Poker Morality

Selfish is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live
Oscar Wilde

I knew I wasn’t working hard enough, or spending my free time constructively, because I spent too much of it reading mindless drivel on various poker forums (ok I did look at a porn site once too). I could almost cope with my own ingrained sloth, until, I found myself reacting to a post on a poker forum by replying with a post of my own.

This was the last straw, now I know I have finally cracked. I should not have been surprised as this “situation” constantly reoccurs. However often I tell myself to ignore verbal assaults, I never seem to manage it for more than about 30 seconds. I am a bit better when I read something I find offensive, but eventually, my self control dissolves, and often only my apathy prevents me from responding.

The post in question, which started this chain of introspection, was a sad little diatribe on the greed and immorality inherent in playing poker. It wasn’t strictly necessary for me to respond to the ravings of a right wing bigot, whose views are no doubt implanted by another idiot, who gets paid by his community to tell them what to think. However, it did address an issue I have considered before, and one I have often encountered when mentioning what I do for a living.

There appear to be a lot of people who confuse morality with convention. I have been told that I am not contributing to society, that I should get a proper job, that I should do something worthwhile. So I gave the matter some thought, and decided, as I often do, that I was in the right, and everyone else was wrong.

There are occupations that are altruistic, but so few, as to be hardly worth mentioning. My own list includes social workers, nurses, charity workers, ambulance drivers, firemen, but that was about it. Most occupations/jobs, are pursued solely for the purpose of earning money and or power/glory. Capitalism encourages greed and selfishness as far as work is concerned, but some people like to pretend they are providing a service to others. Adverts always tell you how keen people are to help you with their products, and this hypocracy is understood, and accepted, in the same way we pretend people are working for the common good.

In most areas of commerce, the game seems to be to steal as much as you can legally get away with. Personally I question the ethics of Bankers Lawyers Politicians Salesmen and everyone else involved in commercial ventures.

Poker is very straightforward. No-one is under any illusion. You play, you may lose your money. There are pro players and good amateurs who will be happy to take it. If you want to compete , you just have to take your chances. Yes there are undesirables in the poker community, cheats and thieves, as there are in every field of activity, but the game itself is honest, and given the parameters of our society, morally acceptable too.