Monday, September 08, 2008

Everyone plays poker, they just don't know it

For anyone who has played live poker in the past year, one thing you have learned is that poker is not cool. There are people who think they embody James Dean or Young Jeezy at the table. However, sitting behind a computer for hours creating a persona doesn’t make a new person when you’re at a table.

Playing poker doesn’t make someone any less and more intriguing (unless, of course, you’re a female. Men love that stuff). However, promoting a game that has been associated with degenerates and criminals isn’t going to help your reputation, especially to people who don’t understand the world of poker. (I was thinking about the recent article that Michael Phelps and Doyle Brunson have been in talks).

Despite poker’s mainstream emergence, there are many who view it as a bad habit or an addiction.

Those who just play poker (not the occasional gamers) and make a living out of it are not addicts. They are supporting families.

People who play poker and ship their money playing craps as soon as they get up from a game are just stupid.

However, countless people give me strange looks when I tell them that I play poker. The first question is always, “Are you good?”

My answer is always: “I get by.”

The next response is different and you can always gauge how they feel about poker.

First, there’s the overwhelming agreement that poker is fun and then you get to trade bad beat stories.

Second there are people who don’t understand the game, but think it’s “cool” because it’s on ESPN. They claim they play, which means lodging grenades into the $2-$4 limit game.

Then, there are those who absolutely hate the game and give you speeches about gambling. I’ve run into more of these people than I have realized. The rebuttal that poker isn’t really gambling and it requires skill falls onto deaf ears. They never want to hear about how you make perfect plays based on percentages and reads. They want to talk about the other 10 percent of the time when you are sucked out on or when your opponent has a two-outer and fills up.

What these people don’t realize is they make the same plays every day. They make choices in their lives based on the percentages (should I take an umbrella with me to work?). They decide whether to smile at the girl across the aisle on the bus based on how they read her (Does she look cranky this morning?).

Poker is life.

In this case, I’m just using money.

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