I'm sick of people treating poker like any other gambling game.
Admittedly, many poker players are gambling degenerates who will
probably lose their money regardless of what happens, but that
shouldn't incriminate the game of poker.
Just because there are bad poker players doesn't mean poker is a bad
In fact, poker is a game that, if treated as an intellectual pursuit
or profession, can be profitable, and the proof lies in the fact
that there are a good number of poker players making a living by
simply playing the game.
The main reason poker is a much better gambling game than others,
such as roulette or slots, is that you don't have to play against
the house. When you play against the house you are bound to be
playing with the odds stacked against you, and for the average
person, beating these games is next to impossible over the long run.
Most casino games are luck games, and the people who play them
accept that they are playing a game they have little chance of
winning. The people who play these games have a lottery mentality,
which means they want to take a chance of winning big, should they
On the other hand, poker is a game in which you match wits with the
other players instead of competing against some preconceived,
mathematical scenario that virtually guarantees you will lose if you
play long enough. This means that as long as you can outplay most of
the players at your table, you can win. This is not as hard as it
sounds. Poker games are divided into limits, and if you can't
outplay the guys at the high-limit games, you can always go to the
Most people who look negatively on the game of poker don't
understand it. They think gambling is a disease and any game that
involves gambling automatically falls into the category of evil. For
example, after I covered a story about the U preventing a poker
tournament from happening on campus last winter, an angry father
e-mailed me. He told me his son had lost everything playing poker.
For this reason he was proactively lobbying for stronger enforcement
of anti-poker laws in Utah.
I can sympathize with the plight of a father whose son has a
problem, but I think addressing his son's problem would have been
more constructive than trying to stop poker games from being played.
If his son had a drinking problem, I guess he would try to remove
all alcohol from the world so that his son couldn't get drunk
anymore. Maybe the angry dad should have bought his son a poker
In fact, many states in this country do not even classify poker as a
gambling game; it is classified as a game of skill, like bowling or
golf. California, for example, has casinos devoted entirely to the
game of poker while casino gambling games classified as games of
chance remain illegal.
Don't get me wrong. Just because poker is a game of skill doesn't
mean everyone who plays it will win. What it means is that the
better players have a better chance of winning. Even the best
players in the world lose sometimes, but they win more often than
It takes courage and intelligence to be a good poker player, so if
you are either naturally stupid (no condescension intended) or if
you have trouble asserting yourself in large groups, my advice for
you is to quit the game of poker. But if you have some guts and are
willing to learn, this game could change your life.
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