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Old 04-28-2017, 10:05 AM   #1
walkby
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Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

I'm curious what people's opinions are regarding whether or not professional poker players facilitate gambling addiction and harmful gambling (occurrences where someone gambles an amount of money where harm is done to themselves, but in a way that is not addictive).

Is the professional poker player culpable for facilitating these things? If so, where does culpability begin? Simply going to the casino? How about for the online professional? Does simply playing poker online make one culpable, or would one only be culpable if they were playing for a certain amount of money (I make a distinction here because poker can be played for much smaller amounts of money online)? If for only certain amounts of money, when does the amount become large enough where an online professional becomes culpable? This line of questioning can continue to game types / variants and other decisions made by professional poker players regarding the games they play.

The reason I'm asking these questions is because I'm questioning whether or not I can pursue poker as a means to earn an income. If my playing poker contributes to someone else's harm then I do not and should not want to play it. The ideal situation for me would be playing against people who wager their money responsibly. As an online player I don't know where that situation should be expected, if at all. Is there a certain game type or limit where one can reasonably expect that no harm is being done? I understand that part of PokerStars' budget (the site I play at) is spent on responsible gambling, where I assume they work to make sure no one is doing harm to themselves. Does this affect my culpability at all, given that I contribute rake which is then put towards addressing this issue? My intuition tells me that if I still knowingly play in games where harm is being done then I remain at fault.
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:29 AM   #2
Dr. Meh
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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Originally Posted by walkby View Post
I'm curious what people's opinions are regarding whether or not professional poker players facilitate gambling addiction and harmful gambling (occurrences where someone gambles an amount of money where harm is done to themselves, but in a way that is not addictive).

Is the professional poker player culpable for facilitating these things? If so, where does culpability begin? Simply going to the casino? How about for the online professional? Does simply playing poker online make one culpable, or would one only be culpable if they were playing for a certain amount of money (I make a distinction here because poker can be played for much smaller amounts of money online)? If for only certain amounts of money, when does the amount become large enough where an online professional becomes culpable? This line of questioning can continue to game types / variants and other decisions made by professional poker players regarding the games they play.

The reason I'm asking these questions is because I'm questioning whether or not I can pursue poker as a means to earn an income. If my playing poker contributes to someone else's harm then I do not and should not want to play it. The ideal situation for me would be playing against people who wager their money responsibly. As an online player I don't know where that situation should be expected, if at all. Is there a certain game type or limit where one can reasonably expect that no harm is being done? I understand that part of PokerStars' budget (the site I play at) is spent on responsible gambling, where I assume they work to make sure no one is doing harm to themselves. Does this affect my culpability at all, given that I contribute rake which is then put towards addressing this issue? My intuition tells me that if I still knowingly play in games where harm is being done then I remain at fault.
Unless you're forcing someone with a gambling problem to play, you aren't culpable, imo. You're going to find addicts in almost any arena of life. Is someone who owns a gym at fault for having people who are addicted to exercise working out there? What about someone who makes wine glasses or beer mugs? Are they responsible for alcoholism?

The whole idea of passing the blame for other people's bad choices and addictions has to end. There's a lot of talk of fast food and soda being responsible for obesity. While that certainly contributes to it, people made the free decision to consume the product or not. Are the manufacturers of comfortable sofas also held liable for obesity? Or the television and film producers for making entertainment that people want to sit and watch when they could be exercising?

In almost anything in life, there will be people who responsibly control themselves as they indulge and those who do not or can not. If you make yourself feel guilty for the poor decisions of others, you'll be miserable your whole life.

With that being said, if you knowingly take advantage of someone with a gambling problem or fail to act to help someone you observe in need, I can see taking some of the responsibility. For example, if you're at a table and you see some guy selling his watch so he can rebuy back in or if he talks about having to take out a second mortgage or whatever, I think it would be understandable to leave the table in an effort to not contribute to his apparent problem. But ultimately it is his decision and it just isn't feasible to prescreen every player you might encounter to make sure they are responsible when playing poker.
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:02 PM   #3
Singasong2222
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

It's legal so it must be ok.
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:08 PM   #4
Aces123123
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

The first option is to read some Nietzsche. You will then probably come to the conclusion that it is actually morally wrong to let weak poker players or gambling addicts keep their money.

The other option is to just play mtts or sngs for trivial stakes.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:39 AM   #5
walkby
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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Originally Posted by Dr. Meh View Post
With that being said, if you knowingly take advantage of someone with a gambling problem or fail to act to help someone you observe in need, I can see taking some of the responsibility. For example, if you're at a table and you see some guy selling his watch so he can rebuy back in or if he talks about having to take out a second mortgage or whatever, I think it would be understandable to leave the table in an effort to not contribute to his apparent problem. But ultimately it is his decision and it just isn't feasible to prescreen every player you might encounter to make sure they are responsible when playing poker.
So I guess my next question is is whether or not this behavior or situation is systemic in poker, observed or not observed. I don't have enough experience to know whether or not most players are playing responsibly in a live environment and online I can only guess. Understandably, I think the lower in stakes you're playing the less need there is to question this. Still, playing 25z, if the average rec were losing at 30bb/100 that would come to about $18.75 for an hours worth of play, which seems expensive for eastern Europeans and even a reasonable sum for some westerners. I have to be honest though, I don't know people's situations, but I can see the room for harm here. I guess it comes down to how large the percentage of people who play responsibly is.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:46 AM   #6
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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Originally Posted by walkby View Post
So I guess my next question is is whether or not this behavior or situation is systemic in poker, observed or not observed. I don't have enough experience to know whether or not most players are playing responsibly in a live environment and online I can only guess. Understandably, I think the lower in stakes you're playing the less need there is to question this. Still, playing 25z, if the average rec were losing at 30bb/100 that would come to about $18.75 for an hours worth of play, which seems expensive for eastern Europeans and even a reasonable sum for some westerners. I have to be honest though, I don't know people's situations, but I can see the room for harm here. I guess it comes down to how large the percentage of people who play responsibly is.
And how do you define responsible? If I had to guess, I would say the vast majority play within their means or, at least, don't play to the point where it is detrimental to their overall financial wellbeing.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:55 AM   #7
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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And how do you define responsible?
Playing with someone while knowing that that person is playing outside of their means or harming themselves in some other way by playing. An example of the latter would be playing for very small stakes with a gambling addict knowing that it might trigger relapse.

Edit: I think I misunderstood your question. I would define responsible as wagering money in a way that isn't harmful to oneself and in amounts one can afford.

Last edited by walkby; 04-29-2017 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:01 AM   #8
Elrazor
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

It's human nature to exploit other people (See: The Ultimatum Game, the Prisoner Dilemma).

Poker is an explicit version of these ideas, but if you're wearing clothes made in Asia, or take holidays where workers are not paid a fair wage, or any number of other scenarios, then you already exploit other people less fortunate than yourself. The flip side is you are also being exploited in some way or another - if you have the latest iPhone, or work in a company where your wage does not reflect the wealth you generate, and so on, and so forth.

Your best course of action will therefore be to act in a way that optimises your own chances in life.

As a footnote, a poker player invariably has time on their hands. If this problem is affecting your moral compass, then you can always take on some voluntary work in your local community. Just don't post about it on Facebook, or it could also be construed as exploitation....
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Old 05-08-2017, 05:53 AM   #9
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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Originally Posted by Aces123123 View Post
The first option is to read some Nietzsche. You will then probably come to the conclusion that it is actually morally wrong to let weak poker players or gambling addicts keep their money.

The other option is to just play mtts or sngs for trivial stakes.
+1
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:48 AM   #10
jeccross
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

If your rule is that you don't want to ever contribute to making a gambling addicts life slightly worse then you shouldn't play poker.

I think there are far more addicts (at least to some degree) in poker than most would estimate.
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:02 AM   #11
mike1270
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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Is the professional poker player culpable for facilitating these things?.
Is the clerk at corner store culpable for the cigarettes he sells? what about the lottery tickets? or all the garbage food that leads to obesity?
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:33 AM   #12
leavesofliberty
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

Any philosophy where you start to become responsible for other people's life choices is kind'a doomed to victim hood. This is not to say there aren't victims, but to say a professional makes someone their victim by playing poker in a card room is pretty lol.

Here's a pond full of alligators. Are you thinking about jumping in? If you jump in, are the alligators responsible?

I mean this is quite extreme. Is society responsible if someone maxes out the credit cards? You do want to live in a society with reciprocity, but do you want to live in a society where the insane asylums are entirely jammed with people thinking impulsively?

Last edited by leavesofliberty; 05-20-2017 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:28 PM   #13
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

I'm not a good poker player. I sit down at the casino sometimes and lose money to better players. I understand the risks involved by sitting down at the table. I 'gamble responsibly' as is my responsibility to do so.

If you ever sit with me and take my money, don't feel bad. I understand the risks involved, as all adults should. If someone has a gambling problem they should seek help and stay out of casinos.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:16 PM   #14
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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Here's a pond full of alligators. Are you thinking about jumping in? If you jump in, are the alligators responsible?
Changed my life bro.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:17 PM   #15
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

But then again... what about Harambe?
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:57 AM   #16
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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If someone has a gambling problem they should seek help and stay out of casinos.
But they don't, that's the point.

There are ways you can rationalise it of course, but it's impossible to play poker for a reasonable time at reasonable stakes without negatively impacting someone's life at some point.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:02 AM   #17
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

I guess in the broadest of standards, all players (ranging from pro to casual players) "enable" people with addiction to play poker. However their culpability is more akin to that of the other bar patrons "enabling" an alcoholic just by virtue of their going to the bar and having a drink (which of course, is none). This is just the nature of poker - it's one of the few gambling outlets that pits player against player, so without other players there is no way for people to play the game.

If considering a pro run in poker, keep in mind that the game is zero sum - you cannot make money without taking it from another player; so whether someone has an addiction or is playing outside of their means or not or just simple doesn't want to lose their money to another, you are in essence causing all other players harm. Ultimately you have to decide if you can get past this personally, but definitely consider it as it will just have to be something you accept if you want poker to be your main source of income.

FWIW - this is an issue most players (pro or not) struggle with or have to consider at some point. I remember back when I was in graduate school I played at a cardroom where you'd see people get their paycheck, cash it and literally be pulling out buy-in after buy-in from the envelope the bank gave them - you know they were losing 1/2 or more of that money before they paid one bill or bought one bag of groceries. I didnt quite and continued playing though because I (like many others) rationalized that they were making the decision on their own and understood the risks - if there were certain players that I knew couldnt afford it or had a serious issue I would try to avoid sitting at their table, but that isn't required IMO
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:56 AM   #18
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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If considering a pro run in poker, keep in mind that the game is zero sum - you cannot win or lose money without gambling it with another player; so whether someone is gambling irresponsibly or is playing outside of their means or not or just simple doesn't want to lose their money to another, you are not responsible. Ultimately people are responsible for their own life choices.
FYP.

People who literally come to the table to light money on fire can go or be taken to the insane asylum if society sees fit.
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:49 PM   #19
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

I mean, there are people with problems, and you can talk to them at an opportune time saying something like, "Maybe a vacation from poker is what you're looking for." But, I don't see why the responsible person should be the one to quit when the end-goal is to get the irresponsible person to quit.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:49 PM   #20
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

It is common knowledge that poker is a predatory game.
If it bothers you, don't play it.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:15 PM   #21
Discipline12
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

You also have to understand if these people weren't losing there money playing poker they would be losing it somewhere else.(blackjack, roulette, sports betting etc..)
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