Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Gambler's Bane

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

A lack of self-worth.

This is the gambler’s bane.

There is nothing more damaging to a gambler than believing he’s unworthy of prosperity.

Indeed, this type of gambler might as well quit while he’s ahead. Because, no, he may not have won anything yet, but in believing that he’s unworthy, well, it can only go downhill from there.

Self-Sabotage: A Self-Activated yet Inadvertent “Death” Sentence

One of the most significant issues that pairs with a lack of self-worth is self-sabotage.

But here’s the thing: In a great many cases, most people don’t know they’re about to self-sabotage when they’re about to self-sabotage or that they’re self-sabotaging when they’re in the midst of self-sabotaging. Sometimes they know and stubbornly speak or act anyway, but usually not.

In general, most gambling is a form of unwitting self-sabotage. It’s people believing I’m unworthy of prosperity and then unconsciously acting out this belief—and losing in return.


When it comes to playing the lottery, consider the ticket machine at the local grocery store. You can get scratch-off tickets for $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, and $20 denominations. The odds of winning (at least here in Pennsylvania) are approximately 1 in 4.5, and the higher the ticket denominations, the greater the prizes. (To note, many of the winners at lower denominations are “free tickets”… So, even many winners are basically losers.)

Now, instead of the vast majority of people thinking, I’m feeling like a winner, baby! and then dumping in, say, $500 dollars they’d saved up to buy 25 consecutive $20 tickets all on the same roll, they’re more like, Hmmm… I’ll spend $40 this week, and I’ll buy a bunch of $1, $2, and $3 dollar tickets from an assortment of rolls. The $10’s and the $20’s cost quite a bit considering that, gosh, I could only get a few tickets, and if I don’t win anything, what a waste of money.

So then, after purchasing tickets in such a way as to offer nearly the lowest possible probability of winning, they scratch their tickets off and, except for maybe a small win here or there, the vast majority are losers. (The top prizes go higher, but even $20 to $100 wins on lower denomination tickets are quite rare.)

Wash, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Week. After week. After week.

If people would have straight up bought the 25 consecutive $20 tickets all on the same roll, they’d most likely have won back a significant amount more money than they’d put down. This not only because the potential winnings are a lot higher and because 25 consecutive tickets with a 1 in 4.5 win potential makes winning virtually guaranteed, but because doing as much would imply (at least in most cases) that the buyers believe they are worthy of winning.

Take note:
  1. The buyers believe they’re worthy and so resonate with winning,
  2. they’re willing to take a bigger financial risk, and
  3. and they have a win-oriented strategy.
Life rewards those who align themselves with the rewards they seek.

Now take this idea a step further and imagine if everyone played like this. If everyone who plays the lottery decided tomorrow that they deserved to win and only played the $20 tickets. I can’t help but think that the governments (the ones who run the game) would be f-u-c-k-e-d in a hurry. They’re depending on people to act like worthless victims, to self-sabotage and thus buy cheap—and then lose—repeatedly. Cheap is largely where they make their money.

Oh, and they’re totally banking on the fact that the low-stakes ticket buyers are going to continue buying cheap tickets because they know people of perceived low self-worth don’t have the most thrilling lives and will get addicted to the dopamine hits they get every time they have a ticket to scratch. What did I win!? What did I win!? They will lose repeatedly, and losing sucks, but, oh, the feel of anticipation!


Casinos work similar to the lottery. In the high-stakes areas, although people can and do lose more because they have to gamble with higher amounts, they can and do also win more.

In the low-stakes areas, however—where the vast majority of gamblers play—is where casinos make a significant portion of their money. This is where thousands and millions of people play who believe they’re worthless and therefore aren’t willing to bet big to win big. They go sit at the penny slots (and other low-stakes games) and collectively gamble away countless billions of dollars.

Psychologically, “poor lil me” gamblers can’t imagine going to the casino and spending, say, $400 or $1000 but only having a couple of pulls. They thus stick to the low-stakes games thinking that with a few hundred more pulls their chances of winning big are higher… And soooo many dopamine hits!

The chances of periodically winning a few bucks may be increased compared to the higher stakes games, but the design—especially nowadays when everything is rigged electronically and can be ultra-easily monitored and manipulated—is such that the players are more likely to go home empty-handed.

That said, once again imagine if everyone abruptly cleared out of the low-stakes areas and instead spent big money on the high-stakes games. The house would be in deep s-h-i-t.

Penny slots may be penny slots, but with many thousands of people pouring in millions of collective dollars per day and winning far lesser amounts, that’s a lot of frickin’ dough the casinos are raking in.


What’s interesting about all this is that most gamblers actually gamble because they believe they’re unworthy.

If they felt worthy, they wouldn’t self-sabotage and therefore wouldn’t play the games the way they do. In fact, most gamblers would cease being interested in gambling at all.

If they felt worthy, rather than imaging that I’m not making big money any other way, so hopefully I’ll get lucky, they’d go out and make “luck.” This is to say, they wouldn’t have such self-demoralizing beliefs, and so they would naturally be empowered to make money in a legit, growth-oriented, satisfying way.

By all means, if some people really do enjoy gambling, so be it. If they’re not using it as a tool of escape or self-destruction or some such thing, I haven’t any argument against it. (My sense with this being that the people who stay would be much more so those who play real games, not those who sit at slot machines while mindlessly pulling levers and drinking cocktails for 8 hours straight.)

The trouble is in the distortions carried by most people who are currently involved in gambling. They use gambling as a way out and harm themselves and others, if only indirectly, in the process.

The Bigger Picture

While we’re here, it’s worth taking a minute to look at the situation from a wider perspective.

The more one wishes to win (or to simply be prosperous in life in general), the more they’re going to have to believe in themselves and their inherent worth.

However, this is not to say that winning is directly correlated to self-worth.

For example, the stories are plentiful in which people live humdrum lives (a common sign of beliefs of worthlessness) and win mega super millions—only for their lives to go to complete shit. Sure, on the news just after their win they’d said a bunch of nice things they’d do with the money. But time and again winners’ lives nosedive into oblivion.

Even if these people truly believe they deserve big money, maybe they don’t believe they deserve the abundance that would naturally follow; maybe they believe money is bad and selfish people are going to hate them and attack them for it; maybe they believe mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Generalities can be given as I’ve done here, but specifics are something that each person must discover within themselves.

Maybe someone hadn’t had any positive beliefs at all but they’d made a soul choice to experience a large financial gain and then a total collapse. Or maybe in a different lifetime they’d been a successful bank robber and this lifetime is their returned karma.

So while internal resonance with worthlessness does play a significant role in a gambler’s behavior, winning and losing, on any scale, can certainly have other implications.

It’s Up To You

I don’t feel there’s anything inherently evil about gambling.

If no harm results and it gets peoples’ jollies off to play high-stakes Texas Hold’em, so be it. If no harm results and some friends want to get together every Friday night, throw in a few dollars each, and play Blackjack, so be it.

Gambling is not the problem, nor is money.

The problem is the pervasive, low self-worth distortions within individuals and the collective and the way the gambling industry takes excessive advantage of this.

If you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you will be able to figure out how you fit into this, assuming you do. As always, it’s up to you, the individual, to discover and heal your own self-destructive programming.

Maybe gambling gets you a few extra bucks, but at what cost?

Surely, your wallet isn’t the only thing feeling a pain of lack…

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