Responsible Gaming: What You Need To Know To Improve Your Game

Gaming is as much about maintaining control of your own head as it is overcoming your opponent. The best gamers have a firm grasp of their own emotions and can recognise internal stresses early to take

Keeping a poker face

Nowhere is this truer than on the poker table where your every action and reaction is under constant scrutiny by the other players. One slip can lead to a tell and result in a lost hand and ultimately, squandered money.

Gaming

Gaming in other areas of the casino

Across other casino games you might only be playing against yourself—with no shared pot to compete for—but you can still transfer some of the traits of a good poker player into those solo games. When playing live casino games it’s easy to get swept up in the occasion and lose track of your ultimate goal. Here are a few pointers that are indicative of a good player:

Setting limits

It’s vital to set limits and stick to them. Your bankroll is a figure that you’ve determined—away from the thrill of the casino—what you can afford to spend on your session.

If you view this figure as the amount you’d be happy to pay for the casino entertainment experience, then any money you do come home with is a bonus. It’s a healthier way to reframe losses so you don’t end up chasing your money.

Learning to love your losses is also a skill of a proficient and responsible gamer. Each loss represents an opportunity to learn. What went wrong the last time you played? And how could you improve on that next time?

Manage your game times

Research suggests that there are a predetermined number of decisions we can successfully make in any one day. Once we reach that amount, our ability to make informed choices dramatically decreases. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was an advocate of this idea; it is the reason he was known to wear the same outfit—resulting in one fewer decision to make at the beginning of each day.

To translate this to the gaming world, if you are several hours deep into a gaming session, your performance will invariably decline. It can be hard to walk away from a winning streak and even harder to walk away from a losing one, but you are more likely to worsen your situation by continuing to play.

The best sessions are long enough for you to find your rhythm but short enough so that you don’t get tired. This way you can play more regularly and take the time to process and internalise what you have learned between games. A welcome benefit to reducing the time played in each session is that you’re more likely to enjoy the experience and establish a healthy relationship with gaming.

  • Mathematically speaking, shorter sessions are also advantageous when playing at fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT). As the name suggests the odds of winning these games is predetermined—but that’s not the whole story.

The longer you play an FOBT, the closer your received odds will approach the machine’s fixed odds. One spin on a game of roulette can have wildly different odds than the fixed number. This is known as short term volatility vs long term reliability.

Manage your game times

Ask for help

Should all your strategies fall through, and you find yourself in an undesirable situation, mentally and/or financially, there are many resources available to help. GamCare offers free advice in the UK for people that think they might have a problem but talking to friends and family is also a good first step. An internet search will bring up a list of organisations in your area that are set up to help people with gambling problems.

Identifying you might have a problem in the first place can also be a hurdle. Try keeping a gaming diary to record wins and losses, how you feel before and after each session and if you are ever playing outside your means.

Ask for help

The world of esports

Lessons learned at the casino can be transferred to other games and indeed other parts of life. The highly competitive world of esports is a great example.

Competitive gamers have coined the term tilt to describe when they get frustrated while playing, which came from the early pinball games that would display ‘TILT’ on the screen and seize up if you were to nudge the machine too hard.

Walking away from an activity when you start to feel frustration is a challenging life skill to acquire but it’s beneficial to the learning process and key to improving. It is especially important for athletes to learn this skill as “one more attempt” for them can often lead to injury.

If you learn to play responsibly and respect your own limits, gambling can be a healthy, enjoyable pastime for many adults. But remember that no matter how much experience you have, a large part of gaming is decided by luck alone—the cards are not always going to fall in your favour.

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