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Is gambling a pleasure or an addiction?

12/16/2012

pig and casino chipsGambling, like sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and shopping, has been constantly criticized for being addictive in nature and encouraging an unhealthy dependency if left unchecked. It is an easy thing to get addicted to anything that’s pleasurable, and that also includes something as ordinary as food. The key, as the cliché goes, is to do everything in moderation- save for the obvious exceptions like recreational drugs.

Gambling every once in a while may not seem like a big deal, but a dependence on such behaviour can give rise to what has been termed as ‘problem gambling’, pathological gambling, or ludomania. The good news about ludomania is that about a third of all gambling addicts are able to get rid of their addiction within one year. The bad news is that ludomania can wreak havoc on people’s finances if not checked in time, and a small percent of cases have resulted in severe depression and extreme steps like suicide.

Various research studies over the years have established changes in brain activity during gambling. For instance, a study conducted by Dr. Hans C. Breiter from Massachusetts General Hospital revealed players who anticipate a win at a roulette table have the same brain patterns as those who take drugs that induce a sense of euphoria. The higher the amount which is at stake, the greater and more pronounced such activity in the brain.

Gambling entices many people to come back to it even after they lose many times in a row, because the human brain attributes more pleasure to winning money than earning it. This ‘stimulation’ becomes a cycle and also increases dopamine levels in the brain.

Although pathological gambling has addictive effects and can negatively affect a person’s personal and professional life, it has been classified as an impulse control disorder rather than a full-blown addiction by the American Psychiatric Association.

 

 

Is it possible to beat a casino playing blackjack?

12/16/2012

black jack dealer in black and whiteMany people are of the opinion that blackjack is the only game in which a player has a fair chance of winning against the house or casino. However, this is easier said than done. Upping your odds of winning requires you to have a genuine mathematical advantage, not just a stroke of good luck.

The outcome of a blackjack game depends largely on the player, from the very minute he or she shuffles the card deck. The dealer in a blackjack game merely follows the rules and has no ‘say’ in the game’s decisions.

Given that the course of any blackjack game relies heavily on a player, there are a few approaches one can take to try and beat the casino:

  • Counting the cards: This approach can be difficult since all casinos do not allow it. However, mastering this tactic requires learning from the very best. A deck of cards is favorable to a player when it has more aces and tens. One way to guess if a deck has more of such cards is for a player to track the cards that have been and are being played. The deck which is deemed more ‘favorable’ is assigned a plus point, while a minus point is assigned to decks that have ‘lower value’ cards.

Calculating the ‘worthiness’ of a deck requires complex mathematical calculations, quick reflexes, and a great memory.

  • As a tip, try and avoid sitting at a table that has too many players, as doing so could dilute the effectiveness of card counting strategies.
  • Applying ‘systems’ during play: Blackjack should ideally be played as a money management game. There are various strategic systems such as the D’Alembert and Paroli, which help players determine the right profit and loss limits to help them quit the game at the right time.

There are numerous video, audio, and eBook tutorials on this subject, so you are advised to do your homework and choose the ones that have at least a modicum of legitimacy.

 

Playing roulette: Is there any way to win in the long term?

12/16/2012

funny pic russian rouletteThis question has been, still is, and will always be asked for as long as roulette exists. Everybody wants to be more than a one trick pony and better their odds of winning at roulette, but the truth is that there is no sure shot way of beating the house in the long term. It is certainly possible to win a couple of games in a row, but hoping for the very best throughout would be stretching it.

Here’s why: if numerous accounts are to be considered, every bet you place has a 5% house edge. This means that you could lose against a casino in the long term even if Lady Luck favors you once or several times. Additionally, many players make the mistake of sitting at tables that have a 00 space instead of opting for tables that have single 0 space boards. The former almost always doubles the house edge.

To elaborate on the ‘0 point’ in roulette- this number is green and doesn’t classify as red, black, even, or odd. This means that if you hypothetically bet $10 on the last four or a 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36, you could be set back by $70 in the long term at least once every 19 times (if you hit either 00 or 0). To sum up, you would end up spending a total of $1330 on bets even if you win $1260 via a few games.

That said, there’s no reason to be disheartened. It’s just about having realistic expectations. No roulette strategy or system is completely fool proof. At best, they can better your chance of winning every now and then. It’s also about knowing when it is the right time to quit- and that is when you have made satisfactory profits in a number of games. The amount you win must outweigh the amount you lose.

 

Does playing games make you smarter?

12/08/2012

Video games have long been criticized for their ‘violent themes’ and influencing people to the point of distracting them from their academic and professional goals. However, the gaming sector, which is touted to rake in about $25 billion in annual revenues, may just have ardent supporters in the form of several researchers, who have stated playing games can be beneficial.
Several studies have claimed that video games can help people think critically by making the brain conjure up out of the box solutions. Renowned linguistics researcher James Paul Gee claims that video games hone problem-solving skills by enabling players to immerse themselves well enough to pass increasingly difficult levels of gameplay.
There is another argument which states Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) actually boost communication and collaboration abilities, since they require players to interact with each other in a virtual environment. Add to this the many discussion boards and fan sites, where players get to know one another through discussions and sharing of gameplay strategies. MMOGs also make players take on ‘roles’, giving them new ways to experience and respond to certain situations and environments within a game.
Dr. Jane McGonigal, PhD., a video game designer, even goes as far as to say that those who indulge in a bit of gaming deal far better with failure than those who don’t. This is because almost all gamers fail on many occasions during gameplay- whether it comes to passing a level, winning a fight, or boosting their score. ‘Failing well’ is a handy tool to have when you work in any organization or run a business.
In her TED talk, cognitive neuroscientist and University Of Geneva professor Dr. Daphne Bavelier said that individuals who play video games in moderation are better multitaskers as well.
The key, as to everything in life, is to do everything in moderation. Obsessive gaming can take a toll on your social, academic, and professional life if you don’t know where to draw the line. However, gaming can be beneficial if you know how to make the most of what it has to offer.

The world’s best casino destinations

12/08/2012

If you like gambling every now and then and are an ardent traveler as well, this one is for you. There are myriad world-class casinos out there, so you don’t have to restrict yourself to Las Vegas. Of course, it goes without saying that Vegas is the hub of all things casino- but you can always spread your wings and expand your horizons to indulge in a bit of fun.

one statue in gold at venitian casino macao
Here are the world’s top five casino destinations (apart from Las Vegas), in no particular order:

 

  • Cruise ships- You read that right. Luxury liners and their five-star casinos have many millionaire and billionaire patrons, and for good reason. Playing in an extravagant atmosphere is one thing, but doing so on the high seas is a whole other ball game.
  • Macau: Macau’s The Wynn, Grand Lisboa, and The Venetian hotels feature in almost all best casino lists, and that is no surprise. Macau is the gambling capital of the world, and more money is spent in this tiny administrative region of China than in Las Vegas. It is the pick of many casino enthusiasts due to its addictive blend of old world European charm and a modern, gambling-friendly atmosphere.
  • Monaco: Monaco is the pick of the crème de la crème of society and another top destination for gambling aficionados. It is home to Casino de Monte Carlo, the world’s oldest casino. This tiny nation’s economy is almost entirely dependent on Formula One and the gambling industry, and what’s more- it is a tax haven.
  • Aruba: The pick of many Hollywood stars as a holiday destination, Aruba, nestled in the Caribbean, is home to several five-star hotels and resorts. The Renaissance gets special mention as a gambling hotspot since it is open 24/7, which means you can play as and when you want.
  • Atlantic City: Often overshadowed by its bigger cousin, Las Vegas, Atlantic City in New Jersey is one of the most casino-friendly destinations of all time. An island city devoted entirely to leisure, business, and gambling, Atlantic City is home to topnotch casino complexes such as The Borgata, Trump Taj Mahal, and Tropicana. It is also the city which inspired the world’s most popular board game, Monopoly.

 

Is poker a game of skill or luck ?

12/07/2012

Poker has long been considered a game of chance, and this belief holds forte even today. However, various studies and books on this subject over the recent years have challenged this outlook, one of them being a research study by Professors Steven Levitt and Thomas Miles, authors of the bestseller Freakonomics


The authors have stated facts that could have a telling impact on online gambling, one of them being that poker is a game of skill. Citing years of research, Levitt and Thomas have revealed that individuals who are highly skilled in poker take home about 30 percent more money than what they bring in. Contrast this with their ‘less-skilled’ counterparts, who lose about 15 percent more than what they bring to the poker table.

black guy among KKK
Contributing to this point to view is an August 2012 ruling by New York federal judge Jack Weinstein, who stated that poker was a game of skill, in a case slapped against a New Yorker who ran a poker club. Judge Weinstein elaborated by saying that expert players hone their observatory and mathematical skills, as well as their ability to read people psychologically, to win games and better their chances of winning. His written ruling was supplemented by several graphs and charts highlighting the tactics poker players used, such as bluffing and reading faces, to go one up on their opponents.
Also very telling is the opinion of lauded political statistical pundit Nate Silver, whose predictions for the 2012 U.S. Presidential race were right on the money. Silver is an accomplished poker player who earned six figure profits in just two years thanks to the game. Nate Silver, however, does not rule out luck as something that plays an important role in poker. In his view, poker is both a game of skill and luck, in equal measure.

Welcome on UnaBridged.info

10/28/2012

Hi,

Welcome on my personal blog. My name is Una Bridged, i’m 56 years old and i’m living in Indonesia. I love cooking, drawing, taking care of my children. I’m retired now and i spend time looking for good investment to make with my money. I’m interested by the gold market right now and it’s amazing how this market is a great opportunity.
I also love music and particularly classical music.

Hope you will enjoy my new blog !
Take care,

Una

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