Addiction Through the Eyes of a Poker Dealer

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Addiction Through the Eyes of a Poker Dealer

Addiction Through the Eyes of a Poker Dealer

October 31, 2015

The universe has a funny way of working out.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to play in a charity golf event that benefited abused children. Aside from playing a quality golf course for a great cause, I was paired up with two strangers.

One of my playing partners was a forensic accountant. The other, a poker dealer.

Of all the people to play golf with, I got paired with a professional poker dealer.

Naturally I couldn’t help but inquire about his job, the characters he has met and all of the things he has witnessed over the course of the last 15 years. After wayward drives and missed putts, we finally got on the subject of addiction.

Since the FCCG provides training for casino employees, I couldn’t resist but ask, “have you ever dealt for players that you knew were gambling addicts?”

Maybe it was the 7th hole drink tent that loosened his lips, or maybe he was simply in an honest mood, but he snapped back with a decisive and resounding…


I proceeded to ask him how he knew he was in the presence of a gambling addict and his response was interesting.

“They are easy to pick out. They lose and whip out their wallets to buy back in almost before I can even slide the chips to the winner. But it’s not simply buying back in that tips me off. Its the look in their eyes. Its almost like the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars they lost isn’t gone, its just being held by someone else. Not knowing when to call it quits, that’s how I can spot them.”

For the next few holes, he proceeded to share bad beat stories along with the enraged gambler. In summary, how an addict looks from the eyes of a poker deal is summarized as follows:

  1. The player can’t stop gambling, they overdo their stay at the casino.
  2. The player chases his losses
  3. The player gets very angry with losing but doesn’t leave
  4. The player’s poker game is beyond entertainment, it doesn’t look fun for the person

Having a clinical background, its interesting to how a gaming professional’s experience of addiction has many parallels to how mental health professional’s would diagnose a gambling addiction.