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Frank Hovis

One off addiction cures / preventions

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This is inspired by a conversation on my local radio this week about smoking.  One man had never done so because when he was young ?12 his parents had bought him a packet of cigarettes and made him smoke them all.  He never touched them again.  Then a woman piped up saying that her parents had done exactly the same but by then she'd already been smoking secretly for a couple of years so had to pretend to not like them :D

Mine are both gambling:

Fruit machines and similar - when very young ?8 my usually sensible self spent their whole week's holiday money (50p) in a fruit machine at 2p a spin.  After going about 30p down there was no way back as I had to win or admit I'd wasted it; so it all went in.  I have never been tempted again other than to chip in when with a group to be sociable; there is no buzz at all for me from the spinning reels, just the memory of shame from that campsite.

Horses and similar - I got into this at one company where there were a lot of gamblers.  Initially it was small bets at £5 or £10 and I was only losing slowly but then a red hot tip came in via somebody who knew a trainer and people were doing >£100 as it was just free money there to win.  I put on £50, tax paid.  It came nowhere.  I was left with a worthless scrap of paper for which I'd paid £55.  Stopped there and then other than if I actually go to the races where I see the £5 a race (never any more) as being £30 on the admission price which I expect to not see again.

 

I think of these when I see the regular stories of people losing sometimes six figure sums on online gambling and so losing their house, job (often they start fiddling the books) and marriage.  I avoided all of that for the grand sum of £55.50 of accidental cures.

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I think you either have an addictive personality or you don't. I do hate the TV ads for gambling sites though and think they shouldn't be allowed - they generally show a bunch of gorgeous young things playing roulette on their phones, or somehow try to imply that putting on a zero chance accumulator makes you some kind of keyboard hero.

As it happens I did win a decent amount of money last year, doing something that most gambling "experts" would tell you NEVER to do. Maybe I just got lucky, although it was over a decent timescale. In the end I stopped because it was supposed to run without human intervention - in fact that was the very point of it - but I just couldn't put it to the back of my mind so spent all day checking results etc. I'm not going to reveal too many details though as I may go back to it!

I just stopped biting my fingernails one day a few years ago after having done it compulsively since childhood.

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Someone on here was doing big arbitrage bets, playing off the odds between different bookmakers for, say, Man City V Chelsea (win, lose, draw) so that whatever the result they would make a small percentage.

They couldn't lose but equally they couldn't win big, just 1% here, 1% there.  I don't regard that as gambling, more of an investment.

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1 minute ago, Frank Hovis said:

Someone on here was doing big arbitrage bets, playing off the odds between different bookmakers for, say, Man City V Chelsea (win, lose, draw) so that whatever the result they would make a small percentage.

They couldn't lose but equally they couldn't win big, just 1% here, 1% there.  I don't regard that as gambling, more of an investment.

Mine would definitely be regarded as gambling, although over the timescale I did it (about two months) it yielded positive results. So is that actually gambling, or not? Or more like a scattergun investment strategy? Is it only gambling if you lose, but investment if you win? Is a tenner on Man Utd to beat Burton Albion at 1/10 gambling, or an investment?

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Just now, eight said:

Mine would definitely be regarded as gambling, although over the timescale I did it (about two months) it yielded positive results. So is that actually gambling, or not? Or more like a scattergun investment strategy? Is it only gambling if you lose, but investment if you win? Is a tenner on Man Utd to beat Burton Albion at 1/10 gambling, or an investment?

It's down to how you do it, I have known people who bet on the horses in a very disciplined manner which was more reminiscent of share dealing than gambling.  They aimed for a modest return at low risk and generally only bet on flat races.  None of these professional gamblers would ever touch the Grand National.

They were never celebrating big wins because they never had any; all short odds and balancing it out.

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My personal distinction is as follows:

In a coin toss if I offer you odds of 19/20 and you accept then you are gambling. If I offer you 21/20 and you accept then you are betting. The distinction being that betting is a calculated and rational risk with the expectation of long term profit whereas with gambling you can expect a loss in the long run. Roulette is gambling. Poker is betting.

NB: 19/20 - you bet £20 and win £19; 21/20 - you bet £20 and win £21

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For me the cost was £40. It was my birthday, I think about 13 or 14 or so. I went into the arcade with a tenner, lost it all, then went to the building society and drew out another £30 - about half my total savings. And I blew the lot on the 10p machines. I felt so sorry for myself I never got in that position again. I can still enjoy a quick go on a machine if I find a rare one that takes 10p or 20p stakes but once I'm a fiver down that's it. I guess there are probably machines out there now that offer £10 stakes - I think it was up to about £2 last time I looked and that was a long time ago.

Horses never did it for me. Oddly, my first and only time in the bookies, I walked in with a mate, chucked a fiver on a totally random horse which proceeded to come in at 7-2. Even winning like that, the whole thing left me cold.

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It sounds as if you were lucky then, to be honest. Fruit machines do pay out, and hot tips sometimes win; if that had happened would your attitude to gambling have been the same?

I do a bit of arbitrage betting and I also take advantage of casino offers that give me a mathematical edge on slot machines (or sometimes Roulette or Blackjack). I don't have any real bother maintaining my discipline to only bet when I have a mathematical advantage, but I don't like losing money even though I know it's par for the course, and other advantage bettors do get sucked into chasing losses for large sums. I am a recovering alcoholic though. Addiction is a funny business.

Edit: I sometimes do accumulators as they're a cheap way of testing whether prices have been cut in bookmakers. A couple of months ago I put 25p on a 7-fold on the Europa League qualifying matches, and it came in at odds of 1950 / 1 . I was pleased of course, but at the same time felt deflated, as I know I'm almost certainly never going to pull something like that off ever again!

Edited by Rave

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In my experience, some people are 'addicts', and therefore multiple addictions find them.

I've seen this in myself to a minor extent, and in friends of mine to varying extents - I know a bloke who had a major gambling problem and lost a fortune, and simultaneously has problems with binge eating and alcohol. I know another bloke who eats healthy and is teetotal, but was slipping into addictive patterns with weed and hookers.

Edited by JoeDavola

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3 minutes ago, Fully Detached said:

For me the cost was £40. It was my birthday, I think about 13 or 14 or so. I went into the arcade with a tenner, lost it all, then went to the building society and drew out another £30 - about half my total savings. And I blew the lot on the 10p machines. I felt so sorry for myself I never got in that position again. I can still enjoy a quick go on a machine if I find a rare one that takes 10p or 20p stakes but once I'm a fiver down that's it. I guess there are probably machines out there now that offer £10 stakes - I think it was up to about £2 last time I looked and that was a long time ago.

Horses never did it for me. Oddly, my first and only time in the bookies, I walked in with a mate, chucked a fiver on a totally random horse which proceeded to come in at 7-2. Even winning like that, the whole thing left me cold.

I really empathise with the first one!

Where you got lucky (in the sense of this thread) on the second was the short(ish) odds that you went on.  If you had won an accumulator at 50-1 and walked out with £250 and had a cracking weekend with the money then you would be wanting to repeat that high.

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1 minute ago, JoeDavola said:

In my experience, some people are 'addicts', and therefore multiple addictions find them.

I've seen this in myself to a minor extent, and in friends of mine to varying extents - I know a bloke who had a major gambling problem and lost a fortune, and simultaneously has problems with binge eating and alcohol. I know another bloke who eats healthy and is teetotal, but was slipping into addictive patterns with weed and hookers.

I think most (not all) people have weaknesses or addictions rather than being addictive personalities and some of them are chemical.  I smoked socially for a few years and then was on twenty a day for two years before I decided that it was a bad idea and stopped; just like that.  I still have the odd one where friends are smoking but can do that and then not have another for months without even thinking about it; sometimes years if I don't mix socially with smokers.  There's no willpower involved just that nicotine was not addictive for me; I liked smoking but I also like, for example, oysters but can't think the last time I had one.  For a lot of people nictoine is highly addictive which is a physiological raher than a personality trait.

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23 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I really empathise with the first one!

Where you got lucky (in the sense of this thread) on the second was the short(ish) odds that you went on.  If you had won an accumulator at 50-1 and walked out with £250 and had a cracking weekend with the money then you would be wanting to repeat that high.

Yes, I think you're right. Where I also got lucky was that I was trying to play it cool to my mate, so when the horse came in I nonchalantly ambled straight up to the desk to collect my winnings only to have the bookie sigh and tell me like a complete tool that I had to wait for the result to be confirmed before he was going to pay me any money. I think the embarrassment factor might have played a part as well xD

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23 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I think most (not all) people have weaknesses or addictions rather than being addictive personalities and some of them are chemical.  I smoked socially for a few years and then was on twenty a day for two years before I decided that it was a bad idea and stopped; just like that.  I still have the odd one where friends are smoking but can do that and then not have another for months without even thinking about it; sometimes years if I don't mix socially with smokers.  There's no willpower involved just that nicotine was not addictive for me; I liked smoking but I also like, for example, oysters but can't think the last time I had one.  For a lot of people nictoine is highly addictive which is a physiological raher than a personality trait.

Smoking is an interesting one. All of my peers who started when they were 17 to look cool in pubs and clubs ended up hooked; none of them have managed to give it up in the 15 years since. The heavier smokers tend to socialize with other heavy smokers which I always found interesting; I'm not suggesting they hang out together just because they smoke, but I wonder if being around fellow heavy smokers makes it difficult to quit.

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I learned my lesson with gambling early, there was a bookies across the road from my dads business in the 70’s 

the punters were poor working class men who walked to the shop , the bookie arrived to lift the winnings in a white rolls Royce and had a driver 

My 6 year old self worked it out pretty quickly 👍

do have a bet at the races every 5 years or so but understand the losses are part of the cost of going 

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1 hour ago, Frank Hovis said:

Someone on here was doing big arbitrage bets, playing off the odds between different bookmakers for, say, Man City V Chelsea (win, lose, draw) so that whatever the result they would make a small percentage.

They couldn't lose but equally they couldn't win big, just 1% here, 1% there.  I don't regard that as gambling, more of an investment.

Me, I think, but a long while back now. Investment? hmm, there were risks, just not the "normal" risks of just losing your bet. Not that much fun and the technology has  moved on so not so easy now I think. Bookies don't like winners.

I have the right brain for gambling, probably genetic as a grandfather did it semi-professionally. it leaves me stone cold and not that interested, just a numbers game. If you have any other sort of attitude to gambling I advise anyone to steer well clear.

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I always found betting arbitrage to be a pain in the arse - difficult to find opportunities, with counterparty risks of having money in lots of different online bookmakers, a good idea in theory, but basically not worth the hassle and effort.

I was probably doing  it wrong. I've heard of people using 'bots' on exchanges like Betfair, that supposedly ran on their own, finding arbitrage opportunities. No idea where you got one from or how you set it up. I suspect there were risks involved with these too. i.e. sudden shifts in odds, or just errors in setting the thing up.

I do recall a grand national once where the volume of bets was so high prior to the race that you could easily back and lay the same horse at different odds. Which is a manual form of the above.

I prefer small bets on mispriced sports markets these days. I've no aim of making any money out of it really, just for fun.

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£55.50? You got off very lightly.

  1. Gambling (Online Poker - conquered after £10s of thousands wasted)
  2. Weed (kinda under control)
  3. Tobacco (filthy, pointless, disgusting drug. Just why do I use it?)

A couple of days ago, I watched the video below with great interest. A lot of what this guy says rang true, most people are addicted to something, but society decides what are the 'good' and 'bad' addictions'. For example, if someone publicly admits to taking ecstasy on occasion then they might lose their job over it; if instead they traipse into the wilderness to try and climb a mountain, only to get stuck and end up having to hack off their own arm with a pen knife in order to free themselves, everyone thinks they're fucking amazing - go figure?


I skipped the nonsense at the start for you (edit - you still might want to jump ahead a couple of mins to the interview)

Edited by Mihnjeeta

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Oh, got sidetracked, my cure was just one excruciating visit to a GA meeting. I met all these victim mentality people and (not cruelly) thought, "GA is for losers", I'm not ending up like this lot, and I've never looked back. So, thank you to the peeps at that meeting you had a great impact that night.

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I am lucky in that I find gambling so utterly boring. Only spent $2 on a trip to Las Vegas in the casinos - probably a good place to go if you dislike gambling, as odd as it sounds, as you see how it can ruin people's lives from an entirely neutral angle.

To be honest, being quite a logical person I never really understood why people think they can beat the odds. The Lotto jackpot is what, 1 in 13m. Why bother? I admit I have never understood gambling, only played the lottery once or twice. I understand other addictions but gambling just stumps me.

Thinking about it, I suppose you could argue that investing in Bitcoin is gambling. So perhaps just ignore the above. :ph34r:

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18 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

I am lucky in that I find gambling so utterly boring. Only spent $2 on a trip to Las Vegas in the casinos - probably a good place to go if you dislike gambling, as odd as it sounds, as you see how it can ruin people's lives from an entirely neutral angle.

To be honest, being quite a logical person I never really understood why people think they can beat the odds. The Lotto jackpot is what, 1 in 13m. Why bother? I admit I have never understood gambling, only played the lottery once or twice. I understand other addictions but gambling just stumps me.

Thinking about it, I suppose you could argue that investing in Bitcoin is gambling. So perhaps just ignore the above. :ph34r:

You can't beat the odds but you can beat other people, it's surprisingly easy sometimes as most gamblers are emotional and many gambling markets are emotionally driven, the odds move with the weight of money and are only partially related to the real probabilities of the outcome. I forget how much money I made betting against Tim Henman at Wimbledon years back. (even though I wanted him to win-thanks Tim!)  England in critical World Cup football matches was another example (Thanks for being so predictably shite under pressure, England)

The Lotto is just for dreaming, not gambling, so has a different purpose really.

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Did a range of those tests online, anxiety, OCD, did the addictive one last as that really was going to be no surprise, but it was, I scored highly! Addictive is made up of two components apparently, high sensation-seeking plus high impulsivity. I had very high sensation-seeking but low impulsivity, which explains a lot, not least why I can't be bothered with gambling/heavy drinking/fags/drugs

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1 hour ago, swissy_fit said:

You can't beat the odds but you can beat other people, it's surprisingly easy sometimes as most gamblers are emotional and many gambling markets are emotionally driven, the odds move with the weight of money and are only partially related to the real probabilities of the outcome. I forget how much money I made betting against Tim Henman at Wimbledon years back. (even though I wanted him to win-thanks Tim!)  England in critical World Cup football matches was another example (Thanks for being so predictably shite under pressure, England)

The Lotto is just for dreaming, not gambling, so has a different purpose really.

When you "beat" the bookies (!) on those Tim Henman punts, how did it feel? I have beaten the bookies several times, particularly on Brexit, but I just didn't enjoy it. I hear people talking about getting a rush and wanting to place another bet but I just wanted to get my money out of there and run.

The Lotto has a lot of silent addicts, when we cleared out my uncle's house recently after he died, we found without exaggeration hundreds of used tickets, maybe even thousands. People who are addicted to gambling are usually losers or on the fringes of society, I always bear that in mind and agree with the poster above who takes issue with the portrayal of gambling as gorgeous women and the high life. Even by bollocks in marketing standards it's a whole new load of bollocks.

Most of those punters in places portrayed in glamorous Mr Green adverts set in Monte Carlo made their money outside of gambling and are in fact pissing it up the wall as they have so much of it. Very few if any people make any real money from gambling itself despite the marketing. On Dosbods Island, it will be banned. :Old:

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