Upping The Stakes

At the age of 18 I was just like any normal lad at that age. A group of us would meet in the bookies at around midday, we would put our bets on for the 3pm kick off’s. It was always just £5 a week, £2.50 on an acca and £2.50 on a BTTS (both teams to score) bet.
We would then go to the pub sit there watching the scores come in with out betting slips on the table, marking down on the slip who has scored with the little pens we would take from the bookies- Red for Ladbrokes Blue for William Hill.
It was only ever for the social side of it, a group of close mates down the pub, drinking have a laugh watching the football (which we all loved.)

But I quickly realised that whenever I would win, I would never be happy that I had won. I would always be thinking how much more I could of won if I had put more on the bet. I was never satisfied with what I won I always wanted more. I would go straight back to the bookies and cash my bet in straight away and put it on the evening games to try and win more and more.

After a good couple of months of doing this, seeing and hearing how much other people were winning I upped my staked cause I wanted a piece of the big more, I wanted to be just like them, not a care in the world walking round with a big wod of cash and could spend it on whatever the wanted.
so my bets went from £5 a week to £20/£30 a week very quickly. the winners were still coming in like normal the returns were higher so the stakes became higher and higher.
I went at least 10 weeks without losing I had £1000’s of pounds wrapped up in a shoe box under my bed. This gambling life is so easy, I wouldn’t have to work I could just gamble for the rest of my life and become rich and famous.


That wasn’t the case what so ever…….

Lose lose lose lose lose.

I couldn’t get a winner to save my life, that shoe box was getting light and lighter by the week. I needed to get that winning feeling back in my life, that feeling of being someone, the high roller with loads of money.
This is when i turned to the horses, I would spend night after night studying the horses, jockeys, trainers, owners, courses, distances and the going. this went on for weeks.

This would be my way back to the top, back with the high rollers, back feeling happy again and not a care in the world with how much money I was spending.

Wrong again

win lose win lose win lose

By now I was chasing my money (worst thing you could ever do as a gambler) it felt like someone was dangling a bag of money in front of me. I could see and touch the money but I just couldn’t grab it and keep hold of it, it was torture. as the days went by the money was slowly moving away from me.

By the age of 20 I was about £2000 in debt all from gambling- pay day loans and overdraft kept feeding my addiction I had and at the time I was very grateful for them. money into your bank within 15minutes.
Luckily for me I was still living at home with my parents with no bills or anything. even more lucky that they bailed me out.

I made a promise to myself and them that I would never get in that state ever again.

Here I am, aged 30 and in 10times worst state.


  • Its so important never to chase your money cause once you start doing that its the beginning of a very quick and devastating downward spiral.
  • Also only bet what you can afford to lose.
  • If you feel like gambling is getting the better of you, take a break.
  • Set deposit limits on all betting accounts you have and NEVER change them.
  • DON’T end up like me.


Sam Irwin, Recovering gambling addict.
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