Its seductive. I'm a gambling addict, but at the same time I'm also a full time professional (losing) texas holdem player trying to make this profitable for me.

During the games I'm mindful in my chest of a ball of anxiety, probably a fight or flight mechanism being activated in me due to adreline.

I know deep belly breaths are recommended at this point, but I was wondering what else I need to consider so I can stop gambling and play more strategic..

Its elsusive, and seductive as I mentioned... When I play like this, I believe I activate some others gambling addictions and they play out of character and the possibility for winning (or losing) alot becomes probable.

Ideally I could harness this reaction and use frequencies to activate people and sit back and collect strategically. But what happens is I get pulled into the adrenaline rush and make stupid moves myself.

Im talking about allins preflop with a pair of 66's or pushing people allin with the belief they will fold to my allin. Etc. I gamble, instead of "fight" (play strategically against my opponent) at the poker table.

I also realize that my actions outside of texas holdem are important.. For example.. if I sit up all night betting at a roulette table, or on slots, I am feeding my addiction and the "wolf" becomes stronger. Or for example when I decide I'm going to take a course of action and then because of my addictions or weak will power, do something against that course of action.

What else should I consider/do to become more profitable and overcome this hurdle?

  • 4
    TBH I don't think this SE is the right place to provide you help with regards to your issue. I'm unsure where you are located, but if you are having a gambling problem I would strongly recommend you get in touch with whatever gambling assistance services you may have locally. The thing about a gambling compulsion is that you likely won't be able to just be mindful and stop doing it, hence why I don't think this SE is the right place to help you. I would really strongly recommend you get professional assistance @Bryan.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 10:22
  • The question is complicated to answer but I think a really useful one I am going to spend some time on an answer because this is a very good question. dealing with something most players need to work through.
    – Jon
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


I worked and played in Las Vegas for over 3 decades. I watched many players come and go, fail and succeed. The successful players are the ones I tried to watch. All the guys I knew that succeeded had something in common, they were degenerate, and often played crazy and had other players grumbling and calling them things like fish and donkey. Guys whom came to town with a bankroll, played tight and conservatively rarely succeeded, I knew two grinders that had good success, one was a middle limit Stud player that won the WSOP Stud event in I think ’98. The other Was a Omaha 8 or better grinder that never won the bracelet but always managed to place well in the PLO8 event. The comonnality I noticed with players I knew that became famous and somewhat successful, is that the genrality had some chisma to their gam, that could be described as crazy gambling at the time. All of them where smart people, whom were able to adjust their bad habits into big bucks as a smart aggressive player that was to be feared. It takes drive to become a great player, these are the guys that innovated, that wer eclectic and brilliant.and many of them I was genuinely surprised by when they made it. I Knew personally Ted Forrest, and Mike Matusow. niether of which I expected to become as successful as they did. Mike was the biggest surprise. He was a total degenerate. Would work eight hours dealing at Sam’s Town, then wander over to the Mirage to play 20/40 Limit until he had to goto sleep, was broke or had to goto work.I could not tell you if he was winning or not. But he was playing and improving. And was just considered a fing dealer whom cant play. The first time I saw mike at a black chip game, my assumption is that he was on a crime spree possibly robbing several convenience stores on the way in. that was not the case, he was doing well at the tables. Oh yes, the biggest hole in his game then as now, was that he talked to much, when he was able to start using that as an asset is when he stated to become a respected player. Ted Forrest on the other hand was a grinder, playing middle limit Stud games 5/20 through 15/30. Who’s only goals at the time seemed to be keeping his wife housed in an apartment, and food on the table and playing to stay in action. I considered him an excellent player. A very old and seasoned dealer said to me how about that kid Ted, he is up there playing with the big boys now. Although Ted was grinder, he was not typical he could best be described as tight aggressive.he was just tough with a fearless quality to his play. And he was also quite smart. He is one of the few grinders that was able I have dealt to Ted as much as I have dealt to any player over time. I played with him a few times back in thr early days when the chips were still red(yellow if your in Cali). He is tough to beat. His greatest asset was that he can clock a game and the players, like few can. I lreaned more about razz playing one hand headup against him then I knew about thr game at the time. Bryan I am just saying that most of the great players have stories much like yours, degenerate gambling personalties, and smarts that took them to the top. I think the basic skill for success in poker is a personality, that can focus on the game, the kind of guys, like Winston Churchill, who said in the face of great odds against the facts of reality at the time, “We shall never surrender”, and never did. Who took the empire to the greatest of vicotries, or the general at the battle of the bulge who sent thr one word reply of “Nuts” to the Germans when they suggested sourender to him and recently in the Ukraine “Idont need a ride, I need ammunition.” These or the kind of personalties that eventually rise to the top at the poker table. Not the ”Wise” grinders Bryan you will be alright, what you describe in your backstory is an asset not a liability. You may loose some heartbreaking battles, but you will eventually overcome and win the war. Keep swinging the hammer hard and eventually you eill be swinging once per nail or all your fingers will be broken. Buy bigger hammers pound bigger nails.

PS; just like you will have time to sleep when your dead you will have time for GA when your broke

  • This really brightened up my outlook. I might even win my next tournament thanks to this response ;). Thank you Jon.
    – Bryan
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 22:17
  • good I am glad, but remember all you have is potential. good luck, remember to mentally review each play, run it around in your mind, improve a bit.
    – Jon
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 3:00
  • 2
    I'm sorry but I really think if you openly admit you have a gambling issue, this answer is maybe what you want to hear but probably not what you should hear. Yes from what Jon is saying I don't disagree, you need to know when to turn on gamble mode and when to take those shots in poker. My concern isn't the poker table from your question, but rather from your other gambling. Jon has given two examples here of the ones who made it, BTW Matusow, nice man from my experience, great player, has been to Gamblers Anonymous. I've seen the same type of players from my dealing experience who went the...
    – Grinch91
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 14:00
  • 1
    other way and lost 10x on the roulette table verses what they won on the poker table. Bryan, I'm sorry if your question was only about the poker table I'd be able to recommend something similar as the above, knowing when to take shots and pick spots. However you explicitly said you have a problem and mentioned slots and roulette as being a problem. Biggest advice to get back to winning ways in poker is get help to stop playing these games you have a problem with. Until you can stop playing those other games you'll continue to hinder your progress. This is my opinion, whatever way you go...
    – Grinch91
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 14:03
  • I truly wish you the very best and that you can get the right answer for you. I've seen a lot of folks, great poker players, partially due to as Jon said, knew how to take those calculated shots and risks, end up broke and ruined due to the gambling on other things.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 14:04

i have a multi-part yet simple answer.

  • leave emotion out of poker! -- feeling anxious or nervous here and there is arguably a good thing, but, check your emotions at the door!

  • learn and hone your patience skill(s) -- i can honestly say that online MTT poker taught me patience.

  • multi-table! -- this keeps your mindset focused on better opportunities and you will spend less time worrying about the wrong hands/spots.

  • set a goal -- in SNGs/tournaments it's important to realize, know, and retain the simple fact that being position 1/1 is the only thing that matters. in cash games it's important to set a stop-loss! you can also set a win-limit and train yourself to leave when either is reached.

note: you did not mention if you play live or online. a couple of my answers, for the most part, pertain to playing online. however, the rest are equally as important for live play.

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