Definition of 'Degen Gambler'
A personality type, common amongst poker players, that is typified by an abundance of self-destructive behavior.
Common Degen Habits
There are a variety of "degenerate behavior" patterns that poker players have been known to embrace. They include, but are not limited to:
Hookers and strippers
I would translate Degen Gambler as 病態賭徒 (sick/ symptomatic gambler)
'Degen' stands for 'degenerate'
The thing that is degenerating in a degen Gambler is his mental health, which causes all kinds of symptoms in the forms of destructive behaviors.
When someone's mental health degenerates to a certain point, his behaviors will become symptomatic of that mental illness.
When we say someone is a 病態賭徒, it means gambling has took over of his life, and he is on the path of self destruct. At this point, he really need professional help from psychology doctor.
Matt Douhan wrote:
This phrase is usually used not in a bad way by pro gamblers who considers themselves or others DGEN/Degen gamblers as they thrive and live on gambling.
Obviously a professional gambler would not consider himself sick. A professional gambler calling himself 'degen gambler' or 'sick gambler' (病態賭徒) is akin to a scientist calling himself 'mad scientist' (瘋狂科學家) to express how devoted he is to his endeavor.
A professional gambler may consider his devotion to gambling is so deep, it qualifies as a sickness-- 'sick gambler' (病態賭徒).
Borrowing the mad scientist example, 'degen gambler' may even be translated as '瘋狂玩家' (mad player)