Being an online poker player comes with a huge series of advantages. You can play from anywhere, at any time, with minimal effort. While that is generally great, because you always have access to your favorite hobby, it can also backfire.
Ease of access can become a problem if you overdo it and become addicted to playing poker. Yes, poker can be addictive, even though not as much as other gambling games. Due to the fact that money is involved and a bit of luck, people can get addicted to playing poker as they start craving the feeling of excitement they get while playing.
In these cases, the fact that your temptation is so easily accessible in just a couple of clicks or taps doesn’t really help. The good news is that with poker, unlike other gambling games addictions, you can easily catch things early and make some smart choices before it becomes too late.
There are some signs you can look out for and see if something is wrong, and as soon as you realize you may have a problem, there are some easy steps to take that will prevent your issue from becoming a bigger problem.
Can you really play too much poker?
Well, the short answer is yes. There are two possible scenarios where poker can become too much: you either lose too much money or you waste too much time.
Both scenarios have varied negative implications in your day-to-day life and can cause some serious damage to your general well-being. Whether you end up scrambling for money or if you realize all your free time is spent playing poker, things are not exactly great for you.
If you spend too much money and can’t keep your losses under control, the effects are easy to predict: you will end up without any money, borrowing, or getting an extra job just to support your poker-playing habit. Needless to say, this is less than ideal and some action will need to be taken immediately.
The second scenario, where you are a profitable poker player, is just as bad if you end up spending all your free time playing poker. Time is our most valuable resource and even though you might be spending it doing something you like and making good money from it, you are still going to miss out on a lot of valuable experiences. Nothing can replace a nice walk in the forest, a swim in the sea, and time spent with our loved ones.
How much poker is too much?
As I was saying, identifying the problems is quite easy. Taking action to fix the things that you are doing wrong is a bit more difficult, but we will be exploring that in another article. For now, let’s focus on how you can tell whether you are playing too much poker.
Well, the rule of thumb that is valid for any kind of gambling addiction is that you should consider that you have a problem whenever you realize that playing the games has a negative impact on unrelated aspects of your life.
When it comes to poker, things are even easier. Since the addiction has a much slower onset than in other gambling games, you have all the time in the world to observe how your gaming impacts your life.
For example, if you realize that you can’t wait for your work day to be over just so you can go home and start playing some poker, even though you have a wife and kids waiting for you at home, you might be having a problem.
If you realize your monthly budget for other things starts to get smaller from one month to another because you end up spending more on playing poker, you should probably take a step back and see exactly what you are doing wrong.
Poker can affect your daily life in other ways too. For example, if you are constantly tired because you end up going to bed too late every night because you’re playing poker, you should re-evaluate the situation and see if it’s worth it. The problem with fatigue goes further than you think and it is a downward spiral that can only lead you to bad places.
Sleep deprivation can have seriously negative effects on your health, it will reduce your performance at work, it will make you crankier and more unavailable in your relationships with family and loved ones, and, on top of this, it will certainly make you a much worse poker player. Having a well-rested brain is essential if you want to play poker efficiently and end up with a profit. If you keep playing poker while you are tired, you will only take advantage of your mental abilities partially, and your bankroll is going to keep decreasing day after day. And the more you lose, the more you will want to play in order to cover your losses, and thus the more tired you will become. See? Downward spiral, exactly like I said.
Playing too much poker can also affect your physical health. Sitting down at a desk or with a laptop on your lap is not going to do you any good if you play poker for a couple of hours every day. The blue light emitted by the screen you are looking at is going to have a negative effect on your eyes and your ability to rest while sleeping. You can end up with problems with your spine and a ton of diseases that are directly linked to living a sedentary lifestyle.
Everything in life should be done within acceptable limits. And poker is certainly no different. Make sure to pay attention and take action immediately if you feel like poker is starting to have a negative impact on your day-to-day life or on your relationships with family and friends.