A Session Experience
BY: Soft Touch
While visiting Vegas during our workshop weekend, I had an opportunity to visit and play at the Bellagio. As some of you may know, I have listed the "Bel" as one of my preferred places to play craps. Each time I visit Vegas, I make it a point to schedule a session there. Most times my sessions are of a solitary "hit and run" nature and there are other times that I choose to play for an extended amount of time with certain playmates. With our workshop, I had the opportunity to play three group sessions and they were all a financial success.
I did have an interesting, "what would you do" kind of experience during one of my group sessions and I thought it would be something helpful to share with the community.
In working and corresponding with students, I encourage the player to always be aware of the many factors that determine table selection and game entry. The all important questions I ask myself have everything to do with "who, what, where, when and how" can I be successful with this game at the moment the decision is made to play, even before we open up a table as a group.
A little background about my game with this casino, I utilize markers for my session buy-in and in most cases, the dealers issue my chips in a timely manner which is generally acceptable to me. Sometimes, I know there will be "glitches" and it is part of the energy the pit people like to express as they sense the player positively facing them. True to form, they go through their checklist of things and finally give the table an "all clear." Then I get my chips.
I usually tolerate delays from the floor personal because it offers an opportunity to entertain myself by creating an interesting dialogue with the dealers and box man as I wait for my chips. And, my conversational game goes on until I exit the game. If our conversation entertained me and served me well monetarily, I tip generously as I "color up."
Now, there was a certain cranky pants floor person who decided he did not like our banter and decided to butt into my box man conversation, which caught me by surprise. "Okay," I thought to myself. "This feels different." Wow, I felt emotionally "tasered" by his "cut out your talking" kind of words and his looks, admittedly, felt strange.
"Uh, oh, what kind of sign is this?" I wondered. This is where that little visual of the robot from the old Lost In Space television episodes pops in my head and repeats "Danger Will Robinson, danger!" All my bets were called off, with "cranky" insisting the dealers take them down. "What bit his butt?" I wondered.
"Paging The Professor." This was one of those times when I wished Michael Vernon were there for insight into the unseen dimension of this game. He's a master at teaching that special awareness we all need to utilize with this game. His game is all about patience and detachment. A believer of right time and right place, I could hear him telling me to detach, detach, detach. A wonderful playmate, my Mr. Vernon, is a walking testimonial on how a true master approaches his game with discipline and focused intent. Sadly, for me, he was already on his way home.
Anyway, all this occurs while the game is in progress. I notice Beau in a full betting swing, pressing his bets. The students and my playing acquaintances are utilizing the pass line progression approach taught to them and then there is me with no bets on the table watching.
This table is moving toward a hot streak by a lady shooter with great energy rolling the dice out of expected probability. Her hand is one of those that any player betting conservatively will win without working or thinking too hard and for those who lean into the game, a nice little profit is converted into cash.
I watched, as point after point was completed without my making a bet.
Honestly, as much as I watched the players around me pick up their pay offs from the bets they were pressing, I knew, with all the fuss surrounding my interaction with the pit staff, that if I so much as placed a bet down on the table for action, I would invite Mr. Cranky pants to spar with me and I would forever change the energy of the table and in doing so would change this beautiful shooters energy.
So, I found myself facing a conundrum. Not being one to send the game into a downward negative spiral, I stopped playing. I was aware enough to know the players don't want to feel the combative energy hovering outside of the roll.
As players scratched their heads, wondering and asking why I would not get into the game, I knew at that moment, if I began to enter, I risked delaying the game with the floor person there to share with me some more of his manly energy. "Me Tarzan, you Jane."
So, I felt that removing myself from the game was warranted and necessary in order for the hot roll to continue. I know that some would argue that it would not have mattered. I beg to differ. I have played this game for too long and my belief system supports that there are greater forces at work that don't have to be proven to me.
Now, knowing that it was my ego that was fueling what I was feeling at the time, my delayed entry into the game became a permanent “disengage” from the game. With my ego feeling like it was missing out I left the area to refocus.
Frustrated, I knew full well that this game requires a bigger part of me that extends beyond my ego in order for me to win. The game that was being played out before me was not my game. It was someone else's. My game was yet to be discovered.
This was definitely a time when I had to remember, "What do I tell my students?" Acknowledge the situation. And, that is what I did. The emotions I was feeling at the time were draining me of my energy. Remembering that quite often, people will make decisions about their future based on emotions instead of looking at what is the best course of action, I found myself reciting a list of items I preach about dealing with game situations not going my way.
First of all, why fight with Mr. Crankypants? It's draining to my energy. I'll only attract even more of what I don't want from him.
I suppose you'd like to know what the heck I did to turn my situation around. It is so simple, yet I have yet to meet players who understand the purpose behind it and until the player does, when caught in a similar energy-draining situation, they just will not do it. Just my observation.
So first, away from the craps table, I acknowledged how I felt about the situation. I admitted my feelings to a player there that I trusted. Heck, I was frustrated and resentful. I have this casino at the top of my list for a reason and it was because of my positive interaction with the staff. This was a new experience for me and caught me off guard. Still, I did not have to wallow in these feelings. I knew all I had to do was identify them and it was easier to do because I had great supporting players surrounding me.
Why disclose my feelings? Because until I identified my feelings, I knew I would be unconsciously fighting with them, as they did battle with my wounded ego and suppressing the part of me that controls my creativity. And I know that fighting is what exhausts me of my energy when I need it the most for a winning game.
Once I identified what and how I felt, it became part of my awareness and I did not have to struggle with it anymore. What a relief!
Next, I focused on a way to feel better about my situation and I knew I did not have to figure it out all the answers right that minute. I trusted that at some point I would just know what to do about my game situation and that was all there was to it.
With the intentions of renewing my emotional batteries, I immediately looked for a place with some pleasant music, sat for a while, took quite a few deeps breaths, went to look at the glorious water fountains in front of the Fontana Room to neutralize what I had just put myself through.
"Just breathe," I told myself. Just take deep belly breaths and focus on taking each breath in and feeling that action all by itself. I knew this would bring me to the present moment. Done properly, it works all the time and lifts my energy.
I could not help but be calm after all the deep breathing. I returned to the table where I had left my chips and proceeded to find "my" game. Well, my game was not too far. In fact, it was right next to the table I had just left. It was a green chip table with no waiting.
Once detached from the emotional drain I experienced at the other table, I was able to focus on a new table with neutral energy. I did not engage in a conversation with the dealers or box man. Instead, I focused on deep breathing and focused on achieving what I was there to do.
With my attitude adjusted, my intent was to have a lengthy roll. And to make playing more interesting, I added some shooting with the goal of parlaying my hard ways. Yes, I shoot for the hard ways and I run a three step parlay and complete them very often. This is just my betting style that works for me. Do you know what the pay out is on a hard way parlay done three times??
All in all, everyone turned out to be a winner. While it is always great to be in on the hoopla of a wonderfully hot table that is easily and visibly dumping chips to its players at the right time, sometimes the same goal can be accomplished in a quiet, subdued, almost invisible fashion. With focused energy toward winning, coupled with an unstoppable attitude, I doubled my buy-in, I colored up discovering more about myself, my game and confirmation of what I preach does work.
As Dice Coach would say, "This stuff works!" Sometimes his language is a bit more colorful though, if you get my meaning.
This was an experience about game selection and the fact that "my" game may not lie within the success of the group's game. This particular experience was connecting with what I preach to my students about successful play.
One reason I play at the Bellagio is for the energy of the atmosphere. Bellagio, The Wynn, and a few others have a certain type of beauty in aesthetic architecture, and a clientele that appeals to me. And, the staff in the craps pit has always been cordial and overly helpful, most times anyway.
I need to add that anytime I decide to end my game, whether the session was successful or not, it is always a great idea for me to reflect, taking just a few seconds to understand what choices were made that determined the outcome of the session and especially for the positive ones, to lock in the feelings that provided the energetic fuel that lead to success.
Quite often, in life, people will make decisions about a frustrating situation based on emotions instead of looking at what is the best course of action according to their reality created by their beliefs and values. Personally, I value winning, and searching for ways to accomplish this. I know it is difficult, to say the least, to create a win when I experience being caught off guard. So, it is great to know that my approach to winning is holding true for me, as it should for my students.
One last thing,
Hey Mr. Cranky Pants, I send you nothing but my love and thank you for my experience. Until we meet again, there is always another game, at another time, in another casino, any day of the week.
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