If you’ve ever been caught off guard or noticed that nothing is going your way on a certain day, then you know that sometimes our emotions can get the best of us – especially when gambling. I’m here to let you know that it’s okay, it happens to everyone. All you can do is try to harness your reactions and feelings, and deal with them in a healthy way. After reading this how to on keeping your cool, you will have mastered the perfect poker face.

First things first, understand that every person is different. We all have feelings and often, when enough is enough, things get to be too much, and those feelings boil over. It’s human nature, and we are social creatures whose emotions dictate our ability to form communities and drive our most inherent instincts. In daily life, these sensibilities are super important and can transform your life for the better. Think about having an honest discussion with your friends or partners – without emotions much of life would be devoid of meaning. But the truth is that each human has a different threshold and varying ways of coping when that threshold has been crossed. Some people punch holes in walls while others start sobbing uncontrollably. I definitely consider myself one of the latter and, believe me, it’s not a pretty sight.

So, while feeling things can be wonderful, I want to focus on learning to gain control of your negative and sometimes volatile emotions. Horror stories of emotions gone awry at casinos are nothing new. But the people who can’t control these tendencies are also losing their ability to play well, think clearly, and come away from the gambling experience with positive associations. It’s a shame, considering gambling can be incredibly fun and rewarding when approached in a constructive way.

Always remember, a cool head can save you from a lot of trouble as well as spending your entire bankroll.

Control your emotions quote

The expression “poker face” is based heavily on this principle. Regardless of whether a player has a good or bad hand, they hide what they’re thinking in order to best manipulate other players. They can make others think they have a great hand to fold, or a bad hand so others will raise. But none of this would happen without emotional control.

Step 1: Figure out what’s going on

Gambling emotionThe first step in avoiding a code red meltdown is understanding there are emotions at play. These can involve outwardly expressed, action emotions like anger and sadness. But there are also internally felt emotions, ones that deal with confidence and self-worth. At casinos, it’s quite common to feel bad about yourself if the person next to you keeps winning and you can’t pull out of an unlucky streak. You could feel bad enough that you want to put down the cards forever and never gamble again. The difference is that while you may think you are bad at a particular game, the truth of the matter is that you only feel like you’re bad. If you can learn to identify when emotions are clouding your perception of reality, then you’re already starting to master your emotions.

Step 2: Know your emotions aren’t you

Recognizing the fact that you’re feeling something isn’t always enough. Negative thoughts can bypass logic and continue to create a vacuum of self-doubt within you. So the next step in getting a handle on your emotions is understanding the biological underpinnings of your body’s response to emotions.

Try to remember the last intense argument you had; there must have been a lot of shouting and things were said that you or the other person didn’t necessarily mean. But it was still said in the heat of the moment. It happens because when your body is in a state of stress, chemical reactions take place, causing the release of hormones like adrenaline. This serves the evolutionary purpose of creating a fight or flight instinct within us, to help us survive.

The problem with this, especially in nuanced social situations like gambling, is the reaction causes your body to act before you can apply any logic to your emotions. So even though you can be a smart and reasonable person, if you get upset, it’s quite easy to lose control of the situation. Having that knowledge should motivate you to minimize the possibility of exposing yourself to a potential freaking out.

Step 3: Cool down

Gambling emotions controlOnce you understand your emotions and how they can affect your actions, cooling down is the next important step. It’s quite easy. All you have to do is recognize that your body’s stress level is rising and remove yourself from whatever is causing it. Cool down techniques vary from person to person, but a few tried and true ones include physical release through exercise, getting some fresh air and letting your mind wander by taking a walk, or even breathing deeply and entering a meditative state.

The main focus of this is not engaging with the cause of your emotional distress, because not thinking things out could get you into a lot of trouble. By allowing your body to calm down, you are also giving your mind a chance to catch up and sort through all of your thoughts. If you already know yourself well enough to know exactly what you need to do, that’s great. Otherwise find what works best for you through trial and error. I promise you will be cool and collected in no time.

Step 4: Create the ideal situation

If you know being present in certain situations is more likely to set you off on an emotional rampage, then the answer is simple: avoid it altogether. If there’s a person who keeps ticking you off or a game you just can’t seem to get the hang of, pack up and move on. Not only will it give you a chance to cool down, it will also help you avoid future highly emotional situations. If you are naturally shy and nervous or highly competitive, for example, a good way to minimize opportunities where you might lose your cool is to gamble through an online casino, like Planet 7. There’s something to be said about composing yourself out of the public eye, where you can hit pause and grab a drink or get some fresh air. And what better way to be comfortable and calm than wearing your pajamas!

Step 5: Recap

You are only human and will always feel emotions. Every now and then you might feel the urge to have an emotional outburst, and that’s totally normal. The only thing you can do is learn how to best handle the situation and not let these strong feelings take over your brain. So walk away, cool off, figure out why you are having these feelings and what is causing them, then develop a system to better avoid freaking out.

Especially with activities like gambling, it is important to find your boundaries before starting; What do you want to get out of this experience, how much are you willing to spend, and what kind of interactions do you want to have with others? Once these boundaries are in place, don’t push them, ever. Just pack up and walk away. After a few moments, you will be grateful for this restraint. If you’re not sure what your boundaries are yet, test the waters with low-risk situations. Planet 7 is an excellent place to get started, as it has a wide variety of casino games and the minimal social and financial pressure that come with online gambling. Now it’s time to log on and have some fun!

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Nick Johnson is a lover of game theory and mathematics. After years as a quant on Wall Street, Nick stepped out of the fast lane to become a stay at home dad and write. After chasing the kids around all day and tucking his little ones in bed, Nick loves to relax playing in online Casinos and is a life-long poker enthusiast.