Two Plus Two Publishing LLC Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Notices

Poker Tells/Behavior, hosted by: Zachary Elwood Discussions about poker tells, behavior, and psychology, with a focus on live poker.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-12-2016, 07:12 AM   #1
NZdice
stranger
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 13
Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I was just wondering this, because I think I might be, and I was wanted some advice of how to deal with it. and if anyone here has experienced this. Basically, I'm a winning player, but I feel compulsive about playing, which leads me to play for much longer sessions than I originally planned. I'll tell myself I'm going to play for an hour, and then 5 hours go by. Especially when I am down money, I keep playing until I get even or just have a slight loss for the session. But I don't spew countless buy-in after buy in and I don't jump up in stakes to get money back quickly. Does this exist; can you be addicted to poker as a winner?
NZdice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2016, 07:46 AM   #2
OmahaDonk
veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,168
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Most pros are addicted at least somewhat. I am extremely addicted.
OmahaDonk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2016, 03:29 PM   #3
8ballJunkie
journeyman
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SL,UT
Posts: 353
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Personally, my results improved noticeably once I started making an effort to resist the urge to continue playing indefinitely when chasing a loss. I found that the combination of tilt and losing table image make it highly unlikely that I'll win much back. It took a bit of honesty with myself and more attention to detail to realize that these things do exist and affect my game. These days I feel a certain satisfaction when I take my last hundred bucks and cash it out instead of desperately shoving it in.

No doubt I'm addicted, just have to watch for the dangers and take steps to counter them.
8ballJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2016, 08:44 PM   #4
Synchronic
banned
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Florider Corrider
Posts: 868
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Great question whose answer doesn't come readily to most of us. Took me a long time to splice the idea of "compulsive gambler" from "addicted player." We all rebel from the compulsive gambler thing, which has heavy connotations of losing and losing to the extent of destroying one's finances. Since edge players don't have that problem generally, and they certainly don't want to be perceived according to that definition by others, which would be completely unfair, they/we tend to reject the whole "addiction" thing.

But addiction is about escape and about changing one's emotional landscape via an agent, whether chemical or behavioral. If it transports you out of your normal experience of life and of self into an altered state, it has one of the definitive earmarks of addiction. You can be addicted to playing poker as surely as someone can be addicted to playing video games. It is the playing that is the addiction here, not the gambling. Playing provides a world class diversion from one's life, as millions even casual players have noted. And on top of the addiciton to playing, one can have an addiction to winning, using the infusions of chips and cash as a substitute for other good feelings about life, and in fact, displacing bad feelings.

That's the addiction game: displacing negative feelings with positive escapist ones via an agent. And poker/casinos are damn sure on of those agents, in spades.

Last edited by Synchronic; 07-08-2016 at 08:50 PM.
Synchronic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2016, 01:27 PM   #5
answer20
Pooh-Bah
 
answer20's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Corner of Walk/Don't Walk
Posts: 5,004
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Fine line for all of us ... Each has to find the discipline to find balance.

It's interesting that you say you don't spew when down. That's one of the biggest areas that poker players need to be aware of. If you can get away from it when you aren't playing your best, then I would say you have some 'control' of it.

It's all over this site, one of the biggest mistakes players are making is not playing longer when winning and playing too long when losing. But if you can judge your play, not your results, then you can decide whether or not you can continue the current session.

If you 'always' play longer than you plan to, but only when down, then you probably do need to take a look at the motivating factors that are tied to it ... and more specifically what are you giving up in order to play longer? GL
answer20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2016, 12:40 PM   #6
SpewingIsMyMove
old hand
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1,637
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

The issue is that people who are addicted or compulsive gamblers will eventually become losing players. Their search for that high that comes from winning will lead them to playing too long, playing at stakes or in games they shouldn't, or taking larger and larger risks.

Why do you play too long? What do you feel like if you don't play? Why can't you walk away from a losing session?

It is good that you are not spewing or escalating behavior, but you need to question your need to play.

There is a reason why a lot of truly great poker players are broke.
SpewingIsMyMove is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2016, 01:29 AM   #7
gnatie
journeyman
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 280
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

(1) We tend to use the word "addiction" to only mean bad things. Addiction only becomes bad when it messes up your life and/or your health and/or the lives/health of the people who love you.

You think marathoners aren't addicted to running? Runners doing it right get a high from the experience; endorphins kick ass.

I guess there is a pretty simple example - have you/would you accidentally miss a moment that is important to a loved one or close friend because of the game? Do you keep playing when you know that another hour will mean that it won't be safe for you to drive?

(2) If you are really worried, well, talk to a professional. They know what questions to ask in order to help get to the heart of what is going on.
gnatie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2016, 04:40 PM   #8
gnatie
journeyman
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 280
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

One more observation:

Today on my way out of the casino, to pick up my son from camp, I saw a kid (11 or 12) sitting on the floor by the parking garage elevators playing on a tablet.

"Your parents playing?" I asked.

"My dad's in there" he said, "he gave me $100 to use at the mall (the casino shares a property with a major mall). It's been an hour, but that means he's doing well. He'll check up on me..."

"What does he play" I asked.

"Oh, he doesn't play machines" the kid said, "only 3 card poker and blackjack."

Everyone should have a threshold at which point they think they have crossed a line. My feeling here is that the kid's father is at least skirting a line if not going over it. It's a summer day, your kid is (clearly) not at camp, and you're playing tables where the house (eventually) always wins.

What are the lines you won't cross? Are you close to crossing them?
gnatie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2016, 09:04 PM   #9
Reubenr676
journeyman
 
Reubenr676's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 268
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I think most people that make money can get addicted to what they're doing. If you're good at something and you're making money are you actually addicted?
Reubenr676 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2016, 11:44 PM   #10
LeoKeZoJr
newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 36
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

If you are losing your sleeping time.

Skipping meals and giving up other leisure in life you are properly addicted
LeoKeZoJr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2016, 11:28 PM   #11
jayme87
old hand
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,859
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Good question and I would say yes.

Even if your a winning player if it's affecting your real life then imo it's an addiction too
jayme87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2016, 12:12 AM   #12
DasCoupe
adept
 
DasCoupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 736
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I doubt I'm alone in thinking I'm more obsessed than addicted... I obsess easily about things, from poker chips, to learning poker, to being on this forum, etc... I'm not playing poker all the time that I can, but I am doing *something* poker related for many hours every day, from reading books to reading forums, etc...

Does that mean I'm addicted? Maybe... I prefer obsessed, even if that isn't exactly a glamorous title.

My wife tells me I obsess over things, and quite often I agree, I obsess until I am really good at it, or am very knowledgeable in whatever field, which I enjoy. On this forum I may not be at the top of the poker knowledge field, but in my daily travels, I'm in the top couple percent for sure, and in regards to live poker friends, I'm probably top 5%.

I would consider it a bad addiction if i was spending money I didn't have, spending time that was unhealthy (losing sleep, relationships, meals), or otherwise damaged my livilyhood.

My two cents...
DasCoupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2016, 05:49 PM   #13
the_glaive
journeyman
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 247
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

In answer to the question, of course you can be. If something makes you feel good, like winning at poker, then it can easily become something you become addicted to. You're just lucky or talented enough that it's not doing you any harm.

I think a lot of addictions work that way. The general population is addicted to a bunch of stuff that is ultimately quite harmless: television, coffee, specific types of food, sex, hobbies like videogames etc.

Addiction has negative connotations because it indicates a lack of control and when the thing you're addicted to has harmful consequences then that's when it becomes a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8ballJunkie View Post
Personally, my results improved noticeably once I started making an effort to resist the urge to continue playing indefinitely when chasing a loss. I found that the combination of tilt and losing table image make it highly unlikely that I'll win much back. It took a bit of honesty with myself and more attention to detail to realize that these things do exist and affect my game. These days I feel a certain satisfaction when I take my last hundred bucks and cash it out instead of desperately shoving it in.
Becoming desperate for a win when you're down is a likely symptom of addiction in that it is compulsive, but it doesn't have to be. You could be in control of your play, not tilt, not care about table image, and still be addicted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpewingIsMyMove View Post
The issue is that people who are addicted or compulsive gamblers will eventually become losing players.
This is not true. In a game like poker, where there is an element of skill, why should an addicted or compulsive gambler eventually become a losing player if they consistently play with skill? Do you think that anyone that keeps playing will eventually lose?
the_glaive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2016, 05:56 PM   #14
<"))))><
old hand
 
<"))))><'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: formerly sqwerty12
Posts: 1,433
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Absolutely you can. I became more addicted the better I got.

I still am addicted to playing. I look forward to it constantly. If I didn't have a wife, kids and a successful career outside of poker I'm sure I'd play each and every day.

It's only my wife (who hates the fact that I love the game) that helps me maintain any semblance of balance in my life.
<"))))>< is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2016, 05:38 AM   #15
Synchronic
banned
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Florider Corrider
Posts: 868
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Quote:
Originally Posted by <"))))>< View Post
Absolutely you can. I became more addicted the better I got.

I still am addicted to playing. I look forward to it constantly. If I didn't have a wife, kids and a successful career outside of poker I'm sure I'd play each and every day.

It's only my wife (who hates the fact that I love the game) that helps me maintain any semblance of balance in my life.

I can relate to this ... almost an "over love" for the game, from years gone by. Try doing this with your wife very kindly and positively. Ask her what her favorite activitities are, whatever her hobbies and or sports, etc. are, and ask what if someone tried to take those from you? What if someone didn't like you playing tennis? Going dancing? Whatever it is. Are you supposed to stop? And is it very considerate to adopt such an attitude? It doesn't make sense to try to take from people what they love. It's very, very negative and kind of blindly so. Pursuing your solo pleasures is a key aspect of a good relationship. Come on, babe ... chill on my passionate hobbies. Am I trying to keep you from .......?
Synchronic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2016, 02:35 PM   #16
RonaldRaygun
newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 15
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I really like your question. Having spoken to professionals in the mental health world about this exact issue, it is safe to say that you can be addicted to poker and be a winning player. I don't know for a fact, but I'm sure it true that almost every person who has played poker professionally has been addicted to poker at some point in their career.

No two addictions are the same; and no addiction is going to be the same for the person experiencing it. There is a difference between being addicted to poker, being addicted to gambling, being addicted to winning, or being addicted to cocaine. My experience with addiction is going to be different than everyone elses.

Personally, I was addicted to winning more than I was addicted to poker. I like poker, but I love winning. If I'm not winning, I have little desire to play. I go on a heater, and I'll be at the casino, or thinking about going to the casino, until I'm not. Has this led to problems in my personal life? For sure. But at the same time, I've won A LOT of money playing poker. I can't even tell if you the problems have outweighed the financial windfall. It might not even be able to quantify...

Being addicted isn't necessarily a bad thing. As many people have pointed out, as long as its not taking priority over more important aspects of your life, it probably isn't a bad thing. If you find yourself flaking on friends, ditching work, missing out on family time, or discontinuing another healthy habits (exercise, and the like), then your addiction is probably a problem.

However, people in my office are addicted to work--but they make seven figures, so many would just call them successful. In the corporate world, this is seen as less of a problem because it doesn't involve gambling. "Work/Life Balance" is common theme in most big companies; and as long as you can achieve an appropriate poker/life balance, I don't think being addicted to poker is, per se, a bad thing.
RonaldRaygun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 06:57 AM   #17
<"))))><
old hand
 
<"))))><'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: formerly sqwerty12
Posts: 1,433
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

^ Good post. I think it's spot on.
<"))))>< is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 10:53 PM   #18
Synchronic
banned
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Florider Corrider
Posts: 868
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DasCoupe View Post
I doubt I'm alone in thinking I'm more obsessed than addicted... I obsess easily about things, from poker chips, to learning poker, to being on this forum, etc... I'm not playing poker all the time that I can, but I am doing *something* poker related for many hours every day, from reading books to reading forums, etc...

Does that mean I'm addicted? Maybe... I prefer obsessed, even if that isn't exactly a glamorous title.

My wife tells me I obsess over things, and quite often I agree, I obsess until I am really good at it, or am very knowledgeable in whatever field, which I enjoy. On this forum I may not be at the top of the poker knowledge field, but in my daily travels, I'm in the top couple percent for sure, and in regards to live poker friends, I'm probably top 5%.

I would consider it a bad addiction if i was spending money I didn't have, spending time that was unhealthy (losing sleep, relationships, meals), or otherwise damaged my livilyhood.

My two cents...

Good point, was thinking about bringing up obsessed versus addicted angle. Obsessed general usage covers a lot of us with regard to intensity of involvement with cards. Problem is "obsession" more formally is getting into repetitive anti-anxiety rituals ... which is not what we are doing.

I'm just going with "obsessed" to describe passionate intensity and "addicted" to describe the escape motive.
Synchronic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2016, 12:01 AM   #19
DK Barrel
Concept of the Week author
 
DK Barrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: no gamble, no future
Posts: 5,984
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I actually researched this topic a little bit for a short essay I wrote in college on problem gambling among professional poker players. The key findings were that the incidence of problem gambling were 3x higher among professional poker players, but that figure may be misleading as some of the indicators of problem gambling do not necessarily apply to professional players.

Quote:
One question from the [Problem Gambling Severity Index] asks “When you gambled, did you go back another day to try to win back the money you lost?” An affirmative response would indicate problematic behavior if the player had a negative expectation, but a professional player is always going to go back another day, and being a winning player, would obviously expect to win back the money he lost (Hopley et al., 2014). Another question asks “Has gambling caused you any health problems, including stress or anxiety?” Even a long-term winner is bound to suffer a significant short-term loss at some point, or an extended stretch of break-even results which will likely be stressful, but that does not necessarily mean he should not gamble. Perhaps that stress is better viewed as an occupational hazard than a symptom of a gambling problem.
Quote:
Professional gamblers, ideally, limit their risk and maintain control over their behavior. They should play stakes where they will be unaffected by losses, they should refrain from playing when they are not of clear mind (or “on tilt”, as frustration, anger, or anything that puts one off his game is known in poker) and they should not let results affect their mood. Is it possible to play as often as a professional would and not lose control? One study surveyed skilled online Texas Hold'Em players from a strategy discussion forum, nearly all of whom were winning players, and found a strong correlation between hours spent playing per week and the incidence of problem gambling (Hopley et al., 2012). This suggests that those who play full-time as a career are significantly more likely to be problem gamblers than those who play as a hobby or for supplementary income. 55.7% of the participants were classified as at least moderate-risk gamblers. It also found that even among this group “an internal LOC was predictive of problem gambling.” While poker is a skill game, there is still a large element of chance. A skilled player who is also exceptionally lucky may falsely attribute too much of the result to skill. When this player faces a run of bad luck he may believe it is only his own play holding him back and that he is certain to win if only he plays better, as it was so easy to win before. The extreme of an internal locus of control is that even the luck in poker can be controlled and a supremely skilled player can always win, a belief which is prevalent in problem gamblers (Bouju et al., 2013)

When the focus is shifted to only the most successful players the incidence of problem gambling is even higher. In a study of 179 players with average winnings of $58,000, 8.9% were identified as problem gamblers (Hopley & Nicki, 2010), substantially higher than the rate among the general gambling population. The study again found that those who spent the most time playing were most likely to be problem gamblers.
*LOC = locus of control. Internal LOC means you believe you have control over the outcome, external LOC means you believe the outcome is wholly up to chance or other forces.
DK Barrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2016, 08:50 AM   #20
RobertTressell
stranger
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 3
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

In my experience the more addicted someone is the less likely they are to be a winning player. Addiction clouds the mind and it can often lead to chasing lost money because of the fear of not having enough to keep playing.
RobertTressell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2016, 06:21 PM   #21
ImCharlieSheen
newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 29
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertTressell View Post
In my experience the more addicted someone is the less likely they are to be a winning player. Addiction clouds the mind and it can often lead to chasing lost money because of the fear of not having enough to keep playing.
I agree. The more addicted they are the more likely they are to tilt and start chucking off muhla.
ImCharlieSheen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-2016, 10:48 PM   #22
PokerXanadu
Commander X-2
 
PokerXanadu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 10,389
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

When you are a long-term wining player, there is no shame in chasing losses. While some poker wisdom states that you should play longer when you are winning and shorter when you are losing, I generally do the opposite, for specific reasons that work for me.

When I have won a significant amount over my starting stack, I tend to tighten up to protect my winnings. When that happens, I know it's time to get up from the table. If I'm way down, it is usually because of the luck of the other players against my good play. I know that if I stay and play more, I'll most likely recover against the poorer play of the other players. Part of the trick though is to recognize when I am losing because either I am being out-played (better players than ma at the table) or I am playing poorly (tired, tilt, etc.). That's also a time to get up from the table, even when losing.

A lot of the posts in this thread revolve around a distinction between healthy obsession (you enjoy the activity, you balance it with other important aspects of your life, you are successful at the activity) and destructive behavior (you have significant financial losses, it affects your personal relationships, the destructive aspects of the activity significantly outweigh any benefits). DasCoupe even spells out a separation between obsession and addiction. But I think this misses the mark somewhat.

From my personal observations, I see a significant distinction between the healthy obsession to play poker (or any gambling game) and actual compulsive gambling. Those who enjoy the game and/or enjoy winning, are playing for the pleasures of the activity, just as can occur in any pursuit - career, sport, hobby or whatever.

In the case of the compulsive gambler, they are not addicted to the pleasures of the activity, but are instead addicted to the negative emotions that occur from losing - the sensation of loss, the feelings of remorse, the guilt of the harm caused to themselves and others. They are not playing to win; they are playing to lose. When they win, they continue to play until they don't, and beyond. This makes it an aberrant behavior that is very difficult to overcome - you can replace a healthy obsession with another should the first one become detrimental to the person's well-being or life; there is no similar easy substitute for compulsive gambling.

OP, I would stop worrying about being "addicted". Yes, you are - just as most people that have a healthy obsession for one thing or another. But you aren't a "problem" or "compulsive" gambler, as you aren't playing to lose. Let go of your concerns and just work on improving your game, and on knowing when you should walk away from the table.

Last edited by PokerXanadu; 09-17-2016 at 10:53 PM.
PokerXanadu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2016, 12:49 AM   #23
JackTheLad
stranger
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 7
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

Of course you can.

I have seen live regs DONKING £1/£2 holdem, then putting max effort and winning at £5/£10 making the £1/£2 completely irreverent. Literally just there for the fun. 1 winning session at 5/10 = 5 losing sessions at 1/2 lol.
JackTheLad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2016, 06:14 AM   #24
Sil3ntness
adept
 
Sil3ntness's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Help with this hand... fold pre!
Posts: 1,067
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I wouldn't say addicted to poker. I'm addicted to getting paid... which means staying longer on softer tables.

My kryptonite is my wife though. It's been years and I still have to explain to her how staying longer (in the casino) at a softer table is EV+ for the both of us... *sigh*
Sil3ntness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2016, 09:48 AM   #25
frankie boyle
grinder
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: dundee, scotland
Posts: 525
Re: Can You Be Addicted to Poker as a Winning Player?

I remember drunkenly ****ing a girl and thinking "this is nearly as good as getting aces"
- I knew there and then I was addicted to poker.
frankie boyle is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2008-2010, Two Plus Two Interactive
 
 
Poker Players - Streaming Live Online