Why Do You Gamble? The Answer Is Valuable

Dice Rolling on Craps Table, Friends Playing Roulette, Slot Machine Reels
This might sound like a silly question at first, but stay with me for a few minutes. Think hard about why you gamble. Once you determine why, you might be able to use the information to improve your chances to win and find ways to enjoy it more.

The first answer that comes to mind for many people is because they want to win money. But deep down, most gamblers know they don’t win in the long run.

I put together this article because I believe that if you can take a clear look at why you gamble, it can help you in many ways. Most people are afraid they might need to stop gambling if they become truly honest with themselves.

Once I figured out my reasons for gambling, it helped me focus on the best areas. The reason I gamble is because I love competition. I want to compete against others and this drives me to improve my skills so I have a chance to win.

Because of this, I play poker most of the time. It’s a pure form of competition where I put my skills directly against my opponents.

I also like to beat the casino and sportsbook, so I do know how to count cards in blackjack, and I work at finding profitable sports betting opportunities. But my main focus is on continuing to improve my poker skills.

As you read through the reasons why people gamble below, see if one of them resonates with you. Once you determine why you gamble, think of what it means and how you can use the information to improve your enjoyment while you gamble.

The Chase

Medical studies reveal that the brain releases dopamine when you gamble. This explains the rush people experience when they risk their money in hopes of winning. Casinos use this rush to keep people gambling for as long as possible.

Cartoon Reaching for Slot Machine, Slot Machine Icon

Though I don’t have any concrete evidence to back it up, I believe most gamblers fall into this category. They know that in the long run, they’re going to lose, but the rush they get when they win overcomes what they know if they’re being honest.

I’m not saying anything is wrong with this. I get a rush when I win a bet, just like everyone else. And if you can afford to chase the rush, there aren’t many good reasons why you should stop.

If you fall into this category, I recommend playing casino games with a low house edge, so your bankroll lasts as long as possible. It’s even better if you can learn how to beat blackjack or poker. That way, you have a chance to win in the long run.

The Rush of Competition

Some people gamble because they enjoy competing against others. This can be competing against other players at the poker table, or it can be competing against the casino or the sportsbook.

The good thing about the rush of competition is, if you use it the right way, it can drive you to improve your skills.

If you enjoy competition and are playing games with a house edge that can’t be overcome, consider switching to poker or blackjack. You can use your competitive drive to improve your results.

Pure Entertainment Value

This is the category my wife is in. Sometimes I envy her, because gamblers in this category gamble just because they enjoy it. They like to win, but they don’t have to win to have a good time. Many entertainment gamblers play slots, because they’re easy to play and you don’t have to concentrate to do it.

The only advice I have for people who gamble for the pure entertainment value is to stay within your budget. Gambling for entertainment is no different than going shopping or to a movie, except that sometimes, you leave with more money than you started with.

To Escape From Something

This is the only category that can be dangerous. Some people gamble to escape from the rest of their life. This can be okay if you set strict time and practice proper casino bankroll management, but it can also lead to gambling too much and too long if you’re not careful.

If you’re gambling as an escape and don’t want to stop, I strongly suggest playing something you can beat.

Focus on learning how to count cards, finding winning sports betting opportunities, or playing poker. If you can figure out how to win while you gamble, you can afford to use it as an escape.

It’s Your Job

Not many gamblers fall into this category. While many gamblers wish they could gamble full time, very few actually do it. And many of them are just as unhappy as most people working other jobs.

Guy Wearing Sunglasses Throwing Poker Cards, Clock with Work Time Text

In order to gamble for a living, you either have to be so rich that you can’t lose all of your money or you have to be an advantage player. If you’re so rich that you can’t lose all of your money, do whatever you think makes you happy. And that includes gambling.

If you’re an advantage gambler, the odds are good that you play poker, bet on sports, or play blackjack. While there are a few other ways to gamble with an advantage, most winning gamblers are involved in one of these three areas.

From the outside looking in, it seems like a great way to make a living. What could be better than playing a game to make money instead of working for it?

The problem with the way it looks from the outside is that it actually takes as much work or more than holding down a regular job to be an advantage gambler.

If you dig deep enough, you can find stories about professional poker players talking about the daily grind. Playing day after day, trying to grind out enough money to live on can be taxing.

I’m sure you don’t feel sorry for them, but be careful what you wish for. I’ve known quite a few poker players over the years that were good enough to grind out a living at the middle levels, and most of them eventually found something else to do. They still play poker, but being forced to play almost every day to survive takes the fun out of the game.

If you’re gambling for a living, make sure you take time out to enjoy other areas of your life. Spend time with your family and friends, doing things other than gambling that you like. If you don’t, you run the risk of burning out. If this happens, you might find that you start hating gambling as much as working a regular job.


Have you figured out why you gamble? If you haven’t, spend some time over the next few days coming up with an honest answer. The effort is worth it, because once you figure it out, you can make a plan that helps you enjoy gambling more and produce better results.

If you know why you gamble, use this information to your advantage. If you chase the rush or play for pure enjoyment, learn how to play games with a low house edge. You can still chase the rush and play for enjoyment, but you can do it more often and for longer playing sessions.

When you gamble for another reason, the odds are good that you should learn more about advantage play. If you can learn how to play with an edge, you can afford to gamble more because you don’t have to worry as much about losing money.