Why you still might fail with a perfect game

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated”

– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

When your blackjack game is perfect, your last and most threatening obstacle is Resistance.

The hardest part of waking up is getting out of bed. The hardest part of exercising is getting to the gym. To the people who say, “If it’s so simple, why doesn’t everyone do it?” There are plenty of things in this world that are simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.

I hate losing. I hate getting kicked out of casinos. I work primarily in Vegas. Every 15 minutes I place myself in danger of a back-off. Every phone ring is a detonating bomb. Dealers I refuse to tip send me telepathic death threats. When I clock into my office, I’m in a constant state of fight-or-flight. The dealers hate me, pit bosses suspect me, and gamblers are ready to gang up and crucify me if I split another pair of tens or god-forbid I open a box in the middle of a shoe. And I’m quite certain I’m getting cancer from second-hand smoke.

The one time anyone is nice is when I’m losing and that’s when I hate myself. It always starts the same way. I have cash in my hands, smile on my face. Today will be a good day. It always ends with my tail tucked between my legs as I run out. Imagine living that cycle for a month without profit. Play long enough and that scenario is 100% guaranteed. It could even happen your first month with perfect play. Imagine explaining that to your spouse.

Focusing too much on the negative aspects of blackjack is just another form of Resistance. I have to remember to count my blessings. I get to work at my own schedule. I have no bosses or employees, just business partners. It still blows my mind. I operate a business where the product is cash! There is no inventory. No overhead costs outside of transportation and lodging. There are no factors outside of my control that determine my net worth.

Blackjack is a numbers game, and I don’t mean counting cards. The tally we track is every losing session and back-off, scars we notch in our mental fortitude. We’re human and we all have a threshold. The ones who succeed are those whose thresholds are high enough to see generous returns before they reach their limit.