Poker Biggest Gamblers and Their Degenerate Stories

4 months ago
Poker Biggest Gamblers and Their Degenerate Stories
25 Oct

For all that poker players claim to understand that skill, experience and self-control are all essential to beating the game, there are those who just can’t overcome that crippling degen gene – the need to gamble it up at the expense of common-sense!

Today’s tales of degeneracy were sparked by a Reddit/poker thread, one user recounting how they destroyed their 2019 WSOP dream before even reaching the tournament tables.

A $4500 bankroll and $1500 savings should have been enough for a decent but modest schedule, with the chance of a sattie win to chase the riches.

However a shitty flight led to a tilted $900 punt on the cash game tables, and with the rest of that $6k in the pocket for fear of hotel theft, our ‘hero’ took to the roulette wheel in an attempt to win it all back.

You can imagine how the rest went, and the full story linked later if you want the gory details, but all you really need to know is how our player felt:

"The dream, crushed to oblivion. Heart in pieces. I felt dead inside.”

That incredible rush of blood, the absolute need to play, or chase losses or glory or instant thrills, is far from an unusual one among poker players, of course.

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Peter Eatsgate’s sportsbetting $millions

Peter Eastgate was one of the lucky ones, in several ways. A $9.1million payday for scooping the WSOP Main Event in 2008 gave him the riches to do whatever he pleased.

Worryingly, however, he also believed: “It is slightly in a poker player’s DNA to make bets,” and that led to a $1.7million splurge on the 2010 football World Cup.

Although admitting to being “an addict" and “a degenerate gambler", Peter fortunately found a way through his problems and managed to stop his self-destructive behaviour before it wiped out his entire bank balance.

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Erick Lindgren’s $10million debts

Others were not so lucky, and the sad tale of Erick ‘E-Dog’ Lindgren is a case in point, with more than $10million in tournament winnings equalled by the amount of debt he managed to rack up.

Again it was sportsbetting that caused the problems, a $50k to $100k per game addiction that led to his borrowing from other poker players and gamblers.

Haralabos Voulgaris and Max Weinberg were among those who went public, and there was also a $2million Full Tilt payment that was mistakenly sent twice, and never repaid by Lindgren.

Lawsuits and multiple bankruptcies followed and Lindgren’s ‘All American Hero’ status lay in tatters.

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We could go over the poker successes and degenerate lifestyles of Stu Ungar, Scotty Nguyen, Gus Hansen and many others – some of whom survived and came out the other side, some who didn’t.

Gambling, drugs, alcohol, men and women of the night – the list of poisons is endless, and as our Reddit degen shows, it’s not exclusive to the $millionaire poker club. Stick to what you know and stick to your limits - you have been warned!

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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