March marks the Problem Gambling Awareness Month and many operators are working to publicize the topic and how to avoid problem gaming.
Poker may be a skill game, but players can fall down the slippery slope of problem gambling. Online poker sites have measures in place to help players avoid the pitfalls of gambling irresponsibly.
For two decades, the National Council on Problem Gambling has dedicated this month to educating the public about the dangers of problem gambling. The group also offers resources to prevent and overcome this addiction.
States such as New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Michigan promote responsible gaming and increasing awareness.
“You may be caught up in the excitement of the gaming or sporting event but don’t forget to bet responsibly,” said Henry Williams, Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director. “Gambling should be for entertainment, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of meeting your personal or family needs and obligations.”
Advice on playing it safe
According to the International Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG), about 1% of the US adult population has a “severe gambling problem.Players should be aware of safety measures in place to help them if gaming too much becomes an issue.
Here are a few tips poker players should remember to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Set budget and time limits – Always set a budget and time limit before playing. Use tools available on regulated gaming sites to establish funding, wagering, and time limits. Or set a timer on your phone to stay on track.
- Limit frequency – Limit your poker-playing time. If poker is creating family issues or financial problems, it may be time to cut back.
- Limit game types – Don’t play more than two types of games regularly, without proper knowledge of how to play. This may be more like traditional gambling than skill-based play. It’s understandable that players need experience to gain skills, but sometimes studying new games ahead of time ensures safer results.
- Know how the games work – Before placing a bet, make sure you understand the game. Understand the limit types, especially if the poker game is a No Limit game.
- Take breaks – Step away and think about the time and money you’ve spent. Most poker tournaments have breaks every hour, but cash games usually do not online. Setting your watch for timed breaks may help with understanding the reality of the situation.
- Keep wagering affordable – The Canadian Center on Substance Use and Abuse suggests limiting gambling expenses to no more than 1% of your monthly household income. It’s important to avoid borrowing money or dipping into funds meant for essential expenses as this can lead to losses exceeding your financial capacity.
- Just say no to drugs – As an online poker player, it’s crucial to avoid gambling when you’re feeling upset, stressed, or undergoing addiction recovery. Additionally, limit your consumption of alcohol or cannabis, which can impair your decision making and lead to poor choices at the tables.
- Bankroll management – For players it’s essential to avoid chasing losses and refrain from viewing gambling as a reliable source of income. If you’ve depleted your alotted funds, it’s time to call it a day. Furthermore, many online poker sites offer options to set deposit limits for daily, weekly, and monthly periods to prevent excessive spending and encourage responsible gambling.
- Luck versus skill – There’s no surefire way to win at poker, so don’t rely on luck or good fortune to increase your odds of winning.
- Keep it fun – Remember, gambling should be a fun and entertaining experience. If it stops being fun, it’s time to take a break or stop wagering altogether.
Using some of these concepts can help players from learning about responsible gaming the hard way.
“I love poker but just realize that it can get dicey quickly,” a poker player who wished to remain anonymous told USPoker. “I had to self exclude myself for a while until I could get other things in my life under control.”
The biggest step a player can make is to self-exclude from all gambling for a minimum of one or five years. This means they can no longer play on any sites, live or online, once the self-exclusion is in place.
Self-exclusion may be an answer for those with serious concerns. Online players can self-exclude via online casino sites or by visiting:
- New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
- Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
- Nevada Gaming Control Board
- Michigan Gaming Control Board
Those with a gambling problem can also call 1-800-GAMBLER. There’s no shame in asking for help.