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Old 08-02-2021, 12:20 PM   #1
Yeodan
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Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Why do losing players start/keep playing?
This is completely mind boggling to me.

I've been playing a lot of live home games over the last months.
There are several regs/recs? who just lose €600-1000 nearly every single time they enter the game.
These are not good thinking players getting unlucky. They just spew stack after stack, VPIPing 70%+
This is in 1/1 and 2/2 games, they buy in for €100 - €200 and just blow up their stack then re-buy and repeat.

Why do these people play?
Why do they keep coming back?
Don't they notice how much they're losing?
Do they just not care or even like losing that much?

I'm not talking about rich people with heaps of money either.
They may have plenty of money, but I know €1000 is still a lot of money for them.

It's not just once or twice either, they just keep coming back whenever they have money. Year after year, without ever getting any better at the game.


The main reason I'm asking is to find something positive in all of this.

I'd like to go out and recruit some new players for the games I play in.
Mostly because I want their money, yes.

But I'd also like them to get something out of it. So I wonder what it is these losing players get out of losing their money in these games.
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:21 PM   #2
JayKon
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

I've wondered the same thing.

Back in the 1980s, playing 1/2 5 card draw, I remember some people who would tell you not to call, because they had a winner and would show you. I think they wanted to be liked. More recently I've seen people that seem to want to lose their money ... no clue.

My suspicion is that a lot of is tied into the dopamine rush we get when we win a pot. It's an addictive behavior where some people will pay almost any price to get the rush.

Think about how you feel when you win over $1,000 in a single 1/3 pot. It's exciting and calming at the same time. Compare that to getting it all in on the turn with the nuts, only to lose to a 1, or 2 outer. The good feeling far outweighs the bad feeling for most people.

Anyway, hopefully, someone who understands this topic better than me will respond, as I'm curious.
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Old 08-02-2021, 03:05 PM   #3
Puddles8554
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

They remember that one time they won big and they're chasing it.
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Old 08-04-2021, 07:10 PM   #4
nutsornot
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

It's no different than people that enjoy playing slots and pit games or even the lottery for that matter. They don't view poker as a way to make money but as a form of fun and entertainment. The adrenaline rush of winning a huge pot when 10-7 off suit flops a straight against an overpair is worth the money they lose. Also, sitting and chatting and/or drinking with a table of semi-social people may be better than sitting alone at home watching tv.

I know for a fact one whale in my regular game comes and plays only because when he goes to the bar to drink, he ends up sitting by himself most of the time and its more fun to drink and play a stupid semi-social card game with us, even if it costs him an extra 500 dollars.
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Old 08-04-2021, 07:48 PM   #5
Tuma
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

the first couple years of playing online i genuinely had a buzz from play and always chased losses. i wasn't winning, and it stopped being a controlling rush when i started to profit. so the answer is excitement i think.
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Old 08-05-2021, 05:38 PM   #6
antialias
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Quote:
Why do losing players start/keep playing?
Because 'fun' is not exactly the same as 'make money'.

You might as well ask: "Why do you go on a roller coaster when it's costing you money each time? That's -EV!"

Some people just like the highs more than they are pained by the lows.
...and good on them for having such a positive outlook in life, I say! If they get something positive out of it, overall, then it's well worth the money spent.
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Old 08-19-2021, 12:16 PM   #7
EternalRaise
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Too general question. There is as many answers that there is players.

One thing that very many do not seem to understand in poker community is, that there is plenty of people who have a lot of money. Recreational poker playing is not heroin addiction. To call it addiction there should be harm that is done by it. Losing money does not count, if your stock portfolio makes it back in days.
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Old 08-20-2021, 04:05 PM   #8
howbathat
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EternalRaise View Post
Too general question. There is as many answers that there is players.

One thing that very many do not seem to understand in poker community is, that there is plenty of people who have a lot of money. Recreational poker playing is not heroin addiction. To call it addiction there should be harm that is done by it. Losing money does not count, if your stock portfolio makes it back in days.
This. Also, all starting poker players are losers by default.

Those who keep playing have different reasons. For example:
They are interested on the rake, make more money than you do, even when they lose.
They have no friends and just like the atmosphere/community.
They enjoy the rush they get enough to keep on playing (getting close to addiction here)
They have a lot more money than you think and have no interest in sharing with you how much.

I often play with people who lose everyday and say it openly. I don't ask where the money is coming from or why they play. Regarding the later, I am not sure they know the answer themselves.
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Old 08-30-2021, 01:58 PM   #9
stremba70
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

I would add that a lot of losing players probably don’t even realize that they are losing players. Losing live players probably don’t track results very closely. As others have said, they remember the excitement from their big wins, but block out all the losses. This may especially be true if they have many small losing sessions and an occasional large win. If you lose $100 at a 5/10 game, it’s pretty easy to write that off. If you play 30 sessions with one big $1500 win and lose $100 all the rest, you’re down $1400, and unless you keep very good track of your results, you probably don’t realize it.

I theorize too that this is a source of a lot of the “online poker is rigged” idiots. There’s no way to delude yourself when you see your account balance dropping over time. These people think they are winners live so the only “logical” conclusion is that the online game must be rigged against them.
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Old 09-08-2021, 09:10 PM   #10
FellaGaga-52
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Why do people drink, because they are winning at it? Why do they smoke? Why do they road rage? Why do they play video games obsessively?

If you are starting with the premise that people do things for reasonable and rational reasons and if they violate this premise there is something strange or unbelievable about it, then you aren't describing human behavior.

Jim Morrisson said it: "People are strange." So strangeness is to be expected. Besides, this is an addict world, an addict species ... so that accounts for a lot of it.
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Old 09-10-2021, 02:20 PM   #11
ledn
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

The same reason anyone goes to the casino regularly to play slots/blackjack.


Theres also some delusional ego involved too.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:22 PM   #12
Darth Sagebrush
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Much of this info is valid for "typical" donators.

But the biggest whales are mostly monstrous narcissists who gamble because they like getting their asses kissed.

The biggest winners in higher-stakes games are mostly the best ass-kissers, not the best players. Sad but true.

Furthermore, the more discerning narcissistic whales often prefer poker to pit games because they get a bigger kick out of inducing private individuals, gambling their own money, to debase themselves this way. The fake, but voluntary, friendliness of a poker bumhunter is more satisfying to them then the deference of a pit boss who is just doing his job.

Maximizing poker EV often entails sacrificing one's own dignity and self-respect to some of the most repulsive people on the planet.
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Old 09-23-2021, 05:28 PM   #13
FellaGaga-52
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Sagebrush View Post
Much of this info is valid for "typical" donators.

But the biggest whales are mostly monstrous narcissists who gamble because they like getting their asses kissed.

The biggest winners in higher-stakes games are mostly the best ass-kissers, not the best players. Sad but true.

Furthermore, the more discerning narcissistic whales often prefer poker to pit games because they get a bigger kick out of inducing private individuals, gambling their own money, to debase themselves this way. The fake, but voluntary, friendliness of a poker bumhunter is more satisfying to them then the deference of a pit boss who is just doing his job.

Maximizing poker EV often entails sacrificing one's own dignity and self-respect to some of the most repulsive people on the planet.
A very perceptive and interesting take for sure, but wasn't that more true in the days of raging home games as opposed to casinos. One of these whales can't run the show, be the superstar, have their way as totally in a public room
can they?
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Old 10-09-2021, 06:47 PM   #14
Isaiah_53_5
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Re: Why do losing players start/keep playing?

Phil Ivey says that there is no rush like losing huge. Some people love to feel pain. Also, some people have the drive to work on their game - others are stubborn and can’t objectively look at their play to improve.
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