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Old 05-07-2020, 07:56 AM   #1
gallagher99's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 546
I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

Long story short:

--> I play poker for a living.
--> I don't have savings, and I have huge money pressure daily.
--> I am a winning player, I can make more than enough money. I play since 2008. Study a lot, love the math, timing tells, etc. I crush the stakes I play, no questions about it.
  1. However I never have success with it, or what I truly need to move up in my life. It is agonizing me, because I know that I'm really capable.
  2. Sadly I have lots of debts because of a family and business problem, I have to pay money loans (which is a few months behind).
  3. I'm using anti depressants (pristiq) and already having therapy.

I always put myself in this loop, seriously it is repeating for YEARS!
  1. I lose everything! I get desperate. Should I sell something? Even my cellphone screen breaks.
  2. I put my head in place, organize my routine --> grind it SUPER focused for multiple days, every cent counts.
  3. I triumph! I make enough for my survival (what was killing my brain and screwing my sleep, like credit cards and super important things, fix broken screen)
  4. The money I make in this period (in 1 or 2 weeks) is probably 10 times bigger than the monthly average in my country.
  5. I think things will go better now. At least I can breathe better and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel --> But no. The cycle repeats.
  6. Everything that I did to make the money to pay what I need, I do the opposite. It kills me, it agonizes me. I get to the bottom of the my life and I have to gain everything again.

I try to have a good routine, sleep cycle, to have stop loss (even stop win), the play sessions of 1 or 2 hours tops, I meditate, I study the game.
But honestly, it is like I have double personality (or whatever the name is)...
For example I had a wonderful February this year. I paid multiple things, had a really huge bankroll, I was really happy because I thought I could now shape my life.

But since the first minute I paid everything, deep down in my mind I think I knew it was gonna happen, I knew deep down that I was gonna **** up somewhere... And I didn't have a winning day ever since (or if I had I didn't even remember).

I always start winning $ in the day, I start playing well and focused. But every last session I am not myself, I loose focus, I start doing bad things and in seconds looks like i'm another person, I loose all hope, I start playing like monkey, makes me wanna cry because I really needed this money.

The problem is that it happened 20 DAYS IN A ROW in march seriously.... 20 days repeating everyday.

Every day of those 20 days I started the day winning. Yes... Winning a lot actually. But finished losing everything I won and Lost control. Playing more than 12 hours straight, not sleeping, etc. Terrible. For the first time in my life I felt like I had a hangover from poker, a huge burnout and had to stop playing because I felt disgusted from my actions and especially the way I tossed away money and time (12h+ in the day when I tilt like this), it took more than 1 month to regain the will to play poker again, but sadly it didn't stop. I still make this mistakes.

For example today:
I was winning like 9buy-ins in the day. I played for 5 hours in 3 sessions, was feeling really good. However my last session I honestly don't know how to explain what went wrong. I was gonna stop loss when I hit 3buy-ins. But in like 15 minutes I lost everything I grinded in the day. Yes, 5 hours of work I lost in 15 minutes, I don't even remember what happened.
Later on the night I meditated, and crushed a guy in headsup for 4buy-ins, I knew that I was gonna win, no questions.
At least I can breathe a little bit again, right? Doesn't feel so bad. But wow... I knew it was gonna happen...
I found him playing a little bit higher. And I HAD to give all the money back to him again. So today happened two times.

I had a borderline (or whatever the name, she cut herself from time to time) ex-girlfriend. And honestly it feels the same.
Makes me wanna cry, I don't recognize myself, feels like i'm hurting myself, making me suffer. It ****s my health, I wanna break things.
I know my worst enemy is my own brain.
I don't hate the game or the other players, or having bad luck. I hate WHEN I DO THIS ****.

The cycle I mentioned has been repeating for years.
But sadly since my family lost our business, I have to live with my poker money. And it is affecting me a lot from the last 365 days.
I always loose a lot more than I win, because the lack of my self control.
The money I can make playing this game would be more than enough to have any life I want, but I never had the discipline to achieve.

The talks I had with my therapy sessions was that I do this to make me suffer and to make me feel like I don't deserve to achieve success, just like my family (they were really rich but bankrupted).

My family doesn't like that I play poker and by doing this mistakes that I wrote above, I keep myself under-achieved so they can be right.

It agonizes me to be drained in debt, but if I can put my head in place I can make a really good living with it, and honestly I would like it! I really crush the stakes I play, I discuss the game, study a lot, I do the math and review what I played. I know I can make huge profits playing this game. I just feel really bad doing this **** that I do, specially in a quarantine period where most people are without jobs. I can get what I want in my life with this game, but I can't live doing this things over and over, my health is terrible right now.
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Old 05-07-2020, 03:57 PM   #2
Yeodan's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Belgium, Antwerp
Posts: 2,262
Re: I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

Sounds like you have all the answers you need yourself.
All you have to do now is apply your knowledge.

Start focussing on the positive stuff instead of the negative.
Start small and build it up.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:06 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 1,815
Re: I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

Do you know for sure what your monthly outgoings are, including the debts, and how long it will take to pay those off?

If not, quantifying that can allow you to come up with a financial plan.

Playing professionally with no savings puts a lot of pressure on a player. A lot of pressure.

Decisions at the table are magnified as a result.

If I were you, I would get in touch with Jared Tendler and ask for mental game coaching. I think that is what you need.

You seem to have the technical game tools and can crush when on your A game. Probably even your B game. But your C games and down are destroying your win rate.

Take time out to reach out to someone like him or Elliot Roe and see if that can change your life.
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Old 05-09-2020, 09:21 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 87
Re: I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

Jared Tendler is way too expensive for a guy who only has his Masters degree. And Eliot Roe is the hypnotist right? lol
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:31 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 56
Re: I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

Hey man, I think a lot of pro players can relate to this story of self-sabotage, myself included.

I do believe you have the tools necessary to break this cycle, you seem to already have a good handle on the idea of self-programming, and setting up your personal routine in ways that optimize your performance. Try to identify your trigger points, whether it is some form of tilt, or a reaction to variance, and simply avoid playing when you are at risk of collapse. Obv this is easier said than done

I'd recommend getting some kind of partner who has a moderating effect on you and your mood, that provides you a source of accountability and perspective. This could be some kind of poker study partner, romantic partner, or good friend with general life competence in an unrelated field. The key is to have an outlet for your day-to-day emotions and frustrations that, unexpressed, can snowball into existential loneliness that becomes a downward spiral. In return, you will do the same for them, giving you a purpose outside of yourself to remain level-headed and effective.

I can only speak for what has worked for me, but I do hope you find success. Best of luck.
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Old 06-02-2020, 01:09 AM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 169
Re: I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

The ultimate choice to choose is to quit playing. I'm in the same boat as you, can crush people but always get screwed in the end.

Variance is retarded and actual quantifiable winnings in poker are marked after months of play. You only have one life on this planet. Don't waste it having a computer deal you cards. Find hobbies and other things to do, fall in love with other games of life, like socializing. Gambling addiction can be beat, but it takes your full effort to the the demons that possess you.
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:21 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,928
Re: I truly need help. My self sabotage is killing me.

Sounds like you've uncovered the underlying problem in therapy, which is really important. Now you need to do two things: 1) work on the the underlying problem, which means keep going to therapy; 2) use some CBT techniques in the short term to change your behaviour.

For example, since you often start off winning and then give it all back, set a non-negotiable limit when you stop playing. A stop loss isn't enough, you need a stop-win to protect your profits. But here's the important step: you also need something to hold yourself accountable to sticking to the limit. I would suggest a reward/punishment system. Think of something you really, really enjoy - maybe watching your fav show on Netflix, or a fav meal, or whatever. Use that as a reward for sticking to your limit. Then write this all down in a promise to yourself and stick it up where you can see it while you play.

For example: "I will stop playing when I am up 3 buyins. If I stop, I will get to _____ (fill in the blank). If I play past my 3 buyins, I will not get to _____." But the important thing about the reward is you don't get that thing unless you stick to your limit. So it has to be something you can't live without.
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