Online Poker Addiction

Hi all,

This is my 1st time to post here. I have realized that I have a gambling problem. I am going to my first Gamblers Anonymous meeting tonight. It took me a while to realize my problem, but I now know I need help.

I played online poker at Party Poker mostly. And I have ran up over $5000 worth of charges at party poker using electronic checks thru pay-pro. I now do not have the money to pay back Pay-pro. I have tried to call and work out a payment arrangement with them. They want me to send $600 a week. I do not even make $600 a week. I told them I could pay $50 a week, and they said that was not enough.

I don't know what to do. I know this is all my fault and I hate myself for it. I am trying to get help but don't know what to do about this mountain of debt. Has anyone here had the same problem? I know that these payment places are located off-shore. What can they do legally to me if I do not pay $600 a week? I am stuck here and need some help. I know I have done this to myself, but I don't know what to do.

Thank you in advance.
I have played on party online poker too along with others sites. It is so... addicting and so easy to put your money in and play. I have been really addicted to playing Texas hold em and now stopped playing on line but I go to local casino and play. I wish I never knew how to play this game because I feel this Texas hold em has a control over my life and I can't stop thinking about playing this game. I think about it everyday and it's really killing me and I don't know how to stop. I went to casino today and lost 1,100 and I feel so... bad. I really want to stop playing this game all together. Do you have any suggestions?
I too have recently had severe gambling problem, online poker to be exact, to the tune of six figures. I haven't played since December, but that's mainly because I ran out of money and credit. I am currently trying to keep my family together, as my Wife has severe reservations about staying with me, understandably. I hid my gambling from everyone, and stayed up late at night to use the Internet in secret.

To assuage the thread starter, however, pay-pro doesn't really have anything but scare tactics. In most if not all states, gambling debts are legally unenforceable. They can't sue you. I imagine they might try to claim that you approved an online checking account transaction, and that is the basis for their claim, but I believe that pay-pro would be deemed simply an agent of online party poker, as that is all that pay-pro does, in which case they could not win a lawsuit against you, if you fought it. Firepay claims I owe about $12K, while pay-pro claims about $3K. If you are concerned about other debts, however, you might consider filing bankruptcy. I pretty much have specialized in bankruptcy, and the extreme slowness of my business since the law changed has also contributed to my financial situation, though I think I would have just gambled a bit longer. Despite the change in the law, there is still a viable bankruptcy option for most people in this country.

In my opinion, the online poker poker rooms are engaged in a sophisticated form of robbery, enticing people they know can never win, and the site makes money from every pot. Only a very few people, I think, can profit from this, and I really wonder if they aren't cheating.
glaciercat...if it costs you 6 k to learn this gambling lesson then in the long run you will look back and say I got let off cheap.because who knows in 10 years you,you'll be financially okay and 6 k wont seem such a big deal.stay positive, pay off your debts and put it in your brain that moneys to be enjoyed, not punted . I come to EC most days to read how others have suffered on the punt and I feel its doable to not gamble...theres good money to be made legit,on real estate and stock market,not cards..head up and lesson learned !!!
My husband has been a gambler during all of the 21 years of our marriage. He was a gambler way before I met him. Although, when we married during a whirlwind, I had no idea what I was in for.

I cannot stop him. I have tried everything I know to do. Early on, I left him and filed for divorce. He promised me he would quit. He can quit for a period of months when he wants to. I tried Gamblers Anonymous. They told me to let him hit bottom. Lose our house, ruin our credit, go bankrupt. I could not do it. We talk, we discuss. He thinks he can control it this time (which is every time).

I do not help him gamble. He earns decent money and I earn decent money. He pays for as little as possible and I am stuck with the rest. He gambles everything he earns and has us in serious debt with a home equity loan. I used to get angry. I can't anymore. I'm too tired. It doesn't seem to matter what I do or say, he will gamble anyway. He thinks he can control his gambling addition. I don't think he can.

Has anyone out there ever been able to control their addition by anything other than quitting?
Dear Pollock,

I have been a compulsive gambler for 10yrs. For the past 3 yrs have been in recovery and this has largely been due to Gamblers Anonymous. Hitting rock-bottom makes you realize you have a problem. As long as there is someone who will bail you out of the financial difficulties, or allow you to have $ with which to play, you will never come to the realization of how much damage you are causing to yourself and your family. The advice that Gamblers Anonymous gave you is accurate...if you continue to 'enable' the gambler he will not ever realize he has a problem.

Gambling is a disease and while so many people have thought they can control it, and may stop for brief periods, when they return or slip, the damage begins again. Has your husband ever gone to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting? It is at a meeting where he may begin to recognize some of his symptoms and at least start to half admit to himself there maybe something wrong. It sounds like you control the finances somewhat by paying the bills and allowing your husband to have free reign of the money he earns. I'm sure that creates a lot of animosity on your end...always being the one to take care of things. Maybe you can discuss a new financial arrangement with him for your family where your paycheck is not used to pay the family bills.

But, to answer your question, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible for a compulsive gambler to control or manage his gambling once it is out of control. Gamblers Anonymous is a lifesaver and you should explore ways of getting your husband to go to a meeting even if he's not ready to admit he is a compulsive gambler...just to see what it's all about. Best of luck,
That was an excellent response Zoe. It is unfortunate how some people (me included) have to hit rock bottom before realizing they have a problem. You cannot control this addiction it controls you. Only when you realize that you are powerless to this addiction can you start your recovery. You literally have to get down on your hands and knees and ask for help otherwise there will be no recovery process.

Pollock, I am sure you love your husband and want to do what is best. Like Zoe said, have him attend a Gamblers Anonymous meeting and maybe he will see the light. Gamblers Anonymous only works if you work it so one meeting is not enough but you have to start somewhere. Please print out the story titled 27 years of Compulsive Gambling for your husband and if you have any questions please let me know because that is my story.

One more item; I don't know what type of gambler your husband is but if it is slot machines, horse races, sports betting, table games, stock market or whatever, tell him when he gives the casino or bookie his hard earned $100 or $1000 and wins they are going to give him back $100 or $1000 not you or your family. Make your husband realize he is risking his family each and every time he gambles. I hope this makes sense.
Hi Pollock,

I am an ex-casino manager and ex-compulsive gambler. Although it is possible to take control of gambling, it can only be done, as far as I know, by taking control of the 'self'. I did it through self-help psychology. It is a long hard haul that takes a great deal of hard work and a lot of determination and self discipline, and not something for everybody.

Many will say that it is not possible to control addictive gambling, the same as a smoker, or drinker cannot have one cigarette, or one drink. But gambling is different, in that, one is not 'introducing a substance' into their system. With gambling, one becomes addicted to drugs that are produced by the brain itself.

If your husband 'thinks' he can control the gambling, make an agreement with him. Get out of debts 'first' then agree to a 'gambling budget' of an agreeable amount per month. Keep a sharp eye on his gambling budget to make sure the agreement is being adhered to.

Good luck,

I appreciate your advice.

I seriously doubt that my husband will ever seek Gamblers Anonymous because he does not wish to quit. Ever. I tie up as much of his income as I can, but he just borrows money and get more credit cards to fuel his addiction. Of course he lies and hides information from me as much as he can.

I feel helpless. I think the only way I can escape his online poker addiction is through divorce. This is not what I want, but it may be what I need. I left him early in our marriage. He told me he was finished gambling and wanted me to come back. All lies.

Our world is tangled with two children, both of whom will be in college next year. Quite frankly, I'm afraid that as little as he helps financially, it would be worse in the case of divorce. I am also sure he would disappear and my children would never hear from him again.


I am just curious and this may not be an appropriate question; however; why are you keeping your husband around in the first place? It sounds like he isn't involved in the relationship spiritually or financially. Are you afraid to be alone?

You are in a very unfortunate situation. Some compulsive gamblers go a lifetime without admitting their problem. The spouse and loved ones get hurt in the process and the compulsive gambler is oblivious to this pain. It is a truly baffling insidious addiction. You need to do what is right for you. It sounds like you have tried everything to get your husband to stop gambling to no avail. Your children are grown and will understand whatever decision you make. It is your decision whether you want to maintain your unhappiness or make the big step to going it on your own. This is very difficult but in the end it is your life and if your husband doesn't realize what he is doing to you then you may want to give him an ultimatum; to gamble and not have you or to NOT gamble and to have you.

Most compulsive gamblers do not realize their problem until it is too late and some never realize. People stop gambling when they are willing to admit they are powerless to gambling and no one can make that decision for them. Whatever decision you make stick with it and don't look back, regrets are very self defeating.

Paulie D.
I am your husband and your husband is me. We don't realize how badly we are hurting the ones around us because we are too absorbed in the pain we are feeling ourselves. Trust me, nothing you can say to him will make him change. He will only change when he is ready to change. Your love and support sounds like it has given him a comfort zone to continue his addiction. My husband has done the same for me and I continue to gamble. I don't know what it is going to take to make me change. But I will tell you one thing; if given an ultimatum of gambling or my husband - I would take my husband. Of course, he would have to take every ounce of money away from me and treat me like a child.........

Sometimes the truth must be faced. You obviously 'do' realize how badly you hurt those around you, or you could not have written this post. And you are not 'too' absorbed in the pain you are feeling yourself, or you would not be here in this forum. Yes, you have a comfort zone and the only thing that can make you change, is 'yourself'. Your husband either loves you enough to allow you to continue gambling, or is too afraid of the consequences to tell you to stop... Do you love him enough to at least try to stop of your own accord?

Sometimes hard questions need to be asked and hard answers need to follow.

Yes, I've acknowledged I have an addiction. To say I'm trying to overcome? Well, I would be recovered if I could honestly answer 100% yes but I think about it everyday and am searching for the strength to control this behavior. I appreciate this resource showing me I am not alone in this daily struggle. It helps me focus on what I need/want to do to change.
Hi OneDollarLeft,

Great that you are trying. Maybe I misunderstood, but in your previous post you said that you were continuing to gamble. You also mentioned that your husband would have to take all your money and treat you like a child. Perhaps the 'root' of your gambling stems from not wanting to take full 'responsibility' for your own actions? Have you thought along those lines? Do you feel that the child in you is the one to blame... that the child refuses to submit to the wishes of the adult/parent in you? If so, it may be worth the time to read a few books: Eric Berne, (1964), "Games People Play": The Psychology of Human Relationships, Balantine Books. Thomas Harris (1996), "I'm OK-You're OK", Avon books.

Good luck.

I to have a gambler for a husband.he has done this for the last 25yrs of our 38year marriage.He has relapsed at least 5 times.the first time was with 20, credit card debt. the other 3 times where minor compared to the first and the most recent which was before thanksgiving of 05. He had access to his 81yr. old mothers credit card and run up 6, debt.I confronted with the fact that I knew he was playing the lottery,and ask if I needed to know anything else,he said no, I was hoping he would come clean with the credit card on his own, but of course he didn't.I too don't know what I am going to do he says he is at rock bottom but I have my doubts.his mother is paying his credit debt,she cant afford it!he attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings and he thinks I should forgive and forget again,but I don't think I can this time.he knew the ending if he ever gambled again,it didn't seem to matter.
I too have a husband with a gambling problem. We have been married 25 yrs and the last 5 years have been a nightmare.I have bailed him out of debt twice but not the third. We have been separated now for almost 4 months. It's been a very hard 4 months for me. But not for him. He has started dating a lady who also gambles.This weekend I am going to try to see if he will sign a quick claim deed on our house. We live in a community property and debt state so I am liable for his debts also. Since we have separated he is more in debt then before.But I think the money is starting to run out. I have done a lot of thinking about our marriage since the separation. I know now that I spoiled him too much, I took on to much of the responsibly of our home. I paid for most of the things we have and a lot of the vacations we went on.

I gave too too much and got too little in return. Now he is acting like a spoiled child that he is and will not face me or talk to me. And when he does it is with a lot of anger. I know by going to gam-anon meeting that most of his anger is with himself but sometimes that doesn't help. I don't know where this will end, I imagine probably with a divorce.I don't want one but since he isn't thinking right this is what he wants.

[Being because I have asked him to move out]. The real shame of it all is that he has the love and support from his whole family all he has to do is ask for it.After so many years of trying I finally learned thought gam-anon that you can't make them do anything or see anything. They won't change for you, the change has to come because they want it. It is a terrible disease and some people never face it.I know one thing, and that is if we divorce my husband will be the biggest loser. I don't think he will ever find anyone who could love him more then I have and do for him like I have. But maybe that is what he needs to wake him up."You never know what you have until you lose it."

Thanks for listening.

online sadness

I sit here in tears and I am very unhappy again.

For 3 years online poker has ruined my life. I have lost about $32,000. It's not that I play badly, but the sites themselves are all fixed.

I would do anything to be free of this. I don't smoke or drink, I only started playing because someone told me you could win by skill - but you can't, as the sites are all fixed.

Can anyone help me with this? These poker websites are destroying me. I cannot talk to anyone about it. I am lonely and lost.