Skill-Based Games And Possible Harm: Myth Or True?

If you have never heard about the online skill-based game, they are simply online games where all it takes to win or affect the result of the game is defined by a player’s physical or mental skill. In this instance, the physical skill may be a timely and swift reaction or dexterity while the mental skills may include logic abilities, trivia knowledge, and strategic thinking. Examples of this kind of game include board games like chess, or card games as well. 

But what has come on to the fore recently has been the reality of skill-based games and skill-based games players being likely victims of certain gambling-related harms. There was a moment of truth when five-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Jason Mercier was revealed to be a “poker junkie” and was asked point-blank if he had a gambling problem. This interview revealed a lot about this reality surrounding skill-based games.

The Truth About Skill-Based Games And Players

After the interview, it became crystal clear that most people have a very narrow knowledge concerning the game of poker and it was again revealed that poker players are more at risk of turning problem gamblers than professionals.

According to Keith Whyte who is the Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling in his interview with PokerNews recently, he acknowledges that discovering whether an individual has a gambling problem or not is not a precise science. 

For him, the basic difference is that a pro can set boundaries for himself and stick to them because he is a professional. More so, a pro can exercise a favourable bankroll management scheme to keep his spending in check. While a problem gambler on the other hand can’t just get himself to stop and finds it tough to properly organize how he uses his time and money.

White explains that an individual that has a problem will spend most of his time playing the game that he begins to affect other parts of his life negatively. Imagine him missing his daughter’s field hockey game because he was out gambling. Or even when he comes, he is distracted as he continues to gamble online while the game is on. 

For White, it is difficult to differentiate between a professional poker player and a problem gambler. However, for White, a professional poker player who is not affected by problem gambling will have a life outside the poker world with interests and activities he will take part in.

This might be their chosen profession, but they display a good level of restraint over the fraction of their day spent on poker gaming. Likewise, they do not fail in keeping the relationship they have outside this gaming world. 

For instance, a professional player could play for over 17 hours daily, and yet it will not be a problem for them. When they go through the psychological diagnostic test, they’ll satisfy the majority of the standards for problem gambling, and sometimes, even all of these standards. 

What this then makes clear, is the fact that steps must be taken to prevent these harms from affecting regular poker players who might not have the luxury of professional management. However, the next hurdle will be to find out how well any sort of protection will work?

Why Self-Exclusion Services Still Exist At Poker Sites?

Based on what we discussed in the previous section, it is now clear as to why it is necessary to have measures like self-exclusion services available for the use of these skill-based players at poker sites. 

These self-exclusion services are very helpful tools in protecting at-risk players from these gambling harms. They similarly come in handy for those that have recognized an adverse gambling pattern and her willing to deal with it early enough. 

Thanks to self-exclusion schemes like Gamstop, it has even become easier to provide help to those that have identified a gambling problem and help them take care of such situations by restricting them from services provided by these games operators. Several brands such as Agent No Wager Casino, BetOnline and Non Stop Casino have their own self-exclusion schemes so you can self-exclude from them too.

Does Requiring More Control At Poker Prevent Gambling Harm?

How difficult can it be for a poker player to walk away from the poker table when they are losing? Pretty difficult, huh?

Basically, even for professionals, establishing time and money boundaries and adhering to these boundaries as well as practicing adequate bankroll management, have all only dealt with half the problem for them as poker professionals. With a lifestyle dominated by the presence of activities like casino gaming, prop betting, sports betting, and various other kinds of gambling, it is only a matter of time before we discover how much help these professionals might need likewise. 

Therefore, it has become clear that as much control can be provided at poker will go a long way to safeguard both regular and professional poker players from potential gambling harms.

Remember About Responsible Gambling While Sitting At The Poker Table

We will round off this guide by advising you to always keep in mind whenever you are at the poker table that there are certain standards and rules in place to help you stay safe while you are at it. 

As a skill-based poker player, never forget to adhere to responsible gambling standards. Once you take your seat at the poker table, always remember to gamble responsibly!


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