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raisefold
#1 Posted : Thursday, 24 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
raisefold

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First time poster here. I will be arranging an appointment with a counselor tomorrow but thought Id post here to see if you guys had any advice or thoughts on my issues.

I'm in my early 20s, and have just graduated, completing a B.Com.

I play a lot of poker, starting from back when I was about 18, where I played online. I am a winning player, and this has been my only source of income for the past few years (online, and live games), aside from student loan living costs ($150 per week). I do still live at home, so dont have many expenses.

I am being as honest as I can here, I know some people will say I cannot keep playing poker but unless the games get too tough and I stop winning, I will keep playing them. I am also aware that a lot of people cannot or will not distinguish between poker, where there is a large element of skill, and games of chance (casinos games like roulette, blackjack, pokies, and sports betting, horse racing at the TAB). Another point, there are many, many poker players who think they are better than they are, when the reality is that only a small percentage are consistent winning players. This is why it is such a profitable game, because everyone thinks that they have a chance (they do short term obviously, but over time, most will lose)

Admittedly, I think I am a gambler by nature. My father used to have a race horse, and occasionally I used to go with him over to the TAB when I was younger. So from when I was about 16 I used to have sports bets on at the TAB (not big, $5-$20 bets).

I started playing poker online when I was about 18, and this started to fill my action seeking needs. I mostly play live, at the casino, and have done for the past few years, making consistent profits. I am one of the better players there, and I think the problem is/was that even though I could make steady money, I always wanted more. About 18 months ago, I started playing more of the other casino games like blackjack and baccarat, games of pure chance (I used to play them occasionally, but at max would lose a couple hundred bucks). At one stage I had a lucky week and my bets escalated to up to $500 per bet (keep in mind that a bet only takes a minute or so). So in the space of about 3 months, I had several sessions where I lost $5-15k, and my savings from poker had gone from ~40k down to virtually nil. My problem is that I dont walk away when I am losing, and cut my losses. I chase, and will chase big. I need more self control/discipline/willpower. Each time after a big loss, I can feel sick inside, but then tell myself something like "well whats done is done, I cant get that back, I can only make sure I dont do it again", but it seems to keep happening.

I am still young, and now educated. I wish to go overseas sometime around the end of this year or early next year, before I come back and settle down with a job. Poker for myself at the moment, is a great opportunity to make 1-2k a week consistently and with little stress and the ability to "work"/play when I want, so I do not want to give that to work for minimum wage or thereabouts. One option that I am not discounting is to get a part time job, just for a sense of routine and stability.

What do you guys think that I should do? I know that a lot of you will just say scrap it and get a job, poker is not a job. I admit that although poker isnt the problem directly, it requires being in that casino environment where my urges to gamble will start. All my mates tell me "Just stick to poker" which really is the key, if I can do it...

Ok anyway, this has been a long post/rant/confession and Ill let you guys have a word.

Dont be too harsh on me

Thanks in advance

P.S. I despise pokie machines and horse racing. I sports bet very infrequently, and for insignificant amounts. Other casino games I barely even look at,.. it is pretty much just baccarat and blackjack. The reason behind this is because these two games have the smallest house advantage (under 1.5%), but have I deluded myself in to thinking that this is a good thing?? I know its better than the other games, but its still not a reason to play them
raisefold
#2 Posted : Thursday, 24 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
raisefold

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One of the things that makes me feel so bad after I lose a lot, I realise how much money it is in other terms. For example, my girlfriend is studying at uni at the moment and working part time,.. she is always having money problems and I feel so bad when she is complaining about paying bills when I have just lost hundreds or thousands in a short space of time. I think how I could have taken her out for a great meal and night out or treated her to other things. I think this should motivate me more about controlling my gambling. At the moment I dont really like to share my exact results with her because the scale of my wins and losses is so high to her. I dont want her to feel bad whether I win or lose, even though she is happy for me when I win.
raisefold
#3 Posted : Thursday, 24 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
raisefold

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Another big factor I think, is to with with a kind of status or image I have. I think it is a problem that people have come to expect me to be a big gambler and always have a lot of money. I'm actually thinking of moving cities for a while to get a fresher start
raisefold
#4 Posted : Thursday, 24 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
raisefold

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Also, as far as the poker goes, playing live at a casino is a lot easier than playing online. I have been meaning to start playing a lot more online to reduce my time at the casino, but the competition and caliber of player is simply higher online
taysh
#5 Posted : Friday, 25 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
taysh

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Hi Raisefold. I have some concerns regarding your post. It seems to me, regardless of whether you are winning, you do have a problem with gambling. What this means is, as you have already identified, that when you are losing you will continue.

There are several points to your story that suggest a serious problem. One it seesm that you spend a great deal of time thinking about, or actually participating in, gambling. It takes up a huge amount of your life. Second is that you are spending large amounts of money on this passtime and that you believe that this can be a legitimate "job" for you. It is all well and good that you are winning but no matter the skill, the loses can be huge and at your age you are unlikely to be able to afford such loses. You sat there saying you had built up over 40 thousand dollars and now are back to 0. Can you imagine what else you could have done with that amount of money. Thirdly you are unwilling to obtain a job that does not pay as much as you believe you can win. Jobs never start off on big bucks, you work up through the ranks, learning skills as you go in order to earn more money. To expect this and chose to gamble as an alternative is not exactly healthy.

Your point about others thinking of you as a gambler and having big money is a good one. I would also suggest that this is how you think of yourself and have most likely promoted this idea by 'shouting' people after a big win. It is part of the gambler's mentality and again suggestive of a problem. At present you are lucky in that you have broke even or even made some money. Although you state you are being honest I am unsure how honest you are being about money issues. Do you have any debts primarily because of gambling. I am fairly sure you are considering becoming in debt to continue this passtime.

I think that although you say this is a good way for you to make money you must have some idea that you are in difficulty with gambling or you would not have posted here. Moving city is also a bit extreme for other's expectations. Isn't it better to simply say "hey I don't do that anymore" or have friends adjust to whatever you want your new attitude to be? I think that this is a bigger problem than you are admiting and am glad you are beginning to seek help. Yes I would say "stay away" from all forms of gambling, because I think this behaviour is shaping your life FAR MORE than you acknowledge.
sandy
#6 Posted : Friday, 25 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
sandy

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Raisefold I agree with everything Taysh has said.I'm a little unsure as to why you have chosen to post on this site where we want to give up gambling when clearly you want to continue?
jeannie
#7 Posted : Saturday, 26 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
jeannie

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Raisefold I found your post interestiing if not a little disturbing. I would wonder that you are rather ambivolent about it all, and seem to be caught up in the fantastical thinking that goes with being a gambler. It doesn't matter what type of gambling you choose, the thinking is the same, ie often those of us who play the pokies also fall into the trap that it is a way of making money so to speak by the very fact that often we pick a machine and think that it is ours and play to a system or at least that is what we think we are doing, as if we had magical powers over the said choice of gambling., and I am sure that I am not the only one who has gone into a gambling venue and have become rather put out if someone is on my machine as it where, fantastical thinking!!!! We believe in these lies because it enables us to keep on gambling. I met a person once who told me that she didn't work but had worked out how to win on the machines all the time by setting her bet, and she did seem like she was winning, so maybe she was right, however she only made that comment while she was winning, I wonder what her comment would have been while she was losing!!! Yes people say poker is more skillful, and therefore justify that it is a mindful form of gambling and not a mindless form, it doesn't make any difference as the outcome is the same. Poker and Pokies no difference in the outcome of both for a compulsive gambler.

I also wonder that you do realize the danger of continuing on the road that you have chosen, you are only young, and no doubt you have seen others come really unstuck and this scares you a bit, but then you say to yourself that won't happen to me because I know how to play poker smartly. Again fantastical thinking. (Tongue in cheek) If a had a dollar for every time I have heard this from a gambler including myself I would be giving a millionaire a run for his money.

I am interpreting that you recognize the need to give up but don't really want too. and you may be questioning yourself as to whether you are a compulsive gambler or not. That is a question that only you can answer. By what you are saying you are certainly covering quite few aspects that an addicted gambler struggles with.

Finally thanks for your post it reinforces the unreal fantasy thinking that befalls us. In doing so you have reminded me yet again the futility of going into a gambling venue thinking that it is a positive thing for my life, or that it is something that I can control, or that indeed I question the very existence of an addiction to gambling.

I hope that you will be able to answer your own questions sooner than later. To tweak the tail of a tiger may induce a growl but to pull it will,.... well I am sure you can ascertain the reaction of the tiger.

Maybe it is an idea to read some posts that other people who's particular issue is playing poker. The more information that you can get the more opportunity you have of making the right move.

And I agree 100% with Taysh. Look carefully towards your next step. It doesn't matter if you put your foot on a land mine, it only matters how you take it off, and that is exactly what we do as gamblers, we put our feet on land mines and the only way to take your foot off with safety is to have someone help you, it is very hard if not impossible to fight this addiction alone.
chrissie
#8 Posted : Saturday, 26 July 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
chrissie

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I have found that gambling loses three things. Money, time and friends. I am an addicted pokie player who has been giving up for 10 years. I have cut down and set up my money so that I little free cash but I know I am like an alcholic that cannot have one drink. Otherwise I play until they kick me out or I run out of money, which ever comes first.
So, be careful - it did take 4 years to get addicted - it not happen over night - at first it was just fun.
lewtennant
#9 Posted : Monday, 15 September 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
lewtennant

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Hi Raisefold. I too was in my late teens when I began gambling regularly. I was also in my early twenties (having just finished my university degree) when I began to seriously question my actions, and wonder what the future held in store.

I am now 32 in just over a month. I have been in and out of groups like GA for many years now, and have wanted to give up gambling since the late nineties. I last gambled last night, lost, and as a result didn't make it to work today.

I have been in and out of a string of menial jobs over the years, work I have been able to pick up quickly & easily after gambling episodes. These jobs have no relationship with what I studied at university.

I now drink to escape my predicament, which ironically in turn often leads me back to the punt.

This is just a very brief insight into the uninspiring, unhealthy, unhappy life I lead, whilst chasing a dream that I long forgot about.

Go on - keep playing - and also keep a good photo or two of that girlfriend - because as you disappear further and further into the mouth of this demon and it's false promises, that's all you'll be left with in terms of her. While you're talking the talk, she'll be far away with somebody else walking the walk...
samjh
#10 Posted : Wednesday, 10 December 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
samjh

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Hey mate.

I think you already know the answer to this one. Just stay away from the negative $EV table games. Even if the house edge is only 1% or so, that is still 5 sklansky dollars you are losing per hand if you bet $500. As you have found out, you can burn through a hell of a lot of money very fast if you are losing at the rate of $5 per minute. There is an article in the twoplustwo magazine by Ray Zee on protecting your bankroll, I think it would be well worth a read for you.

Just stick with the poker and you should be fine. Don't feel that you have a reputation to bet big on BJ Baccarat etc, any good gambler knows that playing at those tables is just pissing money away. If you are craving some action maybe do a few flips with your mates or something (just don't bet enough where you may jeopardise your bankroll)

Also, even though a lot of what the posters have written above is naive (i.e. you will always eventually lose), they did have a good point about not letting gambling consume your life (I don't know if this is the case with you), if it is, maybe consider getting a part time job working in a bar or sonething else which is cool/ you would like to do (maybe take a course in something that you are interested in). No need to play poker all the time - incidentally, having a break from the tables might help your game as well.

(Message edited by samjh on December 09, 2008)
stephen_katz
#11 Posted : Thursday, 11 December 2008 12:00:00 a.m.(UTC)
stephen_katz

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I'll tell you the best way to "protect your bankroll" and that is to stay away from anything offered by the gambling industry. Poker offered at brick & mortar casinos is a pathetic suckers game beyond belief with online poker not far behind.

I say keep your hard earned money in your bank account where it belongs - It certainly looks a lot better there, than in the bank account of some filthy rich gambling business owner.

Make the right choice, the smart choice, and the necessary choice of recovery over gambling.

YFIR,

Steve
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