Traits of Healthy Gamblers: An Unscientific Study

Problem gambling. Addictive gambling. Pathological gambling. Seems we are bombarded incessantly with the issues of the less than 3 percent of gamblers whose activities are totally and unabashedly out of control. And not to make light of that – because those issues can most certainly destroy lives and leave finances in a shambles – but why doesn’t anyone ever write about the other 97 percent of mostly recreational gamblers who make up the vast majority of players? What personality traits do the rest of us have in common that essentially separates us from the complete non-gamblers out there?

People with a healthy sense of gamble can embrace uncertainty without freaking out.

Since no one else seems to have done a study on this, we did our own very unscientific one, and this is what we came up with. Bear in mind that absolutely no solid research was done for this, but we have been around enough gamblers in our day that we nonetheless think it’s pretty accurate. See if this profile fits you.

Healthy Gambler Trait # 5:

You are comfortable with uncertainty.

Watch anyone who doesn’t gamble when you tell them you do, and the first thing they will do – after bristling and pursing their lips, of course – is tell you that “they work too hard for their money” to gamble with it. While we applaud their frugality, we must point out that no fortunes have ever been made by people who keep all their money in a savings account or under their mattress. Even a 401(k) involves diversified gambling of a certain sort, right?

People who enjoy a casino game here or there have simply embraced this concept in a more immediate way than those who don’t consider themselves gamblers. They are familiar enough with approaching the unknown that they can shake hands and sit down with it.

Healthy Gambler Trait # 4:

Your risk vs. reward ratio is geared towards the reward end of the cycle.

Happy gamblers know that luck is coming their way eventually, and are able to handle occasional losses (Image source: Thinkstock)

Let’s face it: nobody gambles to lose. And while the odds may be in the house’s favor, that doesn’t mean no one ever leaves a casino a winner, and real gamblers know this. Call it a positive attitude, believing in good luck, or whatever you want, but most gamblers are certain that money is just waiting to find  them at their next casino visit.

And why not? Someone’s gotta win, as they say, and it might as well be you.

Healthy Gambler Trait # 3:

You know how to walk away, and know when to run.

Part of being a happy gambler is knowing when to get the hell out of Dodge; a trait that compulsive gamblers obviously do not possess. While you look forward to your time online or in a land casino, you also know when you’ve won (or lost) enough to make your way back home. And that innate sense of limits allows you to enjoy your time gambling with equanimity.

Healthy Gambler Trait # 2:

You see your gambling life as governed by short-term losses and long-term wins.

In order to enjoy the gambling lifestyle, you have to be able to encompass the realities of loss on occasion, knowing it is but a bump on the road of fortune, which sounds remarkably like something Tom Jones would have said, and we do not mean the Welsh singer, either.

Everyone has losing sessions. Real gamblers brush it off and move on and don’t obsess over it, because they know next time, luck could go their way 10x over and they need merely be patient for that moment.

Healthy Gambler Trait # 1:

It’s all an exciting game for you.

You might not wear a tux to gamble, but it’s still an exciting part of your life.

Which brings us to the most glorious trait of a true gambler: the yearning for the pure thrill of the game. Win or lose, you are in it to enjoy it, to relish the whims of chance, and to see where the winds of Lady Luck may take you today.

So, that’s our assessment of the unpathological gambler’s typical personality profile. Did we nail it?