Casino Gambling and The Tao

It may seem strange to equate casino gambling with Taoist philosophy, but it may be because gambling is so much a part of and widely accepted in Chinese culture.

The very first recorded history of playing cards date back to 9th century China which makes sense being that they were the inventors of writing paper. The first book written with reference to playing cards dates to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) called Yezi Gexi. By the 11th century playing cards could be found throughout Asia featuring many of the 108 heroes of Lan Shun found in the Chinese classic the “Water Margin.”

In the 16th century playing cards had made their way to France and it is there that they began using the suits of picture cards that we are familiar with today based on figures of French nobility.

Taoist philosophy is said to be nearly 6,000 years old and came to prominence with the teachings of The Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, the first emperor of China. With many of their scientific discoveries such as mathematics and astronomy, there was also a deep connection to astrology, symbology (a science of symbols and their effects), numerology and many forms of mysticism.

In the 7th Pillar of Taoism, “The Tao of Mastery,” The symbol for water is K’AN and states, “to be successful and fortunate, risk must be taken.” Luck to the ancient Taoists was a form of control and timing.

Clearly in all gambling, timing is an important factor. Regardless of the type of gambling, all of it’s forms tend to run in cycles, both winning and losing ones. It is the skill which one navigates through these cycles that the player conveys their level of control over the outcome.

The first serious studies of gambling in the 20th century were done by economists who expressed their confusion that gambling is a losing proposition and in effect, irrational behavior. In 1945 William Vickery, a noted economist, concluded that gambling should be measured not in expected gains but by the money a gambler doesn’t have that appears to be more valuable to them than what he does have.

The typical view is that gambling is self-destructive, undermines the work ethic and removes money that could be put to better uses in the economy. The notion that most people tend to gamble beyond their means remains unproven and was disputed in research conducted in 1966 in the “Economics of Gambling” published in London, England. In this study it was found to be an affective outlet for frustration, a relief from loneliness and a leveler of inequality among the economic classes.

Many psychologists view gambling as a normal form of recreation and destructive only to the addicted. They stated that the solution lies in treating the gambler, not in the condemnation of gambling as a whole.

The casino patron is courted with opulent surroundings, swimming pools, shops, shows, night life and “comped” amenities. The attraction is undeniable as an escape from tedious and purposeless occupations. Being confronted with the myth of success, when faced with insurmountable economic and social obstacles, makes the whole casino experience much easier to understand.

My own opinion is that people who gamble solely for the thrills and excitement, with no care of the economic results, would do better to find a more fulfilling and less expensive hobby. Gambling is an isolated activity. It will not take the place of a meaningful relationship nor will it counteract feelings of alienation or loneliness. These are not reasons to gamble.

Using any type of gambling to fill a void in ones personal life, something which it cannot do, is the type of gambling that can lead to devastating consequences.

If you’ve ever been in a casino, there is one thing you’ve probably noticed more than anything else… that one thing is seeing people lose money. This happens because the amateur gambler enters into this competition without a basic knowledge of the odds of the games, a playing strategy or even a thought to proper money management. It’s a careless way to handle ones money and does little to change the inevitable outcome.

Casinos love this type of gambler and spend a fortune attracting their business. With the odds squarely in their favor, the casino operators know that even though there are highly effective methods of playing that can shift those odds to the player, very few of them will invest the time or effort to use them.

Common sense tells us that if everyone that gambles in casinos lost, they would cease to exist. In order to attract losers you must have winners and it is just as easy to win at many casino games as it is to lose.

I do not write for the weekend gamblers who are looking desperately to have a good time at any cost. Winning is not even in their vocabulary. They consider the possibility of winning to be remote as if being left completely to chance.

It is the individual who is determined to win at any cost that I feel are most like myself. It is to these individuals that I offer the following. There does exist many ways to achieve your goal. Resolve that you will learn everything you have to in order to win consistently when risking your hard earned money gambling in casinos. To me, nothing else makes sense.

Gambling Addiction: How Is It Different From Other Addictions

The word “Addiction” is characterized by many people as being a negative compulsion. A person with an addiction is unable to stop doing the thing they are addicted to.

Not all addictions are the same, and even though we are focusing more on gambling addiction, we also want to touch on other addictions that can overtake a person’s life.

What Are The Different Type of Addictions?

There are basically three categories for addictions:

1. Substance
2. Impulse/Emotional
3. Behavioral

Most people relate substance addiction to drugs, but it can also be related to: alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and inhalants.

Impulsive/emotional types include: gambling, stealing, and pyromaniacs (setting fires).

Behavioral types include: eating, shopping, pornography, working, and perfectionism.

The one thing all of these addictions have in common is – control. A person with an addiction, gambling or otherwise, is in bondage to their addiction. The crazy thing about this problem is – they don’t overlap most times. A person addicted to gambling will not have any desire to set fires and a pyromaniac won’t be tempted to gamble.

Taking a Closer Look at Gambling Addiction

There’s a distinct difference between a gambling and substance addiction. Gambling is triggered at an emotional level and substance addictions are craving some type of chemical relief.

The gambling atmosphere is all about “emotions” and “excitement” but alcohol, smoking, stress, anxiety, and many other vices are all part of the casino experience. This is one instance where the initial addiction can lead a person into multiple other addictions.

Casinos spend millions of dollars each year studying the habits of gamblers. Gambling is different from other addictions because of money. Money is the fuel for gambling and the emotional rush comes from having your money on the line.

Slot machines are designed so that the colors and sounds attract people to play; at that point money loses its value. The tables convert cash into chips. By doing this the player loses their sense of value for money; the casino knows exactly what they are doing.

Pathological gambling destroys relationships, it devastates finances, and it can even cause a person to commit suicide. So, what can cause a person to become a gambling addict?

Since gambling is categorized as an emotional/impulsive addiction, we have to look at other emotions that can trigger it. The experts have listed a few:

– Anxiety
– Depression
– Stress (work/family)
– Personal Loss
– Debt

We also have to include the “beginners luck” syndrome. There’s a natural attraction to easy money and lotteries are one example of this fact. The multimillion dollar lottery pools are a reflection of the hope of getting rich, and this is what drives a person to the point of becoming a gambling addict.

When gambling becomes an addiction it goes beyond just winning, it’s more about just playing. People who are addicted can be winning thousands of dollars and not quit, why?

Gambling Facts and Statistics – Who Gambles (and How)?

In an effort to make distinctions between Web-based personal computer gambling and gambling by mobile phones and interactive television, the Gambling Commission in the U.K. put together a report that was the first in a series. One of the key goals, according to the commission, is to measure participation to get a more accurate view of gambling in Britain.

The commission lists these items among key findings of the January 2009 survey:

o 9.7 percent of 8,000 adults surveyed in the U.K. said they had participated in one of the forms of remote gambling in 2008. This compares to 7.2 percent in 2006 and 8.8 percent in 2007.
o The people most likely to take part in remote gambling: males between 18 and 44 years of age
o Most of the people who participated in remote gambling used a personal computer – nearly 3 times more than mobile phone or interactive TV

It’s interesting to note that the consistent increase in participation in the U.K. is primarily due to remote access for Britain’s National Lottery. When these lottery players are separated from the other survey respondents, the numbers indicate that 5.2 percent of the people surveyed took part in some form of remote gambling. The bottom line is that, in the U.K., more than 90 percent of the people don’t gamble online or by some other remote means.

The report also separates respondents based on the type of gambling. For example, only 2.4 percent said they bet on horse racing of some type. Just 1.1 percent played bingo from a remote location. Roulette and blackjack were played by 1 percent of the people surveyed.

The commission has also released similar gambling statistics through June 2009. This report shows a few slight differences from the January data.

o 10.2 percent of 8,000 adults surveyed said they participated in some form of remote gambling in the previous month
o Remote gambling on a personal computer continued to be the most popular method (8.6 percent)
o Statistics for various types of games didn’t show any significant changes, as 1.1 percent played blackjack or roulette from a remote location.

In contrast to the low number of people who engage in online, mobile or interactive TV gambling, reports on all gambling for 2007 and 2008 show that 68 percent of the population has tried some form of gambling. This translates to more than 30 million residents. It seems that the National Lottery, live casinos, betting parlors and other forms of in-person gambling are very popular with U.K. residents.

When the study took out the people who only purchased National Lottery tickets, results still show that nearly half of adults have tried gambling of some sort (48 percent). Among those millions of people, 17 percent bet on horse racing and 14 percent played the slots.

o £84.2 billion devoted to gambling annually
o Approximately 4,000 licensed operators in the gambling industry