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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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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
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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
leavesofliberty
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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
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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
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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
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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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Old 07-11-2017, 06:45 PM   #22
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

Gambling addicts facilitate themselves.
The persons responsible for the majority of the gambling industries also facilitate gambling addicts by ignoring several signs and not acting upon several signs.
I'd like to give you an example, one time I spent the deposit limit in one gambling focused company (the most known), and I did it by doing several deposits/multiple times, until I reached the standard limit set when you first install the software, several deposits, multiple times, and then I sent one e-mail asking for the level to be increased and it was promptly raised.
I'm not saying this automatically means anything. But in my case, I had an history of deposits available to be checked, and that history, of years, shows a constant loss and multitude of different value deposits on a day-to-day basis, with several re-deposits the same days. That's more than indicative a person is addicted.

If the history of deposits of a gambling addict is checked, it will show clear signs that that person is addicted:
- Day-to-day basis
- Discrepancy between amounts
- Full and almost full values of the deposits turned to 0/close to over and over
- Tendency for less amounts than the prior
- Types of method used for payment

Maybe others. The thing most noticeable might be that it's too many, on the same day, everyday. I think. And there should be taken actions to restrict the person from making deposits for some time.

It's not something that any balanced human being might do in his life, in all billions of human beings that exist, to spend practically the whole of life injecting money into anything that anybody can think off, thru deposits, day-in-day-in and between 3 and 3 hours or less, and spending it.

This is just one example of course, the facilitation of the addiction is a business, the "VIP benefits"...

As for everything else there is no facilitation factor, that's more a marketing factor.

Last edited by thelover; 07-11-2017 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:31 AM   #23
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

It's possible I over-estimate free will in areas such as this, and it is a blind spot of mine.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:11 PM   #24
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

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It's possible I over-estimate free will in areas such as this, and it is a blind spot of mine.
As I am speaking now, I have an almost uncontrollable urge to go out buy the minimum amount to deposit and play...

I woke up yesterday with the loudest thought on my head, the 1st thought in my head and conversation with myself while I'm still waking up is "today I'm going to play with my money", this is not the 1st day since I stop.

Today, the exact same thing, I wake up and as soon as I wake up still in my bed, in my head the thought to go play with my money is screaming in my head.

And I am here, and because I am alone, and I don't have any plans to do anything, either I go see memes/tv-shows/movies/play other video-game (I have more than 50 different video-games in my computer) or I play poker.
The only thing that I enjoy more than everything I can do in this case, it's to play, and since I can do it, everything else looses like 50% or more of the fun and interest it can have to me, so anything I will do except gambling, will make me feel depressed and sad that I am not gambling, not that I want to feel like that, it's an unconscious feeling, and uncontrollable.

I'm listening music, and i'm almost in panic because I don't want to do it, I don't want to put my money on this again, and this is why I have come here now one more time, but the machine is 5minutes from me, I can go right now, and put all my money on the game, and ruin one more month, delay my life a little more.

And then you say, hey, but you can ban yourself from deposit yourself.
The problem is I can't allow myself to not be free to satisfy my addiction if I feel so, if I do it, I will feel frustrated on top of everything, I will feel anxiety and more will to deposit, I might even go to other site and deposit there just because I can't deposit where I banned myself, just to feel I can do it.
I will feel worse than I'm feeling now. This is me facilitating myself, but i'm afraid I will do it and regret it, and so I don't do it.

Now, i'm fighting with myself, I want to put money, and I say to myself, no, I won't do it, I will loose it, or what I will win will be no good anyways, this is BS, there's no reason to deposit, even if I do it bankroll-managing, it will be the minimum amount and so it will not give me the profit that would leave me confortable if I do make any profit at all...

All the reasons I might have that I tell myself and convince myself to not waste my money, all instantly evaporate when the demon answers with: No, do it, you'll win today. You'll be enjoying yourself.

I'm sitting here, and i'm fantasizing/imaging myself going to get the minimum amount to deposit, like the demon is trying to fool me into seeing that action has being natural/normal...

When I'm talking with someone on the computer, I get constant thoughts of after the end of the conversation, wanting to go play with my money, followed by, it will not make any bad to me to do it, and then my small voice deep inside of me screams, but I listen to her, much more lower, saying, no, it will be bad, you don't like that anymore, you will do other stuff other than that, there's more to that, and there's more to do. And I get sad.

So, I'm scared, I never felt like this with any other addiction other than cigarettes, and even cigarettes don't make me wake up thinking about smoking one cigarette if I don't have them.

I know that if I make the minimum deposit, and I loose it, or I go down, and i'm already playing, completely focused and inside the game, I will be checking out all the tournaments and prizepools, and there will appear a new one that I will want to enter, and I will re-deposit the same day, I will run if I need to just to be present in the tournament if it's almost ending the late registration... And I will tend to check the more higher buy-ins for higher prizepools, which is completely crazy, which will lead for bigger and bigger re-deposits.

The same day re-deposit, turns into a completely acceptable move after passing the barrier of allowing myself to deposit, the feeling of sadness and that I am destroying my life will be there, but I'm no longer moved by myself, I can also feel that I don't even want to be playing anymore, and I will be doing the deposit the same, and gambling, without wanting. But after loosing, the will to re-deposit will like make me alive again, and I will do it again, and again, and again.

Nobody needs to read this, this is just me trying to help myself and distract myself from not going out deposit.

Last edited by thelover; 07-12-2017 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:14 PM   #25
leavesofliberty
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Re: Playing Poker Professionally and Facilitating Gambling Addiction / Harmful Gambling

Try other games. Stratego, Chess. Word Searches even. Don't claw your skin off.

Or better still, try computer programming. Programming has always served as my substitute.

Or web development.

The YouTube channel 'thenewboston' has got lots of videos.

Strategy, build another plank in your life.
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