Monday, January 7, 2008

Poker Stigma

Stigma (Sociological theory)

In sociological theory, a stigma is an attitude, behaviour, or reputation which is socially discrediting in a particular way: it causes an individual to be mentally classified by others in an undesirable, rejected stereotype rather than in an accepted, normal one.

Poker. The black sheep of card games. The scourge of gambling, played by degenerates and villains in basements filled with thick layers of cigar smoke. Really ????

It amuses me how narrow minded some people can be when they hear that a person plays poker. Some people approach with fascination..
"Cool. You play poker. I've always wanted to play. Ive seen it on TV."

Some people approach the subject with curiosity and genuine questions. Others will jump straight on their moral cart and label poker players as desperate gambling addicts.

"So you are a gambler then...."

Lets think about gamblers...

Casinos - I've gambled in my life. I used to hit the casinos once a week hoping to get lucky, believing my decisions at the blackjack table would put me close enough to breakeven to sometimes take some money away. That is gambling. Hoping to make money from odds that are against you. I was never dumb enough to play roulette. Those desperados that track historic numbers to see a trend or to overload a number that hasnt come out ALL NIGHT are f*cking retards. They are gamblers. I met a guy in Vegas last June that said he had given up his job to become a professional high limit slot player. Give me a break !! Are you kidding me ? Roulette, Blackjack, Video poker, Slots, Pai Gow, Carribean Stud any place to put a chip is a losing play. Casinos are there for fun. If you believe you can beat a casino you are a retarded gambler.

Horseracing / Dog Racing - I think we can all agree on this one as an obvious form of accepted gambling and as it can be a social event this is not frowned upon. Its fun gambling.

The UK National Lottery - Hands up how may people play the lottery. Gambling. A friend of mine quoted "But it only costs me 5 pounds a week" and "Someone has to win it" I have no problem with people playing the lottery if they are playing knowing they will lose money. The odds are rediculous. There is a upside to this type of gambling though. 28p of our pounds goes to good causes. Since 1994 over 20 bln pounds has been raised. That alone shows the odds of losing money....

The Stockmarket - Who has ever invested in the stockmarket ? One of the biggest casinos ever created. I work on the stockmarket and outside of the big banks, the fund managers and the rocket scientists I honestly believe the people that make money are the ones with privileged information and the ones that receive the tasty IPO's. The average 'high street investor' doesn't stand a chance. Do you really think that you are the first to think about a products future or the state of a ceratin economy. Get real, there are people that are 6+ months ahead of you, with tons of research and their fingers on the button. Unless you are a genius at your chosen subject you cant compete against these guys. This form of gambling makes you look rich and smart. No bad stigma.

Bingo - A softer form of gambling for the wrinklies..

Now if I were a betting man I would say that the poeple who have the 'moral' feelings against the game of poker have dabbled in atleast one of the above.

Lets now look at the game of Poker. Let me put one thing straight, I believe that are harmful ways of gambling which can include poker in the same way that there are harmful ways in most hobbies and social things we like to do. Moderation and control is always the key.

I play poker. "So you gamble money ?" In a way yes. In a way I try to put my money in the pot when I believe I am ahead in % of winning a hand. Poker has an element of unknown along with any card game that has an unturned card. This some people call luck and I will accept that for this post. There is also a large element of skill involved. This skill can put you in profitable situations. I will go out on a limb and say a player with a lot of skill against a player who just knows the basics will have a higher % chance of making money than any of the other forms of 'gambling' mentioned above. Poker is a competitive game where your outcome is decided by your decisions. There are so many situations that occur in poker that these decisions can take a long while to show. Its estimated that if you play online you need to play around 20,000 hands to see how you are playing at your current level.

Golf is sometimes compared to Poker where you can play your A game and still not win as one slight gust of wind could miss you your perfect shot. This along with others are variables that the golfer has no control over but over the long run the player with the most skill will win more than the person with lesser skill.

There are charity events, famous people, tv stars, celebrities play poker to raise money. Poker is also a social game, it's a good game. What is wrong with some guys and girls getting together and playing a competitive, mental stimulating game for stakes that are not going to affect anyones livelyhood? Why is a proven skilled game of cards shunned by the uninformed into a lowlife form of gambling? Some people tar the name of poker by playing out of their bankroll and digging deeper in debt. These are the minorty of idiots that create this uphill struggle for us that enjoy the game. I believe poker should not be allowed to be played with any type of credit. This is unfortunately out of the card room/internet site hands. Most people dont do this. Most people play with cash they can afford.

So I sum up that Poker is a skill based game with an element of luck with a higher rate of winning for the skilled player than any forms of gambling mentioned above. It is a very competitive, social game that is easy to learn but hard to master. There is an unfair stigma attached to the game which I hope, one day, will be removed.

Good luck at the Ryver..

1 comment:

Tom Watson said...

I focuse on cash games. wether it be a low limit game at home or the game at the casino as players we need to understand profit is profit and even leaving even means its been a good day. Joshua