Jake O

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Written by: Jake O

I started gambling when I turned 18, my work colleague was into poker and I was fascinated with the game, the skills, the tv shows and most importantly the money being won.

I left school really young at 14 and worked my way up the sales ladder to a really good job earning around $7000 per month after tax, prior to turning 18 I had saved up close to 30,000. I started going to the casino to play poker, each time buying in for $500, I had some really good weeks where i profited over $3K but slowly slowly I started to lose.

I always thought I wasn't gambling because I wasn't against the machines or the casino but rather against other players.

After 3-4 months of playing almost every night I had gone through all my savings and had about $6000 in pay day loan debt.

After another 3 months I had quit the casino and had paid all my debts of and managed to save $5K.

But then things got worse, I started playing pub and RSL poker, where you buy in for $20 and have a good night. I was really enjoying that for a few months until i discovered those bright flashing machines in the VIP section we call Pokies.

I put $10 in a machine and could not believe my eyes when I won (I still remember the exact amount) $17,710.62 the grand jackpot I was over the moon.

I didn't touch the machines again for a month or so when I was out with my mates playing pub poker and i had a few hundred in and gambled it away in my favourite machine, 100 after 100 i kept feeding the machine until I had no cash left, luckily I have a ATM withdrawal limit so i didn't lose more than $2000.

I was disgusted at myself for losing all that money, I was doing so well. I decided to quit for good, less than 4 hours later I was back at it again lost another $2000.

Fast forward to now I'm 19, its just past my lunch break and I just lost $1150 in the pub across the road and now only have $9 in my account to last me another 2 weeks.

I could walk away from poker but the machines are so hard, I have started talking to a counsellor and hopefully that helps.

I have committed myself to look down at my bank balance in a years time and see $50K minimum, pay off all my debts and actually have a life instead of being a loser sitting on a machine brainwashed.

For over a year I have been living pay check to paycheck. I remember when I first started gambling I was furious that I lost a $100 now if I only lose a $1000 I'm happy.

I say this now but if I was a betting man (which I am) I would bet on $1.02 odds that I will be back at the machines on my next pay day.

I am just so thankful that I have got this addiction when I am young and don't have a family or kids and hopefully I can beat it now.

But the struggle is real.

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If you need immediate help, please call Gambler's Help on 1800 858 858 or Gambler's Help Youthline on 1800 262 376 (from within Australia only). This service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free and confidential.