Learning Optimism

Players who get the opportunity to hang around the tables with me often hear me talk about “the crap between their ears” and how it impacts their play. It’s been that way since the beginning – and I guess it will be that way forever. Most precision shooters have a huge capacity for appreciating and enjoying statistics. Even the beginners on the craps forums on-line have a good grasp of their SRR. Members know the percentage of the time that the left die is off axis, the right die is off axis, and both dice are off axis. They know how many times they single pitched the dice, double pitched the dice, or scored with primary numbers. Some of the more advanced players know their BNR – the Box Numbers to Rolls Ratio. They know how many rolls their average hand runs. They know the correct time to take an ISR. They understand the relationship between dice, felt, and humidity. They have a stat for everything.

So here’s the question. What do you do with all of those stats? If you have a high SRR and a low instance of double pitches combined with a high on-axis percentage how does that make you feel? What will occur as a result of your feeling that way? It could be that you’ll continue to have good results. Then again, your results might worsen. But how could two such completely opposite results occur? Well, that is the question of the day.

Let’s look at two different precision shooters. Shooter number one is an old veteran who once had an SRR of 8.9. He had a tremendous edge over the house. But because of poor betting strategies and a lack of discipline he lost money. Because he lost money he mistakenly blamed his shooting. Because he felt bad about his shooting his SRR slipped to 6.75. This player still has a positive expectation. But he feels like a loser because of his negative results.

Now let’s take a second player who is relatively new to the game. His first trip to the casino he got lucky and won $1000. He wanted to learn more about the game so he bought a few books, discovered precision shooting and signed on for a seminar. During the seminar he tossed a 52 number hand and won the Golden Arm award. Later, he won $300 in a live session with some other students. Since getting back home to the Midwest he’s been practicing daily and his SRR has risen to 6.75. He feels like a winner because he is seeing positive results.

Wednesday morning these two players hook up at the local riverboat to toss a few. Which one do you think will have the best results? The first player – who has a negative outlook despite his positive expectation – or the newbie with the same SRR who is feeling up-beat and positive?

Here’s how I see it. The individual with the more optimistic point of view will go on to win because he expects to win and – in doing so – elevates his performance level. Let me repeat that. He performs better because he expects to perform better. Optimism wins the day. It feeds on itself the overall results perform. And here’s the good news. It’s a power every one of you can tap into.

Optimism is a power tool in the precision shooting tool box. It tells you which set to use on the come-out. It tells you which set to use once the point is established. It tells you which bets you are going to win today and which ones to avoid.

Unfortunately, for most of us optimism is something we have to learn. And like any acquired skill it may feel a little awkward when you first apply it. Remember how unnatural the backhanded toss felt the first time you tried to toss from stick left? But with practice, that toss became so natural that stick left became your favorite shooting position. Learning optimism is just like that. And like all good habits, it becomes so rewarding in itself that practice eventually becomes automatic rather than a burden.

So how do you practice being optimistic? You can start out with something as basic as a list of positive affirmations about key aspects of your life. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Every day – and in every way – I am getting better and better.
2. I can and will achieve great things.
3. Every negative thing that happens to me will be transformed into ultimate good.
4. I am fit and health and feel great physically and spiritually.
5. I forgive those who have harmed me and am at peace with them gone from my life.
6. My ability to win is limitless and my power to succeed is infinite.
7. I will smile at the world and live life to its fullest.

There you go. A week’s worth of positive affirmations. Why not take them and make them your own. Work on one a day – then repeat the list next week, and the next, and the next. You’ll be surprised at the results.