Serious Question... Addicted to Poker? (1 Viewer)

Trihonda

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OK, my wife was talking to me today, and indicated she was seriously concerned I am "addicted to poker", and that I'm in denial. I wasn't sure how to respond.

OK, I must admit, I like poker... But am I addicted? I play around 1x/week (usually a bar game). Probably once a month, I'll substitute a trip to Ho Chunk Casino (for the bar game) while on my days off (this falls during the week when my wife is at work, and I'm always home to get the kids from daycare, etc...). I do spend a fair amount of time perusing CT and PCF threads (maybe 30-60 mins/day). Of course, more so in recent weeks with the MTTD approaching.

I can't even begin to count the number of local players I know that play 2-3x per week (or more).

Other than what I've spent on chips/tables/chairs/etc. I'm a relatively consistent winner, so poker hasn't bankrupted us. I play with poker money, not household money. And I've used my BR to fund a good portion of my poker room upgrades.

My wife says poker is taking time away from the family, and she's probably right to some degree.

I know my wife's upbringing was very devout and religious (does not like poker or euchre, etc...). She will play Uno... lol. I was raised in a home where family functions always ended up with a game of cards (of some sorts). As a young kid (10-13 years old), I spent my summers over at my grandparents home playing cards with them all the time.

I believe that if I were occupying my time with bowling, gardening, or riding bicycles, she'd be more accepting of these types of activities (as hobbies). She seems to take offense that an "activity" she doesn't feel is worthwhile is taking time away from the family.

The wise person would probably tell me that my wife's perceptions are the reality... But I enjoy poker, and don't want to give it up simply because I think my wife was raised in a home where cards were taboo.

Anyway, not sure if I'm looking for serious advice, or just venting.
 

snooptodd

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I used to play weekly, and my wife had similar concerns. I don't really have time to play as often anymore -- my regular game meets maybe once a month because we're all on at least round 2 with kids and we've moved a bit farther afield. I've found with my wife it depends a great deal who I'm playing with. She loves it when my regular group gets together and plays, because I've played with those guys for 10 years and she knows them all. She isn't as big of a fan of me meeting up with my "Internet friends" though she's coming around on that as she's gotten to know some of them through stories, or meeting them in person. She definitely wouldn't be a big fan of me making monthly trips to Foxwoods, but that's more a function of time than anything else.

My wife loves the social part of the game. When I host she usually comes down and hangs out for 20-30 minutes, has a beer and catches up with everyone. She has her own things, too, and we see that as a healthy thing. And now, after 10 years of marriage, she understands the swings pretty well.

People have "addictions" to all types of hobbies. Some guys repair old cars. Others spend all their time on yard work building bird houses. You can take anything too far.

You have to realize from your wife's perspective, you just devoted a TON of time/energy to the MTTD and she's thinking of it less as a social thing and more as a gambling thing. If you can get her to buy into the social aspect of the game (focus less on money, though if you can show that you're a winner it does help), then she'll probably understand it a bit more.
 

manamongkids

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As long as it isnt impacting your financials, I would tell my wife to zip it.

Poker is the same thing as being in a dart league, bowling league, pool league, mens bball league, etc

The best part of our poker hobby is that you are in the circle of people who have collectibles that for the most part retain value. (sometimes go up substantially in value, ie Paulsons)

Does my wife spending $200 on her hair and nails every month retain value? Fuck no
 

abby99

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Not even close. Check out medical/psychological definitions and examples of addiction and addictive behavior. Here's one, from Medilexicon's Medical Dictionary: "Addiction is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control." And another from Medical News Today: "Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance - the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant."

If you start breaking commitments in order to play poker, like missing your kid's school play or not showing up for dinner out with your wife because there's a good game you don't want to miss, or if you start playing bigger and bigger stakes because you need the adrenalin rush, or if you start using family money and lie about it, or if you start skipping work in order to play, then I'd think you have a problem. Based on what you describe, you're behaving like someone who loves to play a game and spends some money and time creating a nice environment in which to play. From the little I've read about addiction, it's when you start lying to your family, friends, employer, and yourself about what you're doing that you and your wife should be worried.

Disclaimer: I'm neither a doctor or a psychologist, but these things are easy to look up in reputable resources. I've known addicts. The common denominator is that their addictions control them and their lives.
 

Mental Nomad

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If you're able to no play, or to stop playing, when you have other responsibilities, then you're probably not addicted.

But you're clearly spending more time on poker and things poker-related than she's comfortable with... and if it really is taking away important time from other things, then you may not be addicted, but she may have a point.

Maybe try to find a better balance... Perhaps if you can play down the casino visits, and get the meet-up to sound less about the gambool and more about the social, it will help her.

And try to to help her understand than there are several things going on which aren't all poker, but relate to poker:

1. Social groups. The bar group, the home group, they're all groups and it's all socializing.
2. The chip hobby. This is really very different from the poker; we can play with diamond chips. The hobby is about appreciating craft, design, history... maybe limiting your forum time is a good thing; it doesn't mean you have to give up the hobby.
 

slisk250

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My wife has mentioned a few times this year that I buy too many chips or other such "nonsense". I have indirectly told her to look in the mirror as she is a clear shoe addict. Just yesterday after making a small comment I countered that she needs to buy a bigger shoe rack because I can't walk into our closet. I never give her crap about the shoes. I think she knows what I'm getting at when I mentioned this....we each have our hobbies. :)
 

Trihonda

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If you can get her to buy into the social aspect of the game (focus less on money, though if you can show that you're a winner it does help), then she'll probably understand it a bit more.

Ya, you'd think that... and I actually have a background where a gambling addict (my stepdad) lost my family home when I was in H.S. (so I'm not a fan of major gamboling). When I explain to her that it's not about the money, she rolls her eyes. She knows I'm ahead, and even if I weren't, it'd be no different than me spending money on bowling/volleyball leagues (which she wouldn't care about)...

She knows my history with playing cards as a kid, and she has heard my claim about it being a social thing. She says she doesn't 'buy' that.

Is there a survey online to determine if I'm an addict? lol
 

DrStrange

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Addiction? Really?? I spent most of my childhood in Al anon / AA meetings. I have seen people literally kill themselves by misusing substances. The level of self-destruction during a true addiction is shocking. If someone is a gambling addict, they need help (and to stop gambling) but an occasional poker game is not by itself evidence of addiction. I think the question is passive aggressive nonsense from the wife {no offense intended}. Pure, unadulterated BS. If the standard for addiction is a few hours a week devoted to an activity, then lets just say anything you do that I don't like is an addiction.

Don't like Sunday church? Unhealthy obsession with a cult requiring forceful interdiction. (and certainly church / Sunday school is an inappropriate place to take the children.)
Work taking its toll on you? You are an addict and need intervention.
Maybe we have noxious green vegetables several times a week? Nasty addiction.
Wife watches TV during the day? Unhealthy addiction, let's just pull the plug.
Kids listen to music? Unhealthy addiction, they should be studying anyway.
Watch football games regularly? You are an addict.

Someone's hobby does not becomes an addiction because the wife/husband is offended by it.

Please note that poker is a marital issue here - and likely so are her religious beliefs. It is entirely possible OP isn't spending enough time with the family from the wife's point of view. Maybe some type of counseling would be beneficial? But nothing in the original post even approximates evidence of an addiction. Do not get sidetracked by the red herring - you and your wife have a conflict about values, morals and ethics that needs to be resolved.

Just my $0.02 -=- DrStrange

PS and yes there are surveys. Just ask the Google.
 

Ben

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Well, there are 2 sides to this coin that I see.

Side A - everybody has and needs their "things," as noted by many above - whether it be poker, bowling, fast cars, makeup, handbags, or pedicures. If your finances aren't suffering, poker is basically the one and only socially acceptable way for grown men to get together and compete in a game of skill and wits that doesn't involve running around and throwing/kicking/whacking an inflated bladder of random size towards some arbitrary objective. Tell her it could be worse - you could be playing Magic: the Gathering. ;):D


Side B - whereas many of us chose our mates based partly upon their level of participation, tolerance, or at least acquiescence to our "things," it seems like in your case the whole poker thing is something that has mostly come on within the past few years, and based on the stories you told when we met at the WCB about your wife's history and personality, I'm pretty frankly shocked that she has let you go as far as she has before becoming "concerned." Though maybe based on bad data, her beliefs seem deeply ingrained, and you knew that when you married her. Obviously I don't know what other private conversations you may or may not have had, but to the outside observer it would appear that she has made quite a large effort to be tolerant and let you have free reign with this "hobby." If she has now reached a breaking point (unreasonable as that may seem to us on this site,) it may behoove you to back off just a little and look for a compromise that you can both live with.
 

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h7915C0AE
 

manamongkids

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u know whats not helping your cause?

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1431920814.679436.jpg


things like these



Having 1 table, 1 chip set and a regular game once a month probably would bother her less, but it looks like your Poker "addiction" is bordering on Slisks wife and you might need an addition to the house to keep all your drink cartrs
 

BGinGA

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OK, my wife was talking to me today, and indicated she was seriously concerned I am "addicted to poker", and that I'm in denial.

You aren't. Abby nailed it in her post. You exhibit none of the signs, as far as I can tell. In fact, the content of many of your posts would lead me to believe the exact opposite.


My wife says poker is taking time away from the family, and she's probably right to some degree.

So would any other hobby. She just doesn't like your hobby, and that's her problem, not yours. However, her views are your problem, and it's your task to educate her.
 

bergs

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Easy solution. You should've posted in my Bergs help thread.

Here's what you do - and don't fuck it up by deviating from this.

1) find new friends, preferably in a motorcycle gang. Not one of the totally violent ones. Maybe like a semi-violent one.

2) start drinking every day. I mean, don't pussyfoot around it. Get LOADED! Given your new biker friends, anything less than Bud Heavy will probably get the shit kicked out if you.

3) wait till she complains. Then keep doing it. For a month (or until she tells the kids "he's not your daddy anymore - he's like Annakin and Darth Vader".)

4) when she serves you divorce papers, ask if she'd rather you just played poker.

This is guaranteed to work, but it involves a big commitment. I wish you the best of luck.
 

bergs

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In all seriousness, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but you seem a little high strung as a host. Sometimes hosting means saying "ok, well, this isn't exactly working out the way I designed" and then rolling with it.

If she sees you putting a lot of energy into your hobby, and you're getting frustrated with it, she's not going to want to see you continue with it.

You seem to ban a lot of people, for better or worse. She might see that and think "well, this is more of a job for him than recreation, and why doesn't he just spend more time with me?"

I didn't go through this exactly with my wife, but something similar. She likes it when I host and really likes the people that come over to play to the point where she makes cookies for us and always makes it a point to come downstairs and say hello. But I was also playing at Foxwoods and Mohegan too often for her taste. She said it was about the money and my choice of hobby at first, but we sat down and I told her how much I enjoy poker. After we talked about it, I realized it's really playing with my friends that I love, and she realized that her frustration with my hobby was because I was away from her so often playing.

Easy solution - I play in the casino less and am trying to host more - she's very happy and frankly, so am I.

You gotta talk to her.


But if that doesn't work, buy a leather jacket and a Harley-Davidson. Guarantee it'll work(ish).
 
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Jeff

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Good luck finding harmony in your home and balance in your life.
 

Trihonda

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In all seriousness, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but you seem a little high strung as a host. Sometimes hosting means saying "ok, well, this isn't exactly working out the way I designed" and then rolling with it.

If she sees you putting a lot of energy into your hobby, and you're getting frustrated with it, she's not going to want to see you continue with it.

You seem to ban a lot of people, for better or worse. She might see that and think "well, this is more of a job for him than recreation, and why doesn't he just spend more time with me?"

I didn't go through this exactly with my wife, but something similar. She likes it when I host and really likes the people that come over to play to the point where she makes cookies for us and always makes it a point to come downstairs and say hello. But I was also playing at Foxwoods and Mohegan too often for her taste. She said it was about the money and my choice of hobby at first, but we sat down and I told her how much I enjoy poker. After we talked about it, I realized it's really playing with my friends that I love, and she realized that her frustration with my hobby was because I was away from her so often playing.

Easy solution - I play in the casino more and am trying to host more - she's very happy and frankly, so am I.

You gotta talk to her.


But if that doesn't work, buy a leather jacket and a Harley-Davidson. Guarantee it'll work(ish).

Ya, I'm not sure this post was particularly helpful, but thanks for the attempt.

ps. glad things are working out for you tho :)

pss. I don't feel like I'm a high-strung host... But then again, I don't feel like an addict either. I invite you to attend a game prior to making final judgment tho. ;)

psss. I have the motor and leather jacket, but joining a gang would likely result in me losing my job, then no more monies for poker (or a house) :)
 

Chicken Rob

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Ya, I'm not sure this post was particularly helpful, but thanks for the attempt.

ps. glad things are working out for you tho :)

pss. I don't feel like I'm a high-strung host... But then again, I don't feel like an addict either. I invite you to attend a game prior to making final judgment tho. ;)

psss. I have the motor and leather jacket, but joining a gang would likely result in me losing my job, then no more monies for poker (or a house) :)

You seem pretty high strung based on your posts. Not trying to pile on, but seriously, you announced banning a player for leaving early. Would you have preferred she not come at all? If it would have been no big deal for her not to be there, then why is it a big deal to leave?

Anyway, I think the fact that you seem wound a little tight might be related to the fear that you're addicted. I can pretty much all but guarantee you're not an addict.

I think you need to relax about the addiction thing. Really, I think you're fine. I think you need to find a way to balance your hobbies and family life to the mutual satisfaction. The research shows couples need time apart to make it in the long run. If you are making time for your family, and making time for your self, you are probably doing ok. Maybe find a couples therapist who understands the importance of spending time apart as well as together to help assure your wife.

I think you're right that she just doesn't like poker. One night a week for hobby time hardly seems like you're over doing it.
 

Mental Nomad

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After we talked about it, I realized it's really playing with my friends that I love, and she realized that her frustration with my hobby was because I was away from her so often playing.

Easy solution - I play in the casino more and am trying to host more - she's very happy and frankly, so am I.

Was one of those supposed to be a "less?"
 

Ben

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Easy solution. You should've posted in my Bergs help thread.

Here's what you do - and don't fuck it up by deviating from this.

1) find new friends, preferably in a motorcycle gang. Not one of the totally violent ones. Maybe like a semi-violent one.

2) start drinking every day. I mean, don't pussyfoot around it. Get LOADED! Given your new biker friends, anything less than Bud Heavy will probably get the shit kicked out if you.

3) wait till she complains. Then keep doing it. For a month (or until she tells the kids "he's not your daddy anymore - he's like Annakin and Darth Vader".)

4) when she serves you divorce papers, ask if she'd rather you just played poker.

This is guaranteed to work, but it involves a big commitment. I wish you the best of luck.

You forgot one:

-Find ways to work "I am the danger!" into everyday conversation. :cool:
 

Trihonda

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You seem pretty high strung based on your posts. Not trying to pile on, but seriously, you announced banning a player for leaving early. Would you have preferred she not come at all? If it would have been no big deal for her not to be there, then why is it a big deal to leave?

Ha ha! Ya, I would never actually ban someone for leaving early, lol... I HAVE threatened to throw cards (like ninja stars) at players who leave early (as they walk up the stairs). I do work very hard to put on a decent game, but don't get too bent out of shape in the moment. Do I come here and vent a little, or seek advice for improvement? Absolutely. But then I move on pretty quickly. My wife sees none of this, as she prefers to know nothing about my poker exploits.

As to banning lots of people? For cheating, yes. Being a douchey player your very first time playing at my house might just get you dropped from the invite list. But compared to the number of amazing players I've had the pleasure to host, the few bad eggs seem to have been weeded out.

Were you referring to the redhead that I set up with my buddy (who then showed up cuz he wanted to get laid)? lol.. In that situation I worked pretty hard to fill the Thursday MTTD game, and had two last minute cancellations. I had invited the redhead and expressed to her that this was an event I had been planning for a year, and she indicated she was planning to play late and was in for all the things, until my buddy came over and poached her early into the session. The way he did it was kinda poor form on his part IMHO, but hey, he got some action (glad it worked out for him). I'm seriously over it. The event went just fine. If I indicated I was banning her, it was meant totally in jest. (quirky sense of humor).

And about me relaxing about me being addicted? I do NOT believe I'm addicted (though, it's probably just me being in denial, lol). My main focus here was how others might have dealt with similar spousal situations, and what their criteria/definitions were for being addicted to gamboling. Some great responses thus far! :)

^^^ especially manamongkid's post about the drink tables... seriously lol'd over that. Ya, probably correct. Is it bad that I've got another four "in production"? I'll have to take some down to the WCB to unload (after I've upholstered them).
 

manamongkids

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I think youre addicted, ill paypal you some money when you ship me your oval table since its time to move on ;)
 

jbutler

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Trihonda, her accusations are purely manipulative. She might not even realize it, but she's simply trying to control you. She doesn't like what you're doing and it has a negative connotation from her religious perspective, so it's easy to label it as an "addiction". Be wary of people trying to tell you that something you're doing is wrong because of its indirect effects. If she is dissatisfied with the amount of time you're spending with the family, offer to address that issue directly rather than allowing her to use poker as a proxy for her real frustration.

It might be that it's too painful for her to think about you making a willful and voluntary decision to not spend more time with her and it's easier for her to blame it on an "addiction" rather than on whatever she might otherwise recognize as the cause of the problem. Again, this may be - in fact, I would say is likely - completely subconscious, but may also be necessary for her to address the issues in any way.

I gather that you've been together for some amount of time. If you haven't both learned to tolerate one another's divergent interests or hobbies at this point, I'm not sure what advice I could offer. It's difficult to imagine this - poker - is the biggest problem given that fundamental issue. I would have been divorced inside six months if my wife and I didn't both appreciate our solo time.

Please don't take this as high and mighty criticism. My marriage is far from perfect, but my wife and I are very, very, very (I could go on) different people, so we learned early out of necessity to let the other's bullshit go unless it was truly unbearable.
 

Trihonda

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Trihonda, her accusations are purely manipulative. She might not even realize it, but she's simply trying to control you. She doesn't like what you're doing and it has a negative connotation from her religious perspective, so it's easy to label it as an "addiction". Be wary of people trying to tell you that something you're doing is wrong because of its indirect effects. If she is dissatisfied with the amount of time you're spending with the family, offer to address that issue directly rather than allowing her to use poker as a proxy for her real frustration.

It might be that it's too painful for her to think about you making a willful and voluntary decision to not spend more time with her and it's easier for her to blame it on an "addiction" rather than on whatever she might otherwise recognize as the cause of the problem. Again, this may be - in fact, I would say is likely - completely subconscious, but may also be necessary for her to address the issues in any way.

I gather that you've been together for some amount of time. If you haven't both learned to tolerate one another's divergent interests or hobbies at this point, I'm not sure what advice I could offer. It's difficult to imagine this - poker - is the biggest problem given that fundamental issue. I would have been divorced inside six months if my wife and I didn't both appreciate our solo time.

Please don't take this as high and mighty criticism. My marriage is far from perfect, but my wife and I are very, very, very (I could go on) different people, so we learned early out of necessity to let the other's bullshit go unless it was truly unbearable.

Great advice! Thanks for the insightful response. Ya, I think she was just a bit overloaded at the moment, and needed to vent (it wasn't done in anger or with a raised voice). I listened, but didn't respond to her comments about poker addiction. This is all a very similar theme to some previous issues I've dealt with (which Ben alluded to). I'm sure it'll be just fine, and her comments serve as a good reminder of what's important in my life. :) I can certainly work to spend more time with her (and the family)... Just not sure how to break it to her that I'm playing my regular Wednesday night game this week, lol... :)
 

RowdyRawhide

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From what I recall, I don't think you drink much either playing or not, but does your drinking go up when you play. It could be a Dr Jekyll/ mr Hyde thing, and she sees multiple {negative} aspects of the game. Trust me I'm not judging, I drink as much as the next guy,even when I'm not playing. Addict, No. Sounds like it could be a communication issue. maybe she feels that she doesn't have time for herself, or you two aren't spending enough time together (between your games AND the forums/hobby side of it.).

My wife typically doesn't care that I go to a weekly game, but she'll get bent if I spend to much time cruising the web every day/night and pay her and/or the kids no mind. I have other hobbies as well and like it or not there is a summation effect. If I just golfed and played poker I would more than likely be fine, but throw in some fishing, hunting, Knights of Columbus, and woodworking then all hell breaks loose. You may to pick your poison/battles.

Just some thoughts.
 

BGinGA

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Not to make light of your situation Erik, but that last comment about playing in Wednesday's game was f@cking hilarious. :D
 
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