Ten Hours of Labor and a Coat of Primer

One of the things “serious” craps players have always liked about the Axis Power Craps forum is the fact that I post my trip reports “warts and all.” That means when I have a losing trip I  talk about it.  I also encourage forum members to do the same, and many of them are quite good about it. Why do this? Because doing so helps others. They can learn from your mistakes and hopefully not make the same mistakes themselves.  To me, that’s the whole point of running a community website or a private group on FaceBook for craps players.  To  help each other learn from each other’s mistakes and become better players – and better people.

Sometimes I’ll just tell it like it was. “I tossed out $110 inside on the first three shooters. The first three shooters went PSO. Loss limit reached. End of session.” Sometimes I’ll have an extended report detailing a long series of shooters, hours of give and take, a slow agonizing climb followed by a precipitous plunge into the abyss. Say what? That means I ground out a decent win then blew it on a stupid decision – usually “taking a shot” on one shooter. Hey, it happens.

Readers of the trip reports posted by yours truly and company from last year’s Veteran’s Day Weekend Craps Reveille certainly picked up on the fact that pretty much everyone in our group had a “draw-down” that weekend. Draw-down is a gambler’s way of saying “we lost our butts, but there’s still money in the bank.”

To be completely honest, this was a weekend that probably should never have happened – for several reasons. First off, somewhere buried in the archives of the forum is a seminar guideline sheet that states, among other things, that if there are fewer than six students signed up for a class we may, at our discretion, cancel and reschedule. As it turned out, we only had three students signed up for the class. However, two of those three students were alums who are among the best of the APC shooters out there. So, from the Heavy perspective, the greed factor kicked in. I decided that with these two guys in position, myself and Darthn8r in position, and a little support for at least part of the weekend from our third student and our pal Howard, who was in Vegas that same week doing his own classes, that we’d have six great shooters in position and that THAT would translate into big paydays at the table. ALL of that assumption was correct except for the “big paydays” portion.

Secondly, since the tuition base for this class was so small I was forced to shop for a budget airfare to and from Vegas. In order to take advantage of the best possible pricing I had to stay in Vegas for a full week instead of my usual four to five nights, and ended up taking red eye flights both going and coming. I had no problem getting the additional two room nights comped by the usual Caesars property I haunt, and between my own meal comps, the hospitality of others, and an occasional crash landing in the Diamond Suite I managed to eat for free all week. Nevertheless, when you are working the famous “Heavy Envelope Money Management System” and you’ve allowed yourself a maximum loss of $600 a day and you get to day five and the envelope for that day and the next are empty – you know something has gone terribly wrong. That extra two days in Vegas saved me about $100 in airfare. They ended up costing me a half-pound of Bondo, ten hours labor and a coat of primer on my truck. You see, the next thing I’d planned on buying myself out of my winnings was a new paint job for my old ’94 pickup. That’s how I roll. Literally.

Oh, how miserable was my return to Texas. Within days I got a phone call from one of my pals wanting to know if I was up for a session over in Shreveport/Bossier that week. I told him I thought I’d have to pass, because I’d reached my loss limit for December already.

“But,” he said, “it’s still November.”

“Exactly, I replied.”

At this point I guess he started putting two and two together. He asked, “Just how much DID you lose over Veteran’s Day weekend.”

I said, “I lost a pretty good paint job on my old truck.” Then I added, “And a new dash . . . and those chrome wheels and low profile tires . . . and that suspension kit . . . “

My buddy was about to fall off his phone laughing. But the point of all of this was that it really wasn’t about the money. The mortgage here at the ranch still got paid. The lights are still on. So is the air conditioner (even though it’s December). There’s whisky in the pantry and water in the well. Neither momma nor the dog have bitten me yet.  Well . . . the dog hasn’t.  The bride might have chewed on me a bit.  But it’s all good.  There’s plenty of money in the household account.  It was just my trip bankroll that got hammered.  What really bothered me most was thinking about how I had I decided I wanted to spend my winnings on a paint job for my beat-up 25 year old pickup.  Hell, the truck runs fine. Sure, it’s ugly. The clear coat is peeling and it’s starting to show a little rust. But the tires are good and the suspension’s fair. It passes the State Safety Inspection every year and gets me where I’m going and that’s all I’m looking for out of a vehicle anyway. It ain’t about the woulda. It’s about the coulda. It’s about a little Bondo I coulda bought, ten hours labor and a coat of primer I coulda paid for. And if you have your values right (and a separate gambling account with sufficient reserves) you’re probably okay with that.

Maybe next year, old truck.  Maybe next year.