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Joined: Dec 18, 2010
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January 26th, 2012 at 12:49:15 AM permalink
Here's my story. I love the gaming atmosphere. I could wake up, and spend 12 hours talking to people about gambling and be entertained the entire day. I work as a poker dealer. I used to consider myself an all purpose gambler. I just turned 24 years old. I feel that I need to be more financially responsible. I also am in the middle of what I consider an extremely unlucky streak, which possibly for the better.

In the movie Two For The Money, Pacino said it best, "People don't join GA because they want to stop gambling, they join because they want to stop losing". I agree with that 100%.. Today, I had a revelation of sort... where it is not that I want to stop losing.. but rather I want to stop gambling. I really was an all purpose gambler, so I realize that I should get an itch every now and then. I was wondering on any advice out there to help. Keep in mind that - I refuse to join GA or go to a GA meeting or self exclude myself from casinos. I would purchase literature, read online articles, watching movies/videos on gambling. Perhaps shared stories. Anything out there.

--Purpose of post was to seek advice on stopping gambling. From here I am just going to go on a rant---
I feel it should be noted how I feel about different categories of gambling.

Sportbook - This will be the easiest for me to quit. It's just too hard to win. My last bets were during the early Bowl Games and I literally was losing by a hook or 1 point so often... Last second scores... "meaningless scores".. Would only need one more score in football game with a quarter and half left and no scores. Basketball, bet the over, need 3 points with 1:30 left and the under still hits. I strongly feel that all sports are in a way 'rigged'. Which I do not see me as being cheated. Not at all. I do not feel bitter like, "Oh this game was clearly rigged. I lost, I am so mad the game was rigged". I feel, "Damn the fix was in, I should have bet the other side".. Like I am mad at myself for not seeing the fix before the game.

Horse Racing - My last trip to the race track... Losing a trifecta because my WIN horse got DQd after a day of losing really bummed me out. Obviously if I consistently won, I would not mind, but I do not like Horse Racing because it is a bad sweat IMO. There are so many ways to lose in Horse Racing... Harness Racing.. if your horse (or one of your horses in an exotic) breaks stride... particularly right after leaving the gate.. you lost. Your horse is winning with 1/4 mile to go, breaks stride. You Lose. You have a horse that gets boxed in, end up upset because with a better trip you know you would have won.. There plenty of examples I can give for thoroughbreds and quarter horses.

Craps - to play "correctly" need a huge bankroll. The table mins where I am are 10$: Even just playing the Pass Line with 345X odds can add up very fast.

Blackjack.. the last hand I played. I got JJ 20.. dealer was showing 5. I felt great. Dealer had 6 in the hole (11). my heart sunk. Out comes a 4 (15) I felt relieved. 6 --> 21. Blackjack is the crack of gambling.

Baccarat.. I go crazy when I play it. I know the House Edge is so very low.. so when I lose a hand.. or end up just a little bit stuck, I hammer huge bets and end up way in the hole.

Table games in general... the house has advantage.. when the entertainment value is not worth the money being bet.. just not a good play.

Poker.. I actually do very well. Problem is.. I take the winnings and bet on craps.. OR after numerous winning sessions.. I end up playing.. getting sucked out on.. and tilt off the rest of my money.. then I rebuy and chase. Realistically... if I limited myself to one buy-in per day and I left after reaching 'x' goal, I would turn a profit.. but I just want to quit gambling all together. So have to stop poker as well..

Other.. Dominoes, Gin, Spades, Video Games, Chess, Checkers.... I used gambling as an enhancer.. but I see that games can be fun without having to be for money.
Joined: Apr 28, 2010
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January 26th, 2012 at 3:15:32 AM permalink
I can relate, can undestand. I have slowed WAY down.
The bug for drink and gambling has died greatly within me. movies, books, restaurants, shows, everything else began to fill it up. I gamble a couple of hundred every couple of weeks, like I was spending for a couple of concert tickets. NO sports book, NO slots, just pai Gow, dice, bac, and 3CP. if I play for two hours, I'm done. If I lost, i'm done, no chasing, no whining. if I win 4x or more, I'm done. It goes for something else. If the wife says we go, we leave.

It just lifted, why I do not know. Seeing it daily as a dealer started to turn me off: people crying over losing the mortgage money, people win $14,000 only to lose $10,000 back before "coming to," having a guy chase hundred after hundred after hundred while telling me, "you know, I was in GA for 20 years, until I walked into Treasure Island for some reason, six months ago, and hit a $15,000 progressive. Gone in a week, but I'm back....." Also stopped drinking, seen the effects of alcohol on people much too much as a dealer, it can be ugly....

I don't watch sports anymore. I can't. A game just doesn't have the juice if no money on it.

If I didn't have such a mild, weak and occasional interest in gambling at this point (which I thought would never die down), then I'd be in GA.

About two years ago, I just decided to stop for four months. I read books, i went to the Movies, I did extra project work (on casino game design, believe it or not), and all of that became interesting and enjoyable again when for a while only gambling seem to have juice.

If gambling is a problem, and be honest, I'd go to GA, at least try it for a while, I mean months, and let all sorts of other activities fill up your life.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes - Henry David Thoreau. Like Dealers' uniforms - Dan.
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
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January 26th, 2012 at 3:18:02 AM permalink
Quote: minnesotajoe

I refuse to join GA or go to a GA meeting or self exclude myself from casinos

I don't know how GA compares to, say, AA. In the matter of the latter, you run into people who claim it was the only way they could have gotten sober, that doing it on their own was impossible. Academics who study this seem to have decided it has something to do with taking "12 steps", but from what I know about it the "cure" works because of a few simple things: problem acknowledgement in front of a group, respect for others in the group who have done it, and especially the phenomenon of being able to stay sober through the dedicated act of helping someone else get and stay sober. There also is an emphasis on seeking help from a higher power; this bugs the Wizard evidently about GA, but I think in practice proselytizing is not what is going on at all at these places. {PS: hearing that they put huge pressure on you to self-exclude sounds worse to me}

So you have excluded yourself from something that may be about the only thing that will work. Bear in mind I am drawing from AA and don't actually know if this is true about GA.


I want to stop gambling.

Perhaps there is enough self-help stuff out there. You need to immerse yourself in that. Get educated, start looking at something like horse racing with the knowledge it has a very high HE - then you know it is no wonder you can't win in the long run. You want to become a different person I think, one with great contempt for your previous behavior. Calling on a higher power for help can be part of it, if the idea doesn't offend you. For sure you need to displace the desire to gamble with another activity or I think you will go crazy. You can't just sit at home and do nothing during those times now.

Good luck. Perhaps blogging here with your progress will help you. Try that.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Joined: Nov 14, 2009
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January 26th, 2012 at 9:19:24 AM permalink
I wouldn't bother with GA just yet. Take a break for a while. Like Dan said, two to four months sounds good. There are other things besides gambling. Like you said, it's not the gambling that's bringing you down, it's the losing. You seem to have a good grasp of things and play low house edge games. Take a break, and when you come back, cut your wagering in, say, half, only sticking to the games you really enjoy. I would cut out craps, blackjack, and baccarat completely, and maybe make just a couple sports/horse bets a week, plus live poker.

It's possible to gamble as a hobby without losing control, but it is difficult and requires self-discipline. Good luck with your progress.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
Joined: Sep 17, 2010
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January 26th, 2012 at 9:48:29 AM permalink
Have you considered taking up another hobby? I found that whenever I wanted to quit something I'd just move onto something else that I was passionate about and I'd soon forget about my previous obsession. I guess it's transferring one addiction/obsession to another. I have specific guidelines for what I would consider addiction though. In short, to me an addiction is when it is serious enough that it begins to really adversely affect you and those around you. I think I have only really been addicted to one thing in my life. As far has having an obsession, I think everyone does it to some degree or another. I think everyone has something to be passionate about. The biggest factor for me is finding a new hobby that isn't too expensive. Hobbies can get really expensive if you get serious about them. Once you find something else that takes up your time and effort, I think it might be easier to realize how much time and money you wasted in a casino and it just may not seem anywhere near as desirable as it once was. Anyway, just my personal opinion. Hope you find something that works.
Joined: Mar 25, 2010
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January 26th, 2012 at 9:56:24 AM permalink
I am, obviously, in no way qualified to give advice. However, I do feel that programs like GA or AA are not as effective as they could be. I'm sure I'll get attacked for that, and feel free to do so, but I will present my side. The AA programs want you to give in to a higher power. This is great, unless you don't believe in such things, in which case you're screwed. The programs want you to acknowledge that the alcohol, drugs, gambling, whatever, have control of your life. The reason I don't believe this is effective is because this isn't always true. That's why some people join these programs and never succeed. And also why some people quit their addictions without going through a program.

Instead, I think you should stop and figure out what makes you gamble in the first place, and then attack that root cause. From the little that you've written, it almost seems like you're itching for the excitement and/or rush that gambling generates. If that is the case, then I would say to try and find something else that will generate excitement for you. Marie mentioned taking up a hobby, which can help, but if the hobby doesn't generate the excitement you are craving, you may find yourself back into the same problems.

I don't know what your root causes are for gambling, but I think if you can logically analyze yourself and figure it out, you'll be half way towards quitting gambling.
Joined: Feb 13, 2010
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January 26th, 2012 at 10:02:31 AM permalink
Quote: MarieBicurie

Have you considered taking up another hobby? I found that whenever I wanted to quit something I'd just move onto something else that I was passionate about and I'd soon forget about my previous obsession. I guess it's transferring one addiction/obsession to another.


Smoking crack would be a good substitute.
"What, me worry?"
Joined: Mar 8, 2011
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January 26th, 2012 at 10:06:28 AM permalink
As a chief shop steward in CWA for over 30 years I have seen 2 many guys lose it all due to many addictions, ranging from
alcohol. drugs, gambling, even religion. AT&T had great medical and rehab benefits , but it seldom worked. For drugs or alcohol. medical benefits with pay for 30 days at a rehab center, and actually pay twice during a lifetime , as long as there was a 6 month interval between treatment. I had a close friend named Ivan who was a gambling addict. He had a car wash on the side , and would empty out the dollar changers to go to the dog track. At the end, he was into poker. I got him into GA and was covering for him at work on evening shifts on Wednesday. Till I found out he stopped GA and was playing poker on Wednesdays instead.

Later we had a buyout offer as they closed the Denver test center. For the last month, all you had to do was show up each morning, say you were going job hunting, and leave for the day. No documentation needed. But Ivan could not wait. He got an buyout 3 weeks early. 6 months later the money was gone and so was Ivan's wife and children.

You should at least give GA a try. Walk out if you don't like the first meeting. I mean as a gambler , what a great betting opportunity. If you don't like GA, just walk out. All you have lost is a few minutes of your time. If you decide it might help, you can possibly win a lifetime of freedom. Surely you will NEVER find a better bet than that !!!
Joined: Jan 20, 2010
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January 26th, 2012 at 10:19:26 AM permalink
I know that this isn't what you want to hear, but perhaps you ought to quit your job as a poker dealer and find another line of work? If you were a bartender with a drinking problem, I would offer similar advice.

Quote: teddys

I wouldn't bother with GA just yet. Take a break for a while. Like Dan said, two to four months sounds good.

If you don't have the self-discipline to abstain for two months, maybe that's a sign you should consider G.A.

By the way, one of my favorite gambling books is "Double Down" by Fred & Steve Barthelme. You might appreciate it.
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January 26th, 2012 at 10:52:22 AM permalink
For me, my addiction to gambling resulted in spending much more money than I should have -- not to a point that I was going to miss payments on my home, but large enough that it was comprising more than 100% of my entertainment budget. I accept that gambling is a form of entertainment for most, but for few, it is an addiction.

So, you have to define if you are actually addicted or whether you have other forms of entertainment to keep you satisfied. If you are an addict, your quality of gambling will go down. This is what it sounds like you're going through. When you start chasing losses, start making stupid bets, start making hunches, play the slot machines, play scratch tickets, and get away from your core game, you may be addicted. If you are betting with more and more money every time you go, you may be addicted. If you're complaining about losing all of the time, you probably aren't gambling correctly, and the losing is probably taking a hit on some other part of your budget.

My advice is to cut back significantly or to quit entirely. Find other forms of entertainment. For me, I really enjoy playing games. So, I bought myself a membership to pogo, and whenever I feel the urge to hit the casino (daily), I pop up my game and start playing. That, and exercise (thank you HotBlonde) keeps me away from the casino.

I'm not cured by any sense of the imagination, but I am gambling at the casino much much less -- once a month. I've also improved my style of play to bet lower amounts and play better games. I gamble with my wife now, rather than let her play her own games. I've won two of the last three months I've played (after having a number of losing sessions in a row), and I am having fun rather than being frustrated and stressed after the experience.

Really, what I should probably do, if I was a martyr, is quit altogether as this gambling lull is just that. But I figure that if I set a budget and don't go over it, that is acceptable. My trigger for gambling is boredom and stress. So, if I keep busy, I don't have time to go, and if I am stressed, I want to go as a form of escape. Now what we do is not go at all during the month until the last weekend, or if there is a celebratory excuse. Running to the casino when I am stressed is no longer an option. Going to the casino as a form of entertainment is.

But really, if you want to continue gambling, do the following:

- Stop gambling for a month or longer.
- Plan your next gambling event and stick to the date and time.
- Play with a reasonable budget and leave your bank cards, visa cards, etc at home.
- Budget your time and choose your games. Pick the games you are going to play, and define a hard stop for the session.
- your feeling after the gambling experience should be the same if your gambling excursion met those expectations. You shouldn't feel "bad" about losing and "good" with winning.
- Gauge how you did. Were you able to stay within budget? Did you play the games you planned on? Did you leave on time? How did you feel about the experience?
- Do not return to the casino until your next scheduled time, win or lose.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!

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