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Gambling Problems?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Ok, I couldn't find the best place to start this thread, but as this is a page about the mind, i'm guessing it's as good as any.

I'm looking for your opinions really and a outsiders view on things. I will openly accept that I may be wrong on this which is why I am asking you.

I'll set the scene..
I'm 19 years old, my parents broke up when i was 16 and so now I live with my mother ( or did ). She has now moved out to live with her boyfriend, and so I live in the family home with my girlfriend. She still comes home every now and then but pretty much, I just live with the lady. I've been with her for 2 and a half years now.
My dad lives up the road a bit.
My mum has been really ill and unable to work for a while leaving us very strapped for cash, especially after the divorce.


Ok, when I was 16, I started playing poker with my friends, I was terrible at it but we only ever played for £1, so for a night at my mates house losing £1 was no problem at all. I then continued to play with them for about a year, every couple or weeks or so, until eventually I actually became good at poker. A few weeks after I turned 18, I signed up to an online poker site, PKR. I started off with a $50 deposit, and in my spare time enjoyed playing... this $50 just stayed for about 2 months, going up a bit and down a bit, I enjoyed playing but I only played every 4 or 5 days.

Eventually, I started to win, I built my bankroll up to $150, and then up to $200,... past $300 and it kept going. I found myself playing more and more as I started to win. I started playing every other day. I'm 19 now and I play almost every night, i've got my bankroll to up over $1200, and never deposited since my initial $50. Being a student still studying a levels, and with the fantastic exchange rate for me now with it being in dollars, this is a lot of money to me. I have recently withdrawn 400 to have my car serviced, MOTd and taxed.
I try my best to keep my money in my account as I know i will win, and I still stick to relatively small games. I play $10-$20 games where I win a lot. The problem I have is that in real life, I have not much money at the moment having just lost my job ( I wasn't needed anymore ).

I am still playing most night, I'll spend about 3 hours every night playing... something or 5.
My mother tuts at me, says " oh you're playing that again "... and doesn't seem to understand while i'm in a live game, i cannot "pause" it to go and do other things. My girlfriend and I had a few arguments a couple of weeks ago about it, and so as a result I am spending more time with her, helping around the house and trying to get things on the right road.
I've just joint a live poker league where I plan on playing every week, but I can't always make it so that probably won't happen.

The problem I have is, whilst my girlfriend understands me playing, says I should keep my money in my account and make more, and that as over 900 games + i've averaged a profit I should carry on. It is a game of skill rather than luck which is contrary to the belief of some, normally those who have not played. My mother is always complaining about it, says to my father how I play too much, complains that "all i ever do is play poker"... etc etc, when the problem I have is that is all SHE sees. I spend the day studying then come home and relax with a beer and play poker. I see that as better than just watching TV, playing the game actually requires a lot of thinking. At least i'm not going out every night and getting drunk, i'm not taking drugs,.. I spent time with my mates or time playing poker in my room. I personally cannot see the problem especially as I make money, I see it as more beneficial than sitting infront of a TV all night, I NEVER watch TV. She always has little pops and digs at me about it, and it really irritates me. She has also moved out so I don't see much of her.

My dad seems to have taken a better approach, asking me to teach him how to play and actually being interested in it rather than just jumping to the conclusion it's a terrible thing to gamble.
My mum now says she's going to stop bothering because i'm too defensive over it, which I might be, but i'll always show her how much i've won / lost, and I want her to be interested!
She's told me so many times that i'm addicted to it etc etc that i'm starting to maybe believe it. Is it reasonable for me to play poker for a few hours every night? I mean,.. if you watch TV for 3 hours every night are you addicted? If you go out drinking every other night for longer are you? It's what I like to do to relax, and I think it's a good passtime. I'm just stuck and I don't know what to say to her. It's getting really akward now which is why i've come to you.

I also would like to mention I am studying A levels, but i'm in my 3rd year. I tried to do the whole maths a level in one year ( it's a 2 year course ), where I started off well ( AAB in first 3 modules ) but then found the second half very difficult ( DDE ), as did everyone in my group. I am now re-sitting a few maths modules, and finishing my economics course off before going to Nottingham Uni next year. I do have a lot of time on my hands with only studying maths re-sits and economics A2 modules.


Do i need to cut poker out of my life? Is it causing too many problems or is it my mother going over the top and stopping me from enjoying my passtime. Is it normal and ok for my hobby to be playing poker?
I read books, stratergy guides so to speak, I learn about the game and it takes years to be a good winning player ( only 5% of players actually make profit )... i've put in a lot of work to become a good player and now it gets thrown in my face. I don't see myself as some sort of gambling addict. But is that denial?
I have a lot of friends that play and I go to meetups in London which are great fun... it's what I enjoy doing.

I just don't get it.

Now I live with my gf and have to do everything myself, most 19 year olds living with parents or even uni get a lot of things paid for. I am paying for my car every month, anything I do, my petrol to get to 6th form, my phone contract,.. everything other than water electric and gas. I now almost NEED my poker to keep paying for this stuff.

Thanks for reading,..
Advice would be very very much appreciated.

Comments

  • **helen****helen** Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Supreme Poster
    NutterzUK wrote: »
    Is it normal and ok for my hobby to be playing poker?
    I read books, stratergy guides so to speak, I learn about the game and it takes years to be a good winning player ( only 5% of players actually make profit )... i've put in a lot of work to become a good player and now it gets thrown in my face. I don't see myself as some sort of gambling addict. But is that denial?
    I have a lot of friends that play and I go to meetups in London which are great fun... it's what I enjoy doing.

    I just don't get it.

    Hey NutterzUK,
    Welcome to TheSite :wave: it's great that you're asking for advice about this situation as it shows you're being responsible about it and I bet your Mum would be proud if she knew.

    As our factsheet about gambling addiction says, games like poker can just be a fun hobby, but it's when it's your main focus of interest that it can become a problem:
    Keeping it fun

    Not all gambling gets out of hand - it can be (and often is) a fun pastime that you choose to take part in when the mood takes you. Stick to the following 'rules' and you should be able to keep it in perspective:

    * Be aware of age restrictions: jackpot machines and higher pay-out cash machines are restricted to over-18s. It is also illegal for under-18s to bet in a shop, gamble in a casino or play bingo in a bingo club. Pools, lottery and scratch cards are restricted to those aged 16 and over.
    * Remember, gambling costs money. It is a form of entertainment rather than investment, and the house always wins more than you do;
    * Set a strict time and money limit before you start. If you find you can't stick to it, talk to a friend - not being able to stick to limits is the first sign of addiction.
    * Quit while you are ahead;
    * Don't play unless you can afford to lose the money you are spending;
    * If gambling is your only or main interest, you probably have a gambling problem. The best thing to do is to talk to your friends or family about it as gambling problems can develop into serious difficulties.

    What strikes me most about your post is this paragraph -
    NutterzUK wrote: »
    Now I live with my gf and have to do everything myself, most 19 year olds living with parents or even uni get a lot of things paid for. I am paying for my car every month, anything I do, my petrol to get to 6th form, my phone contract,.. everything other than water electric and gas. I now almost NEED my poker to keep paying for this stuff.

    It could well be a problem if you're relying on poker to pay for your living costs as that does suggests it's more than just a hobby and could become difficult if you get into debt. If you're struggling to make ends meet, perhaps you could use the extra time you say you have on your hands on a part-time job? Which is afterall guaranteed money. It sounds like you're doing really well with your studies and are generally pretty good at balancing stuff and could still fit the poker in for fun - what do you reckon?

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thankyou for your thoughtful response! Sorry for not replying for a while... i've been tied up for a long time and I was expecting an e-mail if someone responded.

    I do see poker as just a hobby. I have been looking for a part time job around my area but there is not much going at all at the moment as most of the shops have just filled with staff after recruiting near Christmas.

    As it happens I have just stumbled across a job,.. which may also cause problems. One of my friends works in a bar... his boss has asked him about setting up a poker night their,.. and he has passed the job on to me. I'd make about £30 a night which would be great, as I can do it two night a week, I just need to invest in some equipment and everything will be sorted. So now i'm currently trying to advertise this poker event and make money that way,.. I won't be playing myself, just being an organiser. Its exactly the kind of job I would like and I can see me making some good money from it and maybe expanding it to three nights ( including one at another venue which has asked ). I can be doing something I enjoy and make money from it.... only once again, my father will go to the games and says he will enjoy it... and my mother who I hardly ever see frowns at me again.
    Seems with this issue I can't do right for wrong and i've just had this job opportunity landed on me... I genuinely did not at all go looking for it. She may understand if I try again to explain, we'll see.

    The problem I have is playing online as it did start as a hobby, it has become more. I do now depend on it for money but I can't see much else I can do about that. It's no fun having no job and having to spend money on house things like... toilet roll and washing up liquid at my age.
    One of them things I guess. I can make up to £70 a night playing poker online ( up to... not always of course )... so it's a way to earn and relax,.. thats all I see it as ... i'm not in love with it and I can quit ( I just went a week without playing because... I just didn't feel like it ).

    About the debt comment... a few things I need to explain which may be hard to understand.

    bankroll management, rather like managing your income only managing your poker balance is very complex, but almost makes it impossible to lose all your money playing poker. I am very strict with it and I do not exceed limits I can afford to lose. The most that should ever be played with is 5% of the bankroll ( total amount in the account ).
    I play with about 2%, and play games which have very low variance ( 10 players, top 5 double money bottom 5 lose ). If I was to actually keep playing the same games,.. i'd need to lose 50 in a row to lose all my money in my account ( which remember,.. I actually only put in $25 of my own and I have about 1.5k now in my account... so it in a way isn't a loss as i've withdrawn a lot )
    In my eyes,.. I have about 60-70% chance of winning and have been doing,.. because of the factor of skill and not just pure luck,... but for arguments sake lets say 50% ). To calculate the chance of me losing 50 games in a row it's 0.5^50 = 0.0000000000000088817842% by my calculations ( chance of me losing every game ). Along the way i'd notice how badly things were going aswel i'm sure. I won't ever get into dept playing poker because I will never make another deposit.

    Thanks for your message,.. and your advice!
    Steve
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