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Old 08-29-2011, 12:52 AM   #1
henrymi
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Is poker evil?

A little bit of background. I'm a 21 year old student, and I play alot of online poker. My winnings this year are prob about $20k, and I have contributed about $5k of that to my tuition fees (just less than half of full tuition). On top of that I buy my own textbooks, and don't get any allowance from my parents.

My parents are divorced, and I live with my Mom when I am back home from school. My dad is a born-again Christian.

My mom wasn't too keen on poker at first, but since it has helped out financially she doesn't really mind as long as I keep my grades up. My dad however doesn't know I play online poker for real money, and is extremely against all gambling, saying its evil. Any time I have tried to broach the subject, trying to break the idea that I may possibly kind of like to try playing poker for real money, he warns me that Gambling is a demon and I should be very careful.

What can I do in this situation? I love my Dad and don't want to keep lying to him, but I'm not keen on giving up the money that i make from poker. I'm pretty sure if I tell him he will try and "deliver me" from the spirit of gambling, and would most likely lead to a falling out if I refuse (which I would).

Thoughts?
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:05 AM   #2
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Re: Is poker evil?

Explain that poker is not any closer to gambling than football is
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:15 AM   #3
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Re: Is poker evil?

You say you live with your mom, but does your dad support you in any way? If not, 21 is an adult afaik. And two adults are bound to have some disagreements. He's not the boss of you anymore. The more important question is; do YOU think poker is evil? Just go with that answer.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:18 AM   #4
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Re: Is poker evil?

Sounds like you dad is caught up in what we call "first church" teaching.

Condemnation. Sin-aware. Demon behind every door. That kind of stuff.

You see this in a lot of baptist churches, where they don't believe in the fruit of the spirit, or don't understand it, so never receive it fully.

Read up on grace.

Educate HIM, biblically.

I'm sure I can find some stuff that can help you.

Because if he has already identified himself with his religious theology, he'll never crack, or give in, unless you can do it on his own turf.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:12 AM   #5
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Re: Is poker evil?

What grace is, essentially, is that we are no longer slaves to (old covenant) law.
We are no longer seen by God as servants once we confess Christ as Lord.
We are now children.
Rightful heirs.

The whole book of Romans is basically a lesson on this.
Galatians, too.

"But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight -- not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done" (Romans 3:21-22).

1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 4:5

5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him (Jesus as the Christ), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 3 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” —Romans 8:1, 2


It's worth noting that every time Jesus was angry in the gospels, he was not angry at sinners, prostitutes, tax-men or unbelievers, but the religious folk of his day.
So many churches have chosen to continue the very traditions that Jesus steamed against.
They have actually aligned their doctrines of condemnation and hell-fire judgment with the pharisees and sadducees, who were also sinners, judging and condemning everyone around them.

But aside from all of this correction, explain to your dad that poker is a skill-game.

You are not casting lots.

If you are a christian, as he is, just use the 1 corinthians 12:3 verse, if he won't buy it.

Or tithe some of your earnings to a church.

That might work.

Dealing with parents can be hard, but with a little compromise on your part, they usually give a little too.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:15 AM   #6
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by henrymi View Post
I may possibly kind of like to try playing poker for real money.
lol - don't do this. Just be honest.

I would try to avoid arguing about what the Bible says. For that matter, I don't know that any arguments will change his mind in this situation (e.g., "poker is a game of skill"). Just insist that you will continue to play poker, and maybe add an "I love you" in there for good measure. What kind of dad would this lead to a falling out for? I submit, not many.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:57 AM   #7
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by henrymi View Post
My parents are divorced, and I live with my Mom when I am back home from school. My dad is a born-again Christian.
So he's already broken his solemn word to god, and he's going to lecture you about playing poker? Standard.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:27 AM   #8
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lestat View Post
You say you live with your mom, but does your dad support you in any way? If not, 21 is an adult afaik. And two adults are bound to have some disagreements. He's not the boss of you anymore. The more important question is; do YOU think poker is evil? Just go with that answer.
This. We don't live in the 13th century where parents have chosen the job of their children before they are even born. You are perfectly free to choose your own way of making money according to your views, not your parents' views.

You keeping it a secret from your dad for such a long time was a mistake to begin with. I'd suggest to fix this mistake and the sooner the better.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:18 AM   #9
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggg View Post

Or tithe some of your earnings to a church.
lol. Is this supposed to make it alright with his dad? or god? Why will giving money to the church make things alright with either of them?
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:10 AM   #10
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Re: Is poker evil?

My advice: dont tell him.

I do not know your father but in general people like him are not really open to reason in matters like this one and tend to...overreact.

when the two options are
1. to tell him and risk the father-son-relationship
2.or not to tell him and hopefully keep the status quo
I would go for option 2.

What the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over.

I dont really know why you want to tell him anyways. It is non of his business.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:31 AM   #11
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Re: Is poker evil?

Just don't mention it. If poker becomes so much of your life he notices what you're doing, tell him that you are careful with what you are doing, don't put the rest of your life/finances in jeopardy by doing it, and has enough skill that it's no worse than getting involved with the stock market.

Then, give him a chance to let you know how he feels about the situation. He'll tell you gambling is a sin, it's bad for you, etc. etc. Listen respectfully. When he's finished - don't rush him - tell him that you respect him and you're thankful for his advice, but you disagree with him on the topic.

Will any of that placate him? No. Will he see your point of view? No. Is he going to agree with you? Definitely not.

What it will do is allow you to disagree on the topic without it having to turn into a huge fight. If he persists in bringing it up beyond the first time, just respectfully tell him that you've made your choice, and you'd rather not talk about it anymore.

You're both adults - disagreeing on something and then moving on is a normal part of adult relationships. I mean sure, you could dig in, and question him about grace or premarital sex or divorce or laziness or alcohol or whatever your dad's vice of choice is, put your dad through the wringer and then say "Ha, see, you say gambling is a sin, but you're just as bad as meeeee!" but that's not going to really get you to where you want to be with your dad.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:48 PM   #12
henrymi
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Re: Is poker evil?

Thanks for the responses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lestat View Post
You say you live with your mom, but does your dad support you in any way? If not, 21 is an adult afaik. And two adults are bound to have some disagreements. He's not the boss of you anymore. The more important question is; do YOU think poker is evil? Just go with that answer.
He is meant to pay half of my University fees, and did last year, but this year he so far hasn't contributed anything (why i paid his half with poker winnings).

I'm completely fine with playing poker, but I do sometimes feel guilty about taking money from others w/out contributing to society. But those feelings are usually quickly assuaged when I look at my bank balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gin 'n Tonic View Post
So he's already broken his solemn word to god, and he's going to lecture you about playing poker? Standard.
Ah no, my dad was a raging atheist until he met his new wife who led him to God. This was about 15 years ago (parents divorced almost 20 years ago).

Quote:
Originally Posted by la6ki View Post
This. We don't live in the 13th century where parents have chosen the job of their children before they are even born. You are perfectly free to choose your own way of making money according to your views, not your parents' views.

You keeping it a secret from your dad for such a long time was a mistake to begin with. I'd suggest to fix this mistake and the sooner the better.
Yeah for sure I agree, and it kinda feels like my dad is setting a double standard because he always complains that HIS dad forced him into his career which he hates, and he wants me to do what I love; but that obviously precludes a career as a gambler.

fwiw when I finish my degree I may not pursue poker as a career, but I also might like to try it for a while.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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Re: Is poker evil?

You are an adult, and have begun to take at least partial financial responsibility for your own life and goals. Good on you. I wish more college kids could display this behavior. My wife and I also put ourselves through college, and it was an experience I'm thankful for. You are on the right path.

IMO, your situation really has nothing to do with the ethics of poker. Your behavior is not unethical or evil, so long as your gains in poker have come by strict adherence to the rules of a fair game. The debate about contributing to society has been done to death, and I disagree that it's a valid issue on any level. It's like every other entertainment based income. It doesn't 'produce' any lasting product in a direct manner, but people do enjoy it and are willing to spend money on it. That circulation of money produces jobs, and thereby has benefit to society.

Honestly, I wouldn't press the issue with your Father, but be completely forthright and honest if/when the discussion does occur.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:03 PM   #14
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by henrymi View Post
He is meant to pay half of my University fees, and did last year, but this year he so far hasn't contributed anything (why i paid his half with poker winnings).

I'm completely fine with playing poker, but I do sometimes feel guilty about taking money from others w/out contributing to society. But those feelings are usually quickly assuaged when I look at my bank balance.
I think it's great that you're concerned about his feelings, but like I said, you are an adult now and you're not always going to see eye to eye with your father on every issue in life that comes up. There will be all sorts of things like child rearing (when you're a father) that you might have a difference of opinion on, etc., etc.

As for not contributing anything to society, I agree with kb coolman. What does Albert Pujols contribute to society by hitting home runs and playing first base? What great benefit does Tome cruise provide? The fact is, these people are in the entertainment business and so are you in a way. People enjoy playing poker to pit their wits against others, for entertainment, or just a means to get out of the house and escape from their daily grind. You help provide a game for them to play. That's nothing to feel guilty about, imo. Good luck!
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:07 PM   #15
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Re: Is poker evil?

Just try comparing poker to the stock market. As long as you know what your doing and playing with proper bankroll management its not really different.

If that doesn't work then just leave the subject alone imo.

Having to deal with a "born again" Christian parent(s) can be tough from my experiences regarding poker.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:14 PM   #16
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My advice is don't try to explain it unless you think logic and reason are things your dad values highly. And I say this as unoffesively as possible...if he believes in the bible, then logic and reason may not exactly be priorities to him.

I was raised in a strict pentacostal/christian home and I know how difficult trying to having these types of discussions can be. For most people, if they're right, they're right...and convincing them otherwise is often fruitless. Trying is often a confrontational waste of time. Especially arguing morality with religious folks. There are exceptions, but I've just been dumbfounded too many times by peoples stubbornness and hard-headedness that I don't bother. And I don't feel I've missed out on much.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:18 PM   #17
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Re: Is poker evil?

donate 10% of your winnings to church or some other good cause in the name of Jesus and maybe he will be ok with it... Maybe ask him if he would be ok with that concept, if he says yes, then a month or so after tell him that this what you've decided to do...

I know plenty of Christians who think gambling is a sin yet they play lottery and I'm pretty sure that if they actually won something big they would credit god with the win. Kind of makes no sense when people do that, don't you think? Either god think it's a sin and he opposes it so you win you are basically saying that god helped you sin? Or god doesn't think it's a sin then maybe as a christian can go ahead and credit him with the blessing ( although I think it's ridiculous).

Last edited by gskowal; 08-29-2011 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:11 PM   #18
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggg View Post
What grace is, essentially, is that we are no longer slaves to (old covenant) law.
This statement and the entire rest of your post do not answer if poker or gambling can be considered a sin. We know Jesus is the means by which sin will be cleansed, but that doesn't mean adultery is no longer a sin. In your opinion is poker a sin?
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CompleteDegen View Post
This statement and the entire rest of your post do not answer if poker or gambling can be considered a sin. We know Jesus is the means by which sin will be cleansed, but that doesn't mean adultery is no longer a sin. In your opinion is poker a sin?
Sigh. Plus jesus said he didn't come to destroy the old law but to fulfil it. I really hate wwenever I respond to bible threads. So much riiclousness...yet I keep checking in. Sigh.
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:39 PM   #20
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Better question...did jesus christ even exist? Prove it in the historical record...GO!
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:15 AM   #21
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Re: Is poker evil?

Through Christ everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
(1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)

Poker is a sin for many people. Not because they're playing poker, but because they're being bad stewards.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:26 AM   #22
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You could also make the argument that OP shouldn't play since he's "stumbling his brother".
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:12 AM   #23
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Re: Is poker evil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rizeagainst View Post
Explain that poker is not any closer to gambling than football is
LOL.... ummm.... yea... it is.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:37 PM   #24
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Re: Is poker evil?

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Originally Posted by JoeyDiamonds View Post
LOL.... ummm.... yea... it is.
Poker isn't gambling for most people. I'm sure you think it is because you have lost tons of money from of all the bad beats you've taken. You're a winner but you're just getting unlucky.

Fact is, most people are clear winners or clear losers. Most people either basically give away money or rake it in easily. Playing poker when you have no chance to win isn't gambling. It's just pissing your money away.

There's a minority that have an EV around 0%. Poker is gambling for that type of player. You don't know if they will win or lose. Betting on things such as football is similar to these types of people. Anybody who gambles on football can either win or lose.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:08 PM   #25
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Re: Is poker evil?

What? Gambling with +EV is still gambling. Just like Gambling with -EV is still gambling. wtf?!
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