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Online gambling - a visceral personality test

Looked at from the right angle everything in life is a kind of personality test. Any single thing you do is capable of marking you out as a particular kind of person.

If you clean your sneakers in the washing machine, that makes you a very different character type from someone who sits on the back porch with a bucket of soapy water, and both of those approaches will make you a different species to the slob who never cleans their sneakers at all.

Some of those characteristics are up front and in your face. You know what you do with your sneakers, right? You're not going to wake up one morning and suddenly discover - 'oh my God I'm one of those compulsive obsessive washing machine types!'

But there are some things that do sneak up on you all the same. Here's an example.

Online casinos and betting sites are a growing trend - they account for billions of dollars of spend every year and millions and millions of people use them to gamble in a relaxed and casual fashion. So what we're talking about here is not something that's exotic in any way. This isn't at the same extreme pitch of self-discovery as finding out whether or not you're a cliff edge trembler or bungee screamer. Online casinos offer a pretty sedate form of awareness-raising by comparison.

But it is one that - as they say - cuts straight to the chase.

Very quickly you have to start making decisions based in part on your math (if you've got a pair of queens but three of a suit which is the more likely to turn up a winning poker hand?) and in part on something that is less scientific.

Casino games force you to commit to a course of action. 'I don't know' is not an acceptable answer. In the process they reveal exactly how you behave under pressure. You can diligently work through the equations, you can trust to luck and take a punt, or you can back away and 'fold', leaving the glory and the winnings to someone who is maybe no better at weighing the odds, but who might just be a little bolder.

The same logic applies to talking about a sports event. Anyone can make a casual prediction about who they think might win. It takes a form of courage to back that prediction with cold hard cash. Anyone arguing for the certainty of their insight but who is not prepared to back that up in the form of a bet is maybe not as certain as thy would like you to believe.

We all like to think we know how we'd react under pressure. But the truth is, when it comes to the crunch, and when there is real money to be won or lost, it is then - and only then - that we find out where we're at.

Never mind all those formal personality tests, and park the mountain bike, the parachute and all those outdoor adventure pursuits for a while; spending time at an online casino or sports betting site will tell you precisely what sort of a person you are. And the good news is, you won't have to get you sneakers dirty to find out!

Will Turner PhD is a writer and broadcaster. He plumbs his inner depths riding mountain bikes and running over the hills of northern England. He is fearless in the face of technical descents, but is possibly the most timid poker player on the planet. He is a pretty mixed up character!

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