A Guide to Responsible & Problem Gambling
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Gambling involves the betting or wagering of money on uncertain outcomes and takes several forms – from games of chance to skill-based activities. Individuals have several reasons for gambling and playing but all include the hope of gaining much more. Today, there is an ever-increasing amount of people who like to gamble online for real money. Gambling is occasionally a rite of passage by which people discover more about themselves and how to be competitive with others. It’s sometimes a way of life (for people such as casino professionals, sports betting, and escape gamblers). It can be, in its healthiest form, a manner of socializing and having a great time.

Compulsive gambling is a gradual condition that entails impulse-control problems. The consequences of problem gambling are considerable and may be disastrous towards the addicted person’s household and profession, but the condition could be treated. Pathological gambling has been formally defined, in psychiatric terms, as “a persistent, recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior that interferes with personal, family, or vocational pursuits” As with all addictions, pathological gambling has personal, familial, and neurochemical aspects. Problem gamblers may even have a genetic vulnerability, even though such complex behaviors are unlikely to be traced to one specific gene in the same way some medical conditions have been.

RecoveryAssociates.org is here to help support gamblers who think they may have a gambling problem, as well as, friends and family of problem gamblers.

Of all the casino games that you will find, the slot machine games are often the most addictive because they are the easiest to play. Often a player only has to hit one big payline before they get hooked. Unfortunately, it is just as easy to gamble away a couple thousand dollars playing slots as it is playing roulette or any other table game.

The two best websites to visit if you or a loved one has a gambling problem is GamblersAnonymous.org in the United States and GambleAware.co.uk in the United Kingdom.

Gambling Responsibly

If you are going to bet money on any sport or game, you must realize that there is a chance that you may lose the money you are gambling with. If you are not OK with that or can’t afford it, you should not gamble money.

Do you have a gambling problem? Check this list to see if you exhibit these behavior.

That being said, there are ways to be smart with your money when you are gambling. You have to be disciplined, otherwise you will get frustrated and make a bad decision.

I always stick to a couple of rules:

    1. You must have a bankroll that you do not need to live on. Most casino games have ups and downs as far as winning and losing. If you only have $200, you can expect to lose that money the first bad streak you have.

      The minimum bankroll that I suggest for any casino is going to be $500; this will give you enough money to whether all but the worst streaks.

    2. You must stick to your limits. If you have a proper bankroll of more than $1000, you have to know when its time to stop your session. This means both when you have a good run or a bad run. You have to take advantage when you are up on the casino. Make sure you bank enough cash that you are guaranteed to walk away a winner.

      On the losing end, you should limit yourself once you have lost more than 20% of your bankroll. If you have to keep playing, be more conservative with your betting. If you ever find yourself getting frustrated, it’s time to leave.

    3. Develop or follow a betting system. If you play at the same stakes all of the time, eventually you will be behind the casino because they always have the house edge. There are plenty of different betting systems that can be used on most table games.
    4. Make sure you know the proper strategy for a game. Don’t go off of feelings when you are betting. Don’t try for the long shot bets unless you are up on the night. Make sure you execute the proper strategy for whichever casino game you are playing. You may get lucky if you do not, but you also will get unlucky more often.

Online Poker

Poker is a little bit different than Sports betting and Casino games. The difference is that you are playing other poker players instead of betting against the house. This means that the operators of the poker rooms don’t have an interest in you losing your money.

However, you can still get addicted to playing poker online and this can lead to the same problems that you can find in the other types of gambling. If you find yourself losing a lot of money while playing online poker for real money, you should take a couple of steps to limit your losses:

1) Don’t play at the $5/$10 ring tables. All of the players here will be very experienced. If you want to play ring games, play at the $1/$2 tables. Not only is the competition lower, but you can play for a while without losing much.

2) Don’t play at the $30+ Sit n Go tables. Again, these poker players are likely to be highly skilled. You should start playing at the $5+$1 or $10+1 tables to find lower competition.

3) Don’t play in the large tournaments that have a $50+ buy-in. These tournaments have a large payday, but you will not win anything unless you are in the top 25% or so. That means you can play for hours and be just out of the money.

With any game of chance or gambling situation, if you can’t afford to lose any money, you shouldn’t be playing US online casinos for real money or participating at all. Like any other habit, it can be difficult. The problem most often is the pattern of betting. If a losing streak causes you to bet emotionally, then you should stop immediately. If you can make it three weeks without displaying the offending behavior, you will be better in control of you situation.

Problem Gambling Resources

If you are someone you love has a problem with gambling, these books on gambling addiction are a good place to start. You should also visit Gamblers Anonymous to learn more about getting local support.