Thursday, November 1, 2007

My problem with gambling — as an educational instrument

According to this fine paper’s most recent Uncover story, a Harvard Law professor wants government to ease up on restrictions on poker players. He’s formed the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society.

What for? To promote poker as a fun learning tool and redefine it as a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

As a youngster, I grew up in a house where games like Baseball, Follow the Queen, and Acey-Deucey filled my folks’ Friday nights. However, I don’t recall my father pulling me to his side when I was supposed to be doing my homework and explaining to me the all-important difference between a flush and a full house. And, in my parents’ eyes, my reading for school always seemed to trump knowing how to “read” your opponent at the card table.

Now, granted, poker does involve some skill, but with anything involving the turn of a card, there’s always going to be some level of chance or luck. Take it from someone who sat for nine hours straight in his first Texas Hold ‘Em tournament and ending up winning.

However, if the professor would like to send me on a study-abroad mission to Las Vegas, I would gladly accept the educational challenge.

How about it, poker players? Is it a game of skill or chance?

-FRANCIS SMITH, Special Publications Assistant Editor


Da Playah said...

Many games have a chance element, including baseball and football. The chance element in poker is greater, but it is a game of skill. It's not chess, but it's not the slots either.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with online gambling as long as their are safeguards in place to protect problem gamblers. When you play online, you can play at your own pace, with no noise, no smoking, and lower stakes.