How I Survived a Gambling Addiction

If you’ve read around other personal finance blogs, you can sometimes catch a glimpse into their lives with a sentence here and a sentence there, but the best post I’ve ever read was written by Lazy Man and Money.  One day, for whatever reason, he decided to tell his mother for the first time what he’s been doing for a living.  It was short but fantastic and it somewhat inspired me to do the same, albeit with what you might consider a more hard-hitting topic.

One of the advantages of writing for a site that has a large audience is that sometimes, you can express yourself when no one really knows who you are.  DR has been kind enough to allow me this forum to write on a regular basis about most things related to personal finance and now I’ve decided to share with you something that I consider to be my greatest achievement.  For the last ten months, I’ve been gamble free.

When most people think of gambling they think of a different class of person.  The term “degenerate” seems to always be attached, and if you started a survey on whether drinking or gambling was a “worse” addiction, you’d have mixed results. I don’t look at myself as a degenerate; never have, never will.  I’m just a kid who worked himself into a very terrible situation without a visible way out.  Without further adieu, here we go.

The year was 1999 and I was 16 years old.  A big-time sports nut, I convinced my father to deposit $200 into an online gambling account because I knew for a fact the Duke Blue Devils were going to slaughter the Arizona Wildcats in the men’s college basketball championship game.  Duke was favored to win by only three points (which means after you subtract three points from Duke’s final score, the higher score wins the bet) so I put all $200 on it.  Unfortunately for me, I was right and I felt an adrenaline rush a 16 year old has no business feeling.  It was the beginning of the end.

I graduated high school and attended the University of Miami on a partial scholarship.  My parents really didn’t want me to leave the state of New Jersey but I wanted out, at least temporarily.  Because school was so expensive, I promised to pay my own way, which is the main reason why I currently sit on top of a student loan mountain of $150K+.  At this time of my life, gambling wasn’t really that big a part of it.  I would deposit a few hundred dollars here and a few hundred dollars there and I was actually pretty good at it.  Sports is what I knew best, and while I was earning a degree in gambling from the University (Officially called probability and statistics), I was also enhancing my handicapping (professional gambling term) skills.

The sharper my gambling skill set, the bigger the problem became.  I started skipping random classes because there was a day baseball game on TV.  $50 bets turned into $100 bets.  $100 bets turned into $200 bets.  $200 bets turned into $500 bets.  Meanwhile my A grades turned into A-.  The A-’s turned into B’s and on rare occasion, the B’s turned into C’s and D’s (and one infamous F).  Any handicapper will tell you that to do it right, you have to go through mountains of information and follow every game because even the slightest detail can give you the edge you need to make the right decision.  More and more of my time was going into gambling and less and less of my time into everything else.  I was so good, that I was receiving checks from online gambling sites for $10,000 on a monthly basis.  I was sacrificing my life, to gamble.

But just as fast as the checks came in, they went right back out.  The problem with gambling is that even winners become losers because you just can’t shut it off.  When I was flying high, I estimate I was ahead by $85,000 and my intention was to earn as much as I needed to pay off my student loans in one payment.  Then, I ran into a losing problem that I just couldn’t seem to shake.

Gambling 101 teaches you not to chase your losses and walk away.  Hot streaks are awesome but cold streaks can ruin you forever.  I was so close to my $100,000 goal I could taste it but $500 at a time, it was slipping away.  Some of my losses were just so unbelievable, I would stare up at the sky and wonder what I’ve done to deserve this.  After losing around $25,000 in a month, I “snapped”.  The yearly Army/Navy football game was on TV and with Army’s terrible offense and the way Navy controls the clock, I was certain the game would stay under 53 total points. (Both teams final score combined).  The score was just 3-0 after the first quarter and I felt awesome.  Finally, I’ve come back and am ready to reach my goal once again.  Well, needless to say, these teams went on a scoring spree in the last three quarters and I lost $11,000 on one football game.  I think I blacked out during the 4th quarter when I knew I had lost because I remember every second of every game I’ve ever bet on except that one.

So just as fast as I won all of this money, I ended up losing it.  When I finished up my degree, I probably wagered over $5 million in total bets and the madness is that from a profit/loss perspective, I was down only $1,200.  Tens of thousands of hours were put into five years (because I was too lazy and too heavily invested in gambling to finish in four) worth of gambling in college and I had -$1,200 to show for it.  Most Saturday nights weren’t spent at the clubs, bars, or friends houses, rather in-front of the TV or computer, watching an Australian Rules Football game at 3:30 in the morning.  Geelong Cats were always the safe bet there, in-case you were wondering.

I finished school with a massive college loan debt, no immediate job and the fear that if I returned home, I would be exposed for the habitual gambler I had become.  I decided to stay in Miami and with two days left in my on-campus apartment lease, I found a new apartment.  At least I wouldn’t be homeless!  Two weeks after that, I became a store manager for the local Boston Market fast food chain.  One thing I always worked hard at was my job and I’ve been employed somewhere every single day since I was 7 years old.  I started at the fruit stand, worked my way through selling golf balls and asking people if they wanted pickles at McDonalds for six years, then worked two jobs in college.  The income wasn’t close to enough to supplement my monthly rent and student loan payment, so I started to fall months and months behind on many payments.  Add that to the gambling I was continuing to do with every spare minute of my free-time and I was in pretty terrible shape.

I can remember thinking to myself that I could quit at anytime.  I thought of gambling as a hobby that I had full control over and when the time was right, I would just turn it off.  If I had my 2008 calendar in front of me, you would see two or three days per month that said “The first day of the rest of my life”.  With each failed attempt, I began to doubt myself and with each collector that called me, I feared I would be stuck in this hole for the rest of my life.  I spent 8+ hours a day focused strictly on gambling.  Hell, I could tell you the 53 roster players for every professional football team, including their college background and their stats.  Even now, I’m loaded with thousands of useless sports facts and player knowledge that holds no other purpose than for gambling.

But even with the addiction, I seemed to still be able to work and live a life that wasn’t completely out of control.  I picked up a new job with a little more money, and was strong enough to pay the necessities.  Just not strong enough to kick the habit I suppose.  Nothing I seemed to do worked.  I tried closing all of my gambling accounts but I would just reopen new ones in a few days.  If it wasn’t sports, it was poker, then race track betting and even online casinos. (which is just financial suicide). I didn’t know what to do.  Financially, I was better off than before, but still in the negative each month.

In September of 2009, I made the craziest decision of my life and decided to quit my job with no new job in sight and zero dollars of expected future income.  My work was inhibiting my gambling because I flat out hated it and I couldn’t wait to go home, plug $500 into an online account and watch it dwindle down to nothing.  It was more about the time consuming activity than it was winning or losing money and while I used to get a rush from winning  and losing, I was now somewhat immune to the whole thing.

Through absolutely no effort on my part , I found a girl that tolerated my company and a job that saved my life.  More and more of my time was shifting from gambling to work and a social life and I was able to focus my “addiction” on healthier things.  For the last 10 months, instead of reaching for the credit card, I’m up all night watching romantic comedies(It’s the very least I can do for her), or writing about how to help others avoid the pitfalls I’ve fallen into.  I’ve caught up on most of my loans and am even able to save an ever so small amount of money each month in a high interest savings account.  How in the world did I do this?

I wish I could provide step by step instructions on how to break a gambling addiction but I can’t.  For me, the strategy that worked was to refocus my addiction on things other than gambling.  I had hit rock bottom a couple of times in regard to losing a lot of money but I was one of the lucky ones.   I started out ahead and only lost house money in the long-run.  I wonder what would have become of me had I started out a gambling loser?  Chilling.

So while I haven’t exactly taken the Lazy Man and Money approach and announced how I’ve lived the last 8 years of my life to my family, it’s a start. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading about my misery as much as I enjoyed writing about it.  If you find yourself in a similar gambling situation, the best course of action may not be the one that worked for me.  Admitting you have a problem is truly the first step to moving in the right direction and whether you tell someone close to you or a complete stranger, it’s a beginning.  Comments are anonymous, feel free to ask for help if you need it. I’ll listen, I promise.

Published or Updated: June 4, 2010

Comments

  1. Christine says:

    Wow… that is an amazing story! Thanks for sharing! Congrats on being 10 months “sober”. That is definitely an accomplishment.

  2. A lot of people have gambling addictions nowadays do to job losses

  3. Really it a amazing story. Many people will like your amazing story. Thanks

  4. Adam says:

    I had to comment, that was a wonderful post.

  5. blackjack says:

    Over the past year, I have lost $30,000 at various casinos playing Blackjack. Best part, I’m just finishing my masters so I have a crapload of student debt – total debt now, is $85K. I could have had $50K, but the $30K was spent on gambling.

    Last trip to the casino? About 3 weeks ago. Ive hit rock bottom and barely have a dollar to my name. I start a full-time job in September and have set up a strong financial plan utilizing a debt snowball. For now, I walk for 45 minutes each way from the train station because it saves me $5/day in transit fees. And then, there were the days where I would put $1000 on the casino table without thinking about it twice.

    Your story is an inspiration that there is a way out – and you have my word, I will dig myself out of it. I’ve worked way too hard for way too many things for way too long to let it all slip away. I will be back, and if I remember, I will post a comment here again every time I pay $10K off. Or atleast the first couple of times =P

    Come to think of it, I might start a blog about it, lol

    • Michael says:

      Blackjack

      It’s important to find things outside of school and the casino that you can occupy your mind with, otherwise you’re only going to dig yourself deeper. The frame of mind that your life is too valuable to waste it now is great but those very same thoughts ran through my head too many times to count. I still made excuses to gamble and I still thought I could win enough money to cover my college debt and previous gambling losses.

      I would encourage you to keep track of every-time the idea of placing a bet runs through your head because even though you sound like you can beat this, your written thoughts might tell you otherwise.

      Keep us up-to-date and good luck.

  6. Andy Hough says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Most people would be afraid to let their addiction be known.

    I have kicked a gambling addiction myself which led to my bankruptcy in 1996. I have written about that on my blog but it was already a decade in the past when I wrote about it. I’m not sure if I would have been willing to write about it much sooner.

  7. PT says:

    Fascinating story, Michael. Sounds like a wild ride, man. Glad to see you finished school despite all the ups and downs.

  8. ZFarls says:

    Good story, I enjoy throwing a few bucks on a game here or there. Fortunately I never got sucked in though, it really is powerful. The Money escalates quickly and you need to wager more to get the feeling. Thanks for sharing and hope you can stay strong. Always can remember the teams or the random player that blew the bet too, good stuff.

  9. Evan says:

    Fascinating and detailed story. I can’t believe after all those years and all those bets you were only down $1,200!

    Do you think you’ll ever be able to gamble just a little? Or are you along the lines of an alcoholic where one drink might as well be 12?

  10. Glad you kicked the habit! It’s fun to know what the lines are and bet small money for fun like $10 bucks.

    Is that possible for you to do with your buddies and colleagues? Or is it an all or nothing proposition?

    Sam

    • Michael says:

      Evan and Sam

      I’ve never classified friendly wagers as part of the problem. I usually make those $5 or $10 bets for bragging rights and nothing else so I would imagine if they came up, I’d still take part.

      My issues became the rush of getting home, going to Western Union and making a handful of deposits in the span of 72 hours. I think it’s a bit different with drinking but I guess I’ll find that out soon enough.

  11. **it Happens says:

    I am very glad that I have come across your story as I have let myself get wrapped up in gambling to the extent that I have lost a lot more than $1,200 over the past 15 years or so. In that time though, I have told myself over and over again that “this is the last time”….and you know how the story goes from there.

    Your story has been an inspiration to me and a genuine Kick in the Ass to move me on the road to “sobriety”.

    Thank you again for opening up to all of us.

  12. CreditShout says:

    What a great story. I always think about addictions being to drugs or alcohol but there are so many others that can be just as devastating.

  13. Olivia says:

    A great uncle of mine earned and lost several fortunes in his lifetime. A sweet man, very kind hearted. He died in a hotel room near Pittsburgh.

  14. rob says:

    I recently entered a GA program in Vegas. My gambling career began when I moved to Vegas and in 5 years time, I have lost around 50K total and finally said enough. Its a struggle everyday as it is an addition just like crack or alcohol. When gambling it was an escape from reality and it became all comsuming just like you stated. Leaving it is hard, staying away is harder, especially in Vegas. I was fortunate to see the light early. I hear other GA member stories and they are horrifying and I consider myself lucky to have caught it before I sunk to some of those depths.

    Be careful, it can catch you off gaurd and suck you right back in.

  15. sports man says:

    funny just like watching a movie about my life., except that -1200$., my minus is much larger.
    i invested 6 years of my life in sports betting, every single mine from morning to evening and i just cant accept defeat and wont till the final.
    I somehow menage to finish 2 colleges and it is only bright thing in my past 6 years.

  16. Michelle Gyder says:

    I am a 51 yr old female. I started gambling when my husband was busing working long hours and I was bored. It was online gambling, about 15 years ago. I lost everything. My beautiful home, my husband, my job, my assets. EVERYTHING. Here it is now 2010 and I am unemployed, living with my daughter and no assets or hope for any future. I should be looking forward to retiring and traveling. But, no, I gambled my $70,000 401k away years ago. People kill themselves over less then this. I wanted to blame my husband. Why didn’t he try to get me help?? All he would say is you better stop gambling. I never thought he would leave me. Just yesterday, I won $2400 on line and was so happy…a few hours later, it was all gone. What kind of person does that? That doesn’t even make sense to me, so how can I expect anyone else to understand? I then blame the online casino for having a 24 hour “reverse withdrawl.” If only the money went directly to my bank account when I cashed out. But no, I have only myself to blame. I need the money more then anything, and I was so happy that I won it, yet, slowly, I put it back in trying to win more, and watch it dwindle away. I tried Gamblers Anonymous, but all that talk about gambling, just wanted to make me come home and gamble. I will never understand this sickness. At least a drug addiction makes sense. This addiction doesn’t. I went to the point of leaving some money at home, if I went to one of the Indian Casinos here in AZ, and when I lost what all that I brought, I actually went all the way back home to get what money I left, and went back to the casino. What is that? So, here I sit, hoping, I never gamble again. But knowing deep down, tomorrow or the next day, I will be on here losing money. Because I love it so much. Yeah, right.

    • Michael says:

      Michelle

      Give a gambler a reason to gamble and they’ll thank you for it. I used to find crazy ways to avoid social events and get out of work just so I could watch my sporting event and watch time tick away. I never got involved with the online casino’s thank God but nevertheless you have got to find something else to do other than gambling. Sitting at home all day only to be tempted time and time again is always going to break you down.

      I remember when I would take a walk outside thinking how stupid I was for withdrawing money only to lose it hours later. I said this was the last day I would gamble, and 24-hours I would give in. Literally hundreds of “failed attempts” but then I got as lucky as I ever would, and found a job and a woman that takes up 100% of my time. I have her to steer me in the right direction if need be and the urge to gamble is 100% gone. (At least for now)

      Everyone needs a support system and if you have any family or friends within a 1,000 mile radius, you need to ask them for help. Admit your faults, and hopefully they’ll help you control this addiction. Two heads are always better than one and maybe you can get more than that.

  17. Bonehead says:

    Hey Michael, it looks like we’re about the same age. First off I’ll admit that I have a compulsive gambling problem. What’s worse is that I am good at sports betting. My big losses came from betting big like 10-15k a game. And that’s where I got in trouble. Another 2 months and I’m done paying off my debt in full (after 3 years).

    I have this NCAA football system that only bets based on reverse point movements and is a 100% winner…In a season I only get like 7-10 picks the entire season but they hit 100% of the time. I also have this 2nd half NCAA basketball system that wins about 76.27% of the time. It’s purely based on what people are betting. If my system is such a high % over the past 3 years why am I losing? It’s because I not only bet these games, I bet other games that I think will win. I follow my system and win and then bet other games and lose big…It is quite obvious then to only bet the system plays, but that’s why I have a problem.

    I trick myself everytime that I will only follow my system plays but I ALWAYS ALWAYS get off track and bet other games…and lose. At some point it’s always all in…

    Even with a winning system…I am a big loser.
    Regardless of what system I have, I realized that I will always lose because I can not control myself…

    It’s 3am right now as I’m posting this, I found your site via google “sports gambling addiction stories.”

    I had a 3-team parlay today that I bet 3,000 with my NCAA Basketball system plays. I won 18,000. Then I bet the entire account balance tonight on a non-system play…I bet on Pittsburgh at home tonight and lost my entire account balance. It didn’t fit any betting criteria. I just thought it was going to win. This happens time and time again. Win with my system and just lose on bone-headed picks that don’t follow a system…

    I’m tired of it all Michael…I want to quit completely because I know I am unable to control myself betting. The thing is I give my winning picks to my friend in Vegas and he only bets those and makes money off of it. He doesn’t know I have a gambling problem. He thinks I do very well because every pick I give him is a winner.

    I took some active measures and deleted all sport apps on my android phone. I told myself I won’t look at point spreads anymore, etc. But how long will this charade last?

    When football/basketball season is over I have no problem…but when sept rolls around i’m sucked back into it all…

    Even with my loss tonight I am still on track to be able to pay off my debt by end of Dec this year. My girlfriend of 5 years doesn’t know I have this problem…she just thinks I’m just really into sports. We kinda talked about sports betting before and she said she would leave the person she’s with if she knew he sports bet…so I can’t really tell her. I am also only 2 months away from paying off all my debts.

    I am just a big bonehead….how do I prevent myself from betting? I have an online account that I really should cancel, but for some reason I can’t get myself to do it….

    What should I do? What do you recommend? Another sleepless night for me right now for a bonehead mistake…

    I get triggered:
    1. when someone talks about point spreads
    2. football season begins
    3. When I see sport highlights and then think whoa easy money…

    I’m sorry i’m just all over the place…I came to accept the fact that my winning system is only for the disciplined…that’s not me…

    How do you ensure that you don’t fall back into betting? What tips can you give? Maybe I know what i need to do, but just won’t do it? I am venting….I am a bonehead

    • Michael says:

      Hey Bonehead.

      Pittsburgh sure took a whooping tonight huh. DR’s a big fan of Pittsburgh too, so that makes two unhappy people.

      I feel ya dude. I became pretty solid at the NCAA basketball side of gambling but when there was no basketball on, I bet on other things, simply because I needed action. Hockey, Tennis, Australian Rules Football, Rugby … I know more about Australian sports than I think anyone else in this country. Sad but true. (Look out for Manly Sea Eagles this year in the NRL!)

      But the only way I worked my way out of it was, well … with work. I had to find something else to keep me busy, because any free time I had put me right in front of my computer, capping lines. I picked up a second and third side job in umpiring and refereeing that got me out of the house on Saturdays (which was crucial to avoid NCAAF) and I now enjoy Sundays for Jets games and Jets games only.

      I tried to tone by bets down … I tried to stick with a system and at least 20 times I said “Ok … it starts NOW”, but that never stuck.

      Congratulations in getting your debt level down to zero, and might I make one more suggestion. Girlfriend of 5 years sounds pretty serious and to be honest, I needed someone to help keep me in check. Perhaps you should come clean now, especially since you’re so close to your goal and ask for her help in keeping you on track. I used my GF as a watchdog and since we live together, it was doubly as difficult to sneak a bet in. Really kept me on the straight and narrow.

      Good luck my man. $10 bracket pool is A-OK but betting $18k on the Steel Curtain is ill-advised going forward.

  18. Michael K says:

    I have 9 months gambling-free, after my second college suspension from depositing to online poker accounts with other people’s plastic. I have experienced immeasurable positive change in my life since stopping and am walking across America to raise awareness about problem gambling. I started in Seattle and my final destination in Boston, where the National Conference on Problem Gambling will be held at the beginning of June. There are many ways to stop an addiction, and your story is valid and insuring. GA and family is what worked for me. My trip blog is http://www.MichaelWalksAmerica.com

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Michael K says:

    Oops, I meant to say “inspiring,” not “insuring.” Swype texting’s fault.

  20. Robert says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for sharing your story. We are about the same age and I can relate in so many ways. I am trying so hard to get through my problem but it seems so impossible. I have had my fair share of very bad stories even dealing with bookies. I have expressed my situation to my family and friends but no one really knows how serious it is. I am thinking about GA or even a therapist to see if anything helps. I know I have a problem and I know sometimes I will come up big on a few games but I also know in the back of my head I’m giving it all back. It blows my mind how I can be thinking this to myself before I make the bet and yet I do it over and over. So many times I say ok this is it. This is the last bad beat or this is the last bet but I always find my way back. Today I took the first step of shutting down my online sport account by telling them I have a problem so they shut it down for life. This will help a bit but I can always open another accont with a different sportsbook or go to Vegas or even have a friend bet it on their account. I dont even get the good feeling anymore. Just like the movie two for the money how they say its not when you are taking the money in and winning its now I get the rush when I know I just blew everything and I have nothing left in the account. Just writting this makes me sick and just thinking how if someone read this and didnt gamble how big of an idiot I must seem. I am not in the worst position right now in terms of debt but I could see something bad happening in the future especially as I start to make more and more money and this scares me. Does it ever get easier or is this just something I need to deal with forever? I cant just keep saying this is the last bet. I did that a couple months ago when I blew 10K in one weekend in Vegas and I have defin gambled since. I just cant understand how I dont learn from these very dumb mistakes. Thanks again for posting your story and does give me a little bit of hope.

  21. Benjamin says:

    After losing a 500k plus business deal at work because mz wife wanted me at home, I managed to find other jobs. I would find myself dreaming about a big win for hours, dazs, weeks and months on end. All the while my wife would ask me how was work, how was zour day. etc. Our first child had just been born and desperate to make a living to feed our little familly I would go out to the casino and bookies and dissapear for whole days. And when I got back my wife would be furious and ask where I had been. And I would just go quiet and then the rows would start. In the beginning I was winning consistently every day. I used martingale. But then I just starting losing and then chasing. And in my head I kept telling myself that I could when. The impact of mz behaviour only became real to me once my wife left me. Then she came back and still I continued. Then I got slammed into a pyschiatric ward and then she left again. And I have not seen her since. I have promised to myself that I am never making another bet, ever.

  22. Just Me says:

    I don’t have this particular problem, but my mother does. She used to leave me at home with her lastest husband for days. She blew hundreds of my child support dollars in day. I would faint if I knew just how much I’m sure. I know she has a problem, and I really did try to help her. I even hid my bank card from her once. But she found it. After a while, my dad got wind of what was going on and pulled me out of there. Am I a little bitter? Yea I am. But your story shows me there is hope for her.

  23. Frank says:

    I wish I could say that your post was helpful to me but it wasn’t. So my questions here are these: Were you a good handicapper but bad doing money management? 11 thousand in a game, with less than 100 000, that was over 10 percent of your bankroll. Are you trying to say that it is impossible to predict the games outcome and find juice sometimes or that you were too greedy to do proper money management?. Or that you should study, get a good job and then gamble?. Let me tell you, you had almost 100 000 in your hands, most american will never see this amount of money, so what was your point?

    • Melanie says:

      Thank you so much for your story. I just started gambling compulsively over the last couple of years. I started out on penny slots and now I’m playing $25 slots in high limits. I’ve won over $70k this year but lost pretty much all of it back into machines and paying back credit cards that I made cash advances on at the casino. It has gotten to the point where I take a day off work here and there to go play and I feel sick to my stomach when I take big losses. Your story tells me there is hope. I talked to the people close to me last night asking for their support in quitting gambling. I hope I can get my mind on other things while I battle this addiction.

  24. JR says:

    Thanks for sharing your story – I feel like it’s kind of like my story, given that I’ve been pre-occupied with sports betting for about the last 5 years. I can’t even really remember when I started or what triggered it. All I know is that I find myself in about $20k worth of debt and I don’t see a way out of it. It’s such a shameful secret – I told my (now ex….not because of gambling) girlfriend last year about the extent of my problem and it was such a relief – she was so supportive. I’ve often thought about telling my parents and asking for some financial help – just to clear some of the debt so I can breathe again, but I just can’t do it. I’m so ashamed – it’s something that is very easy to do in private….I sometimes think no one at work has any clue about this issues and how much trouble I’ve gotten myself into financially.

    A few times I have tried to quit or stick to a real low percentage stake system where I wouldn’t feel the losses, but I always end up breaking it with a stupid bet. Intellectually I know it’s idiotic, but I do it anyway….I guess that’s why they call it an addiction – it’s not rational. I feel like I know all the theory about how to bet ‘the right way’, with percentages of bankrolls or whatever, but I don’t put it into practice. I know not to chase losses or play multis/partlays….but guess what? I have done on a regular basis.

    I can remember some occasions of hitting rock bottom – living paycheck to paycheck on a decent salary – and in the week I wasn’t getting paid, having to turn down offers to go out with friends or not going to the supermarket for food because I literally didn’t have any money left to take out of my account. Betting $2k (on my credit card) on a single AFL game a few years ago, and losing…I just felt numb – I couldn’t believe I had done that…..not being able to sleep because I didn’t know when interest would get charged on my credit card and I was worried I would max out before I next got paid. It’s really been quite stressful at times.

    I had a couple of nice wins on the Brownlow Medal and some NBA futures a couple of years back and I swore I would reduce my credit limit after paying off debt….but I didn’t….I think the very next week, I lost a bet on the AFL grand final, then before I knew it, I was betting on college football and NFL just for something to bet on over the Christmas break. I’m now a fan of the NFL, but at the time I didn’t really have any depth of knowledge of what I was betting on – I was just doing a bit of internet research and following some picks here and there. In most cases, I didn’t even have a strong feeling about the picks I was making – the important thing was that I was in with a chance to win money.

    I haven’t really tried to quit seriously – part of me (the degenerate addict part) doesn’t want to – and that’s why I know I have to start filling my life with other things. One of the worst things is that every day there is something to bet on – basketball, football, baseball, tennis etc…..all of these sports, I’m really into independent of gambling, so it’s tough to not have a bit of a wager on them as well. There isn’t a day where you can’t find an angle on something you like. And I’ve noticed that on the rare occasions when I don’t have a bet on something, I feel bit empty and at a loose end.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled a bit. I just wanted to say it was good to read your story because I really identified with it. It’s good to know I’m not the only one I guess…

  25. Frank says:

    Hello, no one answered my previous question so I’ll ask again using a different angle. The idea i’m getting here is that these post are being done by people addicted to nonsense gambling. As I have read before there is a 2 % of sports bettors who wins and a 98% who lose. Most people with gambling addiction are in the 98% of losers group. I have been handicapping games and I have been able to find sometimes up to 80 % chances of winning and the my prediction have been confirmed with the results most of the time. I have to say that I use a lot of mathematics formulas, trends and stats. My predictions are 99% of the time the same as those of the bookies, but there is this 1% where they mess up and I get my juice. I still don’t bet and I need to learn from people like you who have walked the way. I’m considering to go professional in sports betting but by now is only a hobbie till I get my master degree in science so I’ll have more experience, money and time to handicap the games. I will be happy if one of you guys change my mind in this matter, but the way to do it is by giving me a scientific based analisis showing me that the bookies never go wrong. I have studied the stock market, the forex, and many other bussiness out there and none of them have ever showed me a profit winning rate of over 60%. Can someone help me here I clear my mind?. Or none of you guys have been serious bettor able to calculate and predict the outcome of the games as well or better than the bookies?

  26. Julian says:

    Frank, I don’t think anyone is going to tell you that bookies don’t get it wrong – especially in this day and age, we all have access to a wealth of information and there are a lot of bettors out there who handicap using all sort of statistical methods and know a great deal about their chosen sports, more than your average bookies. The lines from bookies I think have also become much tighter in recent years due to the vast amounts of information that everyone has so it’s not that often that you will find an angle on a game that hasn’t been factored into the odds. It’s also impossible to be completely scientific about betting, as there are so many variables (including luck, believe it or not) that are involved in the outcomes of games.

    But what we are talking about here is addiction – there is a certain type of person who isn’t content with playing a system….they might think they can, but they always end up failing. They go for a big win when they shouldn’t, they chase losses, they do everything you’re not supposed to do. Statistics and systems are rational, addiction is not. If you think you can win on stats and beat the bookies by playing a system, then more power to you. Is it possible? Sure….there are many people who make a living gambling….but it’s also the exception, not the rule. It’s a fine line between immersing yourself in the world of gambling and sportsbetting and crossing over into addiction. I would guess that most people don’t have the willpower to stay on the right side of it.

  27. Frank says:

    Thanks Julian, I’m very pleased with your answer. I do know that luck counts in a very strong way, specially in the short term. You might have a dice hitting the same number 15 times in a row or even more, that is why is so important to have a strong income, always consider the chance of losing and bet a very low percentage of your bankroll. I will also make sure to build a team of experts before I jump in. One of the reason I’m posting here is because I also wants to know the psicological issues involved in the betting world, and you guys can teach me a lot in this regard. The other problems sports bettors have is the huge amounts of scams froms sports handicappers websites, which are responsible for a great deal of the losses that new bettors have(unfortunally most of them kids). Once you learn that most handicappers out there do cheat in some way is too late. They cheat, they take your money, they force you to bet huge amount of money since you are paying a lot for their service and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no protection for the consumers in this regard. And not only that, they sell picks under differentes names so they always win.

  28. Frank says:

    Many people have problems with alcohol, drugs, food addiction/morbid obesity, depression, suicide, aggresive behavior, rage, smoking addiction. And in the other hand there are guys like Billy Walters with proffesional sports betting “addiction” flying 22 million dollars airplanes. Sorry but I still think that many of you guys have a problem that is not addiction to gambling but addiction to nonsense gambling. Food is not the cause of obesity, you wont get fat by eating lettuce. I dont want you guys to gamble, is the other way around. I want to say that you are addicted to something that is way different to what you think you are addicted. You see people like Billy Walters and you try to do the same thing that he is doing when you guys are just throwing the money away, what you guys do is like trying to do an open heart surgery after reading a book while a professional surgeon spend 10 years studiying full time to do what they do. If you call it addiction to stupidity and self destructive behavior will probably help you to stop from doing it.

    • Michael says:

      I used to think like you Frank … hell I used to be like you too. There was a time when I got started with gambling that I was doing very well. The first year or two I was in college, I was disciplined and focused on handicapping and things were going well.

      Then I hit a bad streak. A few bad calls by officials here and a few unlucky injuries there … and before you know it, I lost 78 out of 100 wagers. Specializing in mathematics, I knew this kind of run was a possibility but as good as I had been, I never thought it would happen.

      When your winning, the world is a beautiful place. You become confident in your selections and the results reflect your confidence. But after I started losing, the urge to gamble became worse and worse. The wagers I placed started to become larger and larger and rather than betting two games a night, I bet four, I bet eight. Before I knew it, I was spending 24 hours a day thinking about who I would bet the next night, the next week … who would win the Superbowl in 2012 so I could get a futures bet in. Losing changes everything, and I guarantee you that you will lose big sometimes. Perhaps you’ll handle it better, but most won’t.

      Your thoughts are rational Frank because you sit on the green side of the fence. You reference Billy Walters, a man who admittedly has had losing months, losing years, and continues to gamble on. I’m willing to bet (isn’t that ironic) that if he started with those losing years, he would be nothing more than a statistic to throw into the 99% losers category. Consider him an exception to the rule. He’d be the first to tell you just how lucky he is.

      Your argument makes it sound like I don’t understand what’s going on here. Don’t you think if I could have stopped, I would have? Don’t you think for a guy that understands numbers and odds so well, I could have figured it out by now? Hubris aside, I’m telling you I will know more about sports than you ever will and I couldn’t do it. Even today, I could rattle off every starting pitcher for tonight’s inter league action, every starting lineup one-thru-nine, every arena football match-up, international basketball games, NRL rugby action, Aussie rules games and it doesn’t mean a damn thing. In the end, one bad call, one dropped ball by a superstar, one FT clanked by the guy that shoots 99% … explain to me how you account for that?

      Few people can make this work. Not only can it be addicting, but you start in the hole by 5%-10% with every single wager. Unless you have an unlimited bankroll, one bad streak (which is 100% guaranteed going to happen) can throw your mind into a frenzy and you start breaking your own system. The best advice I ever learned was from War Games dude … “The only winning move is not to play”

      But if you think you can take it on … good luck. You’re gonna need a whole lot of it.

  29. Julian says:

    I think that’s a great response Michael….I also don’t want it to seem like we are being hard on Frank, because he’s merely asked a question and wants to know what our responses are. I do think the Billy Walters thing is a very bad example. I don’t know how he started out or whatever but I do know that at this point in time, he can absorb pretty much any sort of loss and not be affected by it. Does he know mroe about sports than any of us who have failed at sports gambling? I strongly doubt it….he just has a lot of money. When you have that kind of bankroll, you are playing with a different set of rules from everyone else. Also, if you want to talk about discipline and statistics, Walters is probably an especially bad example – he doesn’t bet a set percentage of his bankroll on all games he plays, which on pure mathematics is a bad way to go. It means that all that matters is hitting the huge bets (as with anyone who doesn’t bet flat amounts).

    The one thing that I will say about Walters is that it doesn’t help that the media glamourises him….because at the end of the day, he’s a gambling addict as well – he’s just a very rich and successful one. He’s not a genius, he doesn’t have any special knowledge about sports that make him especially sucessful. He’s just an anomaly.

    Michael is right – losing does change everything. It’s easy to say that if you lose, you’ll just stop but the kind of person who is attracted by the prospect of winning ‘free’ money with this pastime isn’t content to walk away – partly, because, even when we are losing, we are confident in our knowledge of the games. To me, this is the biggest irony – there are many, many guys (like Michael and me) who know a great deal about sports….and yet you could probably ask my sister to randomly pick a winning line for 50 games and she’d do just as well as I would actually thinking about the games.

    Frank, you did touch on some of the internet ‘scam’ touts that sell picks to unsuspecting bettors….I think what these guys do is very shady. Even the apparently ‘reputable’ sites skew numbers and only promote their touts great streak (which I guess they are entitled to do as a business)……they promote a culture of responsibility – when a much hyped pick loses, it’s okay because they assume you’ve exercised good money management…..but when a pick wins, their tout is a genius. Personally, I don’t know why anyone would pay actual money for picks when the information you need to make a pick is all over the internet for free.

  30. Frank says:

    Michael I do believe you, but by getting into this world of betting I’m getting a new addiction and erasing old ones. Things that used to hurt me before are meaningless now, it could be a conflict with a cooworker or a someone saying hurtful things, or the fear of losing my job or getting sick, or not been able to spend time with someone I love. Handicapping games give me hope, and force me to keep my mind sharp and focus. You dont have to bet hundreds, by playing just 2 dollars a day you could make millions. I used to play dice when I was a kid, I remember hitting the same number 15 times in a row a couple of times, that in a betting scale would be equivalent to millions and millions of dollars. I could go combining martingale and parlays and even if I lose will never be more that 30 dollars a month. This is not how I want to do it but it is a possibility. And you are wrong when you say that you know a bunch of things about sports betting that are useless. Did you check how much is charging Mr East (sport handicapper) for example this year: 75 doll per day. That is over 27 000 per year with only one person buying his daily picks. With 100 persons would be 2.7 millions. And those picks are sold worldwide.

  31. Frank says:

    Julian Billy Walters is a loser woking alone, but he has a team of experts helping him and that is a big, big difference. and betting flat is mathematically stupid, if you calculate that a game is going to end 200 and the over/under is set at 190 you have 10 points of edge for you, If in another game again you predict 200 points and the over/under is set at 195 you have only 5 points. In basketball each point means about 14 dolars of juice. So why will you bet straight if you have a 140 doll juice in one and only 75 in the other. Would you bet the same amount in a game of Lebron vs Wade as in a game of Lebron vs Obama if you have the same money line for each player?

  32. Julian says:

    Frank, I’m not much of a mathematics guy, but I understand what you’re saying. My response would be that I don’t think you can really be that accurate about how much edge you have on a particular game just using statistics. Maybe some people can and that’s fine…I just think it’s very difficult in practice. It reminds me of when people talk about using the Kelly Criterion method for betting, which is a formula for determining your optimal bet size, depending on the ‘edge’ you have over the bookies. I just don’t know how you can really calculate that edge – to me it’s kind of meaningless.

    Flat betting may not maximise your edge, but I still believe it is the best way to try to avoid the rollercoaster ride of gambling, simply because no game you bet on is more important than any other – it’s just about reaching the 55% or whatever you need to turn a profit. I mean mathematically, as soon as you deviate from flat betting, that required percentage to break even goes up….that’s my understanding anyway. I could be wrong….and I’ve never managed to stick with flat betting anyway for the reasons that Michael has outlined so well!

  33. Julian says:

    And the Lebron-Wade vs Lebron-Obama example isn’t really useful, because you’re comparing it to the difference between a game hitting 194 or 200 – the outcome of that might be dependent on a couple of plays in the fourth quarter, a fluke three pointer with a second left on the shot clock or whatever….whereas we know there is a big difference between the two Lebron scenarios so of course we think we would bet more on one of them.

    I look at it this way – say you handicapped a basketball game at 200 points and the over/under was 192….so you are super confident it will go over the total and you hit it pretty hard. In my experience, you need both teams to shoot pretty well to hit that total, generally speaking…..but say one of them comes out (a team averging 105 points a game on the year say) and scores 15 points in the first quarter, just playing horribly, and totally out of character with past performance. You’re not going to hit your total. I’d rather be able to write that off as just a bad day and not have any ‘extra’ stake in the outcome, than be wondering what I had done to deserve backing a team on their worst night of the year when I had my biggest play in ages. If you played that game really hard, you would need to hit a higher percentage of winners in the future just to make up for that extra loss. If you had just flat bet, it’s just one loss and you still need to hit the same percentage as you did previously.

    Look, I’m not saying it’s the best way to do things – certainly it might not make you rich, but it might not make you broke either.

  34. Frank says:

    Julian, sorry. You need to learn a lot about math, stadistical analisis and trends aplied to sports and money management. One of the best mathematics in USA was working for walters when he made his fortune in sports betting, before that he used to spend half millions of dollars every year in sports betting, his car dealer money would end up lost in bets each year. It is all about math, if you can see the huge difference between 2 points juice and a 4 point juice you are in the wrong field.

  35. Julian says:

    Frank, that may be the case, I don’t know. But most people don’t have mathematical genuises handicapping for them. To be honest I couldn’t give a damn about Walters….

    I can see the difference in 2 points and 4 points juice of course – I just don’t believe you can predict sports just based on mathematics. If you have found a way, then good luck to you!

  36. Frank says:

    Julian, sorry I bothered you, i’m trying to learn, if I was sure that I was in the right path I wouldn’t be here. It took me over a year to learn what I know now about math applied to sports but it takes a lot of time, and also takes to stop doing many other things that are healthier and and involving less risk. I just wanted to see if some other people with the tools i have had failed too. Betting is also illegal, you would get a misdeamenor for betting in USA outside las Vegas Nevada if you get caught, so in my case it would be a very risky step since i would have to move to Las Vegas. I can’t do anything illegal. A police record would get me out of my job and would be hard to find another in my field.

  37. Julian says:

    Hey Frank, no problem – sorry if it came across like I was annoyed or something. Not the case at all.

  38. Frank says:

    Hello Julian, I was thinking today about the flat betting, and I found that it could be the way to go without going agaist math, but in this case I would have to bet only when I see a chance of winning over 66 %, in this case I would be limited to a few bets a month but the chances of going broke will be reduced significantly. And the truth is that finding games with a juice over that are very hard to find. I have seen only 2 in a year with an 90% or more chances of winning. One of them in NCAABB where the over and under was set more than 30 points under my prediction.

  39. Tony says:

    Frank,
    I’ve been reading your comments and it’s how I used to think as well. Sports betting is gambling and structured in a way that ensures you will lose over the long run, meaning after 100s & 1000s of bets. To go into it hoping that you are one of the 2% that can win is the delusion that sinks just about every sports bettor who entertains that idea. Even with a complex mathematical model at someone’s disposal, how are they going to deal with a big loss, or a losing streak? I’ve been following the NBA playoffs and am relieved to have taken no bets.

  40. Tony says:

    Lakers were swept in 4 games. Thunder blew a 15 point lead. Bulls did something similar. Can any system or strategy overcome these events? Experienced handicappers and impulsive types alike were hit with big losses. If you bet on sports you are subject to randomness and combined with the juice it’s near impossible to come out ahead. I’m sorry if I come across as bleak, or repetitive, but there’s too many bright guys who get drawn into this and most of them don’t look at the long term picture: a downward trending graph with a series of upwards spikes, ending in debt or bankruptcy.

  41. Roger says:

    I am not a sports bettor, but I am a compulsive gambler. I was a card counter that was banned by most every casino in the United States. I made at least $1000 an hour, and sometimes walked away with $100K in a day. Ive owned fancy cars, fancy houses, everything you could imagine, but I had a gambling problem, and could not quit when the count got bad. I still tried to beat the house, even though I knew the odds were stacked against me. I was up over $2 million dollars from my play, but as of today, Im homeless, and broke because of my addiction. I cannot stress enough that as good as a gambler you are, if you have a gambling addiction, you will never win, its impossible. I can tell you the horrible stories about my life that would make all of you sick to your stomachs, but don’t want to waste your time with my addiction.
    To all of the still suffering compulsive gamblers, say the serenity prayer, take a deep breath, find a GA meeting, and work the program.
    Good luck

  42. Frank says:

    I have been posting here and the administrator manipulates my coments, cutting and leaving whatever he pleases, which proves what a big loser, closed minded he is.

    • Michael says:

      Frank

      The reason your comments are not being included is because you feel the need to turn this article into your personal forum on gambling, which it is not. This post was written by me to help others understand the pitfalls of gambling and how difficult it can be to overcome the addiction.

      The last thing I want is for anyone to discuss spreads or strategies. If you have something to contribute to this post, I’d be happy to include it but you wont find wins and losses here.

  43. Frank says:

    The best way to help someone addicted to sports betting to stop betting is to prove them that it is impossible to beat the bookies, but you are not doing that, you want people to see your failure as “the big thing”, and I don’t get it, been a loser don’t make you a hero. By the way, when I was posting other readers were posting here as well, it was interesting, now this is a dead forum, as dead as your comprehension of the human psicology and freedom of speech. You are a loser full of hate for been a loser who wants to start a revolution vs the sports betting industry that you could not beat. Why dont you start a revolution vs the use of cigarrettes, alcohol, guns, junk food, suicide, Aids-related behavior, all this things can kill. In fact sports betting might help to stay out of all these killers. Why not to teach proper money management instead of been a hater. I would add 10% of my salary every month to my active betting money, before I would added to my belly in beers and Mcdonals. Will I be poor for that?, Sure no, Can it make me a millionare?, hell yeah. Besides It inspires me to grow profesionally and work harder, making my 10% higher every year. I know that you will delete my post again Michael, but who cares? you are the only one reading it lately. I forgot what is your last name? Loser?.
    Do you want 10 winner teams in a row? I bet I can give you 10 winners before you can give me 4. Really, do you want to help?, show how good you are chosing picks, show how smart you are and then people will say “this guy is really smart/good and failed, I better quit”. Now you just have the people thinking another loser fell from the moon. By the way have you been able to save 100 000 again?, cause chances are very low to save that amount of money working. Was it your mistake to bet at all or not to invest that money in a bussiness and then use the earning to keep betting? Was it stupid to make that money betting or was it stupid not to invest it in something more safe to be able to keep your addiction going forever instead of becoming a losing hater?. Only God knows. If you are really angry with my posts you can delete all my posts and I will stop, and I mean all of them. I will keep this post in my computer so if you delete it without deleting the rest it will come back.

  44. FRANK says:

    Truth be told: I dont even bet, I just spend 4 to 5 hours a day trying to become a professional sports bettor, studying, reading books, reading handicappers analysis, thinking. But yes I can see the juice now and then, but my sample og games with a winning percentage is still under 200 games. Why I dont bet: Is illegal, except in Las Vegas and I live far from La Vegas right now, besides i’m not a pro yet. Is it worth to follow my dream? I was hoping to find the answer here but I didn’t. This forum is too shallow. I need math to prove me wrong. I would never go to a casino with the edge on the house but can I have the edge by my side on sports? does any one here learned statistics, handicapping, money management professionally, worked with a team and still failed?

  45. Fran says:

    Hello

  46. Fran says:

    Hello, I’m Frank. I just want to say that the “gambling” issue has been affecting my marriage, my work and my studies, and I’m not even betting yet. I’m still married and working, and passing all my exams but I’m having a poor performance in all these areas. I check the stats at work every now and then and I go to sleep at 3 am studying and learning about sports gambling. I’m starting to understand this forum now. The worst thing is that I can help but to keep doing it. I just want to give you my apologies for my previous posts. God bless you all.

  47. Tony says:

    Frank,

    You still don’t get it. Proper money management, as you call it, only means you lose your money more slowly. The game is very simple, I’ll explain it again: sports gamblers are like someone who risks $1 dollar on coin tosses but when he wins he gets $1.90( his $1 + 90 cents) instead of $2.00, which is even money. That 10% percent cut by the house guarantees he cannot win in the long run & if he keeps going will lose everything. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to succeed at something, but sports betting is a dead end. You’ll discover that if you ever start putting real money on the line, which I sincerely hope you never do. By sheer randomness, a handicapper can string together a successful season or two, but eventually that same randomness + the structure of the sports betting business will take him out. Being able to pick winners & make money betting on sports are two separate things. A guy can hit 10 winners in a row, but when a streak of 10 losses comes along, which is guaranteed to happen, it has nothing to do with his skill or intelligence. He’ll think he needs to work harder or revise his system, his ego will fail to see the obvious & the end result will be financially disastrous. It’s not so much about money, it’s the sad waste of life staring at stats & watching games, isolating yourself, that’s the real tragedy of sports gambling.

  48. Fran says:

    I’m Frank and I want to thanks Tony for his post. I still dont know about the money. But the isolation I already feel it, that is why I keep coming to this forum I think. But Tony you could also bet on the plus line line +130 or +200, and that makes no difference.
    The thing is that I keep winning my predictions and some of my close friends and my wife keep telling me to go for it as they see my results. But I still think that could be just luck. I find a good pick after analysing over 30 games so my sample is still very small. I also check the best handicappers analysis the next day when you can get them for free and most of the time when they lose their picks my system tells me that was a bad pick and when they win my system tell me that was a good one most of the time. I do know that the guys making the lines are professionals and that they work in teams. I do not expect to beat this guys. But I’ve read that they makes the line not by the possible outcome of the game but by the money bet in each side. I dont know if it is true or not. Sorry guys I’m just trying to learn. I have read that 95% of the small bussiness openning nowdays fail. So I dont have many choices if I want to invest some money. The only thing worthy today is getting some degrees and I’m on that already.

  49. Robert says:

    Hi Frank, I’ve been reading your posts. If you really think you can find value in your picks, getting a winning percent of over 55% just let me know your email or phone number and I will contact you. I have plenty of capital and I wouldn’t mind to offer you a good deal. You can sell me your picks or take a % of the earning. I have the yearly subscription of the best 3 handicappers out there but it hasn’t been enough. I just need some one to filter this picks to reach a higher winning percent. I hope to know from you soon.

  50. Gilbert says:

    Great story Michael. Michael I think that my son is having a gambling problem and a friend told me to try to get my son to switch to stock market or forex trading. Do you think that this approach could help? Because the truth is I don’t see much of a difference between the three since most people I know doing stock market and forex trading have lost every thing they had as well. Please some help here.

  51. Jen says:

    Gilbert I don’t think that this approach will help your son at all. It’s not about what you do but how good you are doing it. And even more important what you enjoy doing. If you really think that your son will lose money why don’t you become his bookie and get all his bets. If you are not sure if he is going to lose just leave him along. As long as he bet his money and not other peoples money, is just money; who cares?

  52. Fuckf says:

    You will win 1 of every 3 bets… I’ve lost 30,000 this year and have nothing to show for it. You win and you bet… You lose and you bet. The only way to win is to win big and loose small. This too is impossible. Just watch Casino again (Movie). Explains everything. I think compulsive behavior is not and addiction but an ilness. If your reading this tell your loved ones and stay away from daily gambling.

  53. Alex says:

    F….. how can you win 1 of every 3?, this is so funny. Lines are made in a way that you will win 1 and lose 1 even if you bet blindly. If you really have that stats you could bet a parlay against your own bets and would end up been rich.

  54. Fred says:

    Alex 98% of bettors lose money and the 2% making money do that in a full time basis and have many years of experience. And frequently they lose their capital after many years of winning in a regular basis. So stop pushing others to bet.

  55. John says:

    This is the worst forum ever. The whole page should be deleted. Nothing to learn here.

  56. Richard says:

    What story is this? betting 11 thousand dollars per bet with less than 100 grands? I would keep that stupidity as a secret. Michael had done itself millionaire probably if had learned of its errors and had followed wagering. If he could make almost 100 grands by the time he was learning, after 10 years he would be the man.

  57. John T says:

    This isn’t a forum on how to gamble. Michael’s story is a painfully honest and valuable insight into the turmoil of a sports betting addict’s life. The consequences are always the same: disastrous. They way it’s structured makes it impossible to come out ahead. Keep in mind that if you’re risking $100, you win less than even money on a typical -110 line bet on NFL/NBA etc. So your payout is $190, which is your original $100 + a profit of $90. If your bet loses you now have to risk $110 to win back that original $100. House edge + randomness will bankrupt you over time.

  58. Erick says:

    House edge?. What do you mean by house edge?. You can bet 110 to win 100 (-110) but you also can bet 100 to win 2000 (+2000). So please dont use this non-sense excuse. randomness? Is it a excuse?. Yes, you might be eaten by a shark or get killed in a traffic accident. Will that keep you ous of the beach and away from the road?. Betting is disastrous mainly if you are addicted to non-sense betting

    • John T says:

      Eric,

      Betting on sports is disastrous for just about everyone who gets caught up in it. You can ridicule me all you like, but if you can’t see 1) the impact of randomness on the outcome of sporting events(fumbles,injuries, bad calls, etc) and 2) the way that sports betting is structured to ensure you can’t win in the long run, then I hope you bet small and for recreation only. How can you say one bet is more common sense than another when it’s impossible to predict the outcome, and on top of that, bookies are the ones who set the lines & the odds? Going back to Michael’s story, here’s a bright guy who devoted himself and still came up against the brick wall. I’m not discounting personality traits that contributed to his problem, just laying out the fact that it’s impossible to come out ahead in the first place.

  59. Erick says:

    Sorry John T, you might be right. At least you are 98% right. I just hope to be in the other 2%. Any way the % of rich people in america is 1% and most of them inherited the money or had some kind of help. So you may say that less than 0.5% of the americans are self-made millionaires and if a 2% of gamblers makes money is enough for me.

  60. John T says:

    Good luck Erick. Sorry for being harsh, just want to discourage everyone from getting involved in sports betting. My story is shameful.I was addicted for almost 2 years. First I felt like I had a gift as the winners kept coming in NBA & MLB. My life became hell when the losses started hitting and I chased winners to “get my money back.” I was up $20k but couldn’t stop until it was all gone. In the end I didn’t lose any of my own money but that’s no consolation. I almost dropped out of college and couldn’t concentrate due to the stress, exhaustion and despair from betting 24/7. Thanks to coming across Michael’s site I began counselling. Managed to pull myself together, graduate and rebuild my friendships & socialise again. I feel very fortunate to have survived this and hope anyone reading this finds hope.

  61. charles says:

    Hi, I’m erick, richard, jen, john and almost all the posters here posting to troll Michael blog. I’m myself a victim of a gambling falacy. I hope that all my previous post will be deleted and that Michael story remain as a support for people like me. I did this to get Michael to prove me I was wrong. But he just banned me and I kept coming with a different ID. I havent lost too much money but I have lost at least 2 years learning how difficult is to win in sports betting. I’m not done yet but I will stop till I succeed in other fields. I’m just too greedy to quit to the idea of been rich. And working is not an option to be rich.

  62. DJ says:

    It can be done professionally ..just not everyone can… You have to have a true love for the games for me it’s football and basketball …also you have to dedicate hours a day to updating it knowledge wether it be reading forums or watching films..the third and final factor that decides if you can be successful in the long run is discipline which our writer lacks and why he ultimately failed.

  63. Rocky says:

    The following sentence SHOULD enlighten you:

    Just look around Las Vegas, all you see is casinos. Do you think these casinos are spending $50k a night just on electricity just so people can have “fun”. If you cannot gamble for fun, then you need to do everything you can to stay away from it. Some tips are attending GA meetings and even filing for self exclusion for the state you live in. Just think of what you could have bought for yourself with the money you lost, not even counting the winnings lost.

    Gambling truly is a vicious cycle that will ruin your life for many people. I think the number of gamblers that are addicted is greatly underestimated. The most important thing to remember that I think applies to the writer of this article is that you may think you have gotten past your gambling addiction, but it can come roaring back in an instant if you don’t keep it in check. Like I was saying earlier, that means attending daily GA meetings and/ or self exclusion. An addiction just doesn’t go away, you MUST constantly keep yourself aware of it.

    The house might be beatable on a very short term basis, but you will lose in the long run. That’s one bet you can put everything on!

  64. Rocky says:

    The following sentence SHOULD enlighten you:

    Just look around Las Vegas, all you see is casinos. Do you think these casinos are spending $50k a night just on electricity just so people can have “fun”. If you cannot gamble for fun, then you need to do everything you can to stay away from it. Some tips are attending GA meetings and even filing for self exclusion for the state you live in. Just think of what you could have bought for yourself with the money you lost, not even counting the winnings lost.

    Gambling truly is a vicious cycle that will ruin your life for many people. I think the number of gamblers that are addicted is greatly underestimated. The most important thing to remember that I think applies to the writer of this article is that you may think you have gotten past your gambling addiction, but it can come roaring back in an instant if you don’t keep it in check. Like I was saying earlier, that means attending daily GA meetings and/ or self exclusion. An addiction just doesn’t go away, you MUST constantly keep yourself aware of it.

    The house might be beatable on a very short term basis, but you will lose in the long run. That’s one bet you can put everything on!

  65. terry says:

    Only one form gambleing thats not gambleing POKER skill. Time effort put in win big poker could be better spent on a job…

  66. slimjim says:

    I have to have won a decent amount of money £10k + in 1 week, but over the course of a few months have lost it all, and then some of my own money. Overall end up losing alot more than gaining anything in the long run, and house will almost certainly win. Only way of winning is if one has a massive bank roll, bet big, win big and then move onto to low stakes or stop. That is the only real way of winning in gambling. But luckly i have the will power to overcome this evil i think – the feeling of losing hard earned money just hurts to much which i think is the main motivator to stop and fill your time with other activities. My evil been live online blackjack. After losing had some decent size wins, of say 2k, but end up losing all that in one day as the lure of winning more or chasing losses is to much to just withdraw the cash and stop.

  67. nichole says:

    Hi, addiction is addiction no matter how you look at it. I always thought because i didn’t smoke or drink or could go without sex i wasn’t addicted to anything. But low and behold i met my husband three years back and started going to the casinos with him. At first i didn’t gamble i would just sit and watch him. Then after he’d lose his money he’d ask to borrow money from me. Eventually i got tired of him losing both our money and decided to start gambling myself. It got to the point where my lights was getting cut off. I’m now in a bankruptcy and can barely feed my two kids, I thought that by putting my husband out it would make my gambling go away, But now i’m just lonely and broke. He’s no better either. He still calls me for gas money which i can’t afford to give him. Got ten months left on the bankruptcy and will be glad when it’s up. I still gamble but not as bad as i used to. Need to turn things around for me and my kids. One day at a time is all i can say. Know god has something better for me once i release this gambling for good. Starting next month i promise to start settinng small goals to break the addiction and reward myself and kids for doing so. Right now i play the free online slots games. Running my internet and phone bill up but its better than losing large sums of money. Sorrry to say i didn’t keep up with my amount of losses but i’d estimate it to be around $5,000.

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