Every player knows that you need to follow a strategy if you want to win consistently. You have to be very aware of the intricacies of your game and make decisions accordingly. It sounds simple — however, it is challenging to implement in real life.
Why is it difficult; how do emotions work? How do you discipline yourself when opening UK non gamstop casinos? Read on.
How emotions work
In short, emotions are chemistry. Nerves take impulses from the environment and transmit them to the brain using chemicals. The brain decodes them and makes a decision: hit or run, enjoy or cry.
Following the decision, it orders the body to release some neurotransmitters into the bloodstream. That is a substance that tells the body what to do.
- Adrenaline (epinephrine) is released into the bloodstream when one must run or fight to survive
- Dopamine is the substance of ‘expectation of reward’ and the reward itself
- Serotonin is a neurotransmitter of pleasure and socialisation
- Endorphins — analgesic and mood-enhancing substances, and so on.
Neurotransmitters are involved in all of our activities. For example, we need noradrenaline to get up from a chair, have a cup of tea, pick up a book, or concentrate on a lecture. Acetylcholine is necessary when it is time to go to sleep or when we want to relax in the bathroom.
Gambling is an activity that causes the brain to spike neurotransmitter levels. As a result, our emotions are swept over our heads while we play.
How does gambling affect us?
So, gambling is placing something of value at risk in the hopes of gaining something of greater value. This definition brings to mind adrenaline and dopamine, right?
But it’s even more interesting than that. These are the neurotransmitters that work when we play:
- Adrenaline is attributed to arousal and excitement
- Serotonin to impulse control
- Dopamine to rewarding and reinforcing aspects
- Opioids to pleasure/urges
- Cortisol to stress responsiveness
- Glutamate to cognitive functioning, including cognitive flexibility.
These chemicals are so potent that we can become addicted to them.
A recreational player can control himself and not dwell on the experience. A problem player cannot because biochemistry is more potent than any voice of reason. The problem with addiction is that the brain refuses to see other options. The desire for a dose of drugs, i.e. neurotransmitters, forces the brain to focus on a single possibility.
What do you need to do to learn to control your emotions while playing?
How to discipline your emotions
Discipline, above all, is a good understanding of yourself and your emotions. What makes you want to take a risk and go all-in in poker? What makes you want to up your ante at the slot machine? What makes you choose numbers at the roulette table?
We need to understand that excitement and gambling is the work of adrenaline. It’s a substance that raises your muscle tone and makes you focus on one thing, like just one gambling decision. To see all the options for a profitable game, we need to be calm. So we need to lower our adrenaline levels.
It is achieved by exercising calm and relaxation. For example, breathe slowly and with your belly. Breathing is the fastest way to get through to the brain. You can also monitor muscle tension and force yourself to relax your shoulders and neck in time. By controlling your body, you will manage your emotions.
Also, we must understand what pushes us to repeat the same action. It’s dopamine, the substance of reward expectation, and it also makes us want more. You press the button once — you get the win — our brain forces you to press the button again to get the win again.
The problem is that gambling games are designed to produce results that are as random as possible. So we don’t know when we’ll get a win, which is why our brains fall into the dopamine trap of waiting for a win. “Next spin is sure to be lucky”, “Luck is just around the corner; it’s about to win”.
To control our dopamine response, we need to understand at least 2 things:
- Rewarding in gambling is entirely random.
- So there’s no point in chasing the winnings.
We can obtain dopamine in other ways. Eat protein-rich foods, consume probiotics, go to the gym, listen to your favourite music, get enough sleep, and do interesting tasks. Do anything fulfilling and rewarding.
The art of self-limiting
Of course, it’s hard to remind yourself to relax your muscles and turn off the excitement during the game. However, the rules of responsible play can help you. With them, you can effectively regulate your state and keep your head sober.
Modern casinos provide tools for self-restriction. Always check when registering if such options are available in your profile. On such gambling sites, you can set limits:
- Deposit size
- Maximum bet amount
- Losses amount
- Game time
These limits can be set daily, weekly and monthly.
You can also block yourself off the site for a few months if you need to take a break. By the way, such breaks work like rehab for addicts.
When your body regularly receives vast amounts of neurotransmitters, it becomes more tolerant to them. As a result, you need more and more to experience your usual level of arousal and pleasure.
When you take a break, your body gradually lowers its tolerance to the substances. Consequently, you will have more fun after a pause.
You can also distribute your finances. Create a ‘portfolio’ — for example, £100 for betting. And manage it as follows:
- If the balance is more than £100 — immediately withdraw the excess to a card or e-wallet.
- If the balance is less than £100 — you stay within your budget and do not make any more deposits.
- The portfolio can be split into parts: say, one third for slots, one third for sports betting, one third for casino games.
Be aware of your emotions, control your body with simple breathing and movement practices. Manage your betting finances wisely. And let the game bring you more fun!