May 7th, 2010
03:53 PM ET

In gambling, brain explains attraction of near-misses

By Elizabeth Landau
CNN.com Health Writer/Producer

You pull the lever on the slot machine and get two cherries and a lemon. Or you throw down dice and get a six, then an eight, when you were aiming for a seven. So close! Play again!

We get a rush from playing games that we feel like we've almost won, but have lost by a small margin. For people who gamble, the allure of the "near miss" can keep the dice rolling, the slots turning, and the money slipping away.

A new study in the Journal of Neuroscience looks deeper into the mind of the gambler. Psychology researchers Henry Chase and Luke Clark looked at 20 regular gamblers. Participants varied from recreational gamblers to "pathological gamblers," meaning their habits may interfere with everyday life.

Researchers scanned the brains of these gamblers while they performed a simplified slot machine task. Although the sample size is small, studies that make use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tend to have fewer participants than survey-based experiments, and can still have important implications.

The study found that near-miss outcomes during gambling involve the brain's reward system; in particular, areas called the ventral striatum and the anterior insula.

A previous study on healthy volunteers also found that near misses are linked with heightened activity in these same brain regions associated with monetary wins.

Scientists have long known that a small cluster of brain cells that release a chemical called dopamine have been associated with addiction, but there has never been a clear explanation for it.

"This study provides an important advance in our understanding of how the brain's reward circuits underlie one form of addictive behavior, pathological gambling," said Steven Quartz, director of the California Institute of Technology’s Brain, Mind, and Society Ph.D. program, who was not involved in the study. "Many modern games of chance, especially slot machines, compel some people to play repeatedly even when they are not winning," he said in an e-mail.

Chase and Clark also showed that the more severe a person's gambling is, the more these near misses trigger the reward circuit. But the brain region in question is also involved in learning. That means the gambler's brain may be "tricked" into thinking that it is learning new information about the environment through near misses, Quartz said.

"Ultimately, a better understanding of the rewarding effects of near misses may have implications for both treating problem gambling and for regulatory practices of the gambling industry," he said.

The authors noted that they did not take into account such conditions as nicotine dependence and personality disorders, which may have impacted the brains and behaviors of participants. Also,the group of regular gamblers in this study was almost all male.

Further research is necessary to determine more conclusively how the minds of gamblers work.

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soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Self-Denial

    I do believe there's limitations and boundaries involving in gambling. I used to gamble and a lot has to do with the reinforcement of rewards, it is a Euphoric kind of state. I do believe Dopamine is involve and the feeling of getting a rush to such an extreme, especially with Universal praise like money, the rewards are endless.

    The mind is a whole other aspect but do think behaviorally, is more understandable and acceptable explanation. The fact that many aspects go through it and being able to "predict" certain outcomes is a bold approach. But it is true that some people can't control their urges, a lot has to do with self-control.

    I know people who do it, gamble on a consistent basis, whether in the slots, machines, casinos or the illegal way(ain't none of your godd-- biz), is gratifying. I think is safe to say that greed is in fact a sin.

    May 7, 2010 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. eric

    And have you ever noticed that if you have a dollar scratch-off, and you need to get the number...17 for instance, that more often than not one of the first numbers you will see is a 16 and one the last youll reveal is an 18...coincidence?

    May 7, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. J Schneck, Kailua, Hawaii

    The problem with this statement "Or you throw down dice and get a six, then an eight, when you were aiming for a seven. So close! Play again" is that you NEVER aim for a seven. Seven is the death # for dice players. As a player, that makes the rest of the article moot as your analogy has failed.

    You should take some Craps lessons before writing your next article and never play at my table and you are the kind of player that drives me crazy!


    May 7, 2010 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Vincent Testeclese

    What dice game would you want to throw a seven after throwing a six? Am I missing something?

    May 7, 2010 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Brad

      Craps – if you hit your point of 6, you'd want the next roll to be a 7, so you win on the pass line... just an FYI!

      January 10, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse |
  5. Jake

    "Chase and Clark also showed that the more severe a person's gambling is, the more these near misses trigger the reward circuit."

    Hence the allure of derivatives based on the wholly improvable theory of global warming.

    May 8, 2010 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Charlotte Crist

    I've always noticed with gamblers (I'm one) that almost no one is ever truthful about their losses, and tend to over estimate their wins. The most you may get from them is "I'm just about even"....well, "even" did not build the many casinos. Someone had to lose to do that.

    May 8, 2010 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bob

    This is exactly what happens while playing slots. I see the pattern repeats itself at different casinos and on different slot machines. The machines tease you repeatedly with near misses, even though, you are conscious of what it is doing, your brain keeps you going thinking it may be different this time i.e. that you will win but it never happens. The only solution that I've found to minimize losses is to limit the amount of money you take into the casino.

    May 8, 2010 at 05:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Willard Brown

    I believe the slot machine companies are well aware of this phenomenon
    And purposely program their machines to exhibit "near misses".

    May 8, 2010 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bob

    "Reward center" is not an appropriate name for the anterior insula and the ventral striatum. The ventral striatum is essentially a signal amplifier that guides the brain into specific thought patterns. If the striatum, in conjunction with the insula and other brain areas determine that a reward is likely then it will guide behavior in that direction. Thus, it should be considered more to be the reward acquisition center. It has little to do with concluding that what it is going after is a reward – it is only involved in determining the effort put into getting the perceived reward. However, strong rewards train this area of the brain to seek out such strong rewards, and this effect persists even when the objectives are no longer rewarding. This is the key to understanding addiction.

    May 8, 2010 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Ben Baker

    As a ex – smoker, as well as a couple of other addicting habits, i will admit gambling has been the hardest for me to kick , for over 15 years no matter the situation in my life , i will always find the spread on a sports game and let it roll , as recent as last night the over / under (which is the combined score of both teams , that is set before the game starts ) which in this case was between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs an NBA game was 206 and a half , the final score was 110 to 96 , i lost by the half point , just another near miss i guess and yes i will try again today .

    May 8, 2010 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Not a gambler

    that's all very interesting. I am not a gambler, never have been. I can't even remember the last time I "played" the lottery. But my question, can't this same study/theory be applied to the use of cell phone texting and thos IPods/IPads, especially the phone texting?

    May 8, 2010 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bernadette

    When someone play craps in the casino, no one aims for a number seven. It is the losing and the only number a player does not want to hear or spoken. I was a casino dealer for nearly 20 years.

    May 8, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Alan.A.Mick

    The ironic aspect of this behavior is that there really is no "near miss" in gambling – the odds of a result that seems "near to" the desired result are the same as any other, and nothing the gambler can do will "improve" his performance. Thus as useful biological mechanism that helps us improve our skills results in a compulsive and destructive behavior.

    May 8, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Allanna P.

    I developed a small but growing gambling problem many years ago with my ex husband who had a big problem. I started out slowly and the VLTs held no lure for me at the beginning. As time went on, I started to understand the game and its attraction grew stronger.
    After losing almost everything because of my husband, I got rid of him and the trauma of those events caused me to quit playing the machines completely. Many months later, my system "crashed" and the doctor put me on paxil (20mg) for 2 weeks. When I was told to just stop taking the pills, my system went into a nosedive and left me in a depression which hit me like a tidal wave and also cost me 2 days of work. From then on, I've been on paxil (10mg) once a day and can't get off it. After that, I noticed when my friends would play the machines, I became intrigued to the point that I developed a full blown addiction. If I don't play for a few weeks, I start getting jittery (much like giving up smoking – which I do) and now when I play the machines, I can't seem to give them up until I'm exhausted – even if I win.
    I am an anglophone living in Quebec, so the help is always in french and I'm not able to get to a gambling assistance program. Presently the Quebec government raised the odds in their favor to 69-31% which so angered me that once again I'm trying to stay away.
    I would be interested in any articles you have on this problem so that hopefully a greater understanding of how the machines attract and keep you there would help me to give up this addiction once and for all. Thank you.

    May 8, 2010 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. sherri

    I seldom (maybe once a year) got to a casino and play the slots for an hour. When I bet 18 credit and the machine tells me I just "won" 5, I know it means I lost 13.

    I think there should be a law that lets the player know this because with all the lights, bells and sounds, it makes it sound like you won when you really lost.

    People who don't think this through are the ones they are after, of course.

    But a machine that tells you both your 'wins' and losses might help. In fact, they should just saw "lost 13" because you didn't win a thing (in my exampe)

    May 8, 2010 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Billy

    Near Misses,
    To me is a way the machine and the program entices a person to place more money into the machine.If you cycle the slots with the minimum say 1-cents.The near misses come faster and more times than if you place the maximum amount.
    As all machines tell you,you have to max out your bet to will the total jackpot?So playing less that the max means less chances of hitting any jackpot.
    The more money placed in the machine,in theory brings less NEAR MISSES,out of per say 10 spins.
    Playing the lessor bets makes the program promote higher NEAR MISSES,per say 10 spins.
    That psyche leads a player to place more money into the machine,which in turns brings about less NEAR MISSES,MAINLY DUE TO THE WAY IT WAS PROGRAMED. THIS IS WHY I DO NOT PLAY SLOTS–CAN'T BEAT A COMPUTER.

    May 8, 2010 at 12:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Billy

    Near Misses,
    To me is a way the machine and the program entices a person to place more money into the machine.If you cycle the slots with the minimum say 1-cents.The near misses come faster and more times than if you place the maximum amount.
    As all machines tell you,you have to max out your bet to win the total jackpot?So playing less that the max means less chances of hitting any jackpot.
    The more money placed in the machine,in theory brings less NEAR MISSES,out of per say 10 spins.
    Playing the lessor bets makes the program promote higher NEAR MISSES,per say 10 spins.
    That psyche leads a player to place more money into the machine,which in turns brings about less NEAR MISSES,MAINLY DUE TO THE WAY IT WAS PROGRAMED. THIS IS WHY I DO NOT PLAY SLOTS–CAN'T BEAT A COMPUTER.

    May 8, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Philip

    Wouln't these same regions of the brain control response and attitude towards video gaming?

    May 8, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Regina P

    I wonder if anyone has ever explored a genetic component to gambling addiction? I have 4 male family members (2 deceased) who have/had compulsive gambling disorders, so badly that they lost nearly everything they had because of it. Their thought processes and decisions regarding money always seemed so easy and natural to them, but were totally unfathomable to me (emptying bank accounts with total disreagrd for paying bills; maxing out credit cards habitually; even signing over deeds to property!!). It is truly a sickness, no doubt about it.

    May 8, 2010 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Susan J.

    There is hope for the pathological gambler – Gamblers Anonymous.

    May 8, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. don alton

    Re:Slots gambling..
    One thing to remember in slot gambling is the RNG(random number generator)and this is working all the time,
    It does NOT matter if you are close to a winning combo..it only matter if you are LUCKY to hit the RNG no,,
    You have to be be at the right place and at the right time..nothing else matters,,to win..
    Once you tell your brain this...then you are not unhappy with a no result.
    You possiblbly alredi know this ..but this is fot the newbies..


    May 8, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Vic Lontoc

    When it comes to slot machines, an all women group study will provide a better evidence of your "near miss" theory. If you look at casinos, there are more women playing the slots than men; and more women get addicted to slot machines. The casinos know this. The machines are calibrated for near misses to entice the player to put more money thinking they are very close to hitting the jackpot. The sad part of all this is that the state support this idea. Here in Ontario, Canada where I live, there are so many casinos and the provincial government is making a "killing" on these addicted souls. Then out of hipocracy, they post a sign that if you need help, call this number... They should put a stop to this nonsense, as the machines are badly rigged.

    May 8, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Eugene Frank MD

    As a psychiatrist I feel articles such this carry the most negative of imperatives: it is not you, personally, who is totally and irrevocably responsible for your behavior, good or bad, it is a dysfunctional part of your brain. Atavistic treatments are recorded as early as the Egyptian Pharaohs, trephining and is concomitants, were sure to cure, or kill.

    Psychiatry is divided into two theoretical approaches to treatment: the organic vs the functional. In the former, all human behavioral and emotional disorders can be solved by drugs/chemicals/physical interventions. In the latter, human dysfunctionality is sourced in an interaction of nature vs nurture, both of which can be explored, understood and dealt with. This talk-therapy approach encourages choices through self-understanding and ultimately self-fulfillment.

    The former promises a cure for all, with the appropriate molecules: the latter challenges you to put your human strengths and motivation as the curative power: If this be therapy, prayer, ritual or behavior modification, you are responsible for the outcome.

    The organic approach can never give you a sense of personal achievement, mastery over your life and a resulting empowerment: the doctor and his drugs take the credit, but you and your body take the blame for failure. This simplification explains that your health is either dependent on your choosing the best MD to do the prescribing, etc., or on mobilizing your self-investment and accepting our human limitations.

    May 8, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sebastian

    I have personally ruined my life with gambling addition. It is a big problem and I fear it is only growing with the spread of casino gambling as a source of municipal and state revenues.

    Before you get too judgemental and conclude that only lowly educated, non-achievers, are impacted by cumpulsive gambling, know that I; have never smoked a cigarette in my life, have never taken a drug in my life, have never drank more that one or two cocktails in in evening in my life.

    I am a graduate of highly renown state university with a degree in engineering and I hold an MBA from one of the best Ivy league business schools. I was a the top executive for a division of a company in California. I am one of the most logical, intelligent people you could ever meet ... outside of the casino.

    I lost my job under highly political circumstances, then I started gambling to cope. My 20 year marriage was weak and sexless for more than 10 years. With no spousal emotional support I just spiralled down until I had nothing left. Overbrook Productions ... you need to reach out to me ... this is an Oscar worthy story.

    Don't think this couldn't happen to you. It could.

    May 8, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Lawrence of Solvang

    This near-miss study of gamblers is very interesting. The old simple slot machines were guaranteed a lot of near misses, but the new complicated video slots leave the gambler wondering what happened! I'd like to see a comparison between the old and the new. Another facet of gamblers is that they tend to lie about their losses and exaggerate their winnings–I wonder if that affects their entire approach to life?

    May 8, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. catlady11

    i have been married to a gambler for 6 years. he is so addicted to it. he would rather gamble away what he has than save his marriage.what do you do??i finally decided to divorce him.he isnt willing to give up his addictions to save his marriage and its all killing me.

    May 8, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Joseph

    This infomation is nothing new, The Gambling industry so far have been admonished for this type of behavior time and time again , The regulation of the Gaming Commision has found that "Near misses" are "natural" to a game of true randomness and cannot be avoided , and cannot be blamed for one persons brain compared to another
    The Whole point is if they want to determine if a persons a true addict , then this would be Proof that near misses react in an addicts brain compared to a non addicts brain , If you start to remove the near missess from the equation then you have manipulated the true odds of a slot machine , I am not saying that this cannot be done with modern computer generated RNG's but what is the next thing that will be modified ??? the Payout and the RGN are 2 variables within an algorithm to determine a payout schedule and the near miss should be considered nothing more than a losing even for that spin , (on top of all this the machine has no memory of the last spin or the next one ) However the addicts brain see this and does think that and in Interprets the solution for that spin differently than the true outcome = another losing spin , so education is the key to helping addicts and as anything else that has the ability for a person with an addiction problem would be total abstinence. ( until someone invents a pill to return an addicts abilitity to control their addiction total abstinence is the only sure solution) sorry thats just the way it is and sadly 80% or more of the Casinos revenue is generated by 2% of the Problem Gamblers .. Just another way for one person to take advantage of another and call it legalized stupidity

    May 8, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Steve Harris

    This sounds like it might be part of the alcoholics drive to drink again after making it home driving drunk. "even though I was "kind of drunk" I made it home" When I was drinking I felt relief that I made it. I would say I won't get that drunk again and next night I would do it again.

    I'm also very interested in the reaction of people to addiction.
    I went to a public meeting about an Oxford house in a neighborhood and many residence reacted with such fear they could hardly ask a question.
    A local Judge in a highly publicized DUII case, told the defended "it's a choice not a disease".
    Treatment is shown that for every dollar spent it saves $5 to $7 dollars in other cost to states yet we keep spending money on solutions that don't work.

    These reactions or lack of understanding cost our country billions of wasted dollars. This is the other side to " it's A:WAYS a good idea to double down"

    May 8, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Helene Oakes

    The article isn't talking about near misses, it's talking about near hits!

    May 8, 2010 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Penny K

    I live with my son, aged 46, and his son, about to graduate. I knew he had a gambling problem from time to time, but I had never seen it close up. In 3 1/2 years he has pawned 3 cars to gamble, and lost them. We are about to be evicted, being 2 plus months behind on rent. Yet 4 months ago he won 30K; he just kept gambling until everything was gone, plus anything he had bought with the money. Yesterday we had a garage sale to raise money for groceries and lunch money.

    I don't see a lot of difference between his behavior and Wall Street, nor do I have much hope for the outcome of either.[ Derivatives are nothing but side bets, and so are stocks, beyond the initial offering]. I think there's something to be said for living simply for our daily bread.At least it's there in front of you.

    Gambling is a lot about fantasy. It's about the fantasy of making a living gambling. Work becomes less real [yes my son works as well].
    And now it's become an industry, like any other, and instead of making steel, the nation is making bet.

    My father had a real, productive business, but gambled on the side under stress, which made things worse. Gambling won.

    Just thought I'd put my two cents in. No, I've never been in a casino.
    I have the viewpoint of someone who lives on the other side of the fantasy.

    May 9, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jon

    The first mistake in gambling is gambling. There's no strategy in winning on a slot machine. Most of the games in casinos are heavily luck oriented. You have no control. So anybody who mistakes near-misses as an opportunity for learning needs their head looked at.

    A game, on the other hand, is not the same as a slot machine. While there're chance occurrences based on a randomly generated number, this represents only a very small factor in your ability to win the game. Every mistake and near-miss is a chance to learn what went wrong.

    The way I see this is as a ratio. Luck / Strategy. The higher the value the less control you have over the outcome and the more vulnerable you're to being exploited by businesses like casinos. The real perplexing issue here is why don't people learn that they don't get better? Could it be that people have an irrational view that they can somehow "read" the slot machine to become better at it? I wouldn't be surprised because people consider fictional books like the bible as factual reality.

    May 9, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Denise

    I was married for 18 yrs to a compulsive gambler. I married very youngat 18 and had two children with this man. The highs and lows of being married to a compulsive gambler are devastating to a family. When you finally become broke and they still can't stop even after they've lost it all, family, finances, job etc...and have caused all around them to live through that as well it's a life long hurt for all. Since our divorce in the past 10 yrs I have seen poker become a t.v. pasttime and such common pastime on satelite tv that seems excepted by most people. My new Husband and I even have a daughter who is a dealer at a casino in Shreveport and is married to a gambler who thinks he is intellectually so smart that he can't lose. They have two children.... It all breaks my heart as I feel history repeating itself and no words of advice helps, but as a survivor of that during one stage of my life I can see it happening. Casual recreational gambling for those who can walk away is one thing but for competitive people at heart it's a no win deal and just takes time for the people they love and even themselves to see it.

    May 9, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. elle

    As a problem gambler (slots), this is what happens: play 3 lines, line 4 will hit big. play 7 lines, it'll be line 9 that hits. but play those higher lines, you won't hit. is it fixed? sure it is. learning curve? the casinos are counting on it. matter of fact that's the one and only thing a gambler CAN count on. house wins, every time.

    May 9, 2010 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Ro

    Wow, this is an interesting study. It is amazing how slot machines make a play at the learning system of your brain. It is true that the closer one is to the desired out come, the more the brain will try to reach that out come in the same way. This is nature's most effective way of help "man" reach the outcome he or she wants without wasting precious energy (because it is a near miss so only slight corrections are needed).

    However, gambling is a game of random chance. One's chances of getting the a jackpot on the next pull of the slot machine could be even better or worse than the following pull. This is because the jackpot on a slot machine randomizes every moment.

    One can see from this article casinos are able to take advantage of such an embedded impulse of human beings. Very interesting indeed.

    May 10, 2010 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. DC Dunne

    As with many activities we engage in, better knowledge of how the activity, in this case gambling, affects the brain my lead to strategies that could help players successfully avoid the compulsive behavior which causes them to lose money beyond their personal limit. The research certainly works toward understanding how the casino operators fund those billion dollar gaming palaces in Vegas (and I love them).

    May 10, 2010 at 08:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Summer25123

    Hey Willard I absolutely agree...I live in a town where we have all these "video parlors" and I happen to know a couple of the owners personally...and the machines are regulated, but the owners can decide how they want the machines to "pay out" which isn't alot of the time...you get little winnings...$50. $100., but never the so called "LOCK UP"

    May 10, 2010 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Mike

    I believe in Vegas slot machines are not allowed to be programmed to show a disproportionate number of near misses. If a machine is programmed to hit 7-7-7 1 out of 10 times, it's not allowed to display 7-7-X the other 9. It must be truly random/odds driven. While most gamblers may hide their losses and brag about their winnings, NOT Craps players! Oh no, they love to talk about how much they've lost.

    May 10, 2010 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. NeuroEv

    There's an evolutionary basis for this: The "reward" that is most salient for animals (including early humans) is food. If an animal has a near-miss with food, it makes sense for the animal to try again, learning from its first try about how to get the reward the next time. If an animal gave up after a near-miss, it might miss its next meal completely – animals with reward mechanisms to motivate them to keep trying are more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on that trait to offspring.

    As humans, we've just masterfully created environments that hijack our interest in pursuing rewards – and wind up with all kinds of addictions, including gambling. And as to pursuing food rewards – well, look at the obesity epidemic.

    It's not that food, sex, and entertainment are bad – far from! It's just that doing too much of anything that deliberately hijacks reward systems is going to rewire your brain – for the worse!

    You can undo the damage – but the work of undoing is so much harder than not having started in the first place.

    May 10, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Debra-Reno

    When I first moved to Reno from So Cal, I found some stats on who gambles here. Then it was a 54-year-old woman who played video poker.

    Almost 15 years later, I agree that video poker is still top game. And that most of the gamblers are women.

    I gamble a couple times a week trying to use the promos the casinos send. My control is I take only the cash I can afford to lose. Only once came back home to get more cash to win back my earlier losses and lost that too. Lesson learned. Most the time I leave after a couple of hours now because I can't stand the cigarette smoke.

    We have a lot of stupid penny games and I call them stupid because they are mostly played by the the down-and-out folks who don't have the $ to gamble with but smoke the whole time while playing 3 cents a hand. Also don't have tip $ and try to get free drinks. Therefore, the waitress doesn't want to come around.

    After reading about trying to get "7", I also questioned if the writer knew what they are talking about. I think I am getting more out of the comments than the article.

    May 10, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kimberly

    I'm not a gambler and never have been. In fact, I've never even once bought a lottery ticket or whatever those scratch off things are!

    However, my father is a gambler. It's so sad. When he comes out to visit for a week, he ends up spending five of those seven days at the casino, coming to our place to shower and freshen up, maybe watch a little TV and grab a nap, then he sneaks out to the casino again. He never admits he was gambling; he just goes out to "get a quick cup of coffee" and then we don't see him again for two days.

    When he calls to say that he's "dying to see his grandbaby" (our daughter), we've learned that it's code for "I've got the gambling itch." He hardly sees his grandchild at all when he's here...

    May 10, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. SadSandy

    My husband's gambling has destroyed our lives. We have lost everything. I left him for a year, but he developed cancer and I have been his caregiver. We've been married 32 yrs. Even with cancer, he will stay out all night at a casino. GA didn't help because he thinks he doesn't have a problem. I will be left a widow, without a dime to my name. Why should I have to suffer for his addiction?

    May 10, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Smith in Oregon

    Apparently DARPA and the US Military science contractors have researched this for many years in helping to develop a 'No Fear' pill which has successfully been tested on volunteers and military recruits.

    May 10, 2010 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ro

    Actually I think the author is trying to say is because a six and eight are close to seven that we get the near miss feeling.

    However, he does need to restate this first sentence cause everyone is getting confused.

    Oh yeah @JS. You do need to remember that there is only one time the seven is "not considered death." That is the come out roll. One wants a seven or eleven on this. You are right that the author did not state his sentence correctly but I think we just misunderstood the intention of the sentence.

    (Nice to meet a Hawaii guy on this forum. Thought I would be the only one.)

    May 11, 2010 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. sam hayo

    well not true at all . my theory is way differenet. ok, the casino has absolute control over the slots. there is no miss hit, but simple mark up. the casino, like any business, makes sure that they have profit eg for the day. Once they are happy, the casino computer programmers, release the wins. small but enough to satisfy some gamblersThe skam is that throughout the day there are mini wins, those are the true MISS HIT instead of the big winns.Proof; wen someone wins jack pot they have hope for big win, but when pointing at the possible wins, they get only mini wins 50 d max . the hole system of gambling is a big skam, donation to the casino only. but for retirees who want to get out of their house and have fun loosing 30-40 d its fine. the gamblers should always bring what they expect to loose. i think 70 to 80 d is the max for every healthy minded USA gambler.

    May 12, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Ryan Martinez

    being a computer programmer myself makes me very proud of my job:*"

    August 12, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Alfie Davies

    gambling problems are sometimes hard to cure, and it could lead to financial meltdown too *

    September 1, 2010 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. pokerbot

    top notch writing and I am into the website but what about the ugly problem of collusion in online poker?

    December 11, 2010 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RFID Reader

    my brother has a gambling problem and he just burned a thousand bucks in one night "*;

    December 13, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Colene Laranjo

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    December 27, 2010 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Income Infuser Review

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    January 3, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.