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Old 06-15-2011, 11:46 AM   #1
Brandonspade
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My family thinks Poker is the Devil

So I know it's been said over and over again, but I will post this anyway.

A little history. I have been playing poker for about 15 years now, but only for real money for about 7 years. Anyway when I first started out on the low stakes my family thought I was just going through a phase. They never really said anything about it because really, I never brought the subject up.

Now more recently I have been married, have children, lost my good job when the economy tanked and quickly got a PT time to get by. I started really grinding out the MTT online and did REALLY well. 2k here, 3k there, etc. Now with my success I was of course proud of myself, and my wife as well. (even though she still thinks poker is like slots..)

When I try to explain how poker is a game of skill, reading people, calculated odds, and so on they basically brush me off and say "Gambling is Gambling, it ruins families, people pawn all their possesions, it's the same as being an alcoholic..etc.."

Now not that I give a rat's a%$ about what they think, because I really don't. I have also played in B&M before and did well and yet nobody can see that although morally it might be wrong, in my case I'm handling it responsibly.

So we come to the problem. My wife's family judges me now constantly, although I have always been extremely respectful to them, and everytime I come over to their house they always make stupid comments. "Lost any money lately?" "How's your gambling going for you?" stuff like that. I no longer play online anymore after Black friday so only B&M for me. It's getting to the point where I don't want to even attend their family functions anymore which is putting a strain on me and my wife's relationship.

Should I just put up with their stupid remarks and ignore them for the sake of my wife. Or just explode on them and call them out on their vices?

I know this all sounds stupid but I would like to hear feedback from other 2+2'ers and see if anyone else has been in this predicament.

Please excuse grammar mistakes...I type like 100 wpm.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:14 PM   #2
schreimanator85
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

If your bringing home the money consistantly and they still have problems It aint never gonna change no matter what you do.

Blowing up on them is probably something I would do but it would almost diffenatley make the situation worse. How much trouble is it causing your family, is it something that can be ignored. If your wife doesnt like but excepts it and your family makes stupid comments but that doesnt really sound all that bad but I could be wrong


Please excuse my grammer mistakes... I dont typ e 100WPM I just have bad grammer.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:22 PM   #3
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

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Originally Posted by schreimanator85 View Post
If your bringing home the money consistantly and they still have problems It aint never gonna change no matter what you do.

Blowing up on them is probably something I would do but it would almost diffenatley make the situation worse. How much trouble is it causing your family, is it something that can be ignored. If your wife doesnt like but excepts it and your family makes stupid comments but that doesnt really sound all that bad but I could be wrong


Please excuse my grammer mistakes... I dont typ e 100WPM I just have bad grammer.
The funny thing is her family is far from perfect. Her mother is lazy, never works yet complains about me making money. Her father is on a whole other level. He has been in a religous cult for over 20 yrs. (not like the manson scary cult, more like hippie nature type of cult) and I have never judged him or his wife. They are good people. I NEVER mention poker or anything around them and yet when conversation turns to money...yada yada this and that

I'm a very cool headed person. But recently I just want to cuss out her mom and punch her dad in the face. Am I being unreasonable here?
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

They sound like the type of people who are going to keep bugging you about it until you lose some money then say, "oh well, we told you so". They always have to be right. If I was you I would probably rarely see them again.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:52 PM   #5
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

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Originally Posted by Brandonspade View Post
Should I just put up with their stupid remarks and ignore them for the sake of my wife.


yes, just ignore them.

try not to talk too much about poker around these family members, if they ask just say: its alright.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Be polite and happy to see them: they are family. I know the feeling and you have to consider that a part of it is actually you judging yourself and thinking others do it too. Maybe they feel like you have emotionally withdrawn from them for a while and are trying to make tongue in cheek comments to show they like you? Maybe they don't know how to approach a subject they have no idea about, but still would like to say something?

It's family, give them the benefit of doubt until you have enough concrete evidence so you can actually make a clear cut case where there's no debate. Make them apologize and then move on.

Don't just clam up. Be open with who you are, then you can afford to ditch that passive-aggressive bull**** and be more openly confrontational.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:58 AM   #7
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

I had the same problems and skepticism for a while in my family. Mainly my mum, as she and my dad split mainly due to his sportsbetting problem.

I've been making way more money plaing online poker than anyone else I know that is 19, and have been doing so for a year and a bit now. It was pretty difficult at first for her. I didn't even mention it for the first 6 months. Its taken her a while but she has definitely come round and now understands how much more poker is than just 'gambling'.

If she found it within herself to accept it and still support me I'm sure you're family can. The odd snide remark from an uncle at the annual christmas lunch who pretends to know everything but knows nothing can actually be a huge motivator. Make him eat his words when you're playing 100000000000000000000000NL cash games
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:36 PM   #8
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

I just get really passionate about explaining the subject, no matter how many times I have to answer the same questions or explain the same stuff I just go on repeating, making examples and paralells, etc until they either understand or get bored to the level they don't want to hear about it and never start the subject again
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:08 AM   #9
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Always try to explain them what poker is about, always tell them it's not about luck but skill, they are religious so they should start believing you once you've told them the same thing over and over again.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:31 AM   #10
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Tell the DoJ that Howard Lederer is living in their home

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Old 06-17-2011, 10:22 AM   #11
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

May be you need to show them the way you spend the money you earned for your family. People need to see the results and if they don't they always try to judge others for making "easy money". Not a single social institution, school, university or college tell people how to earn money. Instead, they are trying to divide people to "socially good" and "socially bad". So, it's absolutely normal that your wife's family have the same way of thinking as other people do. They just need to see the results.
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:23 AM   #12
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

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Originally Posted by locoo20 View Post
Always try to explain them what poker is about, always tell them it's not about luck but skill, they are religious so they should start believing you once you've told them the same thing over and over again.
Interesting theory
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #13
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Maybe retaliate with the same polite enquiries yourself, eg: "how's life on the sofa these days, seen any good daytime shows recently?" and "how's the hippie cult going? Still brainwashed?"

Or do what everyone else says and just put up and be nice

I had to put up with ignoring my wife's parents' casual racism (typical of their generation). It was really hard for me not to challenge it and get into arguments and they just seemed to push it all the time. I just kept telling myself that they were basically ignorant, never going to change, and just trying to make conversation the only way they knew how. That, and that they're gonna die soon.
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:01 AM   #14
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Just tell them that your their little quips are bothering you and you would like them to stop. Making people realizing they are being douche bags in a polite way is the most effective solution to these kinds of problems.

I know when someone uses this method on me I feel extremely embarrassed and insensitive, but also relieved that I learned a lesson.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:15 AM   #15
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

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Originally Posted by tultfill View Post
Be polite and happy to see them: they are family. I know the feeling and you have to consider that a part of it is actually you judging yourself and thinking others do it too. Maybe they feel like you have emotionally withdrawn from them for a while and are trying to make tongue in cheek comments to show they like you? Maybe they don't know how to approach a subject they have no idea about, but still would like to say something?

It's family, give them the benefit of doubt until you have enough concrete evidence so you can actually make a clear cut case where there's no debate. Make them apologize and then move on.

Don't just clam up. Be open with who you are, then you can afford to ditch that passive-aggressive bull**** and be more openly confrontational.
Poker aside this dude always has solid advice, fair and well thought out. OP this is the way to go, but id make it clear to my wife Im going to do and handle it with as much respect and taste as I can, but after that if the game hasnt changed, Im changing how I play along.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:20 AM   #16
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

I dont know why... But im suddenly thinking of a quote from the movie boiler room where ben affleck says something to the effect "ur mom and dad dont like it... Well **** u mom and dad... See how great it feels when ur making their ****ing lexus payments."

Its sad how ppl only legitimize something they dont understand when theirs a million dollars attached to it... If u were as successful as phil ivey... Im pretty sure poker wouldnt be a problem to them... Believe in urself and believe in the game... if ur a serious player u are an ambassador to our sport... We need to win hearts and minds ppl... Only then will our sport get the respect and proper legislation that it needs.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:47 AM   #17
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

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...Its sad how ppl only legitimize something they dont understand when theirs a million dollars attached to it... If u were as successful as phil ivey... Im pretty sure poker wouldnt be a problem to them...
So... if you were as successful a tyrant as Pol Pot, I'm pretty sure mass murder wouldn't be a problem to them.

Nah - doesn't work. Sometimes people just have a moral code that goes above money and power and any amount of success wouldn't necessarily change that. Not everyone thinks greed is good. Poker may always be evil to them, even if you donated all the winnings to charity and went to live in a monastery, that might not change their attitude to poker.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:19 AM   #18
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Hey we re talking poker here... Not mass murder... if ur speaking of religious moral codes... Hell that can be changed in this guys situation... For all its pride on christian values lets face it... America aint no christian nation. The very concept of capitalism is antichristian.. Yet as a nation we have convinced ourselves that its okay... I bet if this guy was a lawyer his family wouldnt object... or a stock trader... There r two stigmas on poker that make ppl not accept it... One its percieved as gambling n the most important one is that it doesnt seem stable.

If this guy was as succesful ivey... He would be respected.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:26 AM   #19
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

I don't equate poker with mass murder.

But for some people gambling is just wrong and any material success won't counter that = my point.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:57 PM   #20
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

The point is that my in-laws think poker=gambling. Which sort of true but in the long run the better player comes out ahead.

They see poker as any other gambling game (blackjack,craps,etc.) and cannot distinguish the difference between poker and other gambling games.

I have tried to explain to them about the calculations in poker, the reading of people, body language, pot odds, etc. and they just think poker leads to alcoholism, compulsive gambling, and debt.

Which for some players is true. I have never used personal money (money for bills, family stuff, etc.) to play. I have always maintained good bankroll management but they don't hear about or see this.

The reason they do not hear about this or see this is because it wouldn't matter. They have their own opinion about this and nothing I say or do will change this.

I'm thinking about a divorce, ahh but that's a whole other thread...
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:43 AM   #21
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

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Originally Posted by Brandonspade View Post
The point is that my in-laws think poker=gambling. Which sort of true but in the long run the better player comes out ahead....
They're right. Poker is gambling. In the course of a single session you're actually making 1000s of bets. So poker probably has more gamble in it than something like sports betting or the stock market. If they think betting is wrong then poker is probably about as degenerate as you can get!

Yes, if you're good, you can have an edge and can win over time at poker, unlike a rigged game like roulette. But that's also true for sports bettors.

So poker doesn't have to be stupid gambling (though it is for many), but it certainly is intensive gambling.

But investing in stocks or pensions, buying a house, buying gold and doing business all involve an element of risk, so are also technically gambling - do they approve of these things? Maybe that is an angle to try - explain your poker decisions in terms of business investment decisions, and explain "respectable" activities in terms of risk versus reward. Worth a try maybe?

Maybe you can sit them down in a clear and final attempt to explain it to them. Explain it is important to you that they at least understand you are rational and business-like and not going to go on any wild spree that gives their daughter a bad life. If that doesn't convince them, then maybe it will be enough to at least agree to differ.

Last edited by gothninja; 06-23-2011 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:13 AM   #22
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

You have to confront those types directly. People are going to passively trash talk you when they're jealous, and then say "oh just teasing" when they clearly weren't. I work FT but some days I just don't like going to work and I'll take the day off and play poker.

Once some of my coworkers found out that I have done that, anytime I work OT or come in on an optional Saturday they say, "oh, went busto at poker hey? time to make extra money to play poker?" sadly, they're serious and they think this is how it works, even though i've explained it thoroughly.

Anyways, screw her relatives. Confront them by saying something like, "your comments are making you sound/seem foolish" Usually something like this will embarrass them enough not to bring it up again.
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Old 10-16-2011, 01:59 PM   #23
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

'So, did you lose any money from your retirement fund gambling on the stockmarket today'?

'It's a game of skill, i've never a significant amount of money gambling, mind your own business' probably works too.

I've never met someone i've been unable to educate by showing them my graph - show them one of the guys who's up a mil over 200k games in a straight line up or whatever if theyre smart enough to understand probability and graphs, if not then just hit them back the game of skill mind your own business line until they stop.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:21 PM   #24
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

Just lie to them and tell them you bring in an extra $1000 a month in income-enough for them to maybe shut up and not enough for them to ask to start borrowing money..you can't convince them and it will only frustrate you to try.

So many people have histories knowing or being an addict so their belief system is based on what is in their life..drinking, drugs, gambling..lumping poker in with that is just dumb but happens all the time.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:10 PM   #25
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Re: My family thinks Poker is the Devil

“It Takes A Man To Suffer Ignorance And Smile.”

-- Sting

Ignore them.
People are hard to change, old people are impossible to change. Curve is exponential.

No amount of Demosten worthy speech is going to convince them otherwise so you are just wasting your time, nerves, energy.

Plus, when "old" people criticize it's not because they want a reasonable debate it's because they are judgmental, jealous, mean, trying to offload their own crap onto you and so on...
It happens in "regular professions" let alone such degenerate activities as poker.

Your best bet is verse at the top.
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