Poker Addiction: The Worst Beat Of All
The vast majority of people gamble for fun, and can control the amount they wager on any given day. To them playing poker is a hobby; a way to socialise with friends and perhaps win a few extra pounds in the process. And this is how poker is supposed to be.
Unfortunately, there are some people who are unable to control their urges to gamble, and end up becoming addicted. There’s one thing to make absolutely clear from the outset here: there is no shame in being a gambling addict. It is something that needs to be tackled head on and sorted, and we fully support any efforts made by addicts to remove themselves from the world of gambling. In fact, we want to help in any way we can – after all, while we love poker, we don’t want to see anyone getting into financial problems because of it.
This moral obligation has led to us creating this article for anyone looking for help. It’ll let you know the warning signs of addiction, and give advice on beating it. For 99% of people gambling is fun, but if you are in the 1%, we want to be the catalyst for your recovery.
Am I Addicted?
Admitting the problem is the first step to conquering it – or so goes the famous saying from many addiction groups. It is, however, very true. To begin a journey towards crushing a gambling addiction, you must first realise that you are addicted. So, how can you tell? Well, Gamblers Anonymous uses 20 questions to ascertain whether someone has a gambling problem, and these are:
- Has gambling caused you to miss time at school or work?
- Has gambling caused your home life to be unhappy at any time?
- Has your reputation been affected by gambling?
- Does gambling make you ever feel guilty?
- Have you ever gambled in order to try to pay debts or get out of financial problems?
- Have you been less efficient or ambition due to gambling?
- Do you ever feel like you need to win back money as soon as you’ve lost it?
- Do you feel like you need to win more money, even after a big win?
- Have you ever gambled until you have absolutely no money left?
- Have you ever borrowed money in order to gamble?
- Have you ever sold anything in order to gamble?
- Have you ever resented using money set aside for gambling to pay for regular expenses?
- Has gambling made you care less about how you or your family live?
- Do you ever gamble for longer than you initially wanted to?
- Do you ever gamble to escape problems or worries in your life?
- Have you ever thought about committing criminal acts in order to gain money for gambling?
- Does gambling stop you from sleeping?
- If you have an argument or knock-back, do you have the urge to gamble afterwards?
- Do you celebrate after a good event by gambling?
- Have you ever considered harming yourself or suicide due to gambling?
Gamblers Anonymous state that someone with a gambling problem will answer yes to at least seven of these questions. This is not definitive though. If you have answered yes to the final question, for example, you need to seek help ASAP, regardless of your answers to other questions. It is very important you answer these questions honestly, as nobody can help if you aren’t honest with yourself – remember, there is no shame in admitting to a gambling addiction.
Who Can Help?
There are many organisations able to help with an addiction to gambling. They are even there if you are unsure whether you have a gambling problem – it really doesn’t hurt to contact them if you are concerned. The main organisations that help gamblers are:
- Gamblers Anonymous. This is the most high-profile gambling addiction organisation. They provide both online help and help through groups local to you. Find out more about them by visiting www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk.
- GamCare. GamCare is another charitable organisation offering help and advice to those suffering from gambling addiction. They have forums and chat rooms, as well as access to advisors over the phone. They can be found at www.gamcare.org.uk.
- Gamblock. Gamblock is a company that can block access to the majority of mobile poker sites in one swoop. It does cost money but could save you a huge amount more. Visit them at www.gamblock.com.
There are many other places you can find gambling help as well, with a number of highly useful charities in the UK alone. Just make sure you do one thing though: don’t try to fight gambling addiction alone, as it is much easier to conquer it with help.
This is just a quick reminder that all reputable mobile poker sites have the option to exclude yourself from playing. This can range from stopping yourself from playing for a day, through to six months. Once you make the decision to exclude yourself from a site, it is not reversible, so think about it before you do make that commitment – although don’t be afraid to do it if you think gambling is becoming an issue.