Why Do You Gamble?

Reporting gambling losses

This is more sensible than carrying on with no emotional control at least. Emotions– Much of what has been mentioned for losing in a game of luck is also true in a game involving skill. Ego can take over, vendettas can be formed, anger and tension can arise. All of this shrouds judgement of important decisions, and can cause players to act in ways that they would not usually dream of acting in a logical state. Our emotions conflict with the logic of the game, and in a game of logic this can only lead to loss!

Mark Griffiths, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University who specialises in behavioural addictions points out that gamblers list a wide range of motivations for their habit. People addicted to gambling frequently report that, despite losses stacking up, the buzz keeps bringing them back to the card table or slot machine. Variance crushes us– During a downswing it becomes increasingly difficult to remain emotional controlled enough to continue to make the correct decisions; the ones that make us a profitable player in the first place. A downswing can be very tiring, and can go on for months or years, even in a high volume online poker player. Many players experience a large losing streak over time, and quit the game in a rage.

All of this contributes to the idea that much of gambling isn’t about winning at all. It’s about the process of betting itself – and all the attendant factors that make that enjoyable. The first thing to note is that people don’t just gamble for the prospect of winning.

Money also triggers emotion, and wherever there are large amounts of it emotions are running high in some people. There is still an unpredictable pattern of outcomes that over millions of samples evens out roughly to its correct odds. This time however, assuming you are an expert at the game, it is possible to take bets on opportunities that are slightly in your favor. This is what happens if you get a poker hand in against a weaker hand; statistically you are more likely to win, although with variance a weaker hand can still pull through.

In fact, gambling addiction, like all addictions, is considered a family disease/disorder. What happens when one individual in the family is addicted impacts all members of the family.

What they do offer that a casino can’t, is a dangerous convenience. Gamblers were hungry for a variety of games and where the early casinos offered just a few choices, the new and improved versions started adding variety to the games. Down in Texas they’d been playing a poker game called Hold Em and as the Texans traveled thru Nevada, they urged the casinos to add this poker variant. They didn’t just want to play poker, they wanted to play Texas Hold Em as the variant came to be known. After the Civil War, evangelical reform wiped out most of the lotteries.

Surely a person will recognise after a while that they aren’t going to win and it’s best to quit before they spend all their money, right? Well, people prone to gambling addiction don’t quite see this logic. Desperation sets in the longer the compulsive gambler engages in the addictive behavior. While the gambler may initially (in the early stages of gambling behavior) have some wins, the odds are literally stacked against him or her.


Can a gambler ever stop?

According to the Economist magazine, U.S. gamblers lost $117 billion legally in 2016 and another $150 billion was wagered with bookies on illegal sports betting.

It is serious loss because it can become detrimental to our friendships, family, job, and life. When gambling takes over, and financial loss becomes a part of daily life, something much deeper has been lost with it.

  • However, if you try to follow the instructions without first understanding the map, or you fail to follow all the instructions, you may never find the exit from the ‘gambling maze’.
  • He is known for being the youngest player ever to win ten World Series of Poker bracelets.
  • Several of these lotteries offered prizes in the form of “Pieces of Eight”.
  • Have a read of our author Louise Petty’s article on10 ways to help someone with a gambling problem.

Life itself has become secondary to greed, and no pleasure is even derived from the game anymore; I refer of course to gambling addiction – “How I lost my wife, children and £750,000“. You see, when gambling addiction and luck take the upper hand anything is possible.

Bill Benter – the Richest Professional Gambler

Is gambling a disease?

The only way to enjoy gambling is to be able to overcome greed enough to gamble only what you can afford to lose. Many gamblers lose because they never give themselves an opportunity to win; even when they have won a significant amount they will continue to bet until they lose it all again.


Over time if you consistently outplay opponents, the variance begins to smooth, and the +EV bets you have been taking start to show up as profit. It is an extreme of the second level, and is a lack of control over a longer period of time.

Thinking an unbeatable game is beatable– This is a common misconception among players of all types of casino games. Many people line the roulette wheel with scorecards recording information which is essentially irrelevant to the next outcome. This can lead to bets being taken on the premise that something is “bound” to happen soon. The second level of loss is losing an amount of money that you cannot afford to lose and that will make you unhappy when you wake up in the morning, or worse cause serious problems. This level of loss has nothing to do with statistical variance (which we accept when we play a game which displays unfavorable odds) and everything to do with human emotion, human belief, and human vice.

It is our emotions and vices that tempt us to bet more than we are happy with, and this is the real loss we can experience if we gamble irresponsibly. Online casinos do not have the same arsenal of weapons as a brick and mortar casino. https://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/how-to-stop-gambling-addiction Websites cannot match the level of sophistication, and cannot provide for the player a great night out. They do however still tempt us in with bonuses, try to achieve a tidy image, and keep us hooked with addictive games.

It doesn’t matter if the form of gambling is at an actual casino, or sports betting, or Internet gaming, the gambler’s luck eventually runs out. Most addicts believe – some, even sincerely – that their addiction doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s just as true with compulsive gambling as addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs used nonmedically, or other addictive behavior including compulsive sex, overwork, eating disorders, and so on.