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Gambling Addictions
I play poker occasionally. I win more often than not. I get out before the loss mounts up enough to actually mean something. I play as much for the game and for the act of betting as for the company. Poker is a great game because of the circle it requires. And circles are great conversation instigators. But still, with no conversation the thrill of the win is amazing. The rush of pulling in a big pot is such a powerful force. More satisfying than leaving a poker game ahead of where you started, is the satisfaction gleaned from the individual wins over the course of the night. The three minute highs of an Ace high flush or even better a perfect bluff are enough of a motivation for me to continue to play poker.

But gambling is dangerous. We've all known addicts or heard stories of uncles or brother-in-laws who lost their house during a Craps game. I find gambling addictions the most representative of all addiction. Gambling addiction comes down to this formula: To have and to have not. One side of the formula is no more sought over then the next. There is no thrill for the gambling addict if he always wins. He needs to lose and he needs to lose big in order to vindicate himself with the next big win. The wins are meaningless without the losses. The money holds no power if it didn't come out of emptiness.

The risk level is the gambling addict's dosage level. The bigger the risk the bigger the high, the bigger the bet the bigger the payoff. And the rush is during the injection, during the intermediary time after the bet is placed and before the dealer flips his hand. Entire universes are destroyed or created in that time period. I wonder what it feels like, I only know it to a small extent in the small poker games I play for fun maybe once every three months. But to really know that rush and that high is to know an edge I'm not sure I want to witness. I'd be too afraid of the fall.

Gambling addiction is characterized by an inability to control impulses. It's a weird definition because we are an impulsive species. If gamblers didn't exist the genes that constitute our uniqueness might have been lost generations ago. Everyone has a degree of the gambler in him and everyone has experienced the pay off. So where is the line drawn? When should our impulse to make a gamble be subdued and when should we listen? When there is more we stand to win then to lose? Or when we are thinking of the win itself, not the gamble?

I feel like there should be an equation we might follow to minimize the chance for losses in a gamble. If that were the case then I'd imagine the incidence of addiction would also be minimized because the risk is the addictive ingredient. I remember reading an article about Poker players who strictly play by employing game theory to the hands. They follow a strict set of rules so all sense of gamble has been taken out of the experience. It turns into a math equation where you bet according to a pattern. I remember reading the article and thinking, wow, that kind of takes away all the fun from the game. If everyone played by a set of rules and didn't allow for a moment's whim, you can bet addiction wouldn't be a problem. Would we want that?
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Latest Post: September 2, 2009 at 10:05 PM
Number of posts: 1
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