Noah Vineberg learned the art of deception early, from his father’s flashy lifestyle and routine philandering. As a teen, Pro-Line sports betting tickets were his gateway drug to a full-on gambling addiction that almost cost him everything.

I spent anywhere from $50 to $150 a day on Pro-Line tickets, using my daily allowance or money I made running the salad bar at the Keg, which paid $13 an hour and up to $300 in tips on a good night. It left me with more than enough cash to support my burgeoning habit. I don’t think my mom ever suspected anything—at least not until later in life. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t place at least one bet. The legal gambling age was 18, but back then, the tellers never asked for ID. If I was lucky, I won once every few weeks. One time, I put down $100 and accurately picked the outcome of all 10 games, which resulted in an $11,000 payout. I was never smart enough to save the money from my wins, though. I usually dumped it right back into more bets.

I loved the waiting that came with gambling: those final, dramatic moments of uncertainty, when a last-minute field goal or three-point shot could alter the result of the game. The feeling of anticipation— that’s where I got the high. And when I had several bets going on at once, it felt like my brain was on fire, the ultimate stimulation. Nothing else mattered in those moments. Even if I lost, I never let on that I cared. That was part of the appeal, too. People never knew if I had $100 or $10,000 in the bank. I felt like I was bulletproof, like no matter how it turned out, everything would be all right.