When you read and write many instructional guidelines on casino gambling, the crucial role played by recordkeeping comes up quite a bit. The best skill-game players out there —whether they grind blackjack, roulette, video poker, or the sportsbook—tend to keep diligent records of their gameplay. Dates, venues, buy-ins, cashouts, profits, notable hands -you get the idea. Here are 4 Reasons Keeping a Journal During and After Casino Gambling Sessions.
Records referring to cold, hard data can make a major difference in a gambler’s bottom line. But you should also have another written resource—personal journals about your play. To find out why to check out the list below for four reasons why journaling during and after sessions at the casino is a great idea.
4 Reasons Why to Journal During and After Casino Gambling Sessions
1. Use Personal Data to Define Future Sessions As Per Your Choice
If you already make a point to track basic records on your casino sessions, great! You’re off to a head start here.
Writing down the pertinent details—where and when you’re playing, which game, your starting bankroll, average bet size, house rules, results, etc.—directly after placing your last wager of the session is always great. Over time, the accumulation of data points these records generate can help you narrow your focus to the most profitable scenarios. For that reason, I also like to make regular entries in my personal journal between sitting down at the next table or machine.
These entries should be about subject and scope. But overall, the objective is to retain as much non-data information as I can. The stuff is like which dealers are the most efficient, and which ones manage to offset their slower pace with entertaining banter. Whether or not the complimentary cocktails have a genuine pour, or one of those watered-down jobs Caesars properties are trying to popularize.
Cigarette smoke lingering from a nearby lounge, loud music from a crowded nightclub, “heat” from the pit boss while you are working your count. These insights are what you should look for when you journal at the casino. While playing, you do your best to remain laser-focused on the task at hand.
It may not appear like a big deal until you try it, but trust me, this will change how you gamble going forward. From now on, all you need to do is consult your very own journal to control elements of the casino which previously seemed uncontrollable.
2. Track Triggers Which Cause “Tilt” and Other Negative Emotional Reactions
Suppose you land a 20 on the deal, and the dealer just smiles sheepishly as they draw six cards to make 21. You keep finding four cards to the royal flush while playing Jacks or better, but the elusive fifth card to claim a jackpot never comes. You keep on hammering the pass line and the cold shooter never fails to crap out on the come-out roll.
These trials and tribulations are just the cost of doing business as a regular casino gambler. This is the real world though, and in this world, even the most grizzled gambling vets still succumb to “tilt” from time to time. Tilt is a term used to describe any overreaction or irresponsible response to bad beats and losing streaks.
A tilted player might begin recklessly betting more than their bankroll can bear while chasing previous losses. They’ll fire on longshots they would never be caught dead playing otherwise, and even take their irritation out on an innocent dealer.
Without a journal to direct you, going on tilt can feel like that old saw about “seeing red” when things aren’t going your way.
And the next day, you’ll do your best to forget it ever happened, never learning a thing in the process.
When you add the precursors to your latest bout with the tilt to a journal entry, along with your various reactions to that tilt, the next morning offers nothing but opportunity. Now, you can read and rediscover before reflecting on exactly what you need to do next time to avoid letting tilt get the better of you.
3. Bridge Any Gaps in Your Memory Caused by Long Hours or Hangovers
Do you know that a little overindulgence can and does occur here and there? I mean, they do call it Sin City for a reason, right?
Whenever you have one too many, you wake up the next day knowing that any gaps in your memory can quickly be filled by turning to your journal’s most recent entry. Sure, the handwriting might not be as neat it was before tipsy turned into tanked, but everything you need to remember is right there in print. And soon enough, you’re able to piece the puzzle back together and jog your memory out of its hungover haze.
Even folks who don’t drink a drop can bolster their memory by keeping a journal. When you endure a marathon session spanning many consecutive hours, it doesn’t matter if you’re sober or not – certain aspects of your session can easily fall through the cracks:
Did the table agree to make straddle bets or play “bomb pots” at your Texas Hold’em cash game table?
How did you respond after a particularly rough run when every 20 you made somehow lost to 21?
Was the “la partage” term in effect when you tried a few high-limit roulette spins?
While grinding for hours on end, even the most sober-minded gambler can be forgiven for glossing over little elements like this without a journal in hand.
With a journal, on the other hand, you’ll always have a secondary source of information to supplement your memory when the sun shows its face the next morning.
4. Gain Valuable Insight Into Your Motivations for Making Right Decisions
Along similar lines, even when you’re playing well and enjoying positive results, it can often be a mystery as to why you make particular choices at the casino:
Did you leave a good poker game just because you hit some arbitrary profit point?
Were those larger than normal wagers at the craps table meant to impress the beautiful lady watching from the rail?
Why would you compromise and play that inferior 8/6 paytable on JoB when you know a full pay machine can be found across the street?
Answering fairly abstract questions like that, especially after the fact, isn’t a very easy task when you’re flying blind. Just by adding a journal to the equation, you find that figuring yourself out and finding out why you play the way you play becomes much more attainable.
As a gambling enthusiast by nature, keeping a journal to cover your casino play appeals to you more than most. With that said, you must believe that taking a moment to reflect and put your thoughts on paper provides a wide array of tangible benefits. Journals are an extremely effective way to manage the often tumultuous range of emotional swings inherent to gambling on games of chance.
Whether you want to preserve your memories for posterity, improve your tilt control, evaluate your motivations, or improve your strategic approach, try keeping a trusty journal close at hand whenever you hit the casino.