Despite the proliferation of casinos throughout the U.S., a majority of players – and I’ll wager it is a hefty majority – still have to spend a significant amount of travel time to play. Hence, whether or not they consciously admit it, most players’ primary objective is to make the trip worth the effort. Unfortunately, Lady Luck has the final say as to how long a player can fly before hitting the ground (i.e., reaching a loss limit) or entering the clouds (i.e., reaching a win goal). When one of these bankroll boundaries is encountered too soon (i.e., before the desired amount of playing time has been obtained), even practiced punters can have trouble quitting anyway.
The problem is that win goals and loss limits are merely numbers; they do not readily translate into something tangible. Preparing for losing only as much as you can afford is relatively easy: take, and have access to, only your predetermined loss limit by leaving the checkbook and plastic at home or in the hotel room. But what about that win goal? When you reach that you have the resources to continue playing. Yes, many gambling authors recommend salting away profits in pockets and purses, but I have yet to see any of those equipped with a time lock, so you still need the discipline not to go to those wells during a session.
The trick is to equate the abstract win goal number to something real: a new, or an addition to, a home entertainment system; a new computer monitor; concert tickets; a personal accessory; a gift for a significant other. Anything that can be visualized as being with you at the table or machine will do, for then you can make a rational decision whether or not to trade what you already have for continued play. Of course, you may be able to have your cake and eat it too (i.e., continue to play and not drop below your win goal), but it is foolish to count on that occurring.
A key question to ask yourself is, “How will I feel if I give back my ?” If your answer is “disappointed” or worse, you really need to get out of Dodge or risk turning a positive gambling experience into a negative one. The vision of whatever object you have chosen as your equivalent win goal accompanying you to your room or car will help you do that.