I love poker. So, I am always taken aback when I realize that
most people do not feel the same way. A great many people actually dislike the
game and think it is evil. They believe, to varying degrees, that poker
represents the moral downfall of society. Amazing, huh?
If you are like me, you play poker regularly, and you enjoy the game, and you
recognize that poker is a brilliant competitive challenge. You might easily
conclude that everyone likes poker, because you do, and the people you know do.
You might figure that even those who do not play acknowledge poker's intrinsic
But you are way off. Many people, in their heart of hearts, think poker is
immoral and sinful. You don't normally encounter these people, so you are not
exposed to this sentiment. Allow me to give you a cold, hard shot of reality.
The truth is that most people who inhabit this world feel nothing positive about
Even though poker is currently experiencing a massive upsurge in popularity and
acceptance, this newfound acclaim has failed to shake the erroneous beliefs of
stubborn people. They still view poker as decadent. They conjure up images of
addicted gamblers tied to crime, drugs and prostitution. This viewpoint
persists, even today, among the ignorant. To them, the connection between poker
and sleaziness is strong and undeniable. And these lemmings do not want to hear
anything favorable about poker. They do not want to risk listening to reason,
which might threaten their desperately held belief system.
Senator Bill Frist, the Republican leader of the United States Senate, recently
stood on the floor of Congress and verbalized this ridiculous viewpoint for all
to hear: "Poker is a serious addiction that undermines the family, dashes dreams
and frays the fabric of society." But hey, don't laugh only at Senator Frist. He
speaks for millions of people when he utters this stupidity. There are no
shortage of lackeys who stand ready to join his crusade to stomp out what they
perceive as the evil menace of poker.
Allow me to set the record straight. I say this loudly and deliberately: Poker
and the moral decay of society do NOT go together! Neither do poker and
prostitution. Nor poker and drugs. Nor poker and public drunkenness.
Nor poker and addiction. Let me say more about this matter of addiction, since
it is a primary reason why poker is held in low regard. Sure, some people
struggle with addiction. People are addicted to food, sex, television and a
thousand other things. But that does not make those things bad. The same goes
for poker. A tiny percentage of players are addicted to poker; there are those
with an addictive personality and a propensity to lose. But we should not blame
poker itself for their problems any more than we should blame the neighborhood
bakery for those with eating disorders.
The truth is that poker represents a pleasurable and challenging activity for a
great many good and decent individuals. People of all faiths, all cultures and
all economic strata play poker for fun and betterment. Poker is a dynamic
testament to the fundamental concepts of freedom and consensual competition. The
game features the finest aspects of human interaction and calls into play the
most honorable of human qualities, such as courage, sound reasoning and
self-control. Poker is, in fact, a supreme way to build character.
So then, what sort of things DO go together with poker? How about intelligence.
How about discipline. How about passion for competition. How about relish for
the challenges of life. These are good things, are they not? It follows, then,
that poker must also be good thing.
The next time you hear some moron equating poker with crime, drugs, prostitution
and the deeds of Satan, do me a favor. Stand up to that babbling nincompoop and
impart the truth. Please. I, for one, am sick of hearing this nonsense pass for
intelligent discourse. Tell those who spew this garbage that poker is the most
exquisite game ever to grace planet Earth. Tell them that poker is raw, real and
beautiful, and that it holds the most powerful secrets of the universe beneath
its humble exterior. Tell them that if they had any sense, they would bow down
and give thanks for the precious gift of poker, which comes to us straight from
the hand of God. Say it loudly, okay? Put them in their place for me, would you?
I'd appreciate it.
Timmor L. White is the founder and president of Online Poker Systems.
He is active in the study and reporting of online-poker playing strategies.
He has also developed a system to Cheat at Online Poker.
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