In my previous two FAQs I covered making money and winning when gambling but in this edition I’ll be looking at what happens when you become addicted to gambling. I’m sure that everyone in the community has gambled and regretted it at some point – I know that I have. It is a strange scenario where you acknowledge that if you lose all of your money then you’re going to be completely pissed with yourself… but then you go and do it anyway. I saw a thread in the Game Forum by Barki where he asked for advice on breaking the cycle of building up cash just to gamble and lose it all.
Players tend to offer up the same, obvious, advice to this kind of question “Don’t gamble”, “Get some willpower”, etc. but it isn’t quite that simple. When you’re stuck in a cycle it becomes difficult to break it. It’s like a habit – you don’t necessarily realise that it’s becoming a habit until you are set in your ways.
I also had this issue in previous rounds and I have done it once this round. It is incredibly frustrating because as soon as you hit the bottom end of your cash you think “why did I do that?” You know that it is going to take days to build up again. If it had taken you a week to build up the amount that you lost, and it is going to take you another week to build up what you lost, then if you hadn’t gambled you would have actually had double your money away.
The simple truth is that it’s better to save your money than it is to gamble and lose it all. Saying it now seems completely obvious, completely logical, but when you’re in a cycle of gambling you don’t tend to listen to the logical thoughts. It is like any kind of OCD. Does it really matter if all of the clothes on hangers in your wardrobe are facing the same way? It doesn’t matter in the slightest to me, but I’m sure that would drive someone else mental.
In previous rounds I would gamble at random when I reached a decent amount of money. Occasionally I would win and feel comfortable with my winnings. The wins were always short lived though, because the next time you see a high max bet you will always feel like gambling again. After dropping down to $100,000, enough to booze run and OC, you have to go through the annoying steps of building your cash back up again. It is really frustrating because you’ve already done this before – multiple times before. I found that I would reach $1 million and I would gamble again to try to get to $3,400,000 – I picked that point because that gets you over $100,000 a day in bank interest.
After reaching $1 million and gambling a few times, losing, building back up and then eventually winning enough to reach my target, I would bank and be content for a while. The same cycle would eventually repeat itself though. People would say to me “just don’t gamble” but it isn’t quite that easy. You are stuck on a loop that is difficult to permanently step away from. The fact is that being an addict is something that stays with you forever. When you’re an alcoholic and you give up, you’re still an alcoholic and you cannot escape that.
So how do you break the cycle? Some guy in an AA meeting somewhere is saying “the first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem” but I’m not going to say that. The first thing that I will say is:
What are you hoping to gain by gambling?
The answer is undoubtedly ‘money’. However, if you’re stuck in this cycle of building up cash and then gambling it all away, surely you’re good at building up money in the first place. If you’re reaching the point of having enough money to gamble, then you already have money. You are actually doing the opposite of what you hope to achieve. You have money.
How do you stop yourself from gambling?
Don’t think about winning – regardless of the possibility. Focus on the frustrating of losing. Imagine how stupid you feel when you literally gamble down to $0 and you have to ask a friend for $40k in order to OC. That’s pretty embarrassing, isn’t it? It is completely avoidable. It is completely within your own control. Just picture those amazing times when you couldn’t believe that you lost everything. Trying to double your money on Roulette by betting black over and over – how can red come out ten times in a row?
What can I do to distract myself?
A simple way of breaking the gambling habit for me was to focus on busting in between crimes and GTA. If you are in jail then you cannot gamble. It helps if you stick to the popular states for this – specifically Illinois, where max bets are usually low too. Something else to do is to not even check the max bets, don’t look at the bumped threads on classifieds or check the states page. Focus on busting, crimes, regular booze runs and building up your cash through hard work.
Hard work pays off
That is the bottom line in this whole article. Gambling is a very easy way to win or lose a lot of money. The money that you build up to gamble with in the first place takes a lot of work and effort to build up. At some point you have to realise that taking the easy option to lose money isn’t worth all of the hard work and effort to keep replacing it. Why would you want to swap hard earned cash for the chance at an easy win? Doing crimes, entering bust comps, selling cars, doing regular booze runs have no risk element to them. You are never going to lose money doing any of those things. I wrote in my previous FAQ that the trick to winning at gambling is to know when to walk away. For some people the time to walk away is before you’ve even started.
If anyone has a topic suggestion for my FAQ column I would be interested to hear it.