Poker is a popular game of skill but also of luck. It is this combination of events with the game being both in the player’s control but also not in their control that makes the game enjoyable but also highly addictive. When things are going well it is easy to put this down to the player’s own skill but when it is not going well it is also easy to put this down to bad luck. It can therefore become all too easy to keep playing and it becomes an addiction.
In the past to play poker required travelling to casinos, playing in private games, or playing at other venues but with the internet it is possible to play anywhere anytime. Online sites offer multiple tables and much faster play than in casinos. This means more hands can be played quicker increasing the risk of addiction and also personal gain or loss. Playing a popular game such as ‘Texas Hold’em’ takes around five minutes in a casino but online can be less than 40 seconds. It is this ease of play and instant gratification and jeopardy that has made the risk of gambling addiction even greater due to online poker sites.
The following are symptoms of poker addiction:
- General irritability
- Tiredness due to late night poker games and staring at computer or phone screens for extended periods
- Lying about playing poker – concealing the amount played or losts
- Spending work time, family time and much of your free time playing poker
- Spending money needed for other things on playing poker
- Constantly feeling the need to play another hand of poker
- Feeling bad after playing poker but then going back to play again
- Feeling guilty for the family and free time spent playing poker but not stopping
Whether someone considers themselves a problem poker gambler, a compulsive poker gambler, or a poker addict they can set themselves free from the issue – as long as they go about it in the right way.
Most mainstream methods of helping poker addicts focus on the use of willpower. The idea is to have the poker addict acknowledge that their problem is ruining their lives and the lives of their loved ones, and that they should commit to a lifelong battle resisting the temptation to play poker. If the gambler feeling bad about what they’ve done to their family and swearing never to gamble again really worked – the gambler wouldn’t have ended up seeking the treatment prescribing they do exactly that. They will have sworn off gambling dozens of times and failed. Some programmes even rely on the addict acknowledging that they have an incurable disease which they will have to battle for the rest of their lives! No wonder they make people miserable!
The key to curing poker addiction, to no longer being a problem poker player or compulsive poker player, is to have the addict understand exactly what it is that they think they enjoy about it. Gamblers already know about the downsides; the cost, the debts, the loss of property & love, and the utter shame – there’s no point in ramming that down their throat. It’s highly patronising and entirely counter-productive. But looking at their perceived advantages of playing poker, and understanding the process they went through in becoming addicted is an entirely empowering, enlightening, and positive process which leaves the gambler ready to walk away from something that was devastating their lives and the lives of their family, with a smile on their face, like someone who has been released from the darkest, dankest, most uncomfortable dungeon.
Surprisingly this process, far from being a lifetime battle, or requiring residential treatment (which itself costs thousands and thousands of pounds) takes just a few hours. In fact, if you’re a problem poker player, compulsive poker player, or poker addict reading this there is no doubt that you can already sense, albeit sceptically, a little light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in your life. Get in touch with Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Gambling programme.
Allen Carr’s Easyway understands how gambling makes them feel and, without being judgemental or patronising, we take them through the process of how to free themselves from the addiction to play poker. We demonstrate how poker players fall into the trap, the psychology behind being addicted to risk and how to quit gambling once and for all.