Ultimate Moocher

Ultimate Moocher
Jennell says her husband's freeloading ways have caused her to mooch off her family!
"My husband has made us into moochers. I hate the man he's become," cries Jennell. "In the past 15 months, he's played poker as a job, and that's taken away our savings."

Springer estimates that he's used between $15,000 and $20,000 of their savings to finance his poker playing. "I'm working on being a professional poker player. Poker is not gambling," he says.

Jennell didn't know how bad things were until they got a past due notice for their mortgage. "Springer told me there was no money to pay it. I had no choice but to go to my mom and ask for money," she says. "My mother has loaned us about $8,000. I'm humiliated."

Springer sees it differently. "Her mother volunteered. We didn't ask her mother for the money," he argues.

Her mom, who calls Springer "lazy," says, "I have been paying the mortgage for Jennell and the grandchildren. Unfortunately, Springer comes along with it."

Jennell says they are over $100,000 in debt and she has been selling her kids items and personal belongings on eBay to make ends meet. "Our marriage is ruined," she says tearfully.
"What is the logic in your mind that says somebody should be paying the mortgage on the house for you and your wife and your children?" Dr. Phil asks Springer. "Had her mother not stepped up and paid [the mortgage], your children would be on the street. You would have lost the house, right?"

"Under that scenario yes," Springer says. He explains that he thought they would sell the house and live off of the equity. "Our whole life is in the house," he says.

Jennell protests, "We can't live off that the whole year. We lived off the equity of a house we sold a year ago."Jennell estimates that Springer has spent $100,000 from their savings, and they have $50,000 in credit card debt.

"Does this concern you at all?" Dr. Phil asks Springer.

"It does concern me," he replies, but he disputes her numbers. When Springer says that his plan was for poker playing to sustain them financially, Dr. Phil questions, "You say that poker's not gambling?"

"I don't think poker is gambling when it's approached the correct way," Springer maintains.

"It apparently isn't gambling the way you do it because you're just paying out money!" Dr. Phil observes.
When Springer argues that gambling is an investment, Dr. Phil challenges him. "The number one stressor for couples in America is money. You have a wife that's been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. You have two children, you want to play poker and you're not very good at it apparently ... Do you think that's a responsible way to lead this family?"

"Right now, no," Springer answers.

"Is there any other time? It's right now that she has MS. It's right now that you have two children. It's right now that you're living off of in-laws. It's right now that bills are due," Dr. Phil presses.

"Maybe in the future, but right now, you're right," Springer says.

Jennell reveals Springer's plans. "He wanted to sell the house and buy a motorhome. And our 4-year-old daughter, and 1-year-old son and I were going to sit in the motorhome and travel around while he played in tournaments across the country," she says, turning to Dr. Phil in desperation. "I don't have the money for the mortgage in two weeks. So either this show makes it work and you help us ... This is the last resort."Springer explains that Jennell's MS contributed to him closing his business and giving poker a shot. "The reason I looked at poker was because of the flexibility that I thought it was going to offer."

"Do you think you are in a position where you can afford to be a professional poker player?" Dr. Phil asks.


Turning to Jennell, Dr. Phil says, "You're saying he either needs to commit to this and get financially responsible in this or you want out?"

Jennell agrees. "I will divorce him," she declares.

Addressing Springer, Dr. Phil asks, "Are you willing to acknowledge that you can't afford to be a professional poker player right now, at least on a full-time basis, and that you need to get a job using your considerable expertise to generate a regular income for this family?"


Dr. Phil offers counseling to the couple. "What I care about is that you have a plan that you can both be excited about going forward," he tells them.