I received the email two days ago. “How do I stop?” he asked. My friend, Harry, is trying to stop gambling. His email had a joking tone, but his meaning was quite serious. “I know that I have to stop, but I don’t know how to,” Harry wrote. “How do you walk away when you’re down, and admit that you’ve lost?”
Harry is a 26-year-old law student, living like most law students live. Harry eats lots of 99-cent double cheeseburgers and chokes each time he sees the cable/Internet bill in the mailbox.
He started gambling on games after his new roommate introduced him to the pastime.
First it was $25 or $50 on the Patriots, just a little something to enhance the enjoyment of the game. Then, Harry turned to betting on college basketball. Fifty-dollar bets turned into $150 bets, which turned into $500 bets.
Harry won some, but lost more. His new gambling habit was turning into a problem. Over the last few days, Harry has gambled away his rent and grocery money.
That’s when he emailed me. He knew that I had battled the same beast during my college days. I watched many a Syracuse basketball game wringing a useless towel.
I’ve felt the high of winning $1,000, then spontaneously ordering Chinese food for the entire floor. But, I also know how it feels to lose $1,000, your gut wrenching even as you plan your next bet to make up the loss, which you can’t afford anyway. It is a vicious, evil cycle.
I gambled most of my freshman year, my bets becoming more and more bold. I learned more sophisticated ways to place bets that yielded larger potential payouts. I even started taking bets from friends and acquaintances. Suddenly, I was an 18-year-old, baby-faced bookie. I put more study time into ESPN’s “SportsCenter” than my course load (evidenced by my plummeting GPA).
One night it all came to a screeching halt. We caught Matt, a fellow freshman from Long Island, crying on the phone to his father. He was scared because he owed our bookie over $7,000. The next morning, when we knocked on Matt’s door, he was gone. His father had pulled him out of school and brought him home. We never saw him again.
That was it for me. I haven’t bet on sports since that night almost 15 years ago.
I relayed my story to Harry.
“I’ve actually thought to myself that there’s no way I would let this bookie beat me, but he just keeps winning and I guess it really is out of my control,” Harry said.
That is precisely why Togel gambling is so dangerous. Even a guy like Harry is at risk, someone who has learned in life that if you try hard enough you can accomplish anything (you don’t get three months away from a law degree by being passive).
What happens is that when you lose a bet, you say to yourself, “Oh, yeah? I’ll try even harder!” Then, you lose again. “Oh, YEAH? I’ll double my bet.” And you lose again.
The problem with overachievers who gamble is that it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you’re ultimately still at the mercy of Lady Luck.
“You know you’re two steps away from degenerate status when your bookie is on your speed dial,” Harry confessed.
As it stands this morning, he’s down just under $2,000, but he didn’t bet last night, and he’s not planning on betting tonight.
Yes, he’ll be walking with a lighter wallet than when he started, but that’s more than he’d have if he continues this madness.