The Basics of Card Games

There are many different types of games. All use a deck of cards and have specific rules for the game. The rules of games can vary and different cultures have different games that they play. In general, card games all involve some type of math or matching. Card games can be games based on chance or skill.

A deck of playing cards is the one thing that all card games have in common. The typical deck of cards has a total of 52 cards. The cards are divided into four suits, hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. Each suit of cards has numbered cards from 2 to 10, an ace and four court cards. The four court cards for each suit are the king, queen, knight and jack.

A card game begins with the deal. This is when the cards are given to each player. The deck is usually shuffled so that the cards are mixed up and then each player is given a specific number of cards that is based upon the exact game being played. There are many different ways to deal the cards. Many times they are dealt out one card at a time, but in some games they may be dealt out in creative ways.

After the cards are dealt players then begin to look over their hand. The rules of the game will dictate the next move. Players will usually rearrange their hands so they can see what they have and what they need to get a winning hand.

Games have many different origins. Some are classic games that stem from the time before cards when people played with tiles or dominoes. Some are modern inventions that someone, somewhere with a deck of cards came up with. One of the important aspects of any card game is learning the rules. All games have rules, which can be simple or complex. The only way to get good at a card game is to learnt he rules inside and out.

Card games can also be all about luck or skill. Some games involves drawing cards and you can only hope to get good cards. Other games involve planning out your hand and playing skillfully to win. Then there are games that are a mixture of both luck and skill.

Games are also very adaptable. As long as you have a deck of cards you can play a game. You can change the rules or alter the game to suit your needs. This makes games perfect for people of all ages. You can easily put together a card game that works for adults and children with a simple rearranging of the rules or generals of the game.

Card games are something that have been around for centuries. The idea of playing a game with a deck of cards may seem simple, but if you have ever played a game of cards then you know exactly how exciting card games can be. Card games are great for a get together with friends or can serve as a family pastime that keeps you and your kids close and builds family bonds.

Play Free Online Games and Save Money

Everybody likes to play games and especially when it is not bound by time, money or space. These games are nowadays available in most of the websites. Some of these websites offer games only when the user subscribe to the sites by paying a certain amount. There are many websites which offer free online games to its users. These websites are high in demand among the users as they can play as many games online as they wish, that too without worrying about their accounts getting depleted.

Another advantage of the free games online is that they do not always require a partner. A user can play games with the computer or choose to play a single player game. It is also more convenient for today’s youngsters who are brought up in a nuclear family with no companion to play along with them. Therefore, these games over net have such popularity among today’s youth. They also serve as a great pastime for those who have leisure time at home or office. Whenever they feel bored, they can just log in to internet and spend an entertaining hour with the games available there.

List of popular free games online

The Attack of the Mutant Artificial Christmas Trees is a popular free online video game which was developed by Dallas-based Internet marketing firm, Kewlbox in 2004. It was released for online play or free download in November 2004. BlogShares is another online stock market game which is unique in its own way. It allows players to trade at any time, create their own blogs and purchase shares. This website was founded by Seyed Razavi, a graduate of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in Manchester.

Cabal Online is a game which is also 3D massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Other such games include Domain of Heroes (a text-based MMORPG), Urban Terror or UrT (a free online first person shooter created by FrozenSand) and Drift City (a Nonlinear driving RPG game developed by a Korean).

Other popular game online include Emil Chronicle Online, Endless Ages, Heat Project, Human Age, Kutar, (Lil) Green Patch, Little Fighter Online and Pet Society. Phantasy Star Online (PSO) was initially released for Dreamcast in 2000. Due to its increasing fame, Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II were later released with some added content for Nintendo GameCube and Xbox in 2002. Other versions of this online game were released in the year 2003 and 2004.

List of other free online games which gained popularity among users are QQ Sanguo, Regnum Online, Rohan: Blood Feud, Rumble Fighter, Seal Online, Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, SubSpace (video game), Super Obama World, Syobon action, Teeworlds, Thang Online, Urban Terror, Utopia (online game), A World of My Own and Wurm Online.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Online Gaming

More and more people are addicted to playing online games. With plenty of new and exciting games to choose from, people of all ages are now looking into great online games. Today, there are online gift cards you can purchase to buy the games you want to play. These cards can even be used to buy your favourite songs, movies, and TV shows. Experts shared some of the pros and cons of online gaming.

Advantages

You can try it before buying – Online gaming systems offer demos made for gamers so they can try playing that possible purchase as well as decide how much they would want prior to investing. Moreover, you can also buy games right then and there, without the need to rush out to the store.

Access to exclusive content – This one of the best reasons for choosing to play online games. You get to have access to the exclusive content for whatever it is that you are playing.

Communicate with other people – Online gaming will allow people to interact while playing, assisting people to maintain great relationships by communicating with family and friends all around the world. Certainly, this will be very helpful for gamers. Team building skills will be reinforced. Also, more tactical and strategic elements will be added to game-play. In turn, this can help increase your memory as well as develop lateral thinking.

Competitive – It allows you to compare your playing against different players. There will certainly be a feel good factor in knowing that you are a far better player than somebody else. Being aware that you are not against artificial intelligence will install more competitiveness. And since you are not always going to be the best, you will learn how to display good showmanship.

Disadvantages

System updates – If you are about to download the game you want or perhaps play online, there will be a time when a system update suddenly pops up and delay your game-time. You need to wait for it and then reboot.

Server issues or glitches – Glitches are viruses in game causing it to run irregularly. This is actually an issue with all game types; however, they are more common to online games. You may experience a series of server difficulties that are very frustrating for gamers.

Piracy – There has been incidences of breaching copyright laws, scandal, and letting users to pirate games illegally. And these situations have presented a big problem for the world of online gaming. In fact, the scandal caused plenty of controversies so there are some games that were shut down.

Online Games – Can We Make Money Playing Them?

When we refer to online games we are normally referring to video type games that we play on a computer via the internet. Some video games are played over the internet using mobile phones and video consoles, but generally speaking online games means computer games that need an internet connection to be played. Simple text-based multiplayer games were the first of these types of games as internet connections were slow and expensive when these games were first introduced in the 1980s. Gradually these games became popular in the 1990s, with today’s online games featuring virtual communities, realistic graphics and multiplayer games where people can even play one to one or in knock out tournaments for cash prizes. We all know that the internet is the fastest growing market place in the history of the world but did you know that there is an online games sector that is growing 4 times faster than the internet overall! Yes! and it’s the “Online Skill Games” market.

There are many styles of Online Games

Some of the different types of online games that exist:

1. Real time strategy games: This type of game is all about strategy where, for your army to fight successfully against the other internet players you need to develop a game plan by building lots of resources

2. First person shooter: Here the players compete with each other one to one. In most first-person type games, the online game allows the death match or arena style of play. In this style of game play the view you see is the one seen from your character’s eyes.

3. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): In this type of game each person has to keep trying to reach the next highest level until he has reached the top one written for that game and these online games can have, simultaneously, thousands of players from every part of the globe, playing in a giant virtual world interacting against or with each other. Gamers can keep playing these types of games for months or even years!

4. Browser type games: These are pastime games that are quick, simple and small that are played in your browser. The popular Java and Shockwave technologies are used to develop these games.

5. Online skill games: An online skill based game is a web game played in tournament format or one to one. Each player pays a cash entry fee to play with a cash or merchandise prize going to the winner or winners. The outcome of each competition is based on the player’s ability and performance not luck.

How Do Online Game Companies Make Money

All games today, are playable online. How do we make money? This is the question that companies making the online games have to ask themselves. The majority of companies make single-player games that are played at home and in this the player has to beat the artificial intelligence of the enemy. Today these games normally include an online multiplayer version which can be played against or with other Internet players. By selling their game DVD/CDs is how these companies earn their profit e.g. Warcraft 3 and Counter Strike. Advertising and promotions is how browser game companies make their money. MMORPG companies generally charge their players a monthly fee and continue to add content by programming new scenarios etc in their games e.g. Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. Some don’t, but survive because their DVD/CD sales are high e.g. Guild Wars.

What is the future of online games?

Soon there will be a new entry into the online skill games market. According to their Free Online Games Market Report they will be the first company with their new online skill games platform, to launch a business that encapsulates three of the newest phenomena on the internet today. Online Games Entertainment, Social Networking using web 2.0 and a new way of marketing which has been described as Social Marketing 2.0. One of the core differences with this new platform over the conventional models is that we the players can if we want share in the profits while we play our games. With the market today (2007) worth approximately $5.2 billion USD and predicted to rise in the next 3 years to over $13 billion USD that’s $412 per second and with social networking sites already reaching 45% of web users and the 4 major Instant Messengers having more than 400 million users between them this potentially could be a whole lot of money.

Online Games – The Best Pastime

Internet is filled with hundreds and hundreds of free games, played by people from all parts of the world. Regardless of their age or occupation, all of them enjoy the multitude of online games present on the internet that become a passion for them should they spend a large amount of time playing them.

The demand for such games is now such that new titles are being churned out by the minute. There is no shortage of variety for online gaming enthusiasts that choose to spend time every day choosing their favorite online titles to play and be relaxed. If you choose the appropriate online portal, you get an almost ad-free gaming experience where there are no annoying pop-ups to spoil the game-play for you. The games are sorted into columns or pages of the most popular, critics’ favorites, fashion games and so on. The advancement in technology in contemporary times has enabled developers to reproduce an almost console-like gaming experience for their users. In fact, for beginners at gaming, online gaming is the most recommended form because the titles on offer are relatively easy to understand and have great entertainment value for the average user.

Regardless of the fact that most of the games present online are free and tend to be smaller than their desktop and console counterparts, the difference in game-play between the two is hardly ever noticeable to the amateur gamer. 3D online games have also been available for a while now, and enjoy exponential rise in popularity among all the action and adventure games out there.

Virtually every genre of games is present on major online portals, be it airplane missions, first-person shooters, aliens, zombies, space, stars, racing, cooking, fashion, design, etc. As they say, name it, and they’ll have it. Card games and casino games are rivals for the top spot when it comes to interest, and the list of titles available would take a lot of time to write here, should we bother trying. Be sure to take your pick among the games that you’re most passionate about, and the experience will be worth the extra effort spent in choosing the right game rather than picking a random one. It’s only the personal preferences that matter with online gaming, because the rest has been provided for by the developers who have left no stone unturned in developing ample number of free games for every genre. It’s now virtually impossible not to find something that suits your interests and preferences.

Kids can also benefit from the avalanche of online games. There are huge numbers of free games that have animals, balls, balloons, sports, bubbles and fruits in them, in addition to jigsaw puzzles, army-based and board games that are all available under different titles for your child to play and enjoy. They can even be enjoyable for parents, who will then tend to join in and compete with the kid playfully. So if you’re one such parent, don’t be embarrassed. It’s time to spend some quality moments with your child.

All major internet gaming portals offer you accounts. Once you have an account made, which is optional of course, you can submit scores online, vote for games that you like or hate, maintain your statistics effectively, find out how many hours you’ve spent playing a game and your own high scores. Do give a moment to reading the game’s description and get yourself acquainted with the controls so you know what you’re supposed to do once the game begins, that is to say if you don’t know it already.

As for teenagers, the games that enjoy great popularity among them are sports games, racing and adventure ones. They enjoy the simulation offered by these online games and most of the times get their friends involved to take full advantage of the unlimited number of players they can enjoy competing with over the internet. Such games also appeal to users of this age group because off the highly graphic content and rapid game-play which tests their reflexes like no other test can. Be it skateboarding, racing, or a sport, every game is available by countless developers so even the most feature-hungry teenagers are unlikely to miss a feature they enjoy on their consoles.

Online free games are easy to play, they have few controls and the diversity in game-play plus the multiplayer gaming offered absolutely free of charge is a major ace in their pack. The use of flash technology has increased the accessibility to online games and there is not a person out there who has internet access but cannot enjoy such an activity! So get yourself an account today, and enter the online world of gaming where the world is your competitor, and you are the person that you have always fantasized yourself as.

Addiction – When Gambling Becomes a Problem

While most people enjoy casino gambling, sports betting, lottery and bingo playing for the fun and excitement it provides, others may experience gambling as an addictive and distractive habit. Statistics show that while 85 percent of the adult population in the US enjoys some type of gambling every year, between 2 and 3 percent of will develop a gambling problem and 1 percent of them are diagnosed as pathological gamblers.

Where can you draw the line between harmless gambling to problem gambling? How can you tell if you or your friend are compulsive gamblers? Here you can find answers to these questions and other questions regarding problem gambling and gambling addiction.

What is the Meaning of Problem Gambling?

Problem gambling or compulsive gambling is defined as an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the destructive effect of gambling on the gamblers life and despite feelings of guilt and remorse. Problem gambling tends to have a negative effect on the gamblers financial state, relationships and daily life. Severe cases of problem gambling can be defined as pathological gambling.

Am I a Compulsive Gambler?

1) Do you gamble until your last penny runs out?

2) Do you gamble to win back your former losses or debts?

3) Did you ever had to borrow money to continue gamble?

4) Did your gambling habit ever made you lie to your friends or family?

5) Did you ever skip work or other obligation to gamble?

6) Do you tend to gamble to forget about your personal problems or to celebrate happy occasions?

7) Does gambling have a negative affect on your daily life or relationships?

If you have answered yes on at least one of the questions listed above, then you have a problem.

Can Anyone Become a Compulsive Gambler?

Theoretically, yes. Any gambler can develop gambling problem regardless to the type of gambling he is occupied with, the amount of money and time he is spending on gambling. Researches show that slot machines that can be found in bars and convenient stores are the most addictive type of gambling activity, while lottery draws and bingo games are located on the other end of the scale. Gambling addiction is an emotional problem; its symptoms, causes and treatments are similar to any other form of addiction.

How Can I treat Gambling Addiction?

1) Group Therapy:

Gamblers Anonymous offers a 12 step self help program similar to the one offered to alcohol addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous. Group therapy also offers gambling addicts advice and support from professional counselors and other gambling addicts in different phases of their recovery process. Gambler Anonymous centers are available in more than 1,200 locations statewide.

2) Individual Therapy:

Cognitive or behavior therapy can help gambling addicts to identify their unaware thinking and acting patterns, which led them to gamble compulsively, and to replace them with controllable and healthier ways of thinking.

3) Psychiatric Medication:

It has recently been proven that antidepressant medications from the family of SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be affective in treatment of gambling addicts.

Problem Gambling and Gambling Problems Come in Varying Degrees of Intensity and May Worsen

Problem Gambling and Gambling Problems Come in Varying Degrees of Intensity and May Worsen

Problem gambling, also known as compulsive gambling, is recognized as a disease or sickness. But not all people who have a that problem would be diagnosed as being compulsive gamblers. As with any behavior, the degree or severity of the behavior determines the clinical classification.

Therapists use different scales to assess a gambling behavior and base the therapy according to the assessment. Most therapists use DSM-IV or the South Oaks Gambling Screen for diagnosis.

Just having compulsive or pathological gambling recognized as a treatable disease was a major accomplishment for the therapists who treat those problems. For many years gambling was looked upon as a character flaw or weakness, but not a true disease. Now that it has been accepted that out of control gambling is a disease that may be treated effective methods are emerging.

One point that almost all clinicians agree on is that the best way to effectively treat the problem is to stop the gambling immediately. Some clinical studies have indicated that neuro transmitter deficiencies may be a cause of the problem and drug therapies are being tested while other forms of behavioral therapy, such as support groups and guided mediation or hypnosis are also showing some success.

If you are wondering if you or someone you know has a gambling problem, here is a checklist

that is used by clinicians to assess for pathological gambling …

“As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, pathological gambling is an impulse control disorder that is a chronic and progressive mental illness.

Pathological gambling is now defined as persistent and recurrent maladaptive behavior meeting at least five of the following criteria, as long as these behaviors are not better explained by a manic episode:

1.Preoccupation. The subject has frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, whether past, future, or fantasy.

2. Tolerance. As with drug tolerance, the subject requires larger or more frequent wagers to experience the same “rush”.

3. Withdrawal. Restlessness or irritability associated with attempts to cease or reduce gambling.
4. Escape. The subject gambles to improve mood or escape problems.

5. Chasing. The subject tries to win back gambling losses with more gambling.

6. Lying. The subject tries to hide the extent of his or her gambling by lying to family, friends, or therapists.

7. Stealing in order to feed their gambling addiction.

8. Loss of control. The person has unsuccessfully attempted to reduce gambling.

9. Illegal acts. The person has broken the law in order to obtain gambling money or recover gambling losses. This may include acts of theft, embezzlement, fraud, forgery, or bad checks.

10. Risked significant relationship. The person gambles despite risking or losing a relationship, job, or other significant opportunity.

11. Bailout. The person turns to family, friends, or another third party for financial assistance as a result of gambling. “

Online Gambling Problems

The advances in broadband and wireless technology have made the world come together closer than never before. Now virtually everything is possible on the net-shopping, clinching business deals, social networking, and even gambling, the ever-favorite pastime of men. Online gambling first emerged in the early part of the 1990s and had become an instant hit, with an estimated 3000 online websites on the net today. It totally radicalized the gambling industry and has seen takers from across age groups. However, just like the land version, even internet gambling is fraught with problems. The addiction problem prevails in the online world as well.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling is an impulse-control disorder that leads to major disruptions in all areas of life: psychological, social, vocational or physical. It also includes the stage of ‘pathological’ or ‘compulsive’ gambling. Problem gambling is characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling. They have an urge to bet money more frequently and become restless or irritable, if anyone tries to stop. They usually are aware of the mounting, serious, negative problems but staying off the bet becomes the most difficult thing for them.

Online problem gambling is a manifestation of the aforementioned problems. But a study has shown that people who indulge in online gambling have more serious addiction problems than those who use the lottery or play slot machines. Online gambling problems are on the rise because of the explosive growth of the internet.

Causes leading to Internet Gambling

o The privacy and anonymous nature of the internet space has led to people taking to gambling without any hesitation.

o Easy accessibility of online games in the internet has led to people spending more time on gambling.

o Those who work on the internet most of the time can easily avail of online games. This gradually leads to addiction.

Signs of problem Gambling

o Gambling much longer than intended.

o Gambling until you spend the last penny.

o Using up incomes or even saving to gamble, while bills remain unpaid.

o Borrowing money continuously to finance your gambling needs.

o Neglecting your family and professional responsibilities.

o Stoop to stealing, cheating or selling household stuff to get gambling money.

o Gamble with the hope that it will solve financial woes or even win back losses.

o Relieve feelings of depression.

o They can easily set up a gambling account and there are a variety of forms of gambling – right from traditional betting, to casino gambling, lotteries and bingo. All this makes online gambling tremendously appealing.

o There is no time limit and in the absence of a supervisor, a person can go on gambling for up to 24 hours a day.

o As you play, there is a decreased perception of the value of cash and players frequently forget that they are playing with cash.

Online Gambling and its effects

Though many believe that legalized gambling is just harmless entertainment, but people already affected by it and continuous study results have veered on its deceptive nature. In fact, it is considered to cause even more harm than playing in a live casino building. The health and emotional difficulties associated with gambling disorders includes depression, circulatory disease, substance abuse and even risky sexual behavior. Recent studies have concluded that online gambling comprised basically of unmarried and younger participants over people who never gamble. Contrary to the fact that internet is associated with high education level and higher income strata, the study pointed out that online gambler addicts belong to lower education and income levels. Online gambling is one of the fastest growing addictions to afflict the youth today.

The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a study wherein they found that 74% of online gamblers are problematic or pathological gamblers. Among this, the group that is most at risk is the teens. Online problem gamblers spend much more money on the online gambling websites than the amount teenagers spend on drugs. The worse bit of online gambling is its anonymity. Earlier, a person had to go to a gambling house in order to satisfy their urge to gamble and everybody knew how you fare or how much you lost. But now, you just walk into your office or bedroom and there goes your savings in thin air, and not a soul gets a whiff of it. The lenient regulation measures of the online gambling industry have only added on to the problem.

Treatment for Online Problem Gambling

Those addicted to online gambling need to take the following steps to avoid and get over such problems. Its very important to remember the onus of the entire treatment process lies, first and foremost, with you. You should wake up and take control, before you reach the point of no return. The first steps are always the hardest and once you can overcome them; the rest will be a breeze of air.

o Be honest with yourself and accept your problem.

o Manage your money and keep track of the amount you are spending. Gamers should remember to spend only what they can afford to lose. Chasing losses will only lead to a further downward spiral.

o Postpone your gambling urges. Next time you want to play, catch a movie or go out for dinner. Playing sudoku will take off your mind from gambling for a while.

o When you have leisure time, indulge in recreation that has nothing to with gambling.

o Use software to block access to gambling sites and make it password protected. You should not know the password.

o Get professional help as soon as possible.

It’s a Gamble! Gambling – Great? Gruesome? Gambling – Essential, Addictive, Destructive

Love gamble, love tangle
I’ve got all that I can handle

Love

I’m used to thinking of gambling as horrible. Every day I hear stories of people destroying their lives, and the well-being of their families, because they can’t stop gambling. Everything goes. A woman speaks from her prison cell: she turned to robbing banks to pay for her addiction. She doesn’t excuse herself. But she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to be arrested. Despair.

I’ve been thinking about gambling differently this past while. Not “pure gambling” (lottery tickets, casinos, online gambling). But gambling as an essential feature of healthy, hopeful living that takes us beyond the routine.

My partner and I are building a business. Now, that’s a gamble – with our time, our lives. I’m also building this site – Elsa’s Creativity Emporium. Another huge gamble with time, energy, creativity. Columbus sailed for America. His gamble: that he would end up in the Far East. He didn’t get was he was aiming for – but the gamble paid off for the Europeans.

Farmers plant seeds. The gamble: that the season will be good. Designers design The gamble: that the design will find a market.

People fall in love, and decide to try to make a live with that person – one of the biggest gambles in life.

****

On the other hand, many people want a predictable salary. No gambling, please. So and so much an hour. Anything else feels wrong, out of control, dangerous. How can anyone live like that, they shudder and recoil.

An observation. Many people don’t want to gamble with work time. They want steady dependable pay. At the same time, they have a hugely developed urge, even an overwhelming urge, to gamble.

In other words, quite a number of the same people who want a steady paycheck spend a huge chunk of their everyday earnings on gambling!

“It’s just for fun.” “It’s my right.” “I have every right to do what I want with my money. I earned it, after all. It’s mine.” “Everyone’s entitled to have a good time every now and then. All those hours I work. I deserve something.”

So, though many people are entirely unable to consider working “on a gamble,” (building a business, doing creative projects that may well never pay), they gamble over and over in ways that are set up to make the huge majority of people lose.

But most of the world does live “on a gamble” – or combining the gamble with as much certainty as possible. Traditional gatherer-hunting societies for instance have the relative dependability of gathering (which brings in about 90% of food) and the gamble on what is brought in through hunting (10% of the average food supply, according to my reading). Even with the gathering part, no year is like any other year. The steady dependable pay-off (salary, berries, etc.) is not the norm.

And with that, back to gambling. I’m going to call the kind of gambling I’m used to recoiling from “pure gambling” – in other words, one isn’t gambling that the weather will cooperate with one’s efforts, one isn’t trying to make a sale, one isn’t trying to build a site or a business, one isn’t courting and hoping another will respond to us. “Pure gambling” – bingo, casinos, lotteries, slot machines, computer games like minesweeper and so on. The goal is winning in a game stacked against us, and the win builds nothing except the win. No book is written, no grain is harvested, nothing is built.

In everyday gambling – which I’ll call “part-of-life gambling”, the pleasure of winning is part of so many other things. It’s part of building a life – gambling that our reaching out to someone will pay off, gambling that our design will find a market, gambling that the move to another city where there are supposed to be better jobs will lead to a better job.

****

In “pure gambling,” all that other stuff has been taken out. The goal: the win. The goal: the payoff. In some forms of “pure gambling”, one does build some skills – one learns to play bingo well, to know the ins and outs of computer games. One becomes fast, the moves automatic. In other forms of pure gambling, people just, say, pull the arm of a one-armed bandit – and the craving to keep doing this that be so strong that people have resorted (or so I’ve heard) to wearing diapers so they don’t need to leave to go to the bathroom.

I’ve felt the pull of pure gambling, as well as part-of-life gambling. The time: about ten years ago. Too much stress. One day, I opened minesweeper, a computer game, and played a few games. The stress disappeared. I ended up playing minesweeper for several days, getting better and better. Wonderful and relaxing. At some point, I couldn’t get better at minesweeper. From that point on, winning or losing (most often losing), became a matter of luck. And yet I still wanted to play. Very much so.

I did what was easiest for me to do: I asked my partner to take the game off my computer (at the time I didn’t have the skill to know how to delete it myself). I don’t think, though, that I could have used the computer and not played. The pull felt irresistible. I felt deprived when the game was gone. I wanted it back. I didn’t ask for it back, though. I was able to have that much power over the pull of the game.

I did, for a number of years, turn to solitaire – not on the computer. Too dangerous. The old-fashioned way, with cards. If I played more than I thought was okay, I would put the cards in a place where it was inconvenient for me to get them – in a corner of the basement, for instance. Sometimes I would go and get them. More often I wouldn’t.

The last several years have been so busy that there hasn’t been time to reach for the cards. And I’ve noticed that the urge is gone. I want, if I have a few minutes, to take a walk, to make supper, to do nothing. I like life better that way.

I’ve been gambling enormously, these past few years, but the healthy way – doing things, hoping and planning that the projects will make it in the world.

****

I’m back to gambling: the good, the bad, the ugly.

The good. This is when we take gambles in life, gambles that come from as much knowledge and experience as possible. Even then, it’s important that we check out the risks as well as possible – because in everyday life just as in a casino, one can gamble away one’s savings, one’s home, and so on. I took a gamble fifteen years ago: I had work (flight attendant) that was dependable but didn’t satisfy me. I was finishing my Ph.D. when the airline hit hard times and offered a golden handshake to people willing to leave. I didn’t have full-time college or university teaching lined up. Worse, there was hardly any teaching of any kind available where I lived. Still, I took a gamble. After all, I had an almost completed Ph.D. in hand, and had been doing university teaching part-time for years.

It wasn’t an instant win. But I finally got college teaching, and eventually even steady college teaching. And that again isn’t an instant fix, like a casino win. It means having to work at making the teaching successful, learning how to make the more difficult classes work (when one can), etc. There are ongoing challenges.

I think of Crick and Watson, who worked on figuring out the structure of DNA – and only after 10 years came to the realization (through a dream) that there was a double helix. They gambled with 10 years of their life.

I think of Banting, who figured out how diabetes can be controlled through insulin. So much time and effort, done despite the lack of success of others.

The dangerous good. I am thinking of people my parents knew. Not gamblers of any sort. They had built a financially successful life through steady paid-by-the-hour work. Then their 20-year-old son saw a “golden business opportunity”. A local successful business was for sale. The parents mortgaged their house to the max to buy it. In a year, the successful business was destroyed through a serious of stupid choices made by their inexperienced son who had all kinds of ideas for “improving” it. The parents lost everything.

The bad. Pure gambling, when it’s more than an occasional pleasure. My mother would buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket at a time when gambling was illegal in Canada. She got a thrill out of doing something illegal. Also the ticket was a kind of miracle hope for an instant fix to all the everyday financial struggles. But it was a small cost.

For all too many people, the cost is high – financially, and in time and focus. Apparently over 15% of Canadian teenagers have at least a moderate addiction to what I call bad gambling.

Of course it can also give some kind of gratification to people leading small boring lives. Bingo halls enthrall thousands of people week after week.

The gruesome. This is when the pure gambling urge takes over someone’s life, and often destroys everything else in that life. Couple life, parenting, other interests.

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What to do? One, recognize the intense power of the “gambling pay-off pull.” There it is, the jackpot – like a carrot to a donkey. Not easy to resist.

Societies and countries which outlaw gambling – like both Canada and the States used to – recognize the destructive power of “the pay-off pull” central to pure gambling.

Personally, I find it insane to take away the laws that prohibit gambling without at least, at the same time, mandating huge public education – from earliest childhood on – on the destructive power of “the gambling pay-off pull.”

It’s like no longer ensuring that water is drinkable, but not doing anything so that people each take care of their own water supply. Can you imagine a huge campaign against providing drinkable water on the basis that this tampers with individual liberty? that each person has the right to drink the water of one’s choice?

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And yet to go back to good gambling. I will now call it “integrated gambling” – gambling as part of other activities. The same intense pay-off pull may help us through tough times. We practice and practice a difficult guitar piece – we know there will be a pay-off and the high of getting there (at least for a moment, before we move on to the next challenge). We put in long hours working with a child with learning difficulties – and we exult when learning happens. Pay-off.

Good gambling. I’d say that’s a core part of human development. It keeps us going – we’re not only doing whatever it is (trying to keep the corps alive in a hard season), but longing for the pay-off. And when it does happen, euphoria, a natural high. Yeah!!!

Good gambling combines with creativity. It helps us move out of ruts, into the unknown. Something in us knows this is a good direction. There is a pull from deep inside ourselves.

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As with so much about us, it’s easy to mess things up.

Gambling – well. Gambling combined with a project, a goal, an end that does not have to do with gambling, a goal in itself that usually leads to further development.

Gambling – bad. Gambling for the lure of the win, the pay-off – usually unrelated to the efforts we put in. (There was nothing my mother did, that would make her more likely to win the Irish Sweepstakes than what anyone else did – it was just luck. And she never won.)

Gambling – gruesome – when “pure gambling” has taken over someone’s life.

Online Gambling Debts – How to Deal With the Causes and Effects of Online Gambling Debts

One thing there is no shortage of on the internet is opportunities to gamble. We are spoilt for choice, whether your fancy is for betting on sports, playing virtual card games or bingo. One of the things that makes internet gambling so potentially dangerous is that it is easily available for 24 hours a day. The real danger comes when you combine this factor with the fact that it is so easy to feel detached from the reality of money spent online. Gradually racking up a debt online does not feel the same as handing over hard earned cash from our wallet, so it is that much easier to lose track of how your online spending is mounting up.

For these reasons, debt problems from internet gambling are on the increase. In this article I hope to clarify some of the legal issues around online gambling, as well as providing some advice on dealing with the underlying problem and the debts that result from it.

Legal Issues Around Gambling Debts

When we talk about debt from online gambling it is important to be clear about the nature of the debt, because who the money is owed to does make a difference. People are often unsure about the legality of debts from online gambling. In the UK you can gamble legally on credit and incur a debt, but this debt is not then enforceable through the law.

However, there is an important point to make here, which is that this only applies when you are using credit extended by the company offering the gambling (casino, bookie, etc). If you use a credit card company to pay for internet gambling, that is a legally enforceable debt the same as it would be in any other circumstance, because you have borrowed money from the credit card company, not the casino. It is now against the law in the US to use a credit card to pay for online gambling.

You will find that many credit cards will regard a payment to an internet gambling website as a cash advance. This is then clearly borrowing money from the card company and the debt you incur can be pursued through legal action. If you do use a credit card to pay for online gambling this way, you should be aware that cash advances on credit cards are almost always charged at a much higher rate of interest than normal credit for purchases.

How To Deal With Debts Caused By Gambling

In dealing with gambling debts, there are two separate issues to tackle. One is the debt itself, and the other is the habit of gambling that led to the debt. Even if the debt is dealt with, it is likely to build up again if the root cause is not tackled too. Let us first consider the problem of paying off the debt.

The principles for tackling debt are nearly always the same, irrespective of the causes of the debt. To permanently deal with debt you should not be considering borrowing more money or paying anyone to deal with your debt for you. These courses of action are likely to deepen your debt in the long run.

With a little advice, you can deal with your debts yourself, by contacting your creditors and agreeing terms for repayment that you can afford. There is clearly more to it than that, but it is beyond the scope of this particular article. The process is straightforward and allows you to take back control of your finances.

Factors Leading To Internet Gambling Debts

It may help to have an understanding of why some people can become addicted to online gambling. The following are often contributory factors:

Gambling can be thrilling, leading to an adrenalin rush and feelings that we want to recreate time and again.

Many addictive gamblers think that they can win money and that this will solve all their other problems. It actually just leads to more problems by creating debt, which can then make it seem even more important to win the money, creating a vicious circle.

Addiction to gambling can actually be a mental disorder, which can lead to a compulsive need to gamble.

Being addicted to online gambling is often associated with other personal difficulties, including depression and stress.

Online Gambling Debts – The Warning Signs You may have a problem if you can answer yes to any of the following questions:

When you are not gambling, do you think about gambling and how you are going to get back to it?

Have you ever missed work because of online gambling?

Do you feel the need to gamble again after winning or losing?

Is the length of time you spend on gambling getting longer and have you ever spent longer online than you thought you had?

Are you secretive about your gambling with family or friends and do you dislike other people bringing it up?

Practical Steps To Tackle Online Gambling Addiction If you think you may have a problem with online gambling, here are a few simple steps you can take to begin to reduce or stop the habit:

Be open with friends and family and seek help with the problem.

Cancel any accounts you have with websites for online gambling.

Consider using software that blocks your access to online gambling websites.

Keep a proper, ongoing record of everything you spend – take steps to bring home the fact that the money you are using is real.