With many, many years of professional poker experience, I believe I'm pretty qualified to take you through this subject. Playing poker has, from time to time, come to take over my life, and I sometimes have to ask myself, "Do I have a poker addiction?" My quick tip for you here is, if you have to ask yourself that question, the answer's going to be yes.
In order to get very good at poker, good enough to earn a 6 figure yearly income consistently, you have to become consumed with poker. I don’t know anyone who has made alot of money from poker who will disagree with me. It takes a lot of work, its an obsession, for some more than others but the truth is, its alot of hard work and I think those who have an “addictive personality” are quite possibly more likely to succeed than those who don’t.
Well there are obviously two types of poker addiction. There is gambling addiction which is frequently “poker addiction for losing players”, this is not where I fall in. Im not addicted to the highs and lows of gambling, for the most part I try to stay detached from this.
Players who experience the urge to get even when they loose or want to gamble “for the rush” are generally not winning players. For these players, poker addiction is very destructive, in some cases its recreational and they can afford it but for the most part its destructive and can ruin peoples lives. This is the sad part of the poker industry which alot of people try to gloss over.
The second form of poker addiction is becoming “addicted to beating poker”, it lies in a certain character trait/flaw that most winning players have. They want to win, and if they loose, they want to figure out why they lost and then figure out how to win again. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the best loser in the world and losing usually fills me with more determination to win. Its not the same as wanting to win your money back or gamble for the rush of it, with a winning poker player its a desire to prove that your the best, to prove that poker cant beat you, to solve the puzzle. And with this puzzle, there are huge rewards for the best, so the incentive is definitely there.
I think to really analyse what makes poker addictive for winning players you have to look at the human needs that are met when someone wins, these could be:
If your anything like me and have an addictive personality balance is something that you have to work for and doesn’t come naturally. Balance is key because being too involved in any one thing can put too much of your self worth into a given situation. Myself and other poker players have described this situation as, “If your life is poker, and poker is going bad, your life sucks. If your life is poker, and poker is good, well, your life rocks”. What I have actually found is that in able to avoid getting burnt out, or getting upset due to the swings of poker, you need more balance in your life. You need other hobbies, social activities and pursuits that you can do to reset your mind so that you can achieve at poker. Ultimately, if you become to involved in poker your best asset will also become your achilles heel. So take this as a word of caution, do as I say and not as I do.