Gamblers Anonymous - 20 Questions

GA believe most compulsive gamblers will answer "Yes"
to at least seven questions.

Try it! I did, and I answered "Yes" to eight questions
[see below for reasons].

  1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling? Yes
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did gambling affect your reputation? Yes
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties? Yes
  6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses? Yes
  8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more? Yes
  9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
  10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
  12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures? Yes
  13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
  14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? Yes
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
  17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? Yes
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
  19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
I had a job as an insurance salesman, for which I studied and gained a diploma. Despite this knowledge, I was a salesman with not enough sales. Fortunately, I had an alternative, as a card counter at Blackjack. I was a good player and a winner, year after year. I spent more and more time in the casino, losing more and more time from work, but making more and more money.

Did gambling affect your reputation?
Most favourably! In particular at home. In the early days it was, "Are you going to the casino again? You will lose all of your money, you silly fool." When it was clear that I didn't lose, it changed to, "You're leaving it pretty late in the day to go to the casino, you lazy devil."

Professional players recognised my skill was around the professional level, although I chose not to be a professional player. One might be able to fool a gullible public with false claims of blackjack skills, but you can't fool the "pro's".

Friends and others seemed to respect my ability to count cards and win, although they had no way of knowing if I was genuine. One mistake they make, though, is that they think card counting is the big thing, the clever thing. It's not! The public think card counting is difficult, but once learnt, then winning becomes easy. The reverse is true! Card counting is easy, winning is difficult.

Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
Unlike so many, I like to pay my debts as soon as possible. Many times when a bill arrived I went to the casino, won the amount of the bill, and paid it immediately and got it out of my hair.

After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
What was the alternative, lose and stay away? That made no sense, because I had to play the next hand sometime, whether it be in the next minute, month or millenium, so why not straight away. I win in the long run, but to do that I need to play. The more I play, the more I win, which is a bit like the salesman's dictum "The more I see, the more I sell." They are both numbers' games. Anything can happen in the short run. I cannot win every hand, nor can I win every session but because I play a winning game overall I can say that the losing sessions are but the unavoidable part of that winning game.

After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
On many occasions when a good win occurred it was largely brought about by temporary favourable conditions, e.g. less cards behind the cut-card. As these advantageous conditions could disappear at any time, it was highly desirable to return and win more while the opportunity existed. Of necessity blackjack is broken into sessions, but whether one wins or loses individual sessions is irrelevant. It should be understood that blackjack is really just one long game. The time interval between sessions is effectively no more than an extended toilet break.

Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
I keep my "gambling money" bankroll separate from my other money. That way I can keep better account of how well my gambling is performing. When my "normal expenditure" bank account gets depleted I replenish it from my "gambling money". It never transfers the other way because I bet such a small percentage of my "gambling bankroll" it can never go broke.

Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
I liked to finish play at 11:40 pm so that I could be home by midnight. If the tables were uncrowded, or the dealers were faster, or only a few cards were set behind the cut-card, I would gamble longer to take advantage of the better than normal conditions.

Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
Winning sessions would occasionally be followed by sleeplessness. There is no logical reason for it, but I think it sometimes occurred when a bad string of losses had been won back and the bankroll reached a new high. I don't recall losing sessions disturbing me unduly, but I treat them as normal, unavoidable fluctuations in a winning process.

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