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My Relapse, Shipping .2K to the Demon Fed-ex Style My Relapse, Shipping .2K to the Demon Fed-ex Style

09-19-2010 , 03:35 PM
tl;dr
CLIFF NOTES: Had super run at poker, kicked an egomaniac in the nuts, stacked him, and that emotional high woke the demon. I cashed out $4K+ up, and on the way out the door hit up a table game and lost $2.2K. Now, taking a week off, going to GA, resetting.


I had been doing a fairly good job of keeping my demon on a leash the past 18 months or so.

I've had a few minor relapses where I donk off a few hundred dollars on table games and then two medium relapses (one a couple of weeks ago) where I lost $1K.

All in all, it comes with the territory of being a gambling addict but I took those in strides- losing around $2K over 18 months isn't too bad.

But yesterday, I had a full blown relapse that has scared the shtt out of me and has sent my 'danger danger Will Robinson' robot reeling back and forth waving his arms.

I just ended a great session of poker, made some terrific reads, dynamite hero calls, and kicked 2 ego-maniacs in the nuts (I love stacking ego maniacs

And I think that is what touched off my relapse.

The thing about being a recovering addict is that we are always one drink, drug, or gamble away from waking up the demon. Kinda like being a Californian forest that is perpetually dry just waiting for that careless A-hole to flick his cigarrette out of his car into the brush...

In short, relapses are all about the trigger, set-up, and your guard slipping for an 'instant'.

This time, I owe the initial part of my trigger to poker. There was this Asian player who just kept talking shtt the entire night about how he's so good and the rest of the table is horrible and he made it a point to single me out and try to goad me (because I do this for a living and he can't so his pride is hurt.)

No matter what he says, I just agree with him, "Yes, I'm a donk, yes i'm a nit, yes i'm catching cards and that is the only reason i'm beating you". On and on and on for two hours.

Eventually, it starts to grate on me and piss me off, but externally i'm calm and ignoring him.

Then, we get involved in a big hand, 2/5NL, effective stacks $2,500.

I'm on the BTN with 73o and I notice he has been raising pretty light from UTG+2. i've also built up a super nit image so decide this is the time to cash in on it. He raises it $25, 1 caller, I 3bet to $75, he calls, everyone else folds.

flop($200) 3 3 8:diamond

He bets $100, I raise to $275 he calls.

Turn($550) 6

I bet $400, he tanks and then calls.

River($1350) A

He bets $500, I shove all-in for $1200ish, and then he goes ballastic, screaming about how i'm a lucky donk, that he knows I have AK and how I got super lucky, etc. etc. and then he folds TT face up

I can't resist and I show him my 73o table goes nuts

after putting up with that guy all day, it felt so good to break my foot off in his azz and now he is just livid.

Very next hand, he shoves all-in for $700ish, and I call him, everyone folds.

board: T T 3 9 8

He turns over QT and says, "Ship it sucka" and continues to talk shtt. I just let him go on and on until the dealer asks for my cards.
Then, I show KT

Table goes super nuts laughing. I never slow roll but this guy so f-ing deserved it. He starts cursing and yelling to the point where security had to come over. This was probably the most satisfying win i've ever had in years of play. Such a rush.

And that rush woke up the demon. Plus, by this point, i've been playing about 12 hours and so now i'm tired, so my guard is down.

A few hands later, my watch beeps which lets me know I've hit my poker limit (I never play past 12 hours).

I rack up $5K (bought in for $400 so great day ) and cash out.

I'm walking out the door when the casino announces a temporary 2:1 payout on black jack with some suited blackjack (spades) promotion that pays 10:1 for the next 30 minutes.

And so I think to myself, "Hey, i'm running hot, i'm just going to take $100, make one little bet, and that's it..."

and $2.2K later, I'm cursing myself for being the world's biggest fuktard.

Somehow, when I reached into my wallet for the umpteeth time, I managed to 'wake up'.

And that is the hard thing to explain to non-addicts. When the demon has control, you just aren't you. Its like a dream, and you are merely watching events unfold with no control. I could have very easily have blown through all the money in my wallet ($6K), but thankfully I 'woke up'. This may feel wierd to normal people reading this, but I feel like I 'won' because I only lost $2.2K, which is horrible thinking but makes since to us degens.

So, i'm taking a week off, hitting a couple of GA meetings, and resetting.

Anyways, just thought I'd post. I pride myself on having my shtt together and having 'control' of my demon. But on rare occassion, he manages to slip his leash. Also, brutal honesty and accountability is part of the process and I feel accountable to 2+2 so I have to come clean. I f**ked up, plain and simple.

Emotional triggers + lowered inhibitions + opportunity = relapse
I got worked up with poker (which never happens), then was dog tired, and then that stupid promotion...

Anyways, I'll let you know how GA goes this week
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09-19-2010 , 04:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgiharris
Somehow, when I reached into my wallet for the umpteeth time, I managed to 'wake up'.
reckon that somehow is something to look into,
really,
what was it? what triggered it? where/what/how/why did you wake up?

as to the rest, love what you did to that lay-down-10-10-to-a-scary-ace-mook
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09-19-2010 , 06:00 PM
THe 'somehow' was when I counted how much money I had left. I thought I was down five or six hundred but then the reality hit me I was actually down $2.2K!!! WTF!!! Then I was thinking about how to get that $2.2K back and that's when it hit me that I was in a classic deathspiral to busto and once that thought hit me, a huge tide of anger swept me up, anger at breaking my own rules and being stupid enough to play a table game when I swore off table games...

Once the anger hit me I channeled it to making me take a step away from the table, then another step, and another, until I was outside, in my car, driving home.
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09-19-2010 , 06:31 PM
note to self?

count money in wallet more often?
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09-20-2010 , 01:42 AM
^^^*sigh*

these things help. But there is no real simple fix or trick to controlling your addiction.
Truth be told, being a gambling addict but a poker player is sorta like being an alcoholic that is also a bartender.

It took me a LONG time to play poker while controlling my demon. In a sense, its not so much that I control him at the table but rather I let him lose in a controlled environment. If you are a winning player and can play optimally, then poker is +EV. So me and my demon have an understanding as far as poker goes.

The problem is the table games, which are -EV. So, I have to walk past the table games on my way to the poker tables...

I know, it sounds so simple. Big deal right?

Anyways, without being an addict, I wouldn't expect anyone here to fully comprehend what is involved. But, I know there are addicts that are going through the same struggles, trials, and tribulations that I am and so I thought my postings would/could be helpful.

THere is no simple fix, it takes a lot of work, and even with all the work i've done, i'm still susceptible to an occassional slip.
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09-20-2010 , 01:47 AM
So, I went to GA today, its been a long time since i've gone. I used to go weekly, then monthly, then semi-annually...

There is a lot of misery there, very depressing, but at the same time, there is the benefit of catharsis. I know, sounds lame, but it is comforting to get things off your chest and to know you are not alone.

It's also nice to be reminded of what rock bottom feels and looks like.

I discussed my slip though I did leave out the bit about me making a living with poker. I know, sounds hypocritical but i've managed to square that bit with myself so really don't care what others think about that. But at the same time, i'm not going to be a douche at the GA meeting and thump my chest saying "Well, I can play poker and poker isn't gambling".

But otherwise, it felt good and humbling to look fellow human beings in the eye and tell them I f--ked up and need to get back on track.

Anyways, good meeting, I'll go to another one this Friday, then resume playing poker next Monday after my self imposed time-out.
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09-20-2010 , 04:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgiharris
^^^*sigh*
apologies, i did not mean to belittle your savagely honest contributions, i was just trying to, perhaps, add another weapon to your arsenal,
next time, maybe, next time a look into that wallet pre will help
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgiharris
Anyways, without being an addict, I wouldn't expect anyone here to fully comprehend what is involved.
my name is TvSa and i am an addict, imagine a lot of us on here are, but i dont have the same self-destrutive depths as you
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgiharris
it felt good and humbling to look fellow human beings in the eye and tell them I f--ked up.
always will, it always will,
keep up the meetings, and no, it does not matter one bit that you keep your profession from them, we all have our own agendas,
and good luck on the tables when your self-imposed time out is over
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09-20-2010 , 03:01 PM
dgi, I notice you said that for poker you set your watch as a time limit. I assume as a pro player and a degenerate you probably have other controls you set to try and pre-empt problems that arise (like stop loss?). Do you ever blast right through these walls, like say "f it I'm not leaving this game" or are you in control at the poker table?

I think it is great that you managed to wrestle control back and save yourself a lot of money. But what happens next time you walk past the tables once one of your triggers have been pushed? Will your small victory this time give you the strength to walk past or a false sense of control and tempt you even more to sit down?
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09-20-2010 , 04:16 PM
Quote:
apologies, i did not mean to belittle your savagely honest contributions, i was just trying to, perhaps, add another weapon to your arsenal,
next time, maybe, next time a look into that wallet pre will help
No worries, without voice inflicition, internet posts sometimes come across in the wrong light and I took your post the wrong way (plus I was a little sensitive about the subject having just recently slipped up)

Quote:
dgi, I notice you said that for poker you set your watch as a time limit. I assume as a pro player and a degenerate you probably have other controls you set to try and pre-empt problems that arise (like stop loss?). Do you ever blast right through these walls, like say "f it I'm not leaving this game" or are you in control at the poker table?
I have a whole series of preemptive things I do. I have checklists, and mantras, and routines, and time limits on my play and I take routine breaks during a session and read my rules...

The rules are vital. I tell myself everyday that if I can't follow my own rules then I'm screwed.

I regard 95% of this as programming. The real work is done 'off the table', like now. I'm atempting to program myself, creating mental fuses, trip switches, breakers and shunts. If X occurs then do Y. If condition Z is reached then initiate plan B. etc. etc. This programming is constantly evolving. I had a huge major slip 2 years ago, and then developed the rule: If I ever have a major slip, no matter what, take one week off, reevaluate, reset. PERIOD.

So right now, I feel great, I feel in control, but my rule states I need a 1 week cooling off period. And then after that week, if I slip again within the next month, then I will have a 2week cooling off period, and it will keep doubling with every slip.

Quote:
Do you ever blast right through these walls, like say "f it I'm not leaving this game" or are you in control at the poker table?
I have in the past, and it has led to the creation of my rules. All of my rules have come about by noticing what results in me winning or losing. I notice that if I play more than 12 hours I turn into a losing player, so there is no point in playing past 12 hours, thus my time limit rule. I notice when I get mad, i'm a losing player, so there is no point in playing mad. I notice if I lose 3 buy-ins I tend to not play well for the remainder of the day so I only take 3buyins with me to the casino. etc. etc.

It is hard. Last week, its midnight, i'm up $2K and two people come to the table, one is a super douche Jersey boy mafia wannabe who is a complete fish, the other is his girlfriend who has NEVER played poker before and didn't even know the hand rankings.

They are at the table an hour and I make $1K off of them and then my watch beeps. I hit my 12 hours.

Chipping up and leaving that table sucked. But I had to. I have to follow my rules. Or put another way, everytime I break a rule, that rule loses power. Every rule is a bar on the cage that contains the demon.

So, lets say I break that rule, stay another 2 hours, and make another $1K or two. Next time, I break the rule again, but instead, go my degen route and give back an entire day's profit and lose $2K+. Then this releases the demon, I run home, grab $2K come back, try to win it back at a table game and lose it. Now down $4K. Run back home, grab $10K, come back, hit the table games, lose that. Run back home, grab another $10K, come back...

And all of that started because I broke my rule enough times to give the demon an out to slip his cage, take control of me, and burn through my bankroll in one night.

I know, sounds dramatic, but that is exactly what it is. And I tell myself on a daily basis that no matter what I must follow my rules to the letter. The only time I can change a rule is AFTER i've compiled enough data to warrant a rule change.

For instance, my time limit used to be 6 hrs, then I steadily increased it and over time it grew to 12. This year, I tried to push it to 14hrs, but I would lose horribly in those two extra hours, so I backed it back down to 12. I will try increases to 14hrs next year...


Quote:
I think it is great that you managed to wrestle control back and save yourself a lot of money. But what happens next time you walk past the tables once one of your triggers have been pushed? Will your small victory this time give you the strength to walk past or a false sense of control and tempt you even more to sit down?
This is the real question. I've slipped before, then took a time out, did some GA work and meditation and soul searching, come back to the casino and was back in control for a few months, then have another slip, rinse and repeat.

The only good thing is that my slips are growing less and less in severity. Two years ago, I would have easily burned through ALL my money, drove back home, grabbed my entire bankroll, and came back to the casino and burnt through all of it.

Similarly, the durations between my slips (for the most part) are growing longer and longer. And my slips are more the byproduct of bad timing + trigger + unique situation instead of the old days where I just said screw it, i'm going to gambool tonight.

One control I have started was telling all the casino employees and people I know to pull my off a table game if they see me at one. On the surface, this seems decent and prudent, but I inadvertantly gave power to the demon. Almost like giving someone 'else' control or the responsibility to stop me instead of me assuming that responsibility.

anyways, to answer your question, it is a serious problem, and an ongoing project that never ends.
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09-21-2010 , 01:39 PM
Sorry to hear it dgi. I want to recommend two books: The Talent Code and Don't Shoot the Dog. These will seem like really weird suggestions but just trust me. The underlying theories will give you a profound understanding of how behaviour patterns form and how you can change them.

In short, habit-forming creates physical structures in the brain which do not atrophy from disuse like muscles do. The good news is that there is limitless potential to build alternative pathways and strengthen them to the point that the old ones are virtually inaccessible. The image I have in my mind is of a disused railway line that is overgrown and no longer connects to anything at either end.
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09-22-2010 , 07:16 AM
A big part of being a poker pro is taking money off people with gambling problems. If all the degens all the sudden got cured, pro poker players(and casinos) would lose a large part of their income.

This is my own personal struggle with gambling. How do you feel about this since you are a recovering addict?

Congrats on walking away, attending meeting, and posting here.
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09-22-2010 , 07:30 AM
Park really, really, REALLY far away and bring your x number of buy ins to the poker table, leaving the rest of your wallet (minus ID and other important paraphernalia) in the car. If worse comes to worst, have the casino write a check on the bigger wins, or call a friend when you leave the table.

The demon will remain dormant.
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09-23-2010 , 02:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RigMeARiver
Sorry to hear it dgi. I want to recommend two books...
Thanks for the suggestions, I will check them out. And you are right about the brain pathways...

Quote:
Originally Posted by icracknuts
A big part of being a poker pro is taking money off people with gambling problems. If all the degens all the sudden got cured, pro poker players(and casinos) would lose a large part of their income.

This is my own personal struggle with gambling. How do you feel about this since you are a recovering addict? .
I have absolutely no qualms about bending degens over the poker table and giving it to them good up the corn hole. I put them in the category of 'bad players' and just play them accordingly. They can't resist the draw, can't resist the Hero call, can't fold to save their lives and good bless em.

It took me a LOT of work to NOT be one of those degens at the poker table. Now, I just got to keep my azz away from the other table games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardball47
.... If worse comes to worst, have the casino write a check on the bigger wins, or call a friend when you leave the table.
This is not a bad idea, never thought about it. I like the cash because, well, its cash which has certain advantages that I shouldn't have to mention.

But this is a band-aid fix at best. Truth is, with the limits I play, I carry between $1K - $2K on me at all times and then when I win, I have $2K-$6K in my pocket. This isn't a once a month thing. I do this 5 days a week so this (along with calling a friend) isn't practical.

I do apprecaite the suggestions though, not to sound ungrateful.
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09-23-2010 , 07:47 AM
i have no idea if it is possible,
but could the casino/s keep the cash for you, like a safety deposit or something, the manager/s must love you, they could arrange,
once you win, you keep the cash in the casino, when you have a nice big pot in there, you dont gamble, you dont play, you just JUST go into the casino to pick it up, pre-arranged,
with plenty of focus, poss after a meeting, and then you just walk out with a lump?
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09-23-2010 , 11:32 AM
Do you like the show Dexter? Your rules kind of remind me of how he tries to control his "dark passanger".
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09-23-2010 , 05:05 PM
Brave of you to add your thoughts to the forum, well done. Im only 20 but have a gambling problem myself and i understand the demon completely, BTW before i say this im not trying to hijack, just maybe make it clearer for other people to understand.

Im at college without a part time job and have NO money coming in whatsoever. 2 weeks ago i got a cheque in the post for 162. Its from my deceased aunties will, i get these cheques around every 6-7 months. I was 90 into my 100 overdraft so the cheque meant i was 72 above water.

The first thing that was on my mind was poker, i couldn't help it, i hadn't played for months, its like having an itch on your back, you can stand it for so long but then you have to itch it, and you feel so much better after. So i went down the poker club when it had cleared and enterted the 10 tourny they run on mondays. Played really well, didn't cash, wasn't overlly bothered. Went downstairs and rang a taxi.

They have free internet in the club so i was sitting opposite the bar on the comp doing whatever. One of the dealers came over and asked if i was waiting for the cash tables to start and if i wanted my name on it. For some reason i said yes, idiotic i know, but you don't second guess yourself. 'I'll win this time'. 'if im short ill get up and leave' 'the players are beatable'.

So 45 minutes later and im walking home (took me 2 hours) broke. The thing that killed me was i was outplayed, not unlucky. When i play tournemnts live and online i flow, i really enjoy my game and am confident 100% i can final table. But sitting with these players (this is a poker club, not a casino, good standard) they were all better than me and i lost my money like a fish in a pool of sharks.

So from being 'so and so' comfortable, after one night i had lost it all again. Haven't played poker since then (pat on back?) but you guessed it, i haven't had any money since then.

100 isn;t alot obv, but when its all the time like it has been for 3 years for me, it adds up and i can't control it.
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09-24-2010 , 01:24 AM
This whole thread is absurd. There is no way you are a winning poker player but a demon-possessed table game loser. If you are a compulsive gambler, if you have the predilection to punish yourself through financial losses, then you are deluding yourself into thinking you can prevent the demon from getting you at the poker table. The creation of poker as a "safe haven" for your addiction will one day sink you. It is logically impossible to be a poker playing compulsive gambler and not end up busto.
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09-24-2010 , 03:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsmarc
This whole thread is absurd.
your post is absurd,
just when and where did logic ever comes into this story
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09-24-2010 , 03:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsmarc
This whole thread is absurd. There is no way you are a winning poker player but a demon-possessed table game loser. If you are a compulsive gambler, if you have the predilection to punish yourself through financial losses, then you are deluding yourself into thinking you can prevent the demon from getting you at the poker table. The creation of poker as a "safe haven" for your addiction will one day sink you. It is logically impossible to be a poker playing compulsive gambler and not end up busto.
I think most professionals are addicts. That's part of the reason they are drawn to the game and continue playing through those losing periods. DGI sounds like he is enjoying his life, and the poker is mostly BENEFICIAL to him. I would concede that it's a difficult life to lead keeping things in check, but it's also a very rewarding one.
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09-24-2010 , 04:03 PM
DGI, I've had a lot of problems with tilt in the past and what you do really mirrors what I do to control/retrain my tendancies to tilt. I play online and I have notes all over the place to remind me of things, and when I slip up I also have repercussions. The thing you said about breaking the rules is really true for me as well. Break a rule for any reason and it loses it's power for when you really need it.


Quote:
Emotional triggers + lowered inhibitions + opportunity = relapse
I got worked up with poker (which never happens), then was dog tired, and then that stupid promotion...
Have you gone through the events that lead to your slip and found a way to prevent it in the future? I realize the break and resetting will help, but you see the above. You know how you became tempted, what rule could you have had in place to keep this from happening?
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09-24-2010 , 07:53 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandsmarc
This whole thread is absurd. There is no way you are a winning poker player but a demon-possessed table game loser. If you are a compulsive gambler, if you have the predilection to punish yourself through financial losses, then you are deluding yourself into thinking you can prevent the demon from getting you at the poker table. The creation of poker as a "safe haven" for your addiction will one day sink you. It is logically impossible to be a poker playing compulsive gambler and not end up busto.
How can a compulsive gambler do well in poker? Simple, poker is a +EV game if you are a good player. And that 'compulsive' behavior is an edge. It gives me the energy to spend hours and hours on analyzing my game, reading, going through 2+2 posts, etc. etc. Basically, turning a negative into a positive. Giving the demon something productive to do.

Making poker into a safe haven was not easy for me. It took THOUSANDS of hours of soul searching, reflection, introspection, and self analysis that I am still doing. Its not like I woke up one day, snapped my fingers and made it happen overnight.

Lastly, human beings are capable of doing amazing things if they 'believe' they can do it. A few years ago, I woke up to the fact that I just cannot stop gambling. I just can't. So, the next deduction was that I better find a way to make a living at it and thank god for poker. Without poker, i'd be homeless out on the streets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hince
...Have you gone through the events that lead to your slip and found a way to prevent it in the future?... what rule could you have had in place to keep this from happening?
I sorta have a rule in place that would have prevented it. The rule is that whenever i'm upset that I take a walk outside, think and reset. Its just that in this case, I was the exact opposite of upset, I was elated to the point of euphoria. So, now i've retweaked my rule some. Whenever I get any super emotional high (whether negative or positive) I will take that walk outside and reset.
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09-25-2010 , 08:03 PM
Its obvious you have a gambling problem, sorry if thats harsh but Im sure you agree. It bothers me to think that you can hold off your addicition just by playing poker. All you are doing is delaying the inevitable from happening.

Would it be a smart decision for an alcoholic to work in a bar/club ? Or perhaps a perscription drug addict to work in a pharmacy? It sounds like you dont want to quit gambling at all, so all the GA meetings in the world won't help if you dont WANT to quit. You may think poker may be "+EV" but I can promise you it'll lead to more situations like this happening again.

Good Luck with everything.
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09-26-2010 , 08:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
Its obvious you have a gambling problem, sorry if thats harsh.
i think deserves a
*sigh*
Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
All you are doing is delaying the inevitable from happening.
it's not for me to say what dgi is doing, but i reckon, with his posts on here,
one thing he is doing,
is helping a lot of people
Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
I can promise you it'll lead to more situations like this happening again.
and you think dgi is not aware of that?

someone is being brutally honest with themselves and us here,
appreciate it for what it is,
imho
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09-26-2010 , 05:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
Its obvious you have a gambling problem, sorry if thats harsh but Im sure you agree.
Its obvious you haven't really read my posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
It bothers me to think that you can hold off your addicition just by playing poker. All you are doing is delaying the inevitable from happening.
I'm not trying to 'hold off' my addiction by playing poker. I'm using my addiction to play poker. Big difference.

I'm a winning poker player, so the 'inevitable' is that I will win according to my winrate.

But, if I can't avoid the table games, then the inevitable is that I will lose it all to degeneracy. The two are separate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
Would it be a smart decision for an alcoholic to work in a bar/club ? Or perhaps a perscription drug addict to work in a pharmacy?
You know, there are addicts that work around their addiction all the time. If you are an alcoholic, alcohol is EVERYWHERE, no getting around it. Doesn't mean these people are doomed. But I do understand the general logic of your point and it has some validity.

But what it means is that those addicts just have to take extra precautions and be more diligent/vigilent about protecting themselves

Quote:
Originally Posted by awilhelmscream
It sounds like you dont want to quit gambling at all, so all the GA meetings in the world won't help if you dont WANT to quit.
This is a gray area. I do want to quit gambling. I can't stand that I lose money playing -EV games like BJ or 3-card poker.

But the gray area is that poker is a +EV game for me, so I don't consider it 'gambling'.

And the GA meetings are extremely helpful in reinforcing why I need to stay away from -EV games.

Lastly, an interesting development with all of this is that I'm losing my desire to play poker. After grinding day in and day out for almost 2 years, it has lost its novelty. So, now, I'm focusing on saving around $100K over the next two years and going to open my own business.

In a sense, that will be a different gamble. One way to think about all this is that everything is a gamble, its just a matter if it is a +EV gamble or not.
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09-26-2010 , 07:18 PM
any ideas, as yet, as to what kind of business that may be?
My Relapse, Shipping .2K to the Demon Fed-ex Style Quote

      
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