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Decimation (Vegas Trip Report Pt 8)

This is the tough part...

After returning from our evening's activities, the group strolled into the Excalibur for some late night gambling. I had already resigned myself to the fact that poker was not working at the Excal, so I was glad to join the guys for some table games.

At the time, I was drunk off vodka, jittery off Red Bull, and high on gambling. I was not that drunk the entire trip, nor was I that drunk in the past months if not years. It was a covalescing of a weekend of debauchery. My body was exhausted from lack of sleep, my eyes were heavy from a morning sitting in the sun, my stomach was ravaged by the horrors of casino food, and as explained, the intoxicants, including gambling, had messed up my head.

We strolled up to a roulette table, and Johnny was explaining his foolproof technique for winning. I'd heard it before, with a slightly different variation, but as I listened in my stupor, it made perfect sense. Bet the minimum on the 2nd 12 and 3rd 12. This would cover roughly 66% of the numbers. The logic goes, you hit your 66% of the board, and win 1 bet, because each 12 spots pay out 2 to 1. In other words, if you bet $10 on the 2nd 12 and $10 on the 3rd, and number 34 comes up (3rd 12), you lost $10 from the 2nd 12 bet, but win $20 profit on the 3rd 12, giving you $10 profit, total. If you miss, you double your bets. If you miss again, double them again. This way, if you hit #6, and then double up to $20 on 2nd and 3rd 12, and then hit #24, you get paid $40 for the hit, and you've lost $40 total (two $10 bets and one $20), thereby breaking even. If you miss again, say if #1 comes out, then double again. Now, if you hit, you wi $80, covering the two $10 bets, the two $20 bets and the one $40 bet that missed. Even again!

It's a fool proof plan, or is it? To my addled brain it made sense. I knew the strategy already, but I heard of it as a much more simple Black or Red proposition. With the Black/Red bet, you simply choose one color and keep doubling your bets until it hits. I figured Johnny's way would have LESS variance, because you cover a greater portion of the board. However, the cash outlay was greater, double in fact, so it actually probably has GREATER variance.

And here is the ultimate problem: The strategy IS foolproof, but its not bankroll proof. In fact, you need an unlimited bankroll, so you can last through those seemingly impossible stretches when the 1st 12 hit 10 times in a row. This was my error.

At first it went well, but then we missed and I doubled. We missed again and I doubled. And again. And again. Suddenly, I have $160 or more up there (ultimately, I forget), but the cumulative effect is that I lost over $600 playing fucking roulette!! What a joke! In my brain, I just kept sayin, "Next spin and I'm back to even," but I finally had to give up. I couldn't afford to double my bets.

When I gave up, I walked away from the table. My friends were still partying on, throwing chips around and having fun. I reverted to my shell-shocked catatonic state, every few minutes opening my wallet to assess the damage. I had ruined my bankroll. I was alreayd down $200+ in table games before the debacle, but after, it was more like $900. My bankroll had shrunk due to a recent spat of losses in NYC and the need to dip in a bit to pay for my Vegas trip, and suddenly, those months of work and determination led up to a couple of $100 bills that were ostensibly from my ATM for expenses, not gambling. My bankroll was decimated within an hour because I was drunk, stupid, and gambling.

And this is my shame. I shouldn't have been playing that high. It would have been okay if I simply played $100 or even $200 spread across numbers. But I jumped in, blindly, with too much money and I suffered the consequences. I tried to find a way to console myself. Ultimately, I relied on my anti-tilt poker techniques, reminding myself that the losses were done. Now it was time for me to figure out my future, not dwell on the past. I could sulk about the loss for the rest of the trip and go home feeling like a loser, miserable about my time in Vegas, or I could accept my weakness for table games (compounded by intoxicants), accept my lapse in judgment, and resolve to never put myself in that position again. I had my hand, now how was I going to play it?

Oddly, I went back to the roulette table and bought $100 worth of single chips. It was too early (by Vegas standards) to call it a night, so I resolved to get as many free drinks as possible while playing the game as it is meant to be played, responsibly and for fun. And a nice thing happened. Although I didn't win back the $700, I won back $100, by seemingly hitting my numbers 6 or so times in a row. When I was "up" an even $100, I finally cashed out. I felt somewhat vindicated that I was able to correct myself. I know that the game is all luck, and probably one of the worst house edges in the casino, but I couldn't help but feel like someone was saying, "Ok, Jordan. Lesson learned. Now here is a little back. Consider it mercy."

A couple of times, the thought of my decimated bankroll came to me while I tried to sleep, and again the next morning, and again on the flight home. But each time, I remembered that it was an expensive lesson, but one that I needed to learn. I want to be a poker player. But I am still a gambler. I cannot give in to the gambler within me. Next time, I'm sticking with the ole reliable poker. I'll play table games only for $100 at a time, and only with friends or wifey Kim, purely for entertainment. The roulette debacle was NOT me playing for entertainment. That was me playing for easy money, but as demonstrated, the money wasn't that easy.

That ends our trip report. Some commentors thought I was building up to a big win. Nope. The exact opposite. All in all, I had a great time, even though I lost nearly a grand in table games and $51 in poker. I'm now going to have to restart my bankroll. The first step is withdrawing some money from online poker. The next is returning to the NYC underground poker scene. So, you should be getting some interesting live action posts coming up. I'm finally out from the fog of self-doubt that seemed to follow me around post-Vegas.

Until next time, make mine poker...and only poker!

posted by Jordan @ 8:55 AM,


At 11:30 AM, Blogger CJ said...


For shame...

Not even The Luckbox can beat that house edge!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger StB said...

Pai Gow is the way to go when playing for the booze.

Good trip report though.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Speaking as someone who is going to Lost Wages in about a week, THANK YOU - for your trip report as a whole, and especially for having the stones to post part 8.

It will undoubtedly save me some pain and suffering on the forthcoming trip, sir. Much appreciated!

At 12:09 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Keep up the great trip report. Gotta love the chasers, until they hit.

At 12:49 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

One of your best posts Jordan. Excellent.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

That was pure pain right there. I know exactly how you feel and can totally relate to the catatonic state after you blow through the bankroll.

Regroup and win it back.

And check this out as well:

At 1:05 PM, Blogger WillWonka said...

As usual, loved the post. Nice!!!

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I totally feel your pain. On one trip to LV, I somehow turned $175 into $1000 in 24 hours solely on roulette. Of course, I took this to mean that I could beat roulette.

Two more trips and $2000 later, I realized I was sorely mistaken.

Great post and GL on building that bankroll back.

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with zerbet above - I'm going to Vegas in two days and this post is exactly what I needed to hear. I'm going to keep most of my bank roll in the room safe so I have to take a walk before pissing more money away. Excellent write up.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Great trip report as always, Jordan. Looking forward to reading about how you ripped shit up at Salami or NiceLook next time you head over there.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I had to take out some of the more, what's the word, fleshy parts of the recap, due to the need for privacy. I'm glad a lot of you got something positive out of the post. At least my bankroll decimation could help someone out.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger MHG said...

There can be only one!

... M Night Shamalan, that is!

Great Trip Report. I was happily surprised to see three new sections when I got back from my Memorial Day weekend.

I learned the flaws in the "Martingale" system the hard way as well :) Looking forward to the Summer Classic as an entertainment trip, and not a money-maker - thanks for the reminder~

At 5:53 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

Isn't it funny what a crazy world we live in? Both Waffles and Jordan go bust at almost the same time. Coincidence? Maybe not....

At 1:43 PM, Blogger WindBreak247 said...

Despite the losses (which I'm sorry to hear about), your trip report was riveting. Thanks for telling us the stories!

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Schaubs said...

Awesome trip report. I had to read it in bits and pieces, but looked forward to the next one each time. Too bad about the tiltolette. I had a similar experience when I was there but was doing the red/black betting. Except I hit my color on the last double and broke even. It was the most stressful part of my trip (I was 21 at the time). Anyway, glad to hear you had fun.

I've been meaning to contact you with regards to a new banner (cuz I doubt I'll knock out Mook anytime soon). So if you are up for it, let me know and we can start the process.


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