Poker machines (commonly referred to in Australia as pokies) can be highly addictive and difficult to stop playing. While they involve skill and luck equally, their combination makes them enjoyable and highly addictive – often people can’t stop themselves after winning several times on one machine; many even continue gambling after losing significant sums of money and becoming addicted. Unfortunately, this can lead to problems with gambling addiction – a debilitating condition which negatively impacts family life as well as finances.

Many treatment programs for gambling addiction rely on making the gambler feel guilty for how their gambling has affected their family, before telling them never to gamble again and vowing never to gamble again. This approach is both patronising and ineffective; learning how to beat poker machines and comprehending what damage they cause are what will help break free from gambling addiction.

Finding something else you enjoy doing to break your poker machine habit is the key to successfully breaking it. While the perfect activity may differ for everyone, some suggestions could include reigniting an old hobby, trying something completely new, traveling to an unfamiliar destination or getting involved in community activities. Just make sure it keeps your mind stimulated; otherwise boredom could set in and trigger another addiction such as gambling.

Another good strategy is limiting contact with friends and family who gamble. Although this can be challenging if one has a large social circle including many such individuals, it is wise to limit exposure as much as possible as even small amounts can become temptation. Another helpful step would be finding support groups dedicated to gambling addiction issues and talking to those there about your issues.

If you cannot avoid going to casinos, call and ask to have your name added to their “self exclusion list”, this will prevent you from using their machines as well as receiving email or postal advertisements from them.

Make sure to tip your dealers when playing. These workers make very limited salaries from their job and a generous tip can go a long way toward helping them cover bills and stay employed in their profession. Be generous; tipping keeps people employed in this industry working longer. Regardless of whether you consider yourself casual or serious player, any tip will be greatly appreciated by their dealers!