Compulsive playing is an illness that affects many people every day. In my are a hypnotherapist I dealt with compulsive playing and other problem behavior and viewed as my clients tried different methods of controlling their playing behavior. Some people would try to stop playing by slowly tapering off and allowing idn poker themselves a little less playing per week. Others used the “cold turkey” method and quit completely.
I also saw my clients use similar methods in order to control other unwanted behavior like overeating, smoking, nail gnawing at, etc. After watching hundreds of people try to stop problem playing and control their playing problems, I have come to in conclusion that the best way to do it is by complete and immediate cessation. In other words, stop immediately , nor gamble at all.
There are obvious psychological reasons for this method, but also some physical ones as well. Psychologically speaking, trying to limit a problem behavior and ration it out is a losing battle because part of your mind becomes the parent and the other, usually the unconscious, becomes the child. Your unconscious is actually quite powerful and controls some of your bodily functions, memory, and other important parts of your life. Pitting the conscious mind contrary to the unconscious almost always results in the unconscious winning.
Another part of that struggle is that it is very tiring and drags out the inevitable. While problem playing is an addiction you will have for life, just how much time and effort do you wish to dedicate to that problem each day? Tapering off means you will still be dealing with it, considering it, measuring it and trying to limit it each day.
Most of my clients wanted to get over it and get on with their lives. We found the best way to do that was by reprogramming their unconscious minds with Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and well guided meditations that helped them to relieve the desire to gamble and also to relieve the tension caused by other areas of their lives.
Physiologically speaking, playing is a behavior and therefore, each time that you gamble or even imagine about playing, synaptic loops are formed and reinforced in your brain. So even playing less and constraining your gamble is stimulating those loops and making them stronger. When you consider constraining playing you are still forming loops and strengthening them, so while you may think you are controlling the playing, you are really reinforcing it and making it stronger so that when your unconscious is just about to make a power play, it sports a strong tool to use against your conscious mind.
If you are absolutely serious about stopping playing, the best method for dealing with compulsive playing, then i suggest well guided meditations, a good support group like Bettors Unknown, and complete cessation.