This post might should be titled “how not to be a sore loser” due to the fact that many people struggle with being even remotely amiable after losing a heated gambling match. Even players who are not playing competitively often become very upset. If you have ever become frustrated while playing slots then you know what we mean! Gambling is all about risk, which means that you often lose - probably more than you win if you are like most gamblers. Since you realistically spend so much of your gambling time losing, then it may be a good idea to learn how to be a “good loser” instead of a sore one. So, hold on tight and get ready to learn how to be a relatively nice individual the next time someone steals the win right out from under your feet (it will probably happen soon). Have the Right Attitude Before you even start a game, it is important to approach the situation with a positive and correctly based attitude. If you approach a game of poker with the pure intention of winning and winning only, then you may be a little off kilter. Gambling should never be just about winning because that is how gambling addictions develop. Gambling, above all, should be purely for fun! If you are not enjoying gambling, then you probably are not doing it right. So, instead of focusing on getting the win, try focusing on having a good time and making new friends at the casino. If you go in hoping to have a few l aughs, you will leave satisfied. Speaking of laughs, the author of Calvin and Hobbes once said “I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.” We think this comic strip writer had it right; with the right expectations things get a lot easier and losing gets a lot less painful. Marks of Maturity In order to be a gracious loser, you are going to have to learn how to be mature about losing. This may seem a little bit like average common sense; however, learning how to handle a poor game of poker with maturity is a taller order than you may realize once you get into the “heat of battle.” Losing in a mature fashion is not genetically inherited. Gracious losing can be learned. A person who is a mature loser acts like this: Speaks graciously. After you lose, make a point of talking to the person who just won - talking to them nicely, of course. Congratulate them on their win and say something light hearted, such as you hope you will have better luck next time. Act graciously. Actions can go a long way, especially if you feel so grumpy that you are worried you will accidentally say something uncalled for. Reach out for a handshake or give the winner a friendly pat on the back. Anything to make it obvious that you mean him or her well. Oh, and by all means, try giving him or her a genuine smile. Cognitive Conditioning After you lose, it can be easy to start “beating yourself up” over the hard loss. You may feel as if you made a huge mistake during the game and that if you had just played a little better you might have walked away with the win. This is a very silly way to think about things, but more people think this way than you might think. In order to avoid falling into this trap of downward spiraling thoughts about yourself, you may want to try some cognitive discipline. Cognitive discipline is a fancy word that simply means “thinking intentionally.” Choose to think thoughts that are light hearted and well meaning. The most important thing to do during this stage is to engage in positive self talk. Tell yourself you are doing a good job or give yourself an emotional high five. It may sound cheesy, but it really does help you develop the right perception of yourself and, ultimately, the right gaming attitude. The next time you lose a particularly frustrating round of blackjack, try keeping these tips in mind. Manage your anger and treat others the way you would want to be treated. A little kindness goes a long way, and most people strongly respect someone who can lose with grace. Leave the arm-flailing and yelling in the angry past; the future will hopefully be a friendlier place with the help of these tips and a little practice.