As much fun as poker can be, it’s important to protect yourself when playing online by engaging in responsible gambling.
While it is the responsibility of the poker companies to ensure the online environment is as safe as possible and does not encourage unhealthy habits, it is also up to the individual player to be responsible.
Poker is a very enjoyable game, as long as you play it responsibly and control how you play. But let’s find out more…
Responsible Gambling – Manage your finances
Poker should not be played with the primary goal of making money. It is a form of entertainment, and should be treated as such.
You will have to accept that you will make both wins and losses, and sometimes there will be streaks of losses. It’s important to gamble what you can afford, and manage your finances sensibly. Use a deposit limit to ensure you cannot go overboard.
To protect players, poker sites will hold, ban or close an account that they suspect is being used by an addict. They monitor how often you make deposits, how many losses you make, and the types of hands you play. Engage in responsible gambling and you’ll only get better and better.
Too much confidence can be dangerous
Poker is addictive by nature, it involves winning and losing. It lends itself to the “high”. Just won a game? Well, you’ll probably want to try again to make even more money. Just lost a game? You’ll want to get back your losses. It’s important to move away from this way of playing if you want to engage in responsible gambling. Don’t focus on wins/losses.
Focus on the experience, see the bigger picture. Play for entertainment, not for profit. It is important that gamblers understand the pitfalls of having too much confidence, to avoid being sucked into irresponsible play.
Poker can be dangerously addictive if the player does not engage in responsible gambling, this is one of the reasons it’s banned in many countries and some states in the U.S.
The anticipation and thrill of gambling creates a natural high that can become addictive. Players who become addicted to online poker often have pre-existing conditions such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.
No matter if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, online poker is gambling. Luck and skill are involved to an extent, but it is still a game of odds, and the outcome is largely out of your control — don’t let anyone else make you believe otherwise.
As such, it can be very dangerous if not played responsibly, and can easily ruin people’s lives when they gamble the money they desperately need to cover their daily living costs.
How to play responsible gambling
If played responsibly, poker can be very enjoyable, so try to have a responsible gambling. Here are some top tips you could use:
- Bet wisely. Only bet what you can afford to lose.
- Play for entertainment, not for profit.
- Set a deposit limit to protect yourself.
- Stay focused on what matters. Don’t focus on wins/losses.
- Know your limits and know when to stop.
- Take breaks. Play for short bursts, not all day long.
- Take part in other activities. Don’t stop your daily routine just for poker.
- Use a trusted poker site and ensure your deposits are safe.
- Know your game. Don’t engage in a game with professional players if you aren’t one.
Playing poker all the time is not healthy. The players affected the worst are the ones who do not engage in any exercise, stop seeing friends, and possibly even stop going to work. It’s not healthy, and that’s why sometimes professional help is the only way.
It’s not the fact that you can’t cure the problems yourself, it’s more important to seek professional help because the problems will be resolved sooner and more effectively.
For UK players: If you live in England or Wales and are over 16, you can refer yourself to the only specialist NHS clinic for problem gamblers. For more information, visit the clinic’s website.
For UK players: The main support organisation in the UK is GamCare, which runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and provides face-to-face counselling.
Gamblers Anonymous (UK)
For UK players: Gamblers Anonymous uses the same 12-step approach as Alcoholics Anonymous and also has a support group for relatives called Gam-Anon.
Gamblers Anonymous (US)
Gamblers Anonymous is also available in the US. The University of California at Berkeley also hosts a special Online Poker Addiction Forum (OPAF).
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