When you get into the heat of a gambling match, it can be easy to become “too serious” and become overly emotional or overly involved financially. Gambling is supposed to be fun (because it is). Review some of the ideas below to learn how you can gamble frequently without losing the fun spirit of the activity. Don’t Discount Discounting is the act of ignoring present risks because the reward is delayed. A delayed reward is simply something that takes longer to come into fruition than an immediately satisfying reward. For instance, if you eat a piece of chocolate cake even though you are trying to successfully lose weight over time, you are discounting the negative aspects of the chocolate cake. You see the delicious chocolate goodness as being more satisfying in the now and do not consider the impact of the cake on your delayed reward: weight loss. When you gamble, it is important to remember the cake analogy. Don’t throw too much money on the table because you think it may satisfy your hunger for risk in the present moment if it presents a possible financial difficulty in the future. Be patient and wait it out so that you can strike when the time is right and get that winning streak you’ve been wishing for. Don’t Get Overly Emotional It’s okay to really enjoy gambling - it’s a game, after all. The problem is that many people begin to develop intense anger and even depression while gambling. Why? Because they begin to care about one thing and one thing only: winning. If you ever find yourself obsessing over winning to the point of having emotional breakdowns when you lose, you may want to take a step back and evaluate your situation. Ask a friend or a family member if they’ve noticed anything unusual in your gambling habits. If you’ve stopped having fun while gambling and are experiencing emotional distress, it may be a sign that you’ve placed your priorities in the wrong place. If you are experiencing an extreme case of obsessing over winning, you may want to visit a counselor or therapist to work through some of the questions you have. Never Play Outside Your Means When it comes to gambling, it’s always a good idea to set a predetermined limit on the amount of money you are willing to throw on the table. Never play as if you have more money than you do. Gambling is a great deal of fun, but no game is worth compromising the financial security of you or your family. You may even want to contact a financial advisor and have them help you set up a budget. The key to financial wisdom in the gambling world is planning ahead. Don’t Get Overly Impulsive Planning ahead goes hand in hand with this golden rule: don’t be too impulsive. Being impulsive without any knowledge of the game you are playing may result in your losing time and again. Loss after loss may lead to discouragement and your eventual disinterest in the fun activity of gambling. Instead of laying down money when you “feel” like it, try investing in some informative books about the methods, underlying principles, and general rules of gambling games. Think through your game and play with intelligence. You may not realize it, but a good game of blackjack takes as much forethought as a complex game of chess. Don’t Cheat While “big name guys” from the history books (think Titanic Thompson here) can cheat and get away with being called gambling heroes, people like you and your gambling partners will most likely be viewed poorly if found cheating. In fact, most casinos and gambling sites will permanently kick you out if you don’t play clean. Who would want that? These days, fair is fun. Learn the rules and avoid the “shady” stuff. You’ll do just fine without the sketchy tricks and cheats. Unfortunately, even though you may be playing with a clean conscience, some players out there may try to pull a fast one on you. Keep your eyes open and stay alert to scams and schemes so that you can keep yourself from getting walked all over by someone who is not-so-honorable. If you suspect that someone in your online forum or casino is cheating, you may want to subtly contact an official in the area instead of trying to confront the foul play yourself. Obviously, an exposed cheater may not be a safe individual to be around. Do Have Fun The rule that tops them all? Have fun. As long as you are having a good time while you gamble, we can guarantee that you are doing it right. Grab a buddy or two and gather round for a game of poker or blackjack. Card games can be a great way to enjoy fellowship with friends and hone your card skills at the same time. Kick back and enjoy having fun for once.