Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Dangerous Obsession

An article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine describes the growing poker addiction problem among college students:
Online, Hogan would play 60 to 100 hands an hour — three times the number of his live games. There was no more shuffling between hands, no more 30-second gaps to chat with his friends or consider quitting. Each hand interlocked with the next. The effect was paralyzing, narcotic. "Internet poker induces a trancelike state," says Derevensky, the McGill professor, who once treated a 17-year-old Canadian boy who lost $30,000, much of it at PokerStars. "The player loses all track of time, where they are, what they're doing." When I spoke with an online hold-'em player from Florida who had lost a whopping $250,000 online, he told me: "It fried my brain. I would roll out of bed, go to my computer and stay there for 20 hours. One night after I went to sleep, my dad called. I woke up instantly, picked up the phone and said, 'I raise.' "
On-line poker is a dangerous and seductive mistress. I fight her allure (usually unsuccessfully) every night.

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