I’m starting to really like Mondays everyone! I’ve been reaching out to bloggers I follow to see if they’d like to write a guest post. I think guests give my blog a little more flavor. Today, I’ve got a little treat from Even Steven. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!
Have you ever gone to the casino or participated in a NCAA March Madness Pool guessing who’s going to win it all or even playing Fantasy Football with friends or co-workers and putting up $20 or $50 to put a little money on it. Everyone gambles in some way and I’m no different, let me share some of my story and how gambling influences my financial decisions.
Growing up I felt like gambling was always around me, only in what most would consider rather normal circumstances. People buying raffle tickets from me for my little league baseball team, seeing my family buy scratch off lottery tickets and Powerball lottery tickets, and even winning a Nascar pool at a local bar. When you’re a kid you don’t really understand how gambling is involved in every day life.
In high school I played a little cards with my friends, learning a few games along the way; but we only played for change. So, I didn’t really think much of it other than having a good time with some buddies. Off to college. While I was there the big “Poker Boom” happened. Chris Moneymaker, the movie Rounders, and Online Poker were part of almost every college kid’s curriculum. Online poker and tournament games with my college friends were more common than having a happy hour drink or heading off to a house party. So to say my college life was filled with gambling is just the beginning of my gamble.
I played a ton of online poker in college, always on the computer for late nights and once I was 21 I was off to the brick and mortar casino’s, even stopping in Vegas for my 21st birthday party. During the summers, while I was in college I caddied at a prestigious golf course and received cash for my work. Since we had a lot of down time we played a lot of poker and when people weren’t playing poker they were gambling on Tiger Woods and who was better. Gambling was all around me. I didn’t think twice about taking on a student loan or paying for spring break with a credit card, I could win it back or earn it back on the golf course. Gambling was influencing my decisions.
I successfully graduated from college and for a number of reasons I was not ready to begin working full-time. I decided to gamble full-time instead. For the next 3-4 months I went to the casino every day, usually 6 days a week, I made money, I paid off some debt, but money was of no object to me, I could lose $1000 or win $1000; it didn’t affect me either way. I decided that playing poker every day was really a grind and I could do something else.
I ended up in the 9-5 day job and started to realize I didn’t want my entire life to be a gamble. Although I did pick up all of my belongings to move to Miami for a girl, but love stories aside this was a huge gamble, I had some savings, but nowhere near enough, I didn’t think twice about putting it on a credit card, I even played online poker trying to earn my way through my decisions, since I didn’t have much of a bank roll that didn’t last long.
That gamble changed my life; it made me realize I wasn’t going to be able to gamble my way through life. I moved back to Chicago and even asked that girl to marry me. Now this is not intended to be love story, but that gamble was the best one I have ever made. My wife makes me not want to gamble, I talk out some of my decisions that I would have made years ago.
Even still the gamble is still there. I wanted to buy stocks, rather than pay off debt. I still get in the NCAA March Madness pool, play Fantasy Football, and get the urge to take a trip to the casino. I love seeing IPO’s in the stock market, well-known companies that lose 20% in a day for buying opportunity. I bought Groupon without asking my wife, it’s a gamble even if it’s legal and in the stock market.
I have found other outlets to keep my energy focused on the good. I blog over at evenstevenmoney.com as I work to pay back all my mistakes(debt), I run an eBay business where I buy and sell clothing, but most of all I listen to my wife, she has almost no gamble in her. I have the risk tolerance of a man who prints money and she has the tolerance of an angry prison guard talking with an inmate (I hope I’m not the inmate in this scenario).
Maybe the gamble will never leave; maybe everyone has a little gamble in them, you know what maybe having a little gamble in them isn’t so bad. Let me leave you with this and it’s something I’m sure I heard along the way. Ever notice how the biggest and most expensive looking buildings are usually those at a casino and a bank? Yeah, that’s because they make so much money off of you and me…….