I lost all my money gambling… what should I do?

Came across an old email when going through some old files. It’s interesting how many of these types of emails I’ve gotten in the last few years. Here is some advice if you’ve lost all of your money playing poker and don’t know what to do.

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Dutch -

I will start by saying that I never imagined I would hit rock bottom like this, requesting help from someone I’ve only met on a few occasions, but I feel like you might be in a position to help me. I only decided to write to you because you’ve been through a lot and I hoped that with all things considered, you might view my dilemma a worthy cause. In case you don’t remember me, my name is . We played a $37 freezeout at the Southcoast together with our girlfriends (mine busted out with J’s on the first hand and yours went on to win the tournament). I ran into you again in the hallway at the Rio, in between WSOP tournaments. Anyway, I’ll get to the point. I graduated from college with an English degree and a writing minor. I have yet to put my education to use in the real world, as I moved to Las Vegas with dreams of playing poker for a living. As I’m sure you know, the temptations of living here are overwhelming and often times become extremely problematic. Case in point – during the past month I’ve become wreckless with paychecks and the tips I make at work (work is a serving job at across the street from Green Valley Ranch). It’s common for me to take a weeks worth of earnings and lose it all in a matter of minutes on table games I shouldn’t even be playing. In the past, I’ve always found a way to bounce back. My life to this point can probably best be described by the introductory paragraph of your blog – “I’m an idea man who never seems to catch the big break, but always catches the little ones when I need them most.” This time, however, I’m stuck with nowhere else to turn. Two nights ago, I foolishly decided to take advantage of Bodog’s instant check deposit method, and loaded $2000 into my account that I didn’ t even have. Somehow I ran up the balance to just under $7,500, but knew that I was still in trouble because I couldn’t cover the deposits I had made. If you’re not familiar with Bodog’s policies, they are as follows: If a pending deposit is declined, any monies won during the pending period are considered by Bodog to be invalid. So I was sitting on almost $5,500, but needed to find a way to get the $2000 into my checking account before my deposits hit. Enter my old roommate Dave. He was very gracious to me during my world series of poker run – allowing me to move to a new place with cheaper rent, despite the fact that I still owed him $1600 in back rent. After I’d won the $5,500 – I got in touch with Dave and told him I found a way to pay him back in full – but it would require some financial assistance on his part – enough to ensure my deposits were processed by the bank. He agreed to transfer me the necessary funds, and once everything had cleared, I planned to cash out the entire amount and pay Dave the $2000 he lent me to be sure everything went through, + the $1600 I owed him in rent. At this point, things seemed to be taking a turn for the better – I was going to have almost $4000 that I didn’t have before, and felt as though I’d learned my lesson on a positive note, if that’s possible. Today, however, disaster struck. I got greedy and decided to continue playing; you’ve never seen $7,500 lost so fast. So now instead of being up $4000 and paying off a hefty debt, I owe Dave $3600 and don’t know how to tell him I lost all of that money. I have gone into a state of serious depression and not knowing what to do, literally to the point of tears. I have already exhausted all of my other options. I don’t keep credit cards, I have no savings, and I’ve already borrowed from everyone close to me.. I don’t know what else to do. I do know that I have a serious problem to deal with, and am considering getting professional help. I haven’t found it in me to tell Beth, my girlfriend, for fear of what might result. I am ashamed of what has happened, and dissapointed that I let things get so bad.

If there is anything you can do – I would forever be in your debt. Please get in touch with me if you’re able, and I can go into more detail if you wish.

Thank you for listening

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Man, brother… that’s quite a little hole you dug yourself into. I can’t give you money… there are a lot of better uses for it and a lot of people in worse spots who I have to say no to. Best I can do is give you some advice… I’ve dug a lot of holes.

First off, remember that there is always a trapdoor at the bottom of every barrel. No matter how bad things seem right now, they can get worse if you don’t handle this right. DO NOT do anything desperate like holdup a bank or slit your wrists. Nothing illegal or self-destructive.

You need to come clean with your friend right away. Tell him exactly what happened. Then find someone to borrow $2k to pay that back ASAP or get on a payment plan and make weekly payments. Promise to give him interest on it if need be.

I don’t know if you need to tell your girlfriend about this. If you’re super close to her and plan on marrying her, or you already share so much in your life that she’s going to figure it out when she checks your bank account, or she’s friends with the guy Dave… then you need to tell her. If things aren’t too serious, then she doesn’t have to know your business.

You also need to stop gambling until you get your self-destructive streak out of you… and be thankful that this happened when your net is $5k and not when it’s $5m and you have a family and a house payment. If you want to make it as a poker player, you need to learn money management… it means a lot of things, but one thing it definitely means is you can’t be in a hurry and have unrealistic expectations about what the game will give you. Don’t try to win the money back.

A lot of players wrestle with a common demon… no matter what they’ve won they feel the need to risk it to win more. They aren’t satisfied with anything… and the bigger your bankroll gets, the less satisfied you get with thousand dollar days.

You got to keep reminding yourself that it’s all relative. You’re not in that bad of shape. There are a bunch of kids dying of thirst in Africa and a bunch of Cuban men rolling cigars in Havana for $15 a month. Sounds like you’ve got good friends, a good girl, and a lot going on… maybe you feel like you don’t deserve success and that’s why you get yourself in holes like this one. That’s something you need to get over. It’ll follow you around in everything… not just poker.

That’s about all I got. Good luck.

-db


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