Are you gambling too much? How can you tell if you are? On this page, I’ll be discussing seven signs you might be gambling a little too frequently.
But I want to make something clear before you continue. This article isn’t aimed at problem gamblers. Some gamblers have a real issue on their hands and need to seek help immediately. If you have even the slightest idea that you might have a problem, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
This article is for players who can easily control their gambling, including those who might just need to take a break or back off for a short while. Although the focus is often on gamblers that can’t stop and end up losing everything, the majority of gamblers don’t gamble with money they can’t afford to lose and treat their gambling as a form of entertainment.
But even when you’re a responsible gambler, sometimes you need to watch for one or more of the signs below. Once you notice them, you can either take a break from gambling or gamble less.
1 – Chasing Losses
I hesitated to include chasing losses on this list, but ultimately decided it was too important to skip. Many gamblers chase losses as a habit. But keep in mind, chasing losses doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gambling too much.
The problem is when you start chasing losses even if it’s something you usually don’t do. Most gambling activities are for fun and not necessarily for profit. And because of a casino house edge, players lose in the long run.
When you chase losses, you simply lose faster. It puts your bankroll in danger, and you need to understand how short term and long term probabilities work. This way, you don’t run out of money.
2 – Losing Sleep
It’s often difficult to link loss of sleep with one particular thing, but if you start having a hard time sleeping, consider whether it has anything to do with gambling. Losing can leave you in a state of unrest, and it’s possible that your sleep patterns are affected by it.
I’m not a doctor or psychologist, so I can’t help cure your sleep issues. But you need to be aware that it’s at least possible gambling could be the reason you’re not sleeping well.
Another possibility is that you’re neglecting sleep because you’d rather gamble.
If you’re working full time and have normal responsibilities in your life, it can be challenging to find enough time to gamble as much as you want.
3 – Hiding Your Gambling
This is a big one, so pay attention. Any time you hide your gambling activities from people, especially the people who’re most important in your life, it’s a clear sign that something is going on.
If you’re hiding some or all of your gambling from your spouse and/or loved ones, you need to figure out why you’re doing it. You have to be completely honest about this and dig down to the root cause.
I recommend using this extra time away from your normal gambling activities to figure out why you feel the need to hide your habits. I’m not here to judge, I’m simply here to educate. You might have a legitimate reason to hide your gambling, but it’s usually a sign you may be gambling too much.
4 – Gambling When You’re Tired
Most people who gamble are guilty of gambling when they’re tired at least a few times. I’ve done it too many times to count, and I usually don’t regret it. Occasionally, I’ll make a bad mistake because I’m tired, but I only continue gambling when I’m tired in situations where I still have an edge.
Here’s an example of when I’m most likely to gamble when tired.
The main thing I enjoy at the casinos is a good game of poker. I’m able to play well enough to be an overall winning player, but I’ve never dedicated enough time and effort to be able to play full time. One of my most profitable strategies is to find games with bad players. This gives me an edge most of the time.
In a game filled with bad players, I tend to play as long as the game is good and I’m able to continue playing better than my opponents. In a good game, I’ll play when I’m tired most of the time. Only when my profitability goes down because of being tired do I quit playing.
5 – Behind on Your Bills
When you’re a gambler and you’re behind on your bills, it’s time to take a close look at what’s going on in your financial life. The first thing you need to determine is if you’re a winning or losing gambler. If you don’t know the answer, then it’s safe to assume you’re a losing gambler.
Most gamblers lose money in the long run. If you’re doing anything other than counting cards at the blackjack tables, betting on sports, or playing poker, the odds of you being a winning gambler are almost non-existent.
Even if you play poker or bet on sports, the odds that you win in the long run are small. The only way to know for sure is to track all of your play and expenses.
If you find that you’re a breakeven or winning gambler, you probably don’t need to stop gambling until you’re caught up on your bills. But even if you’re a winner, you still might be able to earn more doing something else, like working, rather than gambling.
On the other hand, if you’re like most gamblers and lose more than you win, you need to gamble less until you get your bills taken care of.
It takes a responsible and educated person to make a decision like this and follow through.
6 – Experiencing Social Issues
It can be difficult to recognize how your gambling can change your social relationships. But if you never think about it, you’re never going to see it happening. Have you noticed more disagreements or strife in your personal relationships lately? Are you fighting with your spouse, friends, co-workers, or boss?
Gambling isn’t always the cause of social issues, but losing can make you irritable and defensive. As I stated in an earlier section, I’m not able to diagnose and help correct social issues, but I do want to help you understand that gambling can have an impact on them, and I want to help you watch for the signs.
Don’t hesitate to cut back on your habits for a short time if there seems to be more chaos or disagreement in your life.
7 – Losing Too Much Money
This is probably the easiest sign on the list to recognize and act on. If you’re losing more money than you want, it’s time to gamble less. When your losses become too high, it might even be time to stop gambling for a period of time.
I recommend taking a break and spending the time learning how to be a winning gambler. You can find books, articles, and videos that help you develop the skills you need. Look into playing other games like poker, blackjack, or sports betting, and see if you have the skills needed to start winning.
If you’re already a gambler, the odds are that you don’t want to stop. So, why not learn how to come over to the profitable side so you can continue gambling for the rest of your life?
I like to gamble and I don’t plan to stop doing it. But I’ve taken a few breaks over the years and looking back, I don’t regret any of them. The more you gamble and the older you get, the better chance you have of recognizing when you’re gambling too much.
Use the signs listed above to help you learn when you need to slow down or take a break. You can always start gambling more later and, if you use your time wisely when you slow down, you might even learn how to improve your long-term results.