In discussing the topic of poker, we should never overlook the issue of gambling addiction, particularly poker addiction. In this article, we will delve into factors that can lead to such an addiction, some of which might already be manifesting themselves.

There is often a fine line between what starts as fun and what ultimately becomes an overly serious endeavor. Given that poker revolves around money, it’s easy to see how it can be more likely to lead to problems than, for instance, a pastime like golf. What begins as a fun way to spend our leisure time with the potential to earn money can quickly transform into an obsessive part of daily life, leading to poker addiction.

With the rise of online poker available 24/7, the danger lies in becoming so engrossed in maximizing our time that we let it dominate our lives. By then, we might have crossed the proverbial line into gambling addiction, also known as pathological gambling, making us susceptible to conditions like antisocial personality disorder. As with other addictions, those suffering from a poker gambling problem can often be hard to approach, making it especially challenging for those around them to offer support and assistance.

The three phases of Poker Addiction

The Win Phase – Over time, the thrill of beating opponents and winning their money elicits a sense of both security and euphoria. You begin to bet larger amounts and venture into higher stakes, driven by the belief that every game can—and must—be conquered. This confidence, however, opens the door to poker’s potential downside: significant losses.

The Loss Phase – The initial joy of poker, and particularly the allure of online platforms where wins might have felt more frequent, diminishes or vanishes completely. The influx of money becomes less consistent, and the exhilaration it brings isn’t as intense. Both the money and the thrill might even become rare or entirely absent.

Frustration over losses, especially in the online sphere, intensifies, prompting you to try to reverse the trend hastily. You play incessantly, often on online platforms, no longer mindful of the shifts in your bankroll. You convince yourself that you’re still in control, blaming failures on mere bad luck or online game algorithms. As online poker addiction deepens, relationships with family and friends start to suffer. Losses mount to the point where you dip into savings or even borrow money in desperate attempts to recoup. As the downward spiral intensifies, the typical gambling addict, instead of stepping back, plunges even deeper into the abyss, with the digital realm of online poker amplifying the descent.

The Despair PhaseThis is the most perilous stage. You become fully engrossed, detached from reality, and entirely consumed by this almost virtual world. Debts accumulate, and repayments become infrequent. In a frantic pursuit to keep playing, you resort to any means to secure funds. Your demeanor shifts—you become irritable, irrational, anxious, and sleep becomes elusive.

Regrettably, the repercussions of poker addiction don’t just impact the individual but can also extend to their family and friends. Beyond the financial and emotional strain, there are potential legal ramifications which may parallel those associated with substance addictions like drugs or alcohol. However, one crucial distinction is that pathological gambling often doesn’t garner the same societal recognition or understanding.

Help for Poker Addiction

Recognizing the early signs of poker addiction allows for prompt intervention. If you or someone you know exhibits these signs, consider joining a self-help group and seeking professional assistance, such as from a psychotherapist. Pathological gambling is a mental illness, but it can be treated. To address any accompanying financial challenges, consult with debt counselors for guidance and advice. Taking these vital steps at the earliest indication of a problem is crucial. Starting early on the path to recovery often makes the journey smoother and more manageable.

What Measures Do Gambling Operators Take to Protect People?

Gambling addiction doesn’t just concern individuals; it also impacts lawmakers and gambling operators, including casinos, betting offices, and poker providers. Encouraging players to exercise self-control and adhere to codes of conduct can foster a healthier gaming environment. Additionally, some online poker rooms actively safeguard their players by implementing strict deposit limits and monitoring play to identify potential signs of problematic behavior.

Conclusion on Poker Addiction

A plethora of information exists to assist players in gaining awareness and understanding of poker addiction, as well as recognizing signs that it may be developing into a problem. If you discern any initial indicators of addiction, or if any of the previously mentioned points resonate with you, it’s crucial to act promptly and seek help. Gambling addiction is a grave concern that has the potential to impact anyone, and it demands serious attention and intervention.

last updated 10.10.2023