Life Shouldn't Be A Fuckin' Grind

I will never be a poker pro, but my lifetime poker ledger is positive and I think that's something to be proud of.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Have a Gambling Problem

Just thought everyone should know. My gambling problem is certainly not as bad as what some people suffer from, but I certainly believe that I have a bit of a problem. I've found a game (Poker) where I can gamble with a positive expectation, yet I still find myself gambling on other things, some of which are pretty -EV. On top of that, I'm about the worst prop bettor in the world. I've lost a pretty nice chunk of change at golf the last two summers and there's almost certainly an element of pressure effecting my golf game, yet I can't stop betting on golf now because it just wouldn't be the same without action. Same goes for major sporting events, they're so much more exciting when you got a little action on them that it's hard not to bet, yet I'm sure I've lost money betting on sports. Then, I go and make ridiculous wagers, like betting my friend $10 that the Dodgers will finish this season with a better record than the my defense, this bet was made during spring training, but it was still a dumbass bet...I also took a the Reds to win less than like 72 games about 30 games into the season when they already had a winning record. Of course, unlike other years, they haven't collapsed this year and will almost certainly cover that over/under.

Last night though puts into a nutshell my propensity for gambling without an edge. After writing my fuck Bodog post I went on there I decided to gamble it up in their casino with the $39 I had left on there that I couldn't withdraw anyway because of the bonus thing. Well, I ran my $39 up to a high of like $120 or something playing 3-card poker (and probably cleared the whole bonus) then proceeded to lose it all. Now, $39 isn't a huge number, nor is $120, but the facts are these. I've always prided myself on being able to quit while I'm ahead. I'd tripled my money, $100 still means something to me, I would probably have been able to withdraw by that point because I'd wagered enough, yet I didn't walk away, I just gambled it all away. Now, granted I lost like 8-10 hands in a row and I'm not sure I trust the randomness of the online deck over the casino deck as the dealer was getting way better hands on the whole than he seems to at the casino, but the bottom line is that I played a -EV game and didn't quit while I was ahead and that was really, really stupid.

I looked up the house edge in 3-card poker tonight and it isn't pretty. Overall, the house has about a 3.5% edge in the game. That's not huge by casino standards, but it's not exactly good either. By contrast, assuming good strategy, the house edge in blackjack is less than 1%. I think that seeing the cold hard numbers like that may help me to dodge that game for the most part and maybe only play it if I have some money I want to gamble with and I'm ready to set and keep a limit and a walk point. I don't think I'll ever be able to keep away entirely from -EV games, but I do think that seeing the numbers makes me realize that I'm basically pissing money away by playing them and I need to stick to gambling on things I can win at. Like poker.


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