Trying to Not Smash the Egg

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” — Arnold H. Glasgow

One reason that I love wagering — whether at the racetrack, OTB, or at the sports book — is that it forces me to be emotionally-disciplined in order to succeed. You can be a brilliant analyst, but this game will eat you alive if you can’t keep your feelings in check. And, to be honest, being emotionally-disciplined is not natural for me. In fact, if I let emotion rule my betting (as I did when I was younger), I might as well just burn my money instead.

For example, it is simply not natural for me to sit on the sidelines and watch and wait. Many times, I’ll look at the card a number of times, and just not t see any plays. With potential opportunities ahead, I want to preserve my capital for bigger chances into the P3 and P5 pools. Sounds rational, so it should be easy, right? Wrong. Even though I know that it’s in my long-term interest to pass the card, the lure of betting is always strong. I know I’ll be tempted by action and, especially, the fear of missing out on an opportunity. Nothing motivates bad decisions, in betting or in life, like fear of regret.

But fear of regret is, perhaps, the worst reason to make a bet. I’ve learned through the years that the only reason to make a bet is value, and not for some sort of emotional satisfaction. Yet, like most things in this terrific game, that is so much easier said than done. I still violate this cardinal rule all the time, especially after very tough losses or very big wins. And, that’s why I love this game — it is just so freaking hard.

Wish me luck sitting on my hands, and good luck if you are playing.

Image: Mark Turnauckas, Chicken and Egg. Copyright 2011.