There is no question in my mind -- no question whatsoever -- that anyone who stays at gambling long enough will experience the fear factor.
What is it? The fear factor is something that happens to you when you suddenly realize that you are mortal and things don't always go as they should.
The fear factor is something you should understand rather than fear. If you gamble, you have agreed to accept the odds against you as something that goes with the territory. A champion swimmer cannot swim without water. Neither can anyone gamble without taking on risk.
Don't confuse this condition with the popular television show called 'The Fear Factor' where people set up their friends or relatives to be scared out of their minds by a staged incident. That was for fun. This fear factor is very, very real.
While some gamblers get as much out of the thrill as they do out of winning, it doesn't have to be that way. I have taught poker seminars and workshops. One of the things I first tell my students is that they should never fear any person in a casino or poker room.
'No matter what the person's name or reputation, they are human just like you,' I tell my students. 'While they may have some skills at poker, the fear factor can affect them just like it affects you.'
What is the fear factor?
It's a condition that creeps in when you lose too much too fast and you know it but cannot do anything about it. The sensation is like drowning in the air of your own existence. The only cure for it is to stop gambling, even if it's only temporary.
I like Las Vegas and Reno. I enjoy returning to those gaming meccas not just for the action but for the memories, the mountains, the clear desert air and much more.
When I feel like I have been spending too much time gambling, I change hobbies like we did recently when my family and I got away from casinos for four glorious days in Rocky Point, a seaside community about 100 miles south of Ajo, AZ.
Our time in Mexico was spent at the pool, at the beach or taking a boat for fishing or exploration. Never once -- well, maybe once -- did I think about poker, blackjack or the horses. And it paid off in spades. When I returned home, I did it with a bounce and came back with a considerable win.
If the fear factor persists and you find you cannot stop losing or rid yourself of the fear of losing seek professional help through Gamblers Anonymous or some other professional agency. Assistance is there. Just ask for it.