How to Find the Gamblers in Your Friend Group

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Jennifer Tilly

Like any other hobby that also lands on someone’s deal-breaker list, it can be hard for friends

and acquaintances to broach the subject of gambling. Tell the wrong person, and then everyone

at work knows that you gamble. Be too subtle or discreet, and spend your free time gambling

alone. Picking out the gamblers in a group of friends and then getting involved can be an

awkward process, but it is ultimately rewarding.

1. Create an In

The first step is all about creating a comfortable setting where open talk can happen. The goal is

for everyone involved to feel comfortable and like they can safely speak openly about

themselves. The key is to keep the head count low, since few people are willing to say they

gamble to a room full of people. If there is a friend or couple of friends who seem like gambling

folk, the best option may be to invite them to dinner and games in your home. Bringing the cards

out is a good opportunity for the question, “Have you ever played poker?” Most people have at

least one story around the game, but a real gambler will have plenty to say about it. A shared

love of gambling introduced over good food and clean fun is a safe way to break the ice, though

it does take an awful lot of prep time.

2. Bring out the Jargon

There are some people out there who turn their noses against gambling as a hobby or as an

institution, and they can make a gambler’s life miserable when the beans are spilled. Luckily,

people who snub gambling also don’t know very much about it. When talking with a group of

friends or acquaintances, try dropping a few terms in conversation. See if anyone knows what a

croupier is, or if they can tell the difference between a layout and a table cloth. When the ears

start perking up, that means there are gamblers in the room.

3. Invent a Friend

There are very few occasions when a person is willing to speak their mind about something, and

one of these occasions is gossip. Instead of talking about your own gambling, bring up someone

you know (who also doesn’t exist) who recently had a winning streak and paid you back the $20

they owed you, or some such story. Even better, bring up an actual person who you actually

know and gamble with. If anyone is impresses by the story and seems interested instead of acting

bitter or awkward like others might, then you have yourself a new gambling buddy.

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