A study conducted by the Australian Gambling Research Centre indicates many poker players delve into other forms of gambling, and it could have a negative effect on one’s mental health.
There’s a reason most casinos, especially those in Las Vegas, place a poker room smack dab in the middle of the casino floor, near slot machines and table games: easy access for poker players.
Poker Players Like to Gamble
The study, which was used to research the gambling habits of poker players, finds that nearly 40 percent of those who play poker are at high risk of becoming addicted to gambling and having mental health problems.
Researchers found that poker may not directly cause gambling addiction, as many of the participants, of which all were poker players, were found to have become addicted to other forms of gambling such as slot machines and blackjack.
Lead researcher Andrew Armstrong said many poker players lose more money on other forms of gambling than poker ($3,673 on average, annually versus $1,758 spent on poker), and he can explain the reasoning.
“Poker is a form of gambling which players go into with a sense of control over their risk, more than other activities in particular. You can estimate your level of skill against your opponent, by virtue of an immediate win or loss, the way the money is moving, the way the table is shifting,” he said.
Unlike poker, most other forms of gambling are played against the House and cannot be beaten in the long run. Whereas, a skilled poker player can expect to turn a long-term profit. Thus, why those who play poker often lose more at the craps table or chasing a slot machine progressive jackpot.
“So these people are high-risk gamblers, but they’re not losing their money predominantly on poker,” Armstrong said.
The study, which was based on data pulled from the annual household income and labor dynamics in Australia survey, also shared some demographic information about those who regularly play poker. Most are males under 50 working full-time and are less likely to have a college degree than the average population.
How to Get Help
Gambling addiction is a serious mental disease that requires treatment. MayoClinic.org suggests people who feel they may have a gambling addiction should contact a mental health professional immediately.
Signs that you, or someone you know, may be a compulsive gambler include trying to cut back on gambling with no success, lying to family members about the extent of one’s gambling, and resorting to theft as a means for obtaining gambling funds.