LOS ANEGELES — With all that's going on in the world generally, and in Iran specifically, writing about poker maybe sound a bit stupid.
However, after what I have witnessed in the last couple of years, I feel it is my duty to use public information gateways to warn spouses and parents of frequent poker players as to what may be awaiting them if they are not carefuel.
Before anything, I should let you know I am a frequent player myself. I have been lucky to have made enough money to support my poker habit; you see, I lose an average of $2,000 a month playing 3-4 days a week. Although a lot of money, it will not push me to the brink of bankruptcy.
My good friend Amir (obviously not his real name) started playing poker in 2002. Back then he had a nice house in Tarzana, southern California, a beautiful wife and 2 great kids. Amir had a thriving insurance and financial planning business. He had 3 office workers, drove a nice BMW and his wife bought clothes for parties (without the need for returning them the next day).
Amir started playing poker once a week at the Commerce casino in LA. Once a week at nights turned into 2 nights and then almost every night. He was in effect prefering poker to his wife and kids because he could only see them at nights like most working dads.
Then he started leaving office in the afternoons, going from one casino to the next; 11-4 at the Bicycle and 5-10 at Commerce and 11-3 at Hustler.
He used to tell us he is making more money playing poker than working in his office. But the truth was quite different.
By September 2003 he had borrowed $10,000 from me and God knows how much from others. To make a long story short, Amir lost his business, his home, filed bankruptcy and sadly, but rightfully, his wife and kids.
I see countless Iranians in poker rooms every day; old men, old women, young boys, young women, people who arrive at the casino and just “look” rich to men or women who look almost homeless. Many of them lose $200-$1,000 a day.
Since December 31 of last year I get an allowance of $2,000 a month to support my poker “habit”. I admit that I have an addiction. Fortunately my wife is managing all our finances and she has taken over all the money. I am exteremly lucky to have a spouse like her. Not everyone is lucky as I. Who knows, maybe I will seek help to overcome my addiction soon.
In the mean time, PLEASE keep a close eye on your spouses and kids. If they play poker and you feel the quality of your life has started to suffer in any way, confront the issue and resolve it before it is too late as it was the case for Amir.