The life of a professional gambler may look appealing, but is it possible to gamble this frequently without getting addicted?
What is Considered Professional Gambling?
A professional gambler, by definition, is someone who makes a living off of their gambling winnings. Professional gamblers have their primary game of choice, which could be sports betting, poker, blackjack, etc. Their game of choice is typically
A professional gambler is someone who has complete control over the time, money and energy they spend on gambling. They are seen to be more skilled at gambling than other gamblers, and are considered at low risk for addiction.
A professional gambler will keep detailed records of both their wins and their losses for federal purposes, and will be considered “self-employed” by the government.
Why Do People Want to Become Professional Gamblers?
There are many reasons why people gamble, but here are a few reasons people try to gamble professionally.
- They see it as an easy way to make money.
- They can make their own schedule and don’t have to work a typical 9-5 job.
- No formal education is required.
- They want to make their hobby into a living.
The Fine Line Between Professional Gambling and Problem Gambling
If someone tells you they are a professional gambler, you may want to take it with a grain of salt. Problem gamblers often perceive themselves to be professional gamblers.
Rick Benson, founder of Algamus Gambling Treatment Services, once believed himself to be a professional gambler, before coming to terms with his gambling addiction.
He says, “The lie started with me believing my own lie that I'm a professional gambler. Once I believed it, I sold that to people. I told people that [I was a professional gambler] and they absolutely believed it. I believed it in spite of the fact that my financial situation was becoming really disastrous. And I was doing whatever I needed to do to get money to gamble.”
Rick even quit his day job, believing that he would become a professional horse player.
However, no matter how smart you are, or how familiar you are with the game, you can never predict the outcome of the situation. Gambling is always a risk.
Is it Only a Gambling Problem if You are Losing?
Some people believe that you can only be considered a problem gambler if you are losing more than you are earning. Someone who continues to gamble despite the amount of financial loss, is seen to be a problem gambler.
The reality is, no matter how much you are winning at first, there will always come a time where you lose, regardless of how much skill you have. The losses that come with gambling can be extreme, and can lead to financial difficulty, as well as relational and mental health issues.
If you start losing, and you feel determined to win back the money that you’ve lost, this is a sign to take a step back.
Is it Possible to Be a Professional Gambler?
Do professional gamblers exist? Yes, but they account for a very, very small percentage of gamblers. Although the idea of being a professional gambler may sound great, it’s nearly impossible to gamble the amount that a “professional gambler” does without getting addicted.
Gambling is also not a sustainable profession. Your income is based on how much you win. In other words, your income is based on luck. All in all, being a professional gambler is not as great or feasible as it seems.
How to Know if You're Addicted to Gambling
Don’t fall into the belief that you are a professional gambler, just because you gamble frequently and have had some significant wins. If you do believe yourself to be a professional gambler, there’s a chance that you actually have a gambling problem.
Here are a few signs to look out for:
- You are unable to stick to a time or spending limit.
- You chase your losses.
- You continue to gamble, despite it causing serious consequences in your personal life.
- Those close to you are concerned about your gambling.
- Gambling as a way of coping with difficult emotions or life situations.
- Experiencing cravings or withdrawal symptoms when you stop gambling.
Get Treatment for Gambling Addiction
Attending a residential treatment center is by far the most effective way of treating a gambling addiction. Algamus Gambling Treatment Services offers a 4-6 week gambling treatment program, where clients will have the opportunity to work through their gambling addiction and any underlying mental health issues alongside gambling counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, and their peers.
Contact us today to learn more about our program, and how Algamus can help you or a loved one get the help that is needed.
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