Why should I understand the poker machines?

An understanding of the ways in which the poker machines operate is an important part in treatment of problem gambling.

We may assume we understand how these machines work because we play them often or because ‘people have told us how they work’. However, an accurate understanding of the poker machines must include an understanding of probability or chance as well as randomness and the random number generator, which can be complex concepts to master.

This understanding is important as playing poker machines involves financial risk. You wouldn’t buy a car without researching the make and model and the car dealership out of concern you might make a poor choice and end up losing money or in debt as a result.

Even if you feel that you already have a solid understanding of poker machines, learning more can never be detrimental and may be more influential than you might assume.

For more information on how gaming machines work, watch ‘Gaming Machines: Facts and Myths’, featuring Jay Laga’aia.

If you think you may have a problem with poker machines or any other form of gambling, help is available. Call Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 to speak with a gambling counsellor. Free individual sessions are available to anybody who might be concerned their gambling has gotten out of hand.

The Gambling Help website has a range of free resources and self-help tools available to download or order, as well as new community support forums where you can share your experiences and hear from others who are in similar situations. Visit www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au/forum to join the conversation.

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