What does your favorite casino game say about you?

Choose your favorite gamble and see what it has to say about your personality.

What does your favorite casino game say about you?

Opinion piece by Dr. Lindsay Weisner

Some people are drawn to the poker table, while others are content to play slots for hours. Your personality has a lot to do with how you spend your time at the casino, including whether you prefer to gamble online in the comfort of your own home, or in person with friends or strangers. With gambling rapidly becoming more and more accessible, the more you know about your strengths and weaknesses, the safer it is for you to play. But the human psyche is so much more complex than most of us realize.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

A cat person or a dog person?

Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?

It is easy to understand who you are on a surface level, but what about the bigger piece of how our subconscious needs and wants can guide us into making mistakes in how we interpret our environment on an emotional and cognitive level? Previously, we discussed the cognitive biases, or errors in thinking, that might negatively affect your success at the table.

In this article we will use two well-established personality tests to get a better understanding of not only why you choose the games you do, but also how you choose to play, how much of a risk you are willing to take, and how you determine when to walk away from the table.

However, you shouldn't see the insights provided in this article as the sole determinant of your personality, but rather as one of the many useful tools that can give you a slightly better understanding of your psyche, along with possibly improving your skills as a player and guiding you to gamble with less risk.

What is a personality test?

A personality test is a series of questions designed to identify an underlying pattern in your behavior to help you better understand who you are as a person and why you behave the way you do. There are many personality tests, but for the purpose of this article, we selected two well-known and highly explored personality tests: The Big Five and the Enneagram of Personality, also known simply as the Enneagram.

The Big Five

The Big Five originated in the 1980s for the purpose of finding a pattern between school performance and personality. It has been researched and refined by at least four independent research teams.

Simply put, a lot of different people spent a lot of time making sure that this personality test was scientifically valid. What qualifies something as scientifically valid? First, does the personality test measure what it is supposed to measure, and second, if the same person repeated the same test at a different time, would the results be the same? Since the test meets both of these criteria, it has become one of the most widespread ways of conceptualizing the differences among individuals and their behaviors.

What does The Big Five measure?

  1. Openness: The ability to engage in new experiences, ideas, and ways of thinking.
  2. Conscientiousness: Hard workers with a great deal of self-discipline.
  3. Extraversion: Outgoing, friendly human beings who enjoy meeting new people.
  4. Agreeableness: Optimistic, generous, cooperative, helpful and trusting individuals.
  5. Neuroticism: A measure of emotionality, especially anxiety and depression. However, anxiety isn't necessarily a bad thing, since anxious people often pay more attention to their surroundings.
Big Five Model Personality Traits
Graph depicting the five personality traits of the Big Five model

Your score on each of the five traits is classified as low, average, or high. Each trait is independent from the others and when viewed as a whole, gives a full picture of your personality.

If you would like to learn more about The Big Five and what it says about your personality, you can find the test here.

The Enneagram of Personality

The second personality test we used in order to better understand gambling styles is commonly referred to as The Enneagram. The nine distinct personas are based on how someone navigates needs, wants and fears. The Enneagram also offers some insight on how your needs, wants and fears affect your relationships with other people.

Unlike The Big Five, there isn't a ton of empirical research supporting the scientific validity, but the Enneagram has been adopted by business management departments, spiritual healers, those looking to recover from addiction, and more. Because the Enneagram identifies opportunities for development for each individual type, a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will improve your self-awareness and make you a better person.

The Enneagram Interconnected Personality Types
Graph depicting the nine interconnected personality types of the Enneagram

If you would like to learn more about The Enneagram, you can find the test here.

What's Your Favorite Gamble?

Your favorite casino game probably says more about your personality than you think. Different personalities gravitate towards different games, and knowing your favorite one is the basis for learning more about why you might gravitate towards it.

So, choose your favorite gamble. In case you don't have one, you can help yourself with the following questions: Which game do you gravitate towards? Which game do you enjoy playing the most? If you could only play one casino game for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Now that you have (hopefully) selected your favorite gamble, we're going to talk about what your individual game of choice might say about you. But before we do that…

Are you in or are you out?

Let's start with two easy questions:

  1. Do you prefer the noise, excitement and social aspect of the casino, the distinct earthy smell of the racetrack and the pressure to place your bet before the window closes?
  2. Or perhaps you would rather snuggle up on the comfort of your couch and have the online world of gambling all to yourself?

The Big Five – Extraversion: High

If you enjoy the brick-and-mortar casinos, the odds are pretty good that you scored high on the Big Five's Extrovert scale. You are probably loud, friendly, and you somehow seem to know everyone in the place. And they all laugh along with you when you yell, "Drinks are on me!" every time you have a big win.

You spend so much time at the craps table and playing roulette that the dealers all know you by name. Extroverts are drawn to the excited crowd and public arena of games like craps, roulette, and baccarat.

And although the limelight may seem to suit you just fine, dear Extrovert, always remember that you are your greatest opponent. Be careful not to get so caught up in the pressure to please your public that you lose focus on the game at hand. The crowd boosts your ego and makes you feel part of something great – but keep in mind that those eyes that are so very excited at your success are equally as likely to be unable to look away from a train wreck.

Your greatest downfall will be shifting your focus away from playing the game as you try too hard to please the crowd. Studies show that highly extraverted gamblers are most likely to lose a significant amount of money (Grable, Joo & Kwak, 2021). Keep these insights in mind and be mindful of your personality the next time you step into a casino.

The Big Five – Extraversion: Low

On the other hand, if you think the only way to be seen in a land-based casino is if you were dragged there by friends, family, or colleagues, you score very low in extraversion – meaning you are an extreme introvert. You like your comfort and prefer to gamble online. In case you visit a casino occasionally but like to stick to slot machines – which don't require any human and social contact – you lean towards the introverted side too.

Of course, anyone who mistakes your reluctance to join the bright lights and fast pace of the casino floor as the mark of a poor gambler seriously underestimates you. Your high level of anxiety makes you more aware of your surroundings than the average player, and often this hypervigilance pays off as you can spot possible outcomes sooner – especially outcomes that might negatively affect you. You are more cautious and careful than most, a trait that likely keeps your money clip consistent (Crossman, 2006).

While consistency is a fantastic way to ensure that you can pay your bills each month, perhaps it is time to take a small step in a different direction – towards the casino itself, that is – if you already are not doing so. Improving gameplay for you isn't about winning large sums of money, but it might be a good opportunity for you to expand your social circle a teensy tiny bit.

Now that we have this covered, let's explore what individual types of gambling games can possibly say about your personality.


The Big Five – Conscientiousness: High
The Enneagram Type Three – The Achiever

Blackjack is often the favorite for people who score high on The Big Five's scale of Conscientiousness. If blackjack is your game, you are likely quite focused, display a great deal of self-discipline, and a hard worker who wants to not only meet expectations, but go beyond them.

Just imagine how conscientious the card counters in blackjack have to be in order to stay completely focused and not allow themselves to be distracted by the friendly banter at the table! Moreover, winning requires you to maintain an acute awareness of your surroundings and as an added bonus, a high level of conscientiousness can prevent you from getting sucked into online gambling (Akbari and Seydavi, 2021).

When the conscientious person wins, it only fuels them to play again, to gain a bigger win, almost as if they need to prove themselves. Of course, when the good luck streak starts rolling to a halt, it can be tough for someone like this to walk away. Also, keep in mind that blackjack is a game where it is extremely easy to make decisions based not on logic, but on errors in logic.

On the other hand, if we look at blackjack players through the lens of The Enneagram, it is easy to recognize Type Three: The Achiever. Are you the type of person who is led by your heart and yet deep down inside, you fear that you aren't worthy of love?

According to the Enneagram, Threes, or The Achievers, have subconsciously decided that if they can't be loved, at least they could find a way to be valued. Failure is their biggest fear, and it should come as no surprise that they strive to be admired by others for their success, and, as a result, they are intensely focused on their public image.

Eager for approval and caught up in your own image, blackjack allows for the possibility of approval and admiration from both the dealer and your fellow gamblers. Poker is a fine secondary choice for you since the accolades you receive are certainly worth your time. You dress for success, are constantly in motion, and work hard at striking the perfect combination of blending in at a crowded table, while making yourself memorable with your clever comments and wry smile.

Remember to spend as much time on how you play as you do how you look while playing: good looks fade, but a talented gambler can last much longer.


The Big Five – Conscientiousness: High, Openness: High, Extraversion: High

Baccarat players often score high in the Big Five traits of Openness, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion. If baccarat is your game, you may find that you are more open to new ideas than your friends and colleagues.

The game is perfectly appealing for those who like to try new and different things. Being open to new ideas increases your knowledge base, which means that there are times when you may feel a bit savvier and smarter than others.

It should come as no surprise that Baccarat players will often find themselves drawn to art and beauty, and they often tend to think in abstract and creative ways. Their high level of conscientiousness makes them more adept at their game play. The high level of extraversion ensures they are more likely to speak up for themselves as well.

Sports Betting

The Enneagram Type One – The Perfectionist

There is a reason that rules exist, and in a sense, Ones exist for the purpose of rules being followed. Are you the type of person who wants to be good for the sake of being good? Do you thrive off of giving your time and money to improve the welfare of others? Do you struggle with achieving a healthy work/life balance? Sports bets are appealing because Ones cling to the rules, or in this case, that statistics and injury reports of the team and the players.

It must be absolutely exhausting, this constant striving to be the best at everything – or at the very least, to look as if being the best just comes easy to you. But, between you and I and your closest family and friends, stop keeping all of your fears and flaws to yourself.

You cling to the security of numbers and statistics and thankfully, the Casino Gods created sports betting for you to cling to those objective facts that you love so very much. Stop beating yourself up. You are absolutely doing the best you can.

Fantasy Sports Team Betting

The Big Five – Neuroticism: High

Is fantasy sports betting your thing?

Interestingly, successful gamblers of this game often rate high in The Big Five's Neuroticism personality trait. Neuroticism in this sense refers to emotional ability, specifically a measure of the tendency to experience negative emotions like anxiety and depression. Do you find that small things can set you off and then you have a tendency to stay in a negative mood for longer than is appropriate? Be careful if you fall into this category. This negativity can affect you at your job and in your personal relationships.

On the other hand, there is an upside to neuroticism. Often, people who score high in neuroticism are also anxious, and anxiety can make you more aware of your surroundings. After all, if you know what there is to be afraid of and where to find this fearful thing, doesn't that give you more power over your environment?

Your tendency to overthink – a lot – may also be one of your greatest strengths. Your ability to imagine multiple end-of-the-world-scenarios simultaneously makes you a pro when it comes to focusing on the details. Higher levels of neuroticism also correlate with a better understanding of who you are and how you feel.

Someone who is high in neuroticism may find themselves drawn to fantasy sports betting, since they have most likely thoroughly scoured the latest injury reports, second and third string players, and upcoming trade negotiation that could change decisions.

That being said, make sure to hold onto the reigns when riding that brilliant brain of yours, since people who score high on neuroticism also prone to more frequent gambling (Takada, 2020).


The Big Five – Agreeableness: Low, Neuroticism: Low
The Enneagram Type Eight – The Challenger

Does poker call out to you when you step foot in the casino? Many poker players score quite low in agreeableness, which makes sense when you consider that in poker, the players are playing against each other, rather than playing against the house.

This means that they are less concerned with other people's wants and needs, often skeptical about the motives of other people and can be seen as argumentative – both in the casino and real life. Just be careful the next time you place a wager, since research shows you are more likely to engage in more frequent and higher stakes gambling (Takada, 2020).

The good news is that your low level of neuroticism makes you more emotionally stable, and less likely to gamble haphazardly. You tend to be on the more conservative side and long for more control over your environment, but with your strategic gameplay, your money is more likely to burn a hole in your pocket than to set fire to your bank account. Your greatest asset is your ability to know when to fold and walk away, without feeling like a failure (Odlaug, Schreiber & Grant, 2013).

And if you are a Texas Hold'em fan? Odds are you fit right into The Enneagram's Type Eight: The Challenger. Eights seek power to protect themselves, since deep down they feel very vulnerable. Eights love to argue and intimidate, especially if it is for the sake of protecting someone who can't protect themselves.

Eights can sometimes appear bossy, since they are quite quick to take the lead. But, in part this is because they are extremely concerned with justice not just for themselves, but for others as well. An Eight who is healthy and well-adjusted could be an excellent leader. But an Eight who is insecure and unsure of themselves…well, in that case they are just a big bully.

You know that person who is always upping the ante so high that you can't decide if they are bluffing or have struck gold? That person is an Eight. And if your favorite part of any game is controlling the play…well, then you're probably an Eight.

Scratch-off Tickets and Group Lotto

The Big Five – Neuroticism: Low
The Enneagram Type Two – The Giver / Type Nine – The Peacemaker

If scratch-off and lottery tickets float your boat, you are the epitome of the casual or social gambler – and a Giver. Sure, you'll buy yourself a few scratch off tickets and an occasional lottery ticket if the jackpot is large enough (Stange, Grayon & Dixon). And if your friends from work are pooling their money together for a big potential win – well, you can't exactly say no to them, can you?

You are all about self-sacrifice these days, and so the bright lights and big screams of the casino hold no appeal for you. You want to feel loved and valued and appreciated, but it would be such a gamble – a real-life gamble – to risk putting yourself out there. But, if you don't take a chance, how will you know what you are worth?

You have painted yourself into a corner with your rules and restrictions, and although you give endlessly of yourself, you're not used to taking something back.

In case you rather opt for group lotto, chances are you're just a go with the flow kind of guy (or gal). Nothing much to see here, you're just happy to hang out with your friends or family and watch them place their money where they see fit. The extent of your gambling is pretty limited. Around the office, you are the go-to person for buying a massive amount of lotto tickets for the group, since lots of tickets purchased by lots of people increases the odds of a nice solid jackpot.

And in the process, it makes you feel useful, and sometimes even loved. On the up side, you are getting your needs met, but it comes at a cost when you allow your fear of being hurt to put the needs of others first. A reciprocal relationship allows space for both your needs and the other persons, and it tends to feel a bit off-putting when you are always willing to disregard your wants and needs.

In psychology, we often speak about the good mother, versus the good enough mother. But you know what we never speak of? The perfect mother. No one person can meet all of our needs, all of the time. And when you aim this high, to be the perfect friend, colleague, customer, or lover – it kind of creeps people out.

It's time to try something new. Let someone else handle next year's Superbowl wagers, or maybe take a chance at finding your own luck with roulette or craps.

And if you win, enjoy it, don't downplay it.

Remember, gambling was meant to be fun!


The Enneagram Type Six – The Skeptic
The Big Five – Openness: Low

Research has shown that a low level of openness is a good predictor of conservative political beliefs, being less likely to actively gamble, and more likely to play slots or an in-casino video version of some of the more popular table games (Hayes & Joseph, 2003).

Desperately seeking safety and security, Sixes are loyal, trustworthy team players who must have a close group of friends whom they can rely on. They are logical survivalists who always have a stockpile of food, cleaning supplies, and first aid equipment tucked away somewhere.

As a Six, you are likely to make decisions based on fear, which means your success at gambling is largely a crapshoot – pun intended. You enjoy going to the casino with friends new and old, but other than dabbling a bit on the slots, you don't do much playing yourself.

But, skeptics beware. You feel guilty, a lot, and not very any good reason. You have a tendency to internalize anger from others and somehow take it on yourself for having caused it.

On the up side, you are always prepared for a change of plans, a flat tire, or the sudden and unexpected natural disaster. You are the least likely to overspend and probably the only person I know who owns not one, but two Boy Scout pocketknives.

Sadly, you often wonder if you are only liked because you are useful and loved because you are dependable. Try something different, something crazy – dare I say it, spend a few bucks at the craps table, or spin the roulette wheel. What have you got to lose, other than the insecurity of the unknown?


The Enneagram Type Seven – The Enthusiast

If you find yourself drawn to the loud, boisterous, fun-loving craps table, it certainly makes sense that you are one of the Sevens. Most Sevens are the life of the party and plan every moment of every day in order to get the most out of life – and to avoid negative feelings of boredom or sadness.

Sevens are optimistic and love to tell exciting, amusing anecdotes about something that once happened to them – stories that seem almost too good to be true! They love having an audience and are drawn to any game where they can interact with others, including craps, roulette, and horse racing.

Chances are online casinos simply don't have enough excitement for you, especially since the main appeal of gambling for a Seven is the emotional connection to others.

The problem is that all too often, you want to have as much fun as possible, for as long as you can, because smiles and sunshine keep your fear, sadness, and pain out of your conscious mind. Yes, there is a dark side to your enthusiasm, which is part of why the 24-hour casino calls to you.

Just remember, not all that glitters is gold, and not all that shouts and screams for your attention is worthy of losing your rent money.


The Enneagram Type Four – The Individualist

If you like roulette, you are passionate about your need for freedom of self-expression, a bold artistic thinker, and incredibly creative. This creativity might contribute to your gaming choices and perhaps even make you a stronger player. However, is it possible that you might be an even stronger player if you didn't waste so much time and energy comparing yourself to others?

Fours are drawn to games like roulette not necessarily because they are drawn to people, but because they fear that they are so alone they are nearly invisible. Fours may fear that they will not be remembered by others, and that their time spent on this earth will have no impact.

In order to avoid this nightmare of invisibility, you may go overboard in your attempt to be different and stand out. Online casinos just make you feel more alone, whereas inserting yourself in the action and surrounding yourself with important people is a way to make you feel relevant. Gambling for you may sometimes seem as if it is a protective gear for your ego, a social scene to be seen at, rather than a love for the game.

Is it important to you that you have a notable relationship with someone important, like the dealer, the owner, or another high roller? Jealousy is likely to distract you from your gameplay, which is a shame. Your talent of reading the room would also make for an excellent poker player.

Of all of the Enneagram types, you are the absolute worst at taking care of your own mental and physical health (Rasta, Hasseinian and Ahghar, 2012), which makes you easy prey for a substance addiction or developing a pattern of unhealthy gambling.

Keep an eye on your attachments, lest they turn into addictions, and keep your focus turned toward the prize – and whether that is money or the respect and admiration of your peers, only you know the real answer.


The Enneagram Type Five – The Investigator

If you like betting on the racetrack, you are likely The Enneagram Type Five - The Investigator. Inquisitive and curious, you should have been a police detective, a private investigator, or perhaps the screenwriter of a true crime documentary. Gambling is a challenge of both will and skill, and just like everything else in your life, you eagerly accept that the gauntlet of truth and understanding has been given to you.

Racetrack of any kind (along with sports betting) provide the perfect opportunity for you to flex your muscles and your amateur sleuth skills. After all, where there is data, we find answers.

Not to burst your bubble, but rarely does data lead to clear-cut answers – especially when gambling on the actions of people and animals is involved.

Still, given your tendency to reject true intimacy, especially intimacy that threatens to put demands on your precious time, the façade of watching a game or a race with the company of strangers, is the perfect way to dip your toe into the social pool, while showing off your uncanny ability to win.

To be clear, you are not looking to enjoy a casino night with others, and although you know the regulars at all your usual haunts, you share nothing more than a gin and tonic or a beer with your acquaintances.

Sometimes it seems as if you have been suspicious of the underlying motives of others since the day you were born. That sounds…lonely.

Maybe it's time that you realize that if knowledge is power, you could learn a lot more from talking to the people you spend your recreational time with. The type of gambling you enjoy, this mystery of odds you like to solve, can be dramatically improved by listening to what others have to say – and once, maybe twice, maybe you share that clever part of you with someone else as well.

How can I summarize these findings?

Your casino game of choice can say quite a lot about your personality. To not get lost in all of the terms, games, and personality types, you can use the tables below as a guideline showing the connection between your favorite game and your possible matching personality type.

The Big Five Game to Personality Connection
The Big Five – favorite casino game to personality type connection
The Enneagram Game to Personality Connection
The Enneagram – favorite casino game to personality type connection

How Does Knowing My Personality Help Make Me A Better Gambler?

There are quite literally hundreds of personality tests that all promise to reveal some secret insight about who you are and how you can become a better person. However, to a certain extent, how accurate a personality test is in predicting behavior is largely related to the environment in which it was created.

As I mentioned earlier, the Enneagram was created with large corporations and groups of interconnected people in mind. The Enneagram aims to understand how different types of people interact with others. The Big Five was created in a university setting in order to understand academic and social success as well as interpersonal interaction.

In truth, very few people can be perfectly defined by the results of their personality test, and, in fact, it may be more important to view the results of your personality test as a kind of cautionary tale, as to what could happen if you went to an extreme, one way or another.

Think of it like this: The Enneagram's Type Two, The Giver, may be quite selfless. But, taken to an extreme, the Giver may find themselves penniless, alone, and feeling entirely unappreciated. Another extreme is that The Giver might be giving all of themselves out of fear of being unloved and alone. Neither extreme is healthy.

Or, in case of The Individualist and their favorite game of roulette, the need to stand out and be different might easily cloud their judgement and result in bad gambling decisions. The constant need for attention can overpower the subtle but smart roulette strategies and The Individualist may find themselves in trouble very fast.

Knowing your personality can help you make better and safer gambling decisions and be mindful of your personality tendencies.


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