Should I feel bad about taking other people’s money?

A lot of people play poker for entertainment – to have a bit of fun. I used to play poker for the enjoyment and pleasure of winning, but nowadays the main the reason I play poker is to make money.

I play online, playing 4 tables at a time (there are other players that play as many as 35 tables at a time!) with a $400 buyin at each table . I don’t know who I’m playing against or who I’m taking money off, but I could be taking money off innocent people that won’t be able to feed there families tonight because of it.

Should I feel bad about taking their money?

Probably, but I don’t. I don’t know who they are and they shouldn’t be playing if they don’t want to lose.

When you play poker you try to deceive others, so playing poker is like stealing or lying. I wouldn’t rob a bank, I wouldn’t lie in court, I wouldn’t steal a sweet from a newsagent and I would even give back money if I was given incorrect change in a shop.

The difference is that in a poker game everybody knows that deception is involved and everybody is aware that everybody is trying to deceive everybody else. This is how the game works and if there were no deception involved there would be no game. Cheating is unacceptable, but lying is acceptable because everybody is aware that you may be lying.

Another problem of playing poker is that everybody goes into the game thinking that they are going to win and if they didn’t think they were going to win then they just wouldn’t play. So if they lose and win you have tricked them and effectively stolen from them. I personally do not agree with this argument, but there are many that do. I believe that everybody is willing to lose so that they can have a chance of winning. For there money they were given the opportunity to win more money. They bought a lottery ticket. They lost, but they could have won.

There are many more points to discuss about the ethics of poker. I will continue this in another discussion. Points to think about are:

  • What are you giving to the world by being professional poker player? It is one of the most selfish jobs out there. Being a professional gambler is like being a parasite. Sucking out the good and giving nothing back. On the other hand a lot of jobs
    give nothing to the world and they are just a means of making a living and looking after you and your family.
  • Taking advantage of other’s weaknesses.
  • Taking money from people that can’t afford to lose it.

I don’t feel bad about taking people’s money because I can’t see them. But what if I could? And the fact that I can’t see them doesn’t make it okay.

The film “Boiler Room” (based on the book “Liar’s Poker“) shows a good example of taking money off people that can’t afford to lose it. The film is about a young stock broker that sells share in no-existent companies. He can’t see the people he’s selling to either. He sells over the phone. There’s one guy that loses everything because of it. This could be happening in the poker games that I play in online. Do I want to be a part of this? Ruining someone’s life?

I play for relatively low stakes and if I don’t take there money from them someone else will. So I can’t cause someone to lose everything. There are also limits on the poker sites that stop people depositing big sums of cash.

I don’t want to play poker for a living, but I plan on playing for long enough to make a quick million and then stop. I don’t want to play poker for a living, because it is frowned upon and no one wants to marry a poker player. I’m only 18 years old at the moment.

I wouldn’t want my daughter marrying a poker player.

What are others thoughts on this topic?

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1 Comment

Filed under General, Poker

One response to “Should I feel bad about taking other people’s money?

  1. jcap1p

    I can change your title if you want, or I can do it after the WSOP.

    When playing live you can clearly see a person’s demeanor change when they go from losing a little, to dipping into the mortgage payment. When playing poker to make money you have to turn a blind eye to this.
    Yes, in everyday life you feel bad for them, but at the poker table, I’m not going to miss a nice big value bet on the river against a guy no matter how stuck he is.

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