What makes the most of the game so seductive is the promise of really great victory, coupled with the experience of winning just a little. We believe we can win again because we have won before.
We just do not stop comparing our experiences to numbers. This human tendency explains the joke of the elderly gambler; and where is the meaning in this absurdity? Any compulsive gambler can tell you that right away it can not be reasonable, but feel right.
Whether or not programming is more important than the Oedipus complex in determining who will play, it is certainly a factor. While it may be in the interests of the gambler to deny that he is the victim of intelligent manipulation.
A fight for control with a phantom father is so much more romantic — it is in the interest of casino owners to know about such things and you can bet that. Since the nineteenth century, gambling houses have figured out how to handle the odds in house favor as they let bettors win just enough to keep them interested.
That’s why slot machines pay out — sometimes. Do not just swallow your money and never give it anything, because people who adjust the ratio of profits understand that a program likes that it will not keep them playing.
The specialized knowledge of reinforcement programs has been the basis of some of the most sophisticated gambling criticism. There are psychologists who believe that under certain circumstances, anyone, whatever their childhood experiences, could be turned into a compulsive gambler.
All it takes is the right program, plus an initial willingness to play. Of course, some of us may never fall for the tinny lure of the slots. We know better, we can say. But who can be sure we would not fall for a cleverly managed stock business or the kind of gambling offered by the cynical boss that makes us believe for the years that you are always on the edge of that big promotion while squeezing out every last drop of little work expensive?
What saves most of us from the fate of the gambling addict is the ability to be cold and reasonable about it. We can fall hard on some money into the casino in the excitement of the moment, but when we get home and realize how easy it is to lose and how much to win, when we grab what the odds really are, we do not go back.
Some people can be very reasonable in other areas of their lives, but not in the game. Such people usually do not usually cover up completely destroyed, even by a serious addition. In the worst shape they are the ones that live to play and they never get away from it in any other activity. There are only two kinds of full-time gamblers: those who are ruined and those who are wise.