The most skilled poker players in the world can be brought to their knees by pure, dumb luck. This is why practicing responsible gambling is so important. It can help mitigate the damage of what might otherwise be a crippling - and even life-destroying - loss.
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible gambling refers to an entire set of attitudes, protocols and behaviours that individuals and gambling institutions adhere to in order to prevent damaging and unintended losses. Sure, bad beats will still happen, but if you gamble responsibly, you'll never part with more than you can manage.
Here are the basic tenets of responsible gambling:
- Never gamble with more than you can comfortably lose. If you do lose, consider it the cost of entertainment.
- Don't try to recoup your loses. You'll be playing from fear, not reason, and it's never good to play scared.
- Select the games you're going to play in advance. Don't get dragged in for more money or more sessions.
- Set a stop-limit and stick to it.
- Don't borrow money to play.
- Cut back or stop playing if it starts to interfere with your life (i.e. work, friends and family).
- Don't turn to poker (or any gambling) out of emotional or physical pain.
Gambling affects your brain just like a drug, and it's crucial to be ever-vigilant of your relationship with it.
If you start to think gambling is affecting your life in ways that could be dangerous, take a step back. If you can't take a step away, get help. Recognize that you may need to stop entirely.
Here are resources for help you understand more about the signs and symptoms of problem gambling, as well as where you can go for help. Also be sure to check with your local casinos for resources.
If you begin gambling with a healthy, mindful and proactive attitude - and are totally aware of the risks and warning signs - then chances are, you'll be able to enjoy the game for a long time.