Online Poker Addiction: The Dark Side
There was an article I recently read where scientists did a study on poker players and cocaine abusers. An MRI revealed that the brain of a crack head and a gambler look very similar during play or getting high. I’m just waiting for the government to come out with an ad slogan that says, “This is your brain, this is your brain on online poker.”
Poker can be extremely addictive when not gambling responsibly and one of the reasons it’s banned in so many countries and states in the USA. Poker can give you similar feelings as that of being on drugs or pills. Look at the characteristics of most poker players and you can similarly compare them to cocaine addicts. Their appearance tends to be underweight, jittery, incapability of thinking of other things besides their addiction, twitches, and many other side effects.
Not everyone is prone to these problems because gambling problems don’t show their ugly heads in everyone but it can wreck some people’s lives. Online poker addictions are becoming more prevalent in today’s society of the poker boomers.
The Side Effects of Online Poker Addictions
Some of the side effects I’ve personally gone through with online poker addiction are the inability to eat and constant uneasiness. It seems that poker can cause really bad stress in your life and make you lose your appetite. It’s like this weird trance you can go in where all you think about is poker.
The thought of doing something constructive with you day just makes things worse and you end up playing even more poker. It gets so bad sometimes that you’re so deep into playing that the only thing you could possibly even think about is playing some more.
Having a full meaningful conversation with someone after or right before a poker session is inconceivable. You might as well forget trying to ever talk to an online poker player while during a session. You could be talking directly to them and they probably don’t even know you exist. It’s not that they don’t care its just that they’re addicted.
Where Did the Time Go?
Let me ask you this. Have you ever noticed that time just disappears when you play poker? You can sit down at a table and not ever realize or care that you spent 12 hours playing poker. In fact you could probably go another 12 hours if you didn’t have to go to work or your body didn’t shut down on you. I have never in my life found one thing that makes time go by faster.
Poker players really do live in a whole different world. They see the world different than others. Even when they’re not playing poker they’re definitely thinking about it. Numbers run through their minds even while they sleep. Past beats haunt them as they wonder what they could have done differently.
One thing that poker players are cursed with is they remember all the bad hands as opposed to the good ones. How many times have you replayed a good winning hand? Probably not as many times as you’ve rewound those numerous bad beats in your head. It’s a cycle, a drug, and an addiction that can only be fueled by bigger wins and bigger losses.
The Hangovers of Online Poker
The aftermath of a long poker night can feel worse than a real drunken hangover. Staying up until 3am playing online poker will take its toll and can make you really sick. That combined with slouching over, not eating, and not stretching will cause you to become a real ugly figure. If you are a losing online poker player and an addict I would consider going to counseling. It’s not that you can’t cure it on your own but you might need faster help so that you don’t lose all your money and hurt your family.
Internet poker has got a lot better in helping players out with their addiction. They place automatic holds on player accounts who deposit too quickly. There are deposit maximums you can set to stop you from losing too much in a given week. I would even suggest contacting the poker rooms and having them ban you from their site to keep you from playing. Call or email all the sites you have accounts with and put an end to it. You can even call your bank to not let them accept any more transactions from poker sites. Now this is an extreme measure but is advisable for the addicted losing player who can’t stop. Cut off the source and over time the urge will disappear.
Curing the Addiction
They’ve got a lot of gamblers anonymous sites online but I personally believe that the only way to cure something is by doing it yourself. There has got to be balance in your life or you will go crazy. Try to put your life back in perspective. Bring yourself to realize what you used to be like and what life was like. Take a good look at yourself.
If you’re an addict you’re probably not looking too good in the mirror. First your body goes and then your mental state goes. Think to yourself, do you really want to be one of those people that don’t care about themselves and look like they just woke up in a garbage can?
Quitting poker can leave an empty feeling inside. Don’t worry it’s only temporary. I can remember speeding home just to play online poker. Being away from the table for more than 5 hours was just brutal and I craved it. You have just got to resist the urge and it will eventually go away. In about a week of not playing you will feel so much better. This is what will keep you off it. This new found joy of being free from it will give you a great sense of joy.
Try finding something else that takes away from the urge to play. Go golfing, or find a new sport to get into. Be competitive at it too. My poker addiction is the main reason this website exists. It keeps my mind off playing and let’s me be competitive with other poker sites at the same time. The reason poker is so addicting to you is you’re a competitive person and love winning. Challenge yourself to new and better things.
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I hope you find a way to stop your addiction before it hurts you or your family. If you are a new poker player and have previous experiences with addiction I do not recommend playing poker or gambling online.