Pokies addiction

Pokies, or poker machines, are notable features of any gambling floor. Like other types of games, they can develop an addiction. And like any type of addiction, it can be fought effectively. Here is a brief overview of this problem. 

How do pokies work?

Each of these machines has an embedded software program that randomly generates thousands of possible outcomes at every given second. Once the button is pressed, the pokie randomly selects one result from the myriad of combinations. As the gambling operators claim, each chosen outcome is in no way related to the previous one. If a win is determined, the machine pays credits. Otherwise, generation of outcomes continues until the button is pressed again.

Playing the pokie proves a costly addiction for some. One player from Australia, who prefers to be called Mr. Jaber, says he squandered everything he had earned “chasing that dream of someday winning” before he finally succeeded in quitting. “I make about $50,000 a year, so I pretty much put every single dollar in the machine,” he said. “You just pretty much wanna feel rich, but in reality, you go to work to next day with an empty pocket.” As soon as his own funds had run out, the gambler continued to be obsessed with chasing losses with “500 bucks here, $1000 there”. He resorted to the insanely expensive payday loans and borrowing under false pretenses.

Identifying unhealthy pokie gamblers

When a gambler is in full control of his behavior, he knows when to stop, and he can set loss limits. A compulsive pokie player, on the other hand, is unable to do so. Motivated by the false hope of recovering his losses, he will keep on playing. If you feel your loved one of you yourself may be addicted, look out for these red flags:

  • Failure to control, limit or give up playing the machines.
  • Irritation and restlessness in case of limited access to pokies.
  • Preoccupation with gambling: constant thoughts about ways to obtain more money for pokies.
  • Powerful sensations associated with the game may only be achieved with increasingly large bets. 
  • Using pokie games as a way to relieve negative feelings (e.g., guilt) or avoid real-life issues.
  • Attempts to recover losses through higher bets.
  • Lying to friends and relatives concerning the extent of pokie addiction.
  • Detrimental effects on personal relationships and professional career. 
  • Fraud or theft committed for the sake of playing pokie.
  • Asking others for financial help as personal funds have run out.

What to do

First and foremost, it is crucial to find a specialized addiction treatment institution. A gambler will benefit from the guidance provided by professional staff, in addition to medication, therapy, and support groups. 

Addiction is a serious problem that must be deal with. Do not let it ruin your life. Once you spot signs of compulsion, ask for professional help.

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