Fat Chance

Poker Machines

You hear about some people having a talent for the horses or cards. Not me. But that’s hardly surprising because they’ve never held my interest.

The pokies, however, are a different story. I love them. There’s a genuine attraction. When I was younger, the lure of a machine, with it’s flashy lights and enticing special features, would tempt me when I was out with friends, often meaning I would remove myself from their company to secretly saddle up to a machine.

Which is why, when it comes to poker machines, I’m extremely lucky. But not in the way you’d think.

Let’s be clear, playing pokies is a lot of fun. Gambling is fun. It’s exciting. Plus, there’s always that chance of a big win.

It’s hard to discuss gambling without talking numbers and stats, because that’s essentially what gambling is all about – odds. So let’s get a few out of the way with a list compiled by the website Financial Freedom For Gens X and Y:

Marry into money in Australia – 1 in 215

Trifecta in a 13 horse race – 1 in 1,716

Hole in one at golf – 1 in 5,000

Poker machine top prize – 1 in 7,000,000

Keno top prize – 1 in 8,911,711

Powerball 1st division – 1 in 54,979,155

What really brings those odds home to me is that I’ve been married twice and lucked out on the lifestyle of the rich and famous both times. In fact, my first attempt was exactly the opposite – I lost the house I came into the relationship with.

But then losing a house is exactly what gambling has meant to some people, which I’m pretty sure is the opposite of where they hoped their finances would be heading.

Fortunately, I pretty much cured myself of poker machines fifteen years ago when I put $150 through a 1c machine in an hour before realizing the most I could win on that machine was $90. And my chance of winning that was one in seven million!

Which is why I really am genuinely lucky when it comes to poker machines. I recognized I had a bit of a problem and found myself a way to deal with it. Whenever I see a machine I think about that $150 and how, even if I won the machine’s top prize, I was $60 down.

But there are a lot of people out there who can’t deal with it themselves. If that’s you, or someone you know, then I recommend contacting the people at Gambling Help. It’s a free service, so you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if you’re not ready to talk to someone yet, there’s good information there, like an APP to help monitor your gambling, or an explanation about how gaming machines work. It’s worth a look.

There’s nothing wrong with a flutter or a wager. I buy an occasional lotto ticket and I always enter the Melbourne Cup sweepstakes at work. There’s nothing to be embarrassed or self-conscious about because it’s just a bit of fun and legitimate entertainment in this country.

So why should there be any stigma attached to getting help if you think you’re developing a dependency?

The answer, of course, is there shouldn’t be. In fact, I applaud people who reach out if they discover a problem like this is affecting themselves and those they love. Good luck 🙂

Here’s that link again: Gambling Help.

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It really does make a difference :) Thanks.

“Raising a family on little more than laughs”

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