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I'm addicted to online poker.
Hi, i just wanted to share with you my problems as it is hard to tell anyone i know these, a few people know, but i keep the majority to myself as you do.

My names Tom, im 19 years old and currently unemployed, i will be 20 in 2 months time. A few months after my 17th birthday i was introduced to poker by a friend who i know through an online football management game. It was a free site to play on and you got play chips to use. I used to play with my friend on this site quite alot when i first started playing. I remember i would stay in for hours and hour on a sunny day just to see if i could win more tournmanets.

This is about 2 months before my parents broke up. Soon after playing play chips for about a month i downloaded the full game. After playing on their play chips for a while i decided to upload my own money to play with. It makes me sad now thinking about it because the first night i played i won and i was celebrating on the computer upstairs while my father and sister laughed because they thought i was getting so worked up over a playchip game (i didnt tell anyone i played for money for the first year and a half of me playing).

So i thought how easy this online poker was and was very happy with myself indeed. I tried to withdraw the money but found out i couldnt. I had to be 18 and give them proof of age. So i went over the next few months losing and then depositing for money till i had lost online whilst i was still only 17. I went about 3 months without playing then as i was broke and didnt really have a penny to my life. I didnt have a job, was not in college and did not recieve allowence from my mother or father who were now going through a divorve. Then my girlfriend of 10 months (my longest relationship by far at that point) left me.

Then probably my first real low hit as i sold about 10 dvd/cd boxsets and movies to a 2nd hand shop to scrape tpogether a few pounds which was enough for a deposit. Over the next week i had worked that up. I then sat reguarly with hundreds on one table for about a week and a half, i had got to grips with how to play and was running (winng alot) very well. I got the money up and then lost abit more.

Whenever i would lose a tiny bit, i would get in my mind that i would have to get it all back, so i sat down at one table with more money. It makes me sad thinking about it now. Anyway i won a huge hand and had got my money up. I then decided that i needed to get this money out before i lost it all. I tried getting it out many ways, all without having to tell my parents or friends about my ongrowing problem. I eventually got the money (another poker room), of course though, without long i was playing for money on there. I lost my money , where i then stuck it all on just one hand of blackjack which i won. Eventually i got the money and clicked withdraw.

The withdraw went through fine, although i got a nervous telephone call, asking me for my address, i was shaking as i put down the phone. I recieved my check about 3 weeks later, half a month before my 18th birthday. Having deposted the money into my bank account i accidently left the accompnying letter on my landing ceiling which my mother found and called my dad up to tell him i can recieved it through the post.

They asked me where it had come from, i tried to be cool and calm and said it was won through me winning freerolls and not that i had been depositing lots of money. They assumed it was a loan and were very worried, i promised them i had won it all. I could have got all the help with my gambling right there and then and been truthful, but i lied.

I spent the money on a new laptop and on clothes. The rest i spent on nights out and other small things. i felt like a millionaire after going 8 months without money. I went back to college shortly after but dropped out after just a few months. I got a job at a supermarket and was content with that. I went back to poker about 2 months after spending all my money from my win.

Since then, its been about a year and a half. Ive now played in a casino and in poker rooms. I left my job to go travelling from which i had saved. I left in december last year. I havent been travelling and have spent most of that on poker, im not sure what the figure is. Allin all i think i am down online. It may be slightly less im not sure but that is a rough estimate. A few of my friends know about my problem but no one knows how bad it is. I havent played poker in about 2 weeks. Although i played blackjack in a casino last saturday.

I am nearly dead broke again, just like before. Im worried that this problem wont go away and ill always be wasting my money. throwing it down the drain. I had enough money to go travelling, to see Europe, but instead all i have is my laptop and my nights out. I have an alcohol problem too, i drink very much. Last 12 months i have drunk an average of 4-5 nights a week. Most of the time drinking enough to get me very drunk, i can never stop once ive had one.

I cant work out how it go this bad, i dont know if it was my parents divorce (it was very horrible as i was in the middle and feel guilty even though its not my fault) or because i left college or because i. Well i dont know. Ive never wrote in detail or told anyone how bad my problem is. In a couple of weeks of telling all my friends i havent played poker in ages, ill make a small deposit. Then it will begin again and ill go a few more months giving my money away.

Thanks for reading, it felt good to write this, youve done well if you read it all. I guess im writing this to get advice, but i dont even know if i will take it. I feel like shoving this computer in my dads face and saying read this, then he will know, but its just not that easy. And sorry for doing so many commers. Tom.
Hi Tom

Your a prime example of why I hate the fact that I became a compulsive gambler.
I hate it because if you do not address the addiction, you WILL end up like the rest of us.
That would be a terrible waste of a young life. I am 52, so my "best" years are gone, but you have a chance to lead a very happy life.

You have got to get yourself in to a GA meeting. Don't be ashamed of entering through the door.
The people in the room will have all done waht you have done, or worse. They can & will help you.
You have to take that first step.

The stories you may hear or read, about gamblers losing cars,homes,wives,family &/or committing suicide are all true. Stop this addiction before you become one of the statistics.

Best wishes
Tell your Parent's. I'm a Mother and there is nothing you can't tell your Mum, believe me, as hard as it seems, if you don't it will eat you up inside. Parent's are there to help and support, they may not do it in the way you want them too but you have to accept their help in whatever way they see fit to give it. Too many times we think we know how others will react, how they will judge us etc but too many times we are so wrong and we miss huge opportunities because we think 'we know' Give your Parent's a chance, don't be confrontational about it, ask them to sit down, start by telling them how much you care about them and how you really need their support, take it from there. One step at a time. Good Luck.

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