" is over. There is no "support level" at the bottom that will predict a gambling free-fall. Fickle Lady Luck does not act in any predictable patterns. This has been proven in controlled scientific experiments.

So then, if the answer is so simple, what is it? Let's help you determine it for yourself with this poker example.

Suppose you sat down at a Texas Hold'em table with a crew of perfect strangers. After half an hour, you realized you were playing with a table full of world class professionals. You were by far the weakest link, but luckily had hit a couple of key flops. You were currently winning and enjoying your good fortune. Should you stay or go?

The fact is, you're brutally outclassed. They have the skills to play rings around you, and if you stay, that's exactly what they'll end up doing. So in this case, you should definitely get up and quit right now.

Ah, but what if you were already losing by the time you realized who you were up against? Same answer. Get out of there before you end up looking like a gutted bass flapping around on the table.

So right there were two situations -- one in which you were winning and one in which you were losing, but the right answer was the same both times -- to stop playing immediately.

Okay, now let's reverse it and say you've discovered you're playing with a bunch of complete suckers. They have no idea what they're doing, but you've taken a few unlucky beats and are currently getting pounded. What's the right move?

Since you know you outclass the field, the "cream" should eventually rise to the top. Therefore you should dig in and just keep applying your advantage.

And what if you were already beating their brains in? Since you're a definite favorite over them, you're likely to keep right on winning, so the answer is again to stay put.

Those were yet two more scenarios with opposite situations, yet both answers again were the same, this time that you should keep on playing. Well then, can you see that whether to quit or keep gambling has nothing to do with winning or losing? Can you see what the two real determinants were? They were -- simply whether you had the advantage or disadvantage.

When you have the edge, you're always more likely to win than lose from this moment going forward. When you have the disadvantage, you're always more likely to lose.

It doesn't matter whether you've won or lost up to now. It also doesn't matter what the game is. If you've got the edge and still have the time and the money, keep on playing. If you don't have the edge, the sooner you quit, the better off you'll be.

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

Blackjack Bluebook II

> More Books By Fred Renzey

Fred Renzey
Fred Renzey is a high-stakes, expert poker player. On a daily basis he faces--and beats--some of the best players in the country in fierce poker room competition. Now for the first time, Renzey offers his perceptive insights on how to play winning poker. For Fred's 13-page blackjack booklet "Ace/10 Front Count", send $9 to Fred Renzey, P.O. Box 598, Elk Grove Village, IL, 60009

Books by Fred Renzey:

> More Books By Fred Renzey