Monday, October 3, 2016

College Football: Week 5 FIVE: When you're running cold....

Another week, yet another losing record.  At this point I'm not even quite sure why I'm keeping the FIVE alive this year, except for humility's sake.

Not only was I off this week, but I was WAY off. In prior weeks the games were close, and then the team I picked found some creative way to blow it. In this week's picks the outcomes were pretty much known from the start.

1. Stanford. This is one of those losses that could damage a team. Not only did Washington beat them, the Huskies beat the Cardinal up and stopped McCafferey cold.  This is the 2nd time in as many weeks that Mister Christian has been contained.  Also, injuries aside it didn't appear that Stanford had the athletes to compete with Washington, it was carnage from the opening snap.

2. BYU. I'm not sure what happened in this game, despite the fact that I watched it live. BYU looked both horrible and pretty good at the same time. The Cougars do have issues on the defensive side of the ball however, which is a big reason why I think they are 2-3 instead of something better.

3. Northwestern. My lone "win" this week. I should have picked NW on the ML but I didn't because I already had two underdog upsets picked.  Unfortunately, the two that I picked to have a chance to pull the upset got hammered.  Iowa now has two problems. 1. They are offensively inept again. 2. They've committed themselves to a middling Head Coach for a long, long time.

4. Arizona State. Here's the thing: I STILL think that USC has some big problems and are going to struggle the remainder of the year. But I also realize that the Sun Devils have crap on defense. I thought the USC clown show would overcome the ASU lack of talent. I was wrong.

5. Minnesota. This one stung. Because I really thought the Gophers should have won the game. As it was, it went to overtime and was a pretty good game to watch, as far as those things go.  Still, the middle-to-bottom of the B1G is not very good this year.

So, that's officially carnage then. 1-4 for the week which puts me at a pretty hopeless 7-23 with little hope of breaking even now by the end of the year. I'm either going to need a massive turnaround, or an impossible do-over to get this right.  This is the worst year that I've had picking games in my FIVE since I started the thing.

I am running cold. Not just in football picking, but in all aspects of gaming right now. My last two trips to casinos have been washouts. In August, I went to Las Vegas and got whipped at every game I played. Video Poker? Nothing. Blackjack? Awful. 3-card Poker? Nope.  It was carnage. Then, a few weeks ago, the wife and I spent an evening in Lake Charles and the result was the same.

Forget a royal flush (which I have never gotten, in any iteration of poker) I'd settle for a full house right now. I'd be ecstatic with a four of a kind. It's that bad.

For most of us, that's the way gaming goes. You find yourself on the down side of the standard deviation most of the time. These are negative expectation games after all. The question is then, why play at all?

Because it's fun. Period. (For me that is)

I don't gamble to 'make a living' or hoping to get rich, I gamble because I enjoy doing it and it's the only recreational activity that provides me with the chance (no matter how slim) to strike it big. When you're running bad, the only thing to do is to take a look at your fundamentals and try again. But, always self-scout. What are you betting? How are you betting? Why are you making those bets? If you're struggling it's good to practice, and then practice again. And keep practicing until you get it right.

Work through slumps in your time away from the actual casinos and you'll do better when you actually get inside them.  One caveat: It's very important to practice like you play. In other words, try to replicate the real-world conditions in your practice environment. In many cases, that means adding distractions.

It's easier to be nailing perfect video poker strategy in a quiet room with a closed door than it is inside a casino with scantily-clad cocktail waitresses walking around. Casinos are designed to frustrate the player's focus, to throw him (or her) off his (or her) game.

With that said, tomorrow (writing this Sunday night, to publish Monday morning) I'll be back in my distraction-filled environment trying my darndest to turn this mess around.

It's either that or finding a live-chicken to sacrifice to the gaming gods. Which could be messy.

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