Looking at Problem Gambling as a Root Cause |

Triple Corona y Los Apostadores en Recuperación

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Sadly, provisional data for 2022 revealed the highest number of annual deaths by suicide on record. After adjusting for population growth and age, the suicide rate has risen by a shocking 16% since 2011. [1]

FCCG is raising awareness about the relation to disordered gambling, which has the highest suicide rate among all addictions. Statistics show that 1 in 5 compulsive gamblers will attempt suicide.

In her call to the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine, an addicted female slot machine gambler reported that she started gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic and knows of several people within her community that have committed suicide as a result of disordered gambling. [2]

First, why are suicide rates increasing nationally? Experts have yet to come to a definitive conclusion but noted the significance of mental health symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, rising financial stressors (particularly in light of rising inflation), and difficulty in accessing needed mental health care. [1] Following the onset of the pandemic in 2020, FCCG also highlighted its impacts on the issue of problem gambling as observed through contacts to its HelpLine.

Regardless of what the aggregate statistics may reveal, suicide is a personal concern first, and help and hope are never far away. Anyone in crisis can reach the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline any time of day or night.

A Crisis within a Crisis: Problem Gambling as the Root Cause

If problem gambling is a factor, the root cause of the suicidal ideation is a crisis of its own which requires urgent attention. If left unaddressed, gambling addiction will lead the individual to back to crisis again and again, whether suicidal or otherwise, as pressures ebb and flow. This is why the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine provides dedicated supports and resources for Floridians suffering from this hidden addiction, 24/7.

Gambling addiction is unique in that it can soar out of control rapidly and cause serious problems in all areas of life, including financial, relational, spiritual, career wise, and emotionally. After compulsive gambling takes hold, the affected individual may at times not recognize him or herself anymore, feel like his or her life is completely out of control, and conclude that there is no way out. The reality is this could not be further from the truth: recovery is possible for disordered gambling, and treatment is available. Thousands find help and hope each year through 888-ADMIT-IT!

The FCCG’s HelpLine Annual Report showed increases across all types of mental health, emotional, and domestic areas during the year, reflecting both the magnitude and severity of difficulties experienced by problem gamblers. Anonymized data collected from 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine contacts revealed higher levels of anxiety (62%), depression (63%), and neurological disorders (20%) compared with the previous year. [2] Of significant note is that almost one-quarter (24%) disclosed suicidal ideations or attempts by the gambler, reflecting a 50% increase from the previous year. When examining mental health, emotional, and domestic problems across genders, HelpLine contacts this year reported higher levels of mental health and emotional difficulties due to gambling experienced by female gamblers, when compared to male gamblers, such as anxiety and depression. [2]

Did you know? All Florida 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine Specialists complete Suicide Prevention Training, both annually, as well as prior to responding to their first contacts on the HelpLine.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts as a result of gambling addiction, know you are in professional hands if you call or text the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine. Suicide is a permanent response to a temporary problem. There is always a way out of the hopelessness you or a loved one may feel.

[1] Saunders, Heather, and Nirmita Panchal. “A Look at the Latest Suicide Data and Change over the Last Decade.” KFF, 21 Aug. 2023, www.kff.org/mental-health/issue-brief/a-look-at-the-latest-suicide-data-and-change-over-the-last-decade/

[2]“2021–2022 24-Hour Problem Gambling Annual HelpLine Report.” Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, February 2023.

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How Special Is It? – Gambling With An Edge

How Special Is It? - Gambling With An Edge

In a recent blog post I wrote:

Another factor that is true for me that isn’t universally true for other players is that I have the ability to figure out and master strategies and I enjoy doing so. Thinking about, writing about, studying, and playing video poker occupies a much larger part of my waking hours, even after about 30 years of doing this, than these things occupy in the lives of most other players.

A poster named Jerry apparently thought I was too full of myself and responded:

No offense, but what you do is really not that special. But keep thinking it is if that is what floats your boat.

I didn’t make the original statement in the sense of, “Hey! Look at me! I’m so clever!” I am not contending that being a competent video poker player makes me unique, or worthy of a Nobel Prize, or anything of the sort, but I do think skill level is something that differentiates me from most other players.

In my classes, I’d get a large number of players who would come up and tell me they practiced on the computer all the time and the best they could do was 98% accuracy. They’d want to know if that was good enough.

My answer was that it was plenty good enough if they wanted to enjoy video poker for a hobby and were playing for relatively small stakes considering to their bankroll. But at that accuracy level, they were playing a losing game. If their ambition was to make money at video poker, 98% was nowhere near a level that would help them attain that goal.

I don’t have any accurate numbers on how many players are net winners. Tax data is the only place such information is collected and I don’t have access to it. Plus, every player has an incentive to understate wins and overstate losses. And every player decides for himself how to keep records. (Do you, for example, report every bit of free play, or all wins of less than $1,200? I suggest you’re in the minority if you do, even though the IRS rules say you should do both of these things. And do you consider comps as winnings? Or free meals? Or . . . ?)

Given that every estimate somebody makes on this sort of thing must be taken with a huge grain of salt, my experience is that less than 20% of players are actually winners at this game on a long-term basis.

But let’s say 20% even. The players who are in this more-successful 20% have skills that the other 80% don’t. Different people have different skills, of course. I listed a few skills in the original quotation, but we could also include such things as the ability to obtain and retain a bankroll, the psychological ability to put up with losing sessions and losing streaks, competence in a number of different games, access to good games, the willingness to scout, a network of other players where you talk about opportunities at various casinos, the ability to figure out promotions, and the ability to adjust your sleep schedule so that if there is a juicy promotion on the graveyard shift, you’re able to take advantage of it. Knowing the correct play on every hand when you study it as a test question is one thing. Correctly executing that play when you’re in the casino playing quickly is another. Playing progressives properly is an entirely different skill than playing games with a 4,000-coin royal.

To be successful at video poker, you don’t have to be good at all of those things — but it helps if you are. High intelligence isn’t mandatory. But it helps.

 I don’t know who the poster “Jerry” is. Perhaps I know him under a different name. Perhaps I would recognize him if I saw him. Maybe he’s in the successful 20%. I don’t know. But somebody who is in that 20% and has been so for decades is a relatively rare individual. And such a player can master a strategy better than players who are not in that 20%.

That’s what I was trying to say.


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What Would You Do? – Gambling With An Edge

Putting Bills Into a Machine

I had a conversation with a strong player, and he posed a series of ethical questions. He estimated that if I asked this question in a crowd of people, at least 75% of players would claim they would do the right thing in each situation. But if nobody else were around, less than 50% would actually do the right thing.

I’m not sure about his percentages, but they sound approximately right, more or less. So, let’s look at the questions.

CASE 1:  George starts by buying ten $1,000 TITO tickets because he will be playing $5 video poker at a bar during a promotion, and he doesn’t want to waste time inserting hundred-dollar bills into the acceptor. He’s playing a game where he gets a taxable for every quad, straight flush, or royal. After a half hour of play or so, he hits one of these jackpots. Since he expects the service will be slow because of the number of players playing the promotion, he moves to an adjacent machine where the same game is available.

This is when he notices that this new machine has $200 in credits left over from a previous player. The player left at least a half hour ago because nobody has been there while he was playing.

He inserts a $1,000 ticket into the machine (giving it $1,200 in credits) and begins to play. By the time his jackpot has been paid off and he’s signed the W-2G, his credits are down to $975. He cashes out these credits, puts the new TITO into his pocket, and resumes playing on his original machine.

About 15 minutes later, George hears somebody approach the machine and say to somebody else, “It shows $975 was cashed out.” He assumes this was the person who left the money in the machine in the first place. He continues to play without saying a word and the people go away. He didn’t even look at the person. Not knowing who he “ripped off” was easier to deal with than putting a face on the victim.

Would you have acted the same as George? Returned the money immediately when you discovered it on the machine? Or when you found out who the money belonged to, forked it over?

CASE 2:  Same as before, but now the amount left on the machine is $900. George has the money to play a $5 game, and for that, $200 is basically pocket change. But also on these machines is $1 blackjack and $900 is a lot of money to most people. The scene plays out as before.

Does the amount of money make a difference in your actions?

CASE 3:  Same as before, but now George is behind $2,500 when he finds the abandoned credits.

Does being behind today make you more likely to keep quiet?

CASE 4:  Same as CASE 1, except an hour or so later, the slot supervisor comes up and says, “Somebody reported they left $200 on the machine next to you. We looked at the camera feed and we saw you inserted a $1,000 ticket and kept playing. Technically, we cannot force you to return the money because it was abandoned. But I think it would be a nice thing if you gave the $200 back.”

What would you do now?

I think most of us will agree that “doing the right thing” means not keeping the money in any of these cases. Believing that to be true in general and actually doing that when the opportunity presents itself are very different things.

Part of this depends on your moral beliefs. Part of this depends on your circumstances. When I started in Vegas 30 years ago and was struggling to support myself, I almost certainly would have kept the money. Today, since I am not struggling financially and am more concerned with casinos letting me play rather than running out of bankroll, the only thing to think about is whether to give the $200 to the bartender or the floor person.

The thing is, while I’m interested in what the rest of you think about this, any claims of “I’d definitely return the money no questions asked!” will be met by a certain degree of skepticism. Many of you will be telling the truth; others not so much.  And since I don’t know most of you, I don’t know which of you are which. People in general profess to a much higher level of moral rectitude than they actually live by.


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El Significado Emocional del Dinero y un Ciclo Trágico Disfrazado |

Triple Corona y Los Apostadores en Recuperación

La sociedad nos ha inculcado creencias y valores falsos e insanos sobre nuestra relación y mal uso del dinero, llegando al punto de avergonzarnos. Nos enseñan a no hablar de dinero: es un asunto personal. Desde la infancia, nos transmiten creencias y valores sobre el dinero por parte de quienes nos rodean, a menudo sin comprender completamente cómo esto moldea nuestra relación con él. El juego compulsivo consume dinero y lleva a las personas afectadas a perder cualquier respeto o conexión con él.

La relación de una persona con el dinero puede cambiar a lo largo de su vida y cuando el juego problemático es un factor, esto es un eufemismo. El dinero puede generar incomodidad emocional, lo que a su vez puede llevar a los jugadores compulsivos a deshacerse de él lo más rápido posible, apostándolo, lo que con el tiempo puede desencadenar una reacción en cadena de problemas financieros, conflictos en las relaciones, ansiedad, depresión, problemas legales e incluso pensamientos suicidas.

Para alguien que sufre de juego problemático, el dinero es solo un medio para obtener la emoción que necesita del juego. Muchos jugadores compulsivos explican esto como “no tener ningún apego al dinero” mientras apuestan. No tienen conocimiento de cuánto han gastado, ganado o perdido y ya no se trata del dinero, ni siquiera de la victoria, se trata simplemente de seguir involucrados. Los jugadores problemáticos también experimentan distorsiones cognitivas (“pensamiento mágico”), que generan expectativas poco realistas para el juego, como creer que tienen control sobre los resultados del mismo o verlo como una solución a problemas financieros.

Tener acceso al dinero es un desencadenante para apostar, por lo tanto, establecer barreras al dinero puede ayudar en el camino hacia la recuperación del juego compulsivo. Encontrar formas de bloquearte cuando estás experimentando un impulso puede ser efectivo, y contar con información sobre los Programas de Autoexclusión de Acceso a Efectivo disponibles a través de la Línea de Ayuda 888-ADMIT-IT pueden ser fundamentales para lograr el éxito. Aquí tienes algunas cuestiones en las que puedes reflexionar:

  • ¿Cómo puedes limitar tu acceso al dinero en cualquier momento?
  • ¿Cuándo recibirás tu próximo pago? ¿Se depositará automáticamente?
  • ¿Cuál puede ser un plan de seguridad para bloquear tu acceso?
  • ¿Cuánto necesitas realmente en un día? ¿Para un café? ¿Almuerzo? ¿Cena?
  • ¿Cuál es la cantidad mínima de dinero que necesitarías para apostar?

Encuentra una cantidad que cubra tus necesidades diarias y que esté por debajo de la cantidad mínima para apostar. Esa es la suma que deberías llevar contigo. Nadie necesita más de una tarjeta de crédito en todo momento, incluso en caso de emergencias. Recuerda que cuanto menos acceso tengas al dinero contigo en un momento dado, más limitada estará tu capacidad para actuar ante los impulsos de apostar. Los paquetes gratuitos de literatura de autoayuda disponibles a través de la Línea de Ayuda 888-ADMIT-IT, que incluyen los cuadernos de trabajo del FCGG Una Oportunidad para el Cambio, son solo uno de los muchos recursos valiosos que pueden ayudarte a establecer y seguir un plan realista para superar los problemas relacionados con el juego compulsivo.

“El Arte de Salir del Agujero” es Realmente un Ciclo Trágico Disfrazado

¿Sabías que existe una segunda, y especialmente peligrosa, “euforia” asociada al juego compulsivo? Este fenómeno conocido como “el arte de salir del agujero”, representa el desafío y la emoción de salir de una situación provocada por el juego problemático. Las emociones y la dopamina, la hormona del “bienestar” que forma parte del sistema de recompensa del cerebro, se disparan hasta que el jugador problemático logra “salir del agujero”, ya sea persiguiendo pérdidas, recibiendo ayuda financiera de un amigo o familiar, o cometiendo un delito como fraude o robo. Este estado elevado también puede desencadenar otro episodio de juego y así comienza nuevamente este ciclo peligroso.

¿Puedes Escapar?

¿Puedes escapar? ¿Puede hacerlo un ser querido? La ayuda y el apoyo confidencial y multilingüe están disponibles las 24 horas, los 7 días de la semana en la Florida a través de la Línea de Ayuda para el Juego Compulsivo 888-ADMIT-IT. Acceder a recursos gratuitos es tan fácil como llamar o enviar un mensaje de texto al número de la Línea de Ayuda, iniciar un chat en vivo en gamblinghelp.org o enviarnos un correo electrónico a [email protected]. La recuperación es posible y hay tratamientos disponibles.

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The Emotional Meaning of Money and a Tragic Cycle in Disguise |

Triple Corona y Los Apostadores en Recuperación

Society has taught us unhealthy false beliefs and values about our attachments to and misuse of money, to the point that it becomes shaming. We are taught not to talk about money: it’s personal business. We have been taught beliefs and values about money since childhood from those close to us, often without fully comprehending how that shapes our relationship with it. Compulsive gambling takes money and causes impacted individuals to lose any respect or connection to it.

One’s relationship to money can change over the course of his or her life and when problem gambling is a factor, this is an understatement. Money can be emotionally uncomfortable, which in turn can cause problem gamblers to get rid of it as fast as they can by betting it away, which over time can set off a chain reaction of financial issues, relationship problems, anxiety, depression, legal problems, and even suicidal ideation.

For someone suffering from problem gambling, money is just a vehicle to get the excitement he or she needs from gambling. Many compulsive gamblers explain this as having “no attachment to the money” while gambling. They don’t know how much has been spent, won, or lost, and it’s not about the money or even winning anymore – it’s only about staying in the action. Problem gamblers also experience cognitive distortions (“magical thinking”), which set unrealistic expectations for gambling such as believing they have control over gambling outcomes or looking at gambling as a way to solve financial problems.

Having access to money is a trigger to gamble, so putting up barriers to money can help on the path to recovery from compulsive gambling. Finding ways to block yourself when you are in the middle of a craving can be effective, and referrals to Access to Cash Self-Exclusion Programs available through the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine can be instrumental in succeeding. Here are some things to think about:

  • What is your access to money at any moment?
  • When do you get paid next? Is it automatically deposited?
  • What can be a safety plan to block yourself from access?
  • How much do you really need in a day? For coffee? Lunch? Dinner?
  • What is the least amount of money it would take for you to gamble?

Find an amount that covers your needs for the day while still remaining below the least amount to gamble. That is the amount you should carry with you. No one needs more than one credit card with them at any time, even for emergencies. Remember that the less access you have to money on you at one time will help block your ability to act on urges to gamble. The free self-help literature packets available through the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine, which include the FCCG’s A Chance for Change Workbooks, are just one of many powerful resources that can help you set and stick to a realistic plan for problem gambling recovery.

“The Art of Digging Yourself Out of the Hole” is Really a Tragic Cycle in Disguise

Did you know that there is a second, especially dangerous “high” associated with compulsive gambling? Known as “the art of digging yourself out of the hole”, this phenomenon represents the challenge and thrill of getting out of a situation brought about by problem gambling. Emotions and dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone that’s part of the brain’s reward system, rush until the problem gambler gets themselves “out of the hole”, whether by chasing losses, getting a financial bailout from a friend or family member, or committing a crime like fraud or theft. This high can also trigger another gambling episode, and the dangerous cycle begins again.

Can You Walk Away?

Can you walk away? Can a loved one? Confidential and multilingual help and hope is available 24/7 in Florida through the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. Getting connected to free resources is as easy as calling or texting the HelpLine number, opening a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or emailing us at [email protected]. Recovery is possible, and treatment is available.

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This post is syndicated by the Las Vegas Advisor for the 888 casino group. Anthony Curtis comments on the 888 article introduced and linked to on this page.

AC Says: For a change of pace, this article delves into game design; specifically, the origins and functions of several slot machine symbols. With many of today’s slots, you can play for a long time without even knowing what you’re trying to line up. This article provides some clues as to which symbols to root for and in what combinations they trigger jackpots. There’s also something of a nostalgic component present, with references to a few of the former greats of the casino floor. Do you remember Double Diamond, Blazing Sevens, and Red, White and Blue? You don’t find those classics very often anymore among the mazes of movie-themed and celebrity-named slot machines.

This article was written by John Grochowski in association with 888Casino.


When it comes to entertainment on slot machines, the symbols are part of the fun. Far from just a backdrop, they’re important in enabling game designers to give us an exciting experience that leaves us wanting to come back for more.

There are many different types of symbols. Let’s compile our own slot symbol dictionary.

A-K-Q-J-10: These symbols suggest playing card denominations, but aren’t depicted on playing cards. Instead, they’re used to make frequent low-paying combinations on games where the less frequent but higher-paying combinations use themed symbols.

Bars: Consisting of elongated rectangles, bars, like fruit symbols have been with us since they early days of slots and are said to derive from the logo of the Bell Fruit Gum company. Machines that use bars usually also use double bars and triple bars, with two or three bars stacked on top of each other.

Bonus symbols: These are the symbols everyone wants to see on modern video and online slots. Bonus symbols trigger a bonus event. When they show up, you might get free spins, you might get to spin a prize wheel and you might get to touch icons on a screen, playing a game within a game to collect bonus credits and build your bankroll.

Click to continue reading …


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Understanding Codependency and How Loved Ones May Enable the Problem Gambler |

Triple Corona y Los Apostadores en Recuperación

When we think of codependency, many relate it to an addiction like drugs and alcohol. Problem gambling is another addiction that can lead to codependency, and a family may find themselves behaving in ways to support the gambler and pushing their own wants and needs aside. It is important to know that the 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine in Florida is there not only for the problem gambler, but also for loved ones.

A key difference from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is that gambling disorder is a hidden addiction. The household knows if someone comes home high or drunk by sight and smell. With compulsive gambling, these physical signs are not present, so not only are any associated mood changes misunderstood – the addiction may have progressed to damaging levels by the time anyone knows there is a problem. Part of co-dependency and enabling is when a spouse, parent, child, or friend may find himself or herself keeping the secret as well, hoping not to anger the gambler and start a fight. They may cover for the time lost or any financial problems that arise to keep the family together.

When you are the victim of the behavior, it is black and white; when you are the perpetrator, there are a million shades of gray.

– Dr. Laura Shlesinger

Codependency, also known as relationship addiction, takes place when one person believes it’s their job to “save” another person by attending to all their needs. A codependent person builds their identity around this purpose and takes on a self-sacrificial role in the relationship.[1] Enmeshment is the inappropriate closeness of family members. In an enmeshed and over-involved relationship, individuals get lost in the relationship. There is a clear lack of boundaries, thus each individual has difficulty developing a clear sense of self.[2]

Common signs of co-dependency include:

  • A deep-seated need for approval from others
  • Self-worth that depends on what others think about you
  • A habit of taking on more work emotionally and physically than you can realistically handle, in an effort to earn praise or lighten a loved one’s burden
  • Avoiding conflict
  • A tendency to apologize or take blame in order to keep the peace and minimize or ignore your own desires
  • Overwhelming fear of rejection or abandonment

You are Not Alone

You are not alone in your feelings and actions and since pathological lying can be a side effect of the addiction, trust is broken, and it may seem impossible to make any changes. Rebuilding trust may take months or years, or it may never happen. Creating a healthy emotional distance from a troubled loved one is necessary and beneficial for the codependent partner. It is a way to expose the compulsive gambler to the negative consequences of their behaviors. Before any change can happen in the relationship, the codependent person needs to change their patterns and behaviors. Here’s how to start healthy dependence for yourself:

  • Set and maintain healthy boundaries
  • Validate and protect yourself emotionally and financially
  • Give thought to the fact that codependency may be rooted in childhood relationships with parents or other caregivers
  • Contact the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine to get connected to free resources like the FCCG’s A Chance for Change Recovery Workbooks series for loved ones, self-help support groups specifically for loved ones of problem gamblers, and many more

Can You Walk Away?

Have a loved one who can’t walk away from gambling? Don’t know how to break the cycle of codependency? If you are a family member looking for answers and support, call or text the FCCG’s 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine today to take the first step on the path to recovery.

[1] The 5 Core Issues of Codependency. PRIORY, 2023.

[2] Raypole, Crystal. What Are the Signs of Codependency? PsychCentral, June 10, 2021.

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Entendiendo la Codependencia y Cómo los Seres Queridos Pueden Habilitar al Jugador Compulsivo |

Triple Corona y Los Apostadores en Recuperación

Cuando pensamos en la codependencia, muchas personas la asocian con adicciones como las drogas y el alcohol. Sin embargo, el juego problemático es otra adicción que puede llevar a la codependencia, donde una familia puede encontrarse actuando de maneras que apoyan al jugador y dejando de lado sus propios deseos y necesidades. Es importante saber que la Línea de Ayuda para el Juego Problemático 888-ADMIT-IT en la Florida está disponible no solo para el jugador compulsivo, sino también para los seres queridos.

Una diferencia clave con respecto a una adicción a las drogas o el alcohol es que el trastorno del juego es una adicción oculta. Mientras que con las drogas o el alcohol se pueden identificar signos físicos como llegar a casa bajo los efectos o estar ebrio por su apariencia y olor, estos signos no están presentes cuando se trata del juego compulsivo. Por lo tanto, no solo se malinterpretan los cambios de humor asociados: la adicción puede haber progresado a niveles perjudiciales antes de que alguien se dé cuenta de que hay un problema. Parte de la codependencia y la habilitación ocurre cuando un cónyuge, padre, hijo o amigo se encuentra manteniendo el secreto también, esperando no enfurecer al jugador y provocar una pelea. Pueden encubrir el tiempo perdido o cualquier problema financiero que surja para mantener unida a la familia.

“Cuando eres víctima del comportamiento, todo parece estar en blanco y negro; pero cuando eres el perpetrador, hay un millón de matices grises.”

– Dra. Laura Shlesinger

La codependencia, también conocida como adicción a las relaciones, ocurre cuando una persona cree que es su deber “salvar” a otra persona atendiendo todas sus necesidades. Una persona codependiente construye su identidad en torno a este propósito y asume un papel de sacrificio en la relación[1]. El enmarañamiento familiar se refiere a la cercanía inapropiada entre los miembros de la familia. En una relación enredada y excesivamente involucrada, los individuos se pierden en la relación. Existe una clara falta de límites, por lo que cada individuo tiene dificultades para desarrollar un claro sentido de sí mismo[2].

Algunos signos comunes de codependencia incluyen:

  • Una necesidad arraigada de obtener aprobación de los demás.
  • La autoestima depende completamente de lo que piensen los demás acerca de ti.
  • Una costumbre de asumir más carga emocional y física de la que puedes manejar de manera realista, en un esfuerzo por obtener elogios o aliviar la carga del ser querido.
  • Evitar conflictos.
  • Tener tendencia a disculparte o asumir la culpa para mantener la paz y minimizar o ignorar tus propios deseos.
  • Tener un temor abrumador al rechazo o al abandono.

No Estás Solo

No estás solo en tus sentimientos y acciones, y dado que mentir patológicamente puede ser un efecto secundario de la adicción, la confianza se rompe y puede parecer imposible realizar cambios. Reconstruir la confianza puede llevar meses o años, o tal vez nunca ocurra. Es necesario y beneficioso para el compañero codependiente crear una distancia emocional saludable con un ser querido problemático. Esta es una manera de exponer al jugador compulsivo a las consecuencias negativas de sus comportamientos. Antes de que cualquier cambio pueda ocurrir en la relación, la persona codependiente necesita cambiar sus patrones y comportamientos. Aquí te mostramos cómo comenzar una dependencia saludable para ti:

  • Establecer y mantener límites saludables.
  • Validarte y protegerte emocional y financieramente.
  • Reflexionar sobre la posibilidad de que la codependencia pueda tener sus raíces en relaciones de la infancia con padres u otros cuidadores.
  • Comunícate con la Línea de Ayuda 888-ADMIT-IT para acceder a recursos gratuitos como la serie de Cuadernos de Recuperación para seres queridos “A Chance for Change” del FCCG, grupos de apoyo de autoayuda específicos para seres queridos de jugadores problemáticos y muchos más.

¿Puedes escapar?

¿Tienes un ser querido que no puede alejarse del juego? ¿No sabes cómo romper el ciclo de la codependencia? Si eres un miembro de la familia que busca respuestas y apoyo, llama o envía un mensaje de texto hoy mismo a la Línea de Ayuda 888-ADMIT-IT del FCCG, confidencial y multilingüe, disponible las 24 horas, 7 días a la semana, para dar el primer paso en el camino hacia la recuperación.

[1] The 5 Core Issues of Codependency. PRIORY, 2023.

[2] Raypole, Crystal. What Are the Signs of Codependency? PsychCentral, June 10, 2021.

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Arnold Snyder Lives in Our Memories

Arnold Snyder Lives in Our Memories

[Editor’s Note: We continue to receive tributes to blackjack expert, writer extraordinaire, and friend of many Arnold Snyder, who passed away after succumbing to an infection in early June. This one is from Rick Blaine, author of our book Blackjack Blueprint.]

After receiving the sad news that Arnold Snyder passed away, I’m reflecting on the friendship we had since the 1990s. Those of us who’ve acquired the skills of playing a winning game and extracting money from casinos worldwide owe much to The Bishop, as he was known in this circle. The wisdom he shared in his books and Blackjack Forum publication has catapulted numerous budding blackjack players to higher skill levels as far back as 1981.

Arnold’s analytical expertise was universally recognized, especially when he developed two card-counting systems, Red Seven and Zen. He wasn’t all about numbers, though. Arnold knew how to stay under the radar and was able to play high-stakes blackjack without getting picked off by casino surveillance. He was clever enough to outsmart them and stay several steps ahead of the technology casinos used.

When casinos eventually learned how to quickly identify card counters, Arnold found other ways to win at blackjack. He learned that most casinos had a uniform and predictable method of shuffling decks that could be exploited for profit. He studied this intensely and devised methods of tracking specific shuffles that totally baffled casino surveillance. Generous as he was in sharing his knowledge, he published The Shuffle Tracker’s Cookbook, the most comprehensive book for learning this skill.

Under his RGE Publishing label, Arnold authored and published several books, with one of his most popular being Blackbelt in Blackjack. After exiting the publishing business, he continued to write, analyze games, and play high-stakes blackjack while staying under the radar.

A true legend of the game, Arnold Snyder was one of the seven inductees named to the Blackjack Hall of Fame in its first year.

The words here are merely the tip of the iceberg of what can be said of The Bishop. There is much more that many of us can say of the accomplishments of this talented, trustworthy, and most interesting individual. I feel blessed to have had him as a mentor, teammate, confidante, and friend. I certainly miss him.


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Is It Worth It? – Gambling With An Edge

Putting Bills Into a Machine

I recently posted a few blogs concerning some fine points for the strategy of 9-5 Triple Bonus Poker Plus. They discussed somewhat complicated decisions with relatively small financial impacts. After the second blog came out, a reader posted the following:

I have read posts from you before that refer to getting the best value from your time. Sometimes travel time is considered, sometimes how fast the machines are is considered and more. Have you ever considered the time to create and memorize these detailed parts of a strategy compared to the return for your time invested? Perhaps there is a game nearby that would return more per hour than the detailed strategy does or ever could.

Dollars per hour is one consideration. There are a lot of other considerations as well. Different players will have different conclusions about this subject. I’ll explain as best as I can why and when I learn every last penalty card situation — and when I don’t. In the end, no matter how I do it, you’ll have to decide for yourself how you’re going to address this subject.

I’ve had a lot of education, and enjoy studying for tests. Preparing to play video poker correctly has a lot in common with getting ready to take a test. On most tests I took in school, my goal was to score 100% on that test. That goal continues today. I understand many students/players don’t share that goal.

Currently I’m able to create and master a strategy relatively easily — partly because I’ve been doing this with video poker for almost three decades, following doing  this with other games for almost that long. Someone starting from the beginning today would need to work a lot harder and longer to master a strategy than I would. 

I’ve been hired to teach a player this game and several times he has said something like, “Your brain works differently than mine does.” Probably true. Everybody addresses problems in a slightly different way. The strategies I create make sense to somebody who thinks like I do. It’s not a big struggle for me to consider straight and flush penalties to a suited JT in the same five cards as one or more straight and/or flush penalties to holding a solitary ace. For some people, that’s too confusing. 

I’ve been told that your brain is like a muscle — if you don’t use it today, you lose the ability to use it in the future. I’m currently 76 years old, and my brain is slowly deteriorating as I age. If I have to exercise my brain for something to ward off senility —why not this? 

Age, combined with bankroll, also matters. If I were 22 years old with a relatively small bankroll, it might be worthwhile to take some risks to build up my bankroll. I would play every opportunity I can find returning more than 100% up to 16 hours a day, even if I don’t know the strategies for some or all the games perfectly. If I go broke at age 22, there are a lot of ways to recover. 

At almost 3½ times that age, with a sizeable bankroll already amassed, if I go broke today it’s a lot more serious. I can’t move in with Mom and Dad. There are limited ways to re-accumulate bankroll as a senior citizen. It’s hard to directly measure how much reducing or eliminating the chance of going broke is actually worth, but it’s not trivial. 

Triple Bonus Poker Plus is a game where mastering a strategy at the 100% accuracy level is feasible. NSU Deuces Wild is not such a game. There are so many exceptions in the latter game that virtually nobody, including me, plays perfectly. Playing that game at the 99.9% accuracy level is within my capabilities — and I can live with that. On games like Ultimate X, even playing at the 99.9% accuracy level is impossible — for me at least. Still the rewards from this game can be high enough that it can make sense to play this game at a lesser level.

A friend’s daughter is a high school sophomore, and she competes on her school track team in the shot put.  In a meet, they heave 8-pound hunks of metal (four kilograms, actually, which means 8.8 pounds).  In practice, she regularly tosses 12-pound shots (I think this is six kilograms, meaning 13.2 pounds) which is what the high school boys throw.  Since she’s practicing at a more difficult level than what she is competing at, when it comes to the actual meet, she does better than most of the girls she’s up against. One of her goals is to get a college athletic scholarship at a good school. I see her over-preparation as similar to what I do in video poker strategy. For essentially the same reasons.

In general, if I’m going to be playing a particular game for several hundred hours over the next year or so, mastering it is relatively important. If I’m going to be playing this game for one two-hour promotion, and then probably never playing it again, I’m not going to be spending so much time on it.

Also, in general, if a game is found for low stakes only, I’m not going to concentrate on mastering it as much as I would if I were playing it for higher stakes. Phrased differently, mistakes are a lot more costly when you’re playing a $25 game than when you’re playing a 25¢ version of the same game.

Using the wizardofodds.com video poker strategy calculator, you can get a figure for many games showing how much a basic strategy is worth and how much an advanced strategy is worth. This gives you a measure of the potential gain from learning an advanced strategy over using the basic strategy.

The problem is, however, that most players don’t even play the basic strategy completely correctly. Practicing the advanced hands gives you practice on the lesser hands as well, assuming you’re using a computer to help you. 

In addition to the two types of hands discussed in recent blogposts, here are the hands I practice:

  1. Every possible combination of 3-card straight flush and two high cards — suited or not.
  2. Every possible combination of 3-card straight flush and 4-card inside straight.
  3. Every possible combination of 3-card royal flush versus a high pair.
  4. Every possible combination of 3-card royal flush and 4-card flush.
  5. Every possible combination of low pair versus 4-card open-ended straight.
  6. Every possible combination of low pair versus 3-card straight flush.

These aren’t very interesting hands to practice, but they are the meat and potatoes of playing video poker well. In the TBPP game I’m playing, for a single coin, flush=5 and straight flush=100. This affects the value of every 3-card and 4-card straight flush, and the correct answers in this game are different than they are in any other game I’ve played.

A lot of players argue that they’ll just take the strategy with them and when they come across a hand they don’t know, they’ll look it up. That’s all well and good if you can read a strategy correctly. You also have to know the strategy very well to know where the problem hands lie, so you can look them up. I know from my experience as a teacher, when every class ends with a quiz consisting of 20-or-so different hands, that even though it’s an open-book quiz, almost no player gets all the answers correct. Just having a strategy in your hand is no guarantee that you will play the way the strategy demands.

This might not be true for you, but I get paid for studying! Sometimes as a tutor. Sometimes as a blogpost writer. This is in addition to earning a higher return on the game because I know all the plays.


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