Recently, I’ve developed a new hobby of online gambling. I know what you’re thinking: it’s basically a casino for people who are too lazy to get in their mercedes and drive across the city. That’s partially true, but as a busy lawyer who deals with bail bonds on a daily basis, I don’t have time to be in smoke-filled environment full of loud gamblers. One doesn’t need to be a psychic to know that a few hours in that place could leave your bank account empty with your mind needing rehab!
So in comes online gambling. I started playing poker and slots online, placing bets as little as $5. At first it was all fine and dandy – you win some, you lose some. But sooner than I expected, I got completely hooked to a particular website. After a tough day in the office dealing with nerve-wrecking clients, I’d get in my apartment, lock the door and jump in my cozy computer chair to play a few games.
The thrill of placing small bets dissipated after the first 2 weeks and I was placing $500 to $1000 bets. And would you believe it – as soon as I started playing larger bets my luck turned for the better. In two night I earned almost $30 000 and in my mind I was already sipping on cocktails in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately that was only a Devil’s bait.
Once you start winning big, you want to keep earning more and more. I was on a run, but deep inside I knew that my luck would eventually run out. So what did I do? I followed the typical destiny of a gambling addict. Instead of taking the 30k and never playing again, I couldn’t let go of the thrill. The only thing that turned my life into an adrenaline packed adventure was there, available with a click of a mouse. So I kept playing, placing bigger and bigger bets. By the time my demise started to happen I made 40k on the website. I never saw that nice lump of cash though.
One night however, I returned from the office, which I started to resent even more knowing how much money I could make gambling my socks off. That was a particulary troublesome day, as I lost a really important case. In a rush of the moment I made a devastating decision: “I will place all the money I won on a single game. If I win, I’m out of here. I’ll go to Thailand and live the rest of my days like a king. And if I don’t…” – well suffice to say that I didn’t want to jinx myself thinking about that outcome.
So I played poker and chipped in over 40k. I had a Straight Flush and was confident it would be enough to win. The other guys were down and out.. and it was time to see what the last player had in his arsenal. Shortly after the adrenaline turned to cortisol. I still shiver thinking about that moment. The only thing that could destroy me happened – the dude had a Royal Flush.
The feeling that washes over you in a situation like that is hard to describe. It’s almost like your mind doesn’t want to acknowledge what happened, so you’re left feeling numb. If that was the end of the story, perhaps it wouldn’t be worth writing about. But as any gambling addict will tell you – hope dies last. I couldn’t just let 40 thousand dollars slip away from my grasp. At least I could regain that money and THEN stop, right? Wouldn’t any reasonable person make the same choice?
So in this desperate, numb moment I got out my credit card and transfered 10k to the website. I lost. I tried again. I lost. I never lost three games in a row. No way would I lose 4 times in a row. I went for it and maxed out my credit card in the process. It was 4 a.m. when I finally stopped this self-inflicted torture. The horrendous streak left me $70 000 in debt, and I was in no way ready to go to work. Heck, I barely managed to get out of depression in the months that followed. My savings were depleted, and I was scraping by on pennies in order to make the monthly payments.
Learning The Hard Way
All in all, online gambling proved to be even more costly than playing in real casinos. In my experience, the allure of online gambling is in the convenience of playing at home, without any judgmental eyes analyzing your mistakes and losses. But these positives have a dark side to them. It’s very easy to turn a pleasant experience into a habit. Even more so if you feel that your life is bland and gambling provides you with adrenaline, meaning and hope. That’s exactly what happened in my case, and countless others before me.
You might be wondering; why would I want to share this story with all of you? It might seem like an exercise in masochism to some, but my only goal is to help others avoid making the same mistake. You don’t have to lose $70 000 to realize that online gambling can really mess with your mind. With that being said, here is a final piece of advice for everyone reading: Fortuna accepts only a limited amount of prayers per gambler. Otherwise she’d run out of business.