People's money is their own and they should be free to do with as they wish. If they want to risk it in a high-stakes poker game, that's their prerogative. But trying to create some "poker utopia" where no one loses or even where no one loses more than they can comfortably afford is just downright silly.
We don't tell people that they can't drop $30k on designer clothes, luxurious travel, or internet stocks; nor should we tell them that they can't drop it gambling.
Is losing that kind of money [censored] stupid? Yes
But freedom means freedom to do the [censored] stupid.
Yes, I totally agree with this in a world where people take responsibility for their own actions. Unfortunately, there are many folks who don't. They fall into two categories:
THE VICTIM: "How can you let this happen to me. I'm broke and can't take care of myself. Since you didn't ban gambling, you need to give me food stamps, welfare, unemployment (I got fired for stealing). It's all your fault, I couldn't control myself."
THE ENABLER: "Oh these poor people. They have kids to feed. I really feel sorry for them so we need to give them food stamps, welfare, unemployment (they were stealing 'cause they had no choice). It wasn't their fault, so let's setup a government assistance program for them and then shut down the evil gambling companies."
So, until people take responsibility for themselves and we quit enabling those that don't, you and I are on the hook for their poor decisions. Also, anyone playing at stakes large enough to support themselves is preying on these people. Do the preditors have any ethical/moral responsibility to their prey? I wish the issue were totally about freedom, but there is a huge gray area here.