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Self-Destructive Freedom

I've been sports betting a lot lately. You've noticed, aye? I'm sure you've also noticed that my poker game has degenerated. It's a rough time right now in HighOnPokerville. It's nothing particular. Work is going well. Wifey Kim is still the best. I've just been, well, out of sorts.

CJ, in his comment regarding You Decide #38, stated that after the turn, I was just gambling. He's right. I've been gambling a lot lately, instead of playing poker. The question is, why?

Some people get stressed out and become control freaks. Everything has to be as they say and as they want it. When a teenage girl decides not to eat anymore so she can lose weight, it's often said that they are trying to control their weight because it's the only thing they think they have control over. I know the feeling. After my first serious girlfriend dumped me the summer going into my junior in High School, I pretty muched stopped eating. At the time, it wasn't about control, or so I thought. I was just really heartbroken, and I stopped eating because I was depressed. I blamed my weight partially for being dumped. I wasn't fat, but I wasn't fit either. Over the course of the summer, I lost 28 lbs. I dropped from to 171 to 143. My mother worried that I was emaciated.

Eventually, with my new body and time behind me, I got over her. I got back to eating and I was getting chicks. I left that all behind me. Most of it, at least. Apparently, I've gone the other way now.

Instead of trying to control something, I think I'm just trying to lose it. Lose control. Let fate decide. I'm too tired, unskilled, unlucky, incompetent to earn what I want. I must put money on sports that I know little about, or play poker without really thinking, without really controlling my game or my fate.

I told you that I placed bets on Argentina, Netherlands, and Mexico. I was wrong. Apparently, I clicked the wrong thing and bet on the under 2.5 goals for each of the games. I lost $40 already (Argentina and Netherlands games), and I'm set to lose another $20 in the Mexico game. I tried to cover by betting on another site for Mexico, but I had to put out $45 to win $15, so it's really not going to do much for me.

What the hell am I doing? I'm self destructing, that's what. Let's admit it. Freud is somewhat right. Gamblers are just losers trying to punish themselves. I'm not trying to be a gambler. I'm trying to be a poker player. Shit.

Bottom line, I need to check myself. This is the wakeup call. I just hope I don't hit the snooze button.

posted by Jordan @ 3:01 PM,


At 3:36 PM, Blogger CJ said...

By the way, I'm not saying it was bad to gamble. In tournaments, sometimes you have to play against the numbers. If you're wrong, you're out... if you're right, you're in great shape. Tournaments are not grinds. If you're gonna peddle nuts, the blinds will eventually kill you unless the cards are slapping you in the face. I often gamble on big draws even when the math isn't right.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger ScurvyDog said...

I think it runs a little deeper than just being a gambler and harboring the self-destructive seed within you that most gamblers have.

I've felt exactly what you describe at times, even when running well. For me, it's not so much some sort of Freudian self-fulfilling, self-flaggelating tendency, when I almost want to bust out and go broke and be done with it. It's more that poker just soaks up so much goddamn time, time that I absolutely know could be better spent in other ways.

That's what's usually eating at me during the times when I almost want to go broke, just so the decision can be out of my hand entirely. So that I'll be forced to spend more time with my wife, more time being creative, more time having fun.

What usually gets my head back on straight is to just take a break, or scale back the poker time. Once I get ore balance and more of my life back form the steely cluthces of poker, I stop feeling so fatalistic and tired, and start playing better poker and enjoying it again.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Thanks Scurvy.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger F-Train said...

143? Emaciated? Send your mother to my house.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Haha. Well, emaciated for me. Come to think of it, those numbers are off. I definitely didn't weight 171 at the time, but I definitely did lose 28. I think I might have been at 161 and down to 133. But, F, not everyone can have your bird-like frame.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger MrGoss said...

Damn, now I have to step back and think about wtf I got going.

Thanks a lot Jordon. I was happy in my blissful ignorance.

Cheer up man. Sometimes to "just feel the game" is a good thing. Keeps it from being like work. I do like your wide-awake examinations though. Thanks for putting things into perspective.

BTW, I got kicked last night on the Mavs game huh?


At 7:22 PM, Blogger Buffalo66 said...


You can bet on sports and NOT gamble. Please read my recent posts on sportsbook bonuses.

If you can't control yourself from making bad decisions over and over again - both poker and sports bets - there might be a bigger issue here than just a leak in your game.

It took me over 2+ years to find my comfort level at a poker table. It's the point you reach when you feel like you're more in control of the action than anyone else at the table. I was there for a reason, and I knew what I needed to do.

Good luck finding your control mojo.

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Matty Ebs said...

I myself have massochistic streaks where I put my bankroll in the hands of the poker gods. I'm a big predeterminist and some things are just meant to happen, it' still a game, if you wanted your skill level to dictate you'd play online chess.

Sports betting is a spiral fall, have fun with it but I gotta tell you I've even seen control freaks lose it...I'm partial to the NFL and March madness. Thinking I might have a game Wed I'll Email u if it happens

At 5:48 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Definitely email me if you have a game, Ebs. As for sports betting, it's relatively new for me. I did place some sweet bets today though, including an Under 2.5 goals in the Portugal-Iran game (won), Portugal OVER Iran (won), Czech Rep OVER Ghana (lost), and US +.5 OVER Italy (won).

It's definitely a slippery slope, and I've decided to hang it up if I drop below my initial buyin.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Jordan, my two cents is that, other than for professionals or I guess people with a demonstrated winning track record over a long period of time, sports betting is not the way to go. I like sticking to poker because it is the only game at the casino which is not set up mathematically to beat me, and I am playing against other people whom I should be able to beat with superior skill over time. With sports betting, which I have tried many many times in my life, I often find that the more obvious a pick looks, the more it loses to everyone's surprise. I guess what I'm saying is that you really seemed to have just hit your stride with the cash nlh games, and now you're going and dropping that hard-earned cash on the Ghana soccer team losing to the Czech Republic? I'm super psyched that you won your most recent bets, but I'd be happier for you if you stopped betting on things like that. Just my two cents. Loved your post as always.

At 12:29 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Thanks hammer. All good points. The thing is, I have things in perspective. The poker is a rough patch. The sports betting is a fluke. And it's all really not that big of a deal.

That said, I'm going to play poker now like it's poker. And I'm going to sports bet like its sports betting. I'll keep all of the bets as the min, and I'll only play with the little amount I have already in the account.

Man, I need to put up a new post.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger DP said...

Freedom is the right to do stupid-stupid, amazingly retarded -- did I say stupid -- things.

It's great.


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