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  1. #1
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    Default Do you ever worry about gambling addiction?

    My poker back story goes something like this. I got charged with a DWI in April of 2012 in part because I had an alcohol problem. I had to go through several meetings, counselor sessions, I almost had to go to AA and talked to several drug abuse counselors and they said basically I have an addictive personality and I'm prone to abusing things.

    They modeled rehabs around AA and 12 step programs that just didn't feel right for me, for one they take a very spiritual approach to tackling addiction, and I am not a spiritual person at all (like meditating before a meeting or saying the Lord's Prayer when we would walk into the alcohol abuse program).

    A few weeks ago I had a great night at poker (for me that is, you guys wouldn't bat an eye at my winnings since I play at the micros) but it was 10 buy ins at 25nl and I've really increased the amount of time I've spent either playing the game, or reading up on how to improve my gameplay before I do my next poker session.

    Ok well I did have a brief history with illegal narcotics, nothing hard, but I did abuse marijuana for a few years, and then switched over to alcohol, in a lot of ways I 'traded addictions" Marijuana for alcohol, but also I was having some major life problems that would cause me to self-medicate by abusing substances to escape my reality or so that my state of mind was altered. After my DWI, for whatever reason I took up poker, because I enjoyed gambling, although I never bet huge amounts like a lot of people do, I always saw gambling as a form of entertainment more than an actual way to make money (although I did once have an infatuation with the flawed Martingale System but never lost any major amounts trying to implement it in a casino setting). This relatively recent gambling hobby of mine might be that I "traded addictions" once again and I'm worried about that.

    Heres the thing though, unlike alcohol, or marijuana, poker has caused me no real "life problems". In fact I'd say poker has been a huge NET PLUS in my life, since it's basically kept me from abusing alcohol for the past 2 years. These days instead of chugging 7 alcoholic beverages in a short time span, I have ONE, or at most TWO over the course of several hours, and I'm never seeking to catch a buzz from abusing alcohol because it negatively affects my poker play. In some ways, Poker has saved my life.

    My first year I use to get shitfaced and drunk, not all the time but some of the time, and then I'd sit down at my pc and lose my bankroll (usually $50-$60 or so) over the course of several 5nl or 10nl sessions. It also was due to my general bad gameplay from being entirely new to the game and not having studied it as extensively as I have now.

    One day, I said "James, you are going to beat this game" And from that day forward I imposed strict disciplines on myself (something I'm not use to as I'm a guy who likes to do whatever I feel like doing), like not surfing the internet while I play, but the big one, is I quit drinking large volumes of alcohol while I played, and from that day forward I haven't deposited a nickel in my poker account since I quit drinking and playing at the tables.

    Ok so lets fast forward to today, poker has caused me no financial problems since I play microstakes poker and basically play with the money from people I've won cash from. I've grinded a bankroll over the course of a couple years from 5nl, to where I'm at which is 25nl.

    I was concerned about all the additional time I was spending gambling recently so I looked up "Gambling Addiction" and I found these "symptoms" of a gambling addict.

    Preoccupation: The person is preoccupied with gambling and has frequent thoughts about gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble, etc.

    ^Ok I do often tell my parents about maybe a hand I was in. Like today I won a $54 pot in 25nl playing Bovada Poker on my Android Phone at Starbucks with my dad drinking his coffee, I told him about the hand (I flopped an Ace High Flush and got all of villains chips in the middle at that point) and that I'd like to leave at this point. So I do have a level of preoccupation with my gambling and I do think about poker often since I enjoy playing it and studying it.

    I'm never really thinking of ways to get money to gamble, because I basically play off a bankroll I've won from the money of other poker players.

    Tolerance: Similar to drug tolerance, the person needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement or “rush”

    ^This concerned me as well. When I started poker, I played at 5nl. Then I moved to 10nl. Now I'm at 25nl, and if my bankroll keeps improving the way it has, I might be playing at 50nl within a few months. The only thing is if I feel if I am not properly rolled for a poker table, I refuse to play it. If I feel too much of my bankroll is at risk when I play, I don't play, which is generally in the 20-25 buy ins 100bb for a cash game. I don't really have a "need" to win larger and larger amounts, I play at the stakes I feel comfortable and I don't feel like I'm "too good" to move down in stakes, back to 5nl if necessary.

    I don't even necessarily think of my bets in terms of cash amounts, more like how many big blinds the pot has, I measure more in big blinds than actual $ amounts when I play. Basically my poker money is entirely separate from every other form of cash I have. I measure in chips, not $'s. Not sure if this is also a sign of addiction, or more a good trait of a poker player.

    Withdrawal: The person is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling

    ^This one MAYBE applies to me. I do enjoy poker a lot, I enjoy playing it. Even if I played a million hands, it does have an element of entertainment value, and if I'm not playing it, I'm basically doing things to improve my play away from the tables. So this could be evidence that I have a withdrawal from the game because I feel good when I'm playing the game, I don't even take downturns that hard anymore as long as I got the money in and my play was +EV. If I get irritable its because of boredom.

    The other symptoms like Lying, Illegal Activity, Risked Relationships, asking people close to me to bail me out of financial situations I'm in, don't really apply to me at all. Chasing losses definitely doesn't apply to me because I never double the stakes if I have a bad session, I'm more likely to lower the stakes as rules of Proper Bankroll Management, rather than play outside of my bankroll to win back money lost earlier in the night



    So I went on a gambling addicts forum, and they basically kicked me out when I described my concerns. #1 I haven't stopped gambling and at this point I can't find a real clear defined reason to, and #2 we had a MAJOR difference in our gambling. This is as MAJOR of a difference in gambling I've seen so far.

    They would seek out Negative Expected Value games like Blackjack Craps, Roulette, Slots, Pai Gow, you know games with horrible odds that are even well in the Negative Expected Value territory and they'd lose $thousands upon $thousands and life savings playing these games like heroin addicts with an insatiable appetite to get their money in on Negative Expected Value situations at the casino.

    I'm the polar opposite though, if I get my money in, it's because I think I'm in a Positive Expected Value situation. I try to avoid those -EV situations to the best of my ability, and I don't fully understand why anyone would want to get their money in the middle of the table if they knew before hand they were much more likely to lose than win, such as with the House games the casino offers.

    I'm just kind of confused, I gamble A LOT for an individual, but It hasn't really caused me any life problems, actually I hope to play at higher and higher stakes as I progress and maybe someday by fancy things with money I won at the poker table.








    Last edited by JimmyS1985; September 17th, 2014 at 12:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Command Sergeant Major Equity's Avatar
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    ​Poker is not about simply playing your cards in a fundamentally sound manner. -Jonathan Little

  3. #3
    Command Sergeant Major Equity's Avatar
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    On a more serious note, you should probably value the quality time you can have with your dad. Not everyone has the opportunity to relax at Starbucks with their father.
    ​Poker is not about simply playing your cards in a fundamentally sound manner. -Jonathan Little

  4. #4
    Private Jack999's Avatar
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    I like gambling, but I always know when it is time to stop. Also I have a rule not to lose more than I win. So, no, I'm not afraid of gambling addiction.

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