4 Gambling Mistakes to Avoid

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Image via Flickr by Hakan Dahlstrom

Americans love the thrill of gambling. Eighty-five percent of adults in the United States have tried it at least once, and three in five have gambled in the last year. Games of chance can be a great form of entertainment, so long as you don’t make these common mistakes.

1. Not Knowing the Rules

Gambling might involve games of chance, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your fortune all up to fate. The most successful gamblers are the ones who know the rules of the games they play and the odds of the bets they make. Failing to do so could see you making silly, costly errors. Talk to a friend familiar with the games you’re interested in, or consult one of the many online gaming guides to sharpen your knowledge.
If you prefer to gamble from home, it’s worth noting that rules can vary from site to site. Some websites use American playing rules while others follow European guidelines. Online customer service staff can offer assistance if you’re unsure of a gaming site’s playing rules.

2. Chasing Losses

A wise man once said “You win some, you lose some.” The most successful gamblers make peace with this philosophy instead of chasing any losses they incur. It’s tempting to bet more money in the hopes of winning it all back, but you might just find yourself with a greater deficit.
Before you start to play, it’s a good idea to decide how much you feel you can afford to lose. Once you reach the limit you’ve set for yourself, stop. This simple strategy makes sure you continue to enjoy the games and finish with a smile on your face, no matter what the outcome.

3. Playing with Your Heart

If you want the best chance of winning, you need to play with your head and not your heart. If hunches were reliable, then psychics would clean up at the casinos. You’re much better trusting in the odds than any gut instincts you have. Games of chance remain games of chance whether you believe fortune’s smiling favorably on you or not. Playing with your heart also puts you at risk of making mistake number two.

4. Playing Drunk

Most casinos are happy to let the free alcoholic drinks flow while you’re gambling, but indulging in too many beverages can be a big mistake. Alcohol affects a range of regions in the brain, but few are impacted as dramatically as the prefrontal cortex, the area responsible for rational thought and decision-making. When you drink there’s much less activity in this area, which explains why excessive alcohol tends to make us act first and ask questions later.

If you’re seeing the game through beer goggles, you might fail to notice when the odds aren’t in your favor. You’ll likely to have much more success if you pace your drinks, and save the real celebrating for after you’ve won big.
Gambling can be a real rush, but don’t lose your head. Keeping your wits about you is one of the best ways to avoid making these gambling mistakes.

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