The Emotional Roller Coaster of Casino Gambling

By Daisy Williams
Published on August 05, 2023
Casino Gamblers

Happy, excited, grateful, optimistic, encouraged.

Disappointed, disgruntled, regretful.

It sounds kind of like a crazy version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, doesn’t it?

Instead, it’s just a tiny sampling of the emotions that people typically go through at least some of the time when they’re gambling, especially if betting is a frequent hobby or pursuit.

There are good days and bad days. Sometimes you start out with feeling great, and it can turn on a dime. Other times, you could be pleasantly surprised by the substantial number of credits or chips you’ve accumulated, as you just wanted to kill an hour or two playing a few games.

If there’s one thing you can say about betting, it’s that it’s not consistent. You can get on a bit of a roll where you win for quite some time. But that’s not going to last, as much as I, for one, wish it would every time I stake some money.

Casino games are designed to favor the house, though. Yes, some are better than others on the player’s end of things. But ultimately, the casino is the winner over the long-term.

So, if you look at a few of the emotions that I started out with, you can go from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of minutes. You can be excited about a big win and end up regretting risking any of your profit.

On the flip side, though, you may feel pretty beat down by many unsuccessful betting attempts, and one lucky deal or spin could turn things around for you, provoking an almost instant change of emotions.

Planning Ahead

If only I knew then what I know now… Wouldn’t that be a great way to gamble? Retrospect would be such a valuable tool.

Unless you have serious self-control, you’ve probably experienced what I have at least once if you enjoy casino games.

In for the Long Haul

I’m a fan of video poker, and I enjoy playing it. In fact, playing it for a few hours is my intent when I visit a casino. It’s an escape for me, and I love the opportunity to put away my phone, my access to email, and think about something other than the 150 things on my to-do list.

I guess you can say that I’m primarily more of a time-limit player rather than being outcome-driven. If I set aside the time to go and play, I’m not going to win twenty bucks and turn around and leave. I’m there for a few hours.

That’s not to say that I’m also not focused on winning. It would be crazy for me even to imply that, as I obviously want to walk out with more than I came in with, and I’d like it to be a LOT more.

Guaranteed Highs and Lows

I’m someone that really does run the gamut of the emotional scale. It’s not like I’m going to sit down, hit something decent, and turn around and leave with it. I’m going to play for a while, which means I’m sure to experience the highs and lows that accompany any casino betting, regardless of the game.

As much as I’d like to say that I’m in control and have a plan, that often goes by the wayside within a few minutes.

If I stuck to the program and left while I was ahead rather than wanting to keep playing just because I enjoy the gameplay itself, I’d be a much better player and have more expendable cash in my wallet.

The Danger of the Chase

In my opinion, one of the worst things you can do is to chase money in a casino, whether you’ve walked into a building or you’re playing online.

Prepare for Losing

When you embark on the chase, you’re almost always guaranteed to go through an emotional roller coaster. When you have a set bankroll that you’re not afraid to lose, then win or lose, you’re fine. You’ve risked what you intended and probably had some fun while betting.

Going in with the idea that you need money and that you can make things better by winning is what attracts so many gamblers but is also their downfall. I have chased before and almost always regretted it because it keeps you on the negative end of the spectrum.

I’ve walked into a local casino before with a few hundred in my pocket but knowing that if I could leave with a few thousand, life would just be so much better. I could breathe easier and focus on other things.

If this were a video, I’d get a big rubber stamp that reads “WRONG,” and emboss it over the entire screen.

Winning, of course, is what everyone is looking to do, but “needing” to win is a whole different story. That “need” can drive you batty.


I start out relatively hopeful. I have some money to play with and some chances to turn things around. Everything is fresh and new. I know the machines have something great in store for me. So, I wander around and find a place that looks promising. Can you really tell, though?

It’s time to give it a go, so I insert some cash and see my credit balance in place. I’ll soon be turning that into a cash-out ticket and a sigh of relief. After all, I’m feeling optimistic.

Okay, it’s not going quite as planned. My credits are jumping all over the place. But hey, just one perfect hand, and I’m flush (hopefully Royally).

Yikes. I just hit a string of bad hands, and I depleted my initial investment. But hey, I still have some money I can use, so I’ll replenish the machine, and I’m once again locked and loaded, ready for my big jackpot.


A full house, a few straights, but I haven’t hit anything substantial. But these hands are keeping me going. After all, just one perfect hand is all that I need.

At this point, though, I’m not feeling quite as hopeful. I intended to win immediately and keep winning. I don’t want to give the casino any more cash; I want to claim some instead.

Disappointed and Confused

I’m leaning now toward disappointed. It’s just not going the way I wanted. One more time, I’m down to zero.

Am I on the right machine?

If I leave now, it’ll probably hit on the next hand, and I’ll miss out on it.

Why isn’t this working? I’ve won before. I know it can be done.

Stay or go? Try something else?

No. I’ve invested a lot. It’s bound to hit. I know the statistics. There are good hands ready to appear.

Okay. I’m risking the last of my cash. I can’t believe I haven’t received anything. But there’s still a spark of hope left, or I wouldn’t keep playing, right?


I’m pretty close to zeroing out again. I’m now feeling so disgruntled and frustrated with the entire experience, as it’s not going to plan. Why didn’t I just keep the money to begin with? Now I’m farther behind than I was before I started. Ugh. It’s not a great feeling.

But wait. 2-2-2-2. Four deuces! That’ll do, won’t it? That’s $250!


It’s like a light switch flips, and I immediately go from disgruntled to the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m grateful, happy, and excited. I wasn’t wrong. I was supposed to win today.

So, of course, I should keep playing. After all, I’m here for thousands and not hundreds.

Excited and Enthusiastic

My balance continues to rise a little bit, and then it’ll fall, but it rebounds.

I’m excited, though. Things are entirely different. It’s going to be a great day.

I know the credits are bouncing around, but I look at the current balance, and I can’t quite figure out how it dropped so low.

How did I go from more than $250 to less than a hundred? That just doesn’t seem right. A hundred isn’t great, so I have to play for better hands. There’s a thousand-dollar royal with my name on it. I just know it.

Where is it, though?


I just flipped back from happy to disgruntled, upset, and confused just as fast as the four deuces took me to excited and grateful.

I won’t be deterred, though. There are plenty more jackpots just waiting to come out, so I keep playing, and playing, and playing until I’m at zero. Unbelievable. What did I just do? I intended to win, so how did I end up here, having lost my own money and the winnings that I had managed to accumulate?


I bet you can guess where I am now on the emotional scale. Regretful is the word that best describes my emotions at this time. I want to do it all over again. I’ll do a much better job managing my money and my emotions if I get another chance.

Instead, I leave feeling awful. Yes, I know that in a matter of days, it just won’t matter. After all, I’m not losing any significant amount of money. I have heard stories of people that just keep going until they have nothing left. I’m certainly not there, but I should know better in any case.

Just as I’ve won before, I’ve also lost plenty of times. I “should” have known to stop at the right time.

Happy, excited, and grateful is a much better state of mind than regretful. And I just can’t shake it. It’s with me as I walk out of the building and into the car, and my whole mindset has now changed.

The conversation I’m having in my head isn’t a pretty one.

Yes, those emotions are short-lived, but it’s best to stay away from that roller coaster of craziness. If I’m going to play, I need to go in with money to lose, and then winning is a fun surprise.

Everyone Has Their Stories

While my one particular story didn’t have a fairytale ending, I have experienced it in reverse. I don’t typically go from the disgruntled and regretful end of the stick to elated, but I have been stuck in neutral and then moved to excited and grateful.

Surprising wins are the best, aren’t they? If you manage them well and quit while you’re ahead, they can change your entire attitude.

Evident Emotions

While I internally shift to different emotional gears, I have seen many people outwardly stuck in one frame of mind, and it seems to hold, regardless of what’s happening at the table or the machine.

Have you ever been in the vicinity of someone that radiates anger whether they’re emptying their wallet and donating to the casino or the money is coming to them? I’m assuming that they’ve already lost a bunch, because why on earth would anyone be so miserable after receiving a few hundred dollars at a time?

They’re on autopilot when it comes to complaining. They sigh, grumble, slam their hands on the keys, or practically throw their cards at the dealer.

I’m just the observer, so I could be off base, but it seems to me that if you’re that unhappy all of the time, win or lose, then you should steer clear of casinos. Their “roller coaster of emotions” seems to encompass just the negative end of the stick. There are no highs and lows - just plenty of lows.

The Positive Person

I’d much rather be around the person that stays on the positive end of the stick. They’re enjoying the experience, and when they win, they just get that much more excited. I’m sure some of them are putting on a good act and experiencing internal turmoil if things aren’t going their way.

But others really are just positive people having fun, playing within their limits, and staying in the excited, happy, and grateful mode.

The Never-Ending Conclusion

We’re human, and we’re going to experience emotions in every situation. I don’t know anyone who can remain neutral and unaffected by the curve balls that life can throw at you.

Whenever money is involved, like in gambling, feelings are amplified. Big wins feel so good. But significant losses can really take a toll on you if you’re not prepared.

Retrospect is always beneficial, and we do have it when it comes to gambling. We know that we’re either going to win or lose, and losing is a better than 50-50 proposition. Armed with that knowledge, it makes sense to be prepared.

If you plan to bet, bankroll yourself with money you can afford to lose. Don’t chase the elusive win, because more often than not, you’ll be disappointed. Pull up a betting site or walk into a casino with the intent to have some fun, hone your playing skills, maybe talk to a few friendly people, and get away from life’s non-stop to-do lists.

It might sound a little airy-fairy, but playing for fun tends to be a more effective winning formula than putting out the needy vibe. Your wallet will thank you, and your mind will appreciate the much-needed rest.

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Casino Gambling
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The Emotional Roller Coaster of Casino Gambling
Gambling of any kind can lead to an array of different emotions. Here I explain the various emotions you’re likely to experience when playing casino games.
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