It's the same old story.
It's a Sunday afternoon, and you decide to throw $200 into your casino account for a few casual spins on the roulette wheel.
You can't really afford to lose this (your first bad decision of the day), but its a nice round number and you tell yourself that you're not going to play with more than $100 of it anyway.
Things start out pretty well. You're up $100 within 20 minutes after a few well-placed even-money wagers, and you're thinking you might actually leave the game with more money than you started with today. You want to ride lady luck for a little longer, so you throw in some random $5 straight bets along with some $10 outside bets to see if you can hit a bigger payout.
The wheel spins, and you lose $50.
Another spin of the wheel?
It's a little disappointing, but not too bad because you're still up overall. However, the fact that you did have $300 and are now down to $250 is starting to bug you a little. Without too much thought, you click on rebet and hope for the best, looking to recoup the unfortunate loss of the last spin.
But you get unlucky once again, and you're back to where you started. Back down to $200.
Now you mean business.
This time you're genuinely frustrated with having lost all your winnings over the last two spins. You're now at a crossroads where you can choose to follow your head and leave the game with your original $200, or abandon control and raise the stakes in an attempt and come out on the other side with a profit.
But just like you've done times before, you don't follow your head, and you decide to go for glory.
What's your next move?
You lay $100 on red, click spin, and close your eyes, waiting and hoping that the next time you open them you'll see $300 in the corner of the screen. Everything will be fine if I can just get back up to where I was.
I know, I've been there too.
However, your heart sinks when you open your eyes and see your balance is at $100. It's really all or nothing now, so you throw everything you've got left on the table. Surely it must come up red this time.
But it doesn't. And you've lost everything.
All you're left with is the sickening feeling of having lost more than you can afford, when only 2 minutes ago you were sitting at the table with $100 more than you started with. It feels like so long ago now.
Why do I do this?
Chasing losses on roulette
That was a quite a long story for something that is only supposed to set the scene, but I think it was deservedly so. I'm hoping that reading that story recreated an uncomfortable feeling inside you, so that you can fully appreciate how chasing losses can land you in a very sticky spot when reading this article.
Because the thing is, you're not alone.
Almost everyone has chased a loss from time to time. Even Dostoevsky did it. But at the end of the day, chasing losses (whatever the amount) is an unhelpful trait that you need to grow out of.
Stop being a loss-chaser
To avoid being a loss-chaser, you have to change your overall outlook on the game, and keep focused on the bigger picture at all times. Your next spin is not important. It's exactly the same as the next 10,000 spins, and the roulette wheel doesn't care about how badly you want to win on this one.
As soon as you start getting caught up in the heat of the moment, you can expect to wave goodbye to whatever money you have in front of you. Even if you don't lose the money straight away, you've already lost because you've lost control of your decisions.
Here are a few things to remember when you're playing roulette (or any casino game for that matter):
- Expect to win and lose. If you expect to lose at some point, you won't be shocked when you do.
- Every bet you make is a risk.
- Don't play with money that you can't afford to lose. You know this, so just don't do it.
- Gambling is entertainment, not a way to make money.
- You are in control of your actions. You can decide to leave as well as decide to play on.
They are all pretty cliché things to remember, but it's all too easy to set them aside when you hit a big loss and decide that your anger and frustration knows best.
You're emotions can easily override you, so be prepared for it. You need to be stronger than them and think with your head even when it feels like everything is crashing down around you. Money not lost is as good as money won.
It's funny how the feel-good emotion of a big win is never quite on the same level as the stomach-sinking feeling of a big loss.
Keep everything in focus, and make having a good time your highest goal. There's no point in having read this article if you're just going to blame you're next loss on "getting caught up in the moment".
You control the moment, not the other way around.