Or as I would prefer to title this ramble …
“Are You Addicted to Poker or Just Passionate about Your Hobby”
An interesting thread started up in a forum last week from a new member, a student writing an article about “people who are or have been addicted to poker”.
I jumped in and posted on the thread straight away because I wanted online poker players to be fairly represented and to non poker players we always seem to be cast as addicted problem gamblers lumped in with the slot machine addicts and lottery card dreamers.
In reality most online poker players are NOT addicted gamblers but the media generally only likes to pick up on the big winners and the big losers – Both big winners and big losers are in a minority.
Obviously there are is minority of gamblers who develop an unhealthy addiction to gambling or financial problems but the vast majority of them develop a problem from playing slot machines, buying scratch cards, gambling on horses or playing casino games against the house
Only a small fraction of that minority are purely online poker players.
Generally problem gamblers will gamble on anything & that is the point.
I get so hacked off that poker – a game of skill gets lumped in with other forms of gambling which have no element of skill only luck.
Poker is about skill with an element of luck, like investing in stocks and shares is about calculated risk.
In the same way that playing the market, poker offers no guarantees but time and time again … Increased skill, experience, knowledge and practice consistently proves to be a winning formula.
OK so to the addiction thing – I don’t for one minute think that there aren’t people who are addicted to gambling and some of them also play poker. I would always urge people who think they have a problem to get help and we always encourage all players to play within their limits, bankroll and never to play with money they cannot afford to lose.
But how do you define addiction or spot a problem gambler ?
IMHO there seems to be two main issues attached to addiction …
a) Spending too much money in turn causing financial problems.
b) Spending too much time playing at the detriment of other responsibilities.
To be honest these could be applied to just about any hobby or recreational activity from fishing, playing in the local football team, clothes shopping to renovating classic cars.
How many times do you read about the broken homes caused by fishermen leaving families for hours to sit by a river to catch fish ?
How many people seek to lecture all clothes shoppers because many are irresponsible with their credit cards and a few file for bankruptcy ?
Poker and specifically online poker has exploded in popularity yet is still perceived by the non playing population as reckless gambling – They ignore the fact that most poker players enjoy playing within sensible limits. Their loses or “spending” working out vastly cheaper than say the cost of playing golf as a hobby.
The bottom line is that over the long game poker is a game of skill not luck … 10% are net winning players and 90% are net losers … But of that 90% of net losing players the vast vast majority are very close to break even players or making only small manageable loses … That does NOT make them problem gamblers.
Only a very small percentage of losers are problem gamblers and of that small number the vast majority of them are addicted to gambling generally and not specifically or exclusively problem poker players.
And remember … Don’t Get Bitter – Get Better