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Family, Religion and Poker


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#1 LockDown

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 06:55 AM

Daniel, et all. It's Christmas and my wife and I have her family in for the holidays. They're devout Christians, as are my wife and I. However, I feel they don't really approve of my poker playing and have a hard time with gambling in general. Now, I've been playing poker successfully for the past two years. Meaning, I've got an exclusive poker bankroll that is for poker only, no household or extra money needed to be put into it. How have you dealt with family/friends that don't approve or don't understand your poker lifestyle? Poker is not my full time job, but it is a significant part of my life. How do you deal with those family members that believe it's not very Christian to play poker? Thanks!Jim

#2 Big_J234

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 07:10 AM

See I agree with you my wife doesn't. Were both Christians and she has a problem with it and I do not. She says it isn't right, but when I ask her to find that in the bible she can't. Right now I don't play for money unless I get some in a freeroll. I see it as a stumbling block for her spiritually and respect her wishes and not use our money. I would suggest the same in this situation, and just not play when they are there.

#3 LockDown

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 08:32 AM

I'm refraining from playing while they are in town, but it's obvious that I do play (poker books on the shelves, Card Player in my office, etc). They don't come right out and say it, but it's just the vibe I get. My wife has no problem with this. In fact, 50% of my winnings (very generous, in my opinion) go to our house each month. If I lose money, it's just out of my bankroll. This forces me to be a good player and not lose money. If I lose, I'm done.If anyone has any Bible references or has dealt with this or similar situations, please let me know. It's not that they don't like me, they don't like the gambling....

#4 BigMike

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 08:53 AM

My wife has no problem with my playing, and we are both Christians.I play poker regularly with my Christian friends also, but not for real money as some of them believe that gambling is wrong. They are not able to specifically back up their position with scripture.My belief is that the Bible's guidance is to be a good steward of your (God's) money. I generally make the point that if it is not sinful to spend $x of dollars on going to a hockey game, then it isn't to take the same amount and gamble with it in a casino or at poker. Both are a couple hours of entertainment, but you actually might not lose it all at the casino (and could win more) but the hockey game money is gone for good.As long as you're not playing with the rent/food/tithing money, I don't think people have a right to judge. At the same time i agree with Big_J234 that you should respect your spouses wishes.Just my 2 cents. Great topic for discussion though.- Mike

#5 Big_J234

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 08:58 AM

Amen

#6 tekn0wledg

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 09:55 AM

I'm single at the moment, so don't have to answer to anyone in terms of direct family is concerned. However I am a big family person and my parents do not agree with me playing poker at all. They see it as gambling and everything negative that is associated with gambling since the 1800s. Bah.At any rate, they aren't religious at all, but my Grandmother is, who I am very close to. The odd thing is that she is comfortable with me playing poker and supports me 100%! So I am fighting two different ends of the spectrum. However I think I have a way to squash the debate once and for all. I'm simply goint to tell my family that I have a seperate bankroll that is not touched on day to day living expenses. I'll also let them know that despite what they think I am going to continue to play as it's my passion. They can help me out by being supportive, or if nothing else, at least understand that it's what I want to do. It's the nagging and complaining about it that bothers me.... if they can drop that I'll be fine with it.

#7 LockDown

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:00 AM

As I was discussing this with my sister-in-law (who doesn't have a problem with this), I made a similar case as Poker as a business. You put in hours, work to improve your accouting, your skill set and your money management. All similar to a business. However, you do not provide any services. Unless you look at the service you are providing is "fun" for someone else, as some has to lose money. So maybe your playing Poker with them is the service you provide?However, there's the point of view that you should only play with those who can afford it and not take money from those who can't or are using the rent money or have a serious problem. However, businesses in general don't really mind whose money they take, to a certain degree. The bar still sells the alcoholic a drink. They do (by law?) limit people who may have had too much. But is it also wrong to sell the alcoholic a drink if you know they have a problem? What if you don't know?All interesting items, but still make it hard to have a convincing conversation with the in-laws, although I will always respect their choices and views.Jim

#8 tilted

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:32 AM

I have had this conversation with some friends who are Christians and who also play poker. This is what we came up with: The Bible tells us not to put anything before Him. This could be classified as an addiction. I think if you are addicted to Poker/Gambling then it is wrong. If not, then we could not find anythign " wrong " with it. Just don't let the game come first in your life before God and Family.
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#9 Matt Miner

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:47 AM

I'm secular so I have more important philosophical questions to worry about than whether Jesus hates Texas Hold 'Em.

#10 Matt Miner

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 10:59 AM

FWIW gambling isn't mentioned at all in the Bible although apparently God looks unfavorably at the idea to "get rich quick" (Ecclesiastes 5:10; Proverbs 13:11; 23:5). In other words if you are a devout Christian you probably shouldn't gamble.

#11 bstulz

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 11:08 AM

I've struggled with this very issue. My religious beliefs would dictate that I do not gamble. But, I really enjoy playing poker and specifically Hold'em tournaents. My wife has no problem with me playing, my in-laws however, frown upon it. I am not addicted to it, I play once a month in a regular game and maybe another time every other month. I would like to play more but I don't put poker infront of family.I have a couple of issues I have trouble dealing with:1) I tell my 11 year old son there is no way I am spending $125 on a pair of basketball shoes, we'll get the $70 pair. But, I don't have a problem playing in a $75 or $100 buy in tournament.2)I don't think I have a gambling problem, but what if my example encourages others (my children) to start gambling and they develop problems as a result?These are tough ones for me to rationalize.

#12 Pupsta

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 11:19 AM

This topic, in and of itself, is my biggest problem with not only Christianity but religion in general. Isn't one of the most important "Christian" lessons not to pass judgment on others? That's exactly what is happening...they have a stereotype of gambling in their head that's un-Jesuslike, so therefore it's bad and you should be condemned for it. Hold'em is the quickest path to hell, other than listening to rap music or marrying outside of your religion that is. It's bogus. I'm tired of religious people trying to push their beliefs on me. If someone doesn't want me to gamble because I can't afford it, then sure, but if someone doesn't want me to because they interpret their religion to be against it, then I'll laugh at them and up my limits, or offer a $50 wager that they can't find a scripture condemning gambling :D

#13 Kendren

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 11:24 AM

Very interesting topic. I live in Tennessee, square in the Bible Belt, and have to hide alot of what I'm doing from co-workers/church friends. My wife and I both play, and we do win some. 10% of everything we win goes immediately in the plate, on top of our normal tithe. Our pastor hasn't asked about the extra 10-20 bucks on occasional weeks yet :D My wife and I have set a budget, maximum deposits and all, and we stick to it. Any and all winnings pulled off go to a savings account and stay there. I'm not very devout, and neither is she, really, but it's still a concern, especially when my biggest tourney hit to date caused me to be 15 minutes late to church :shock:

#14 LockDown

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:18 PM

Although I was raised Catholic and my wife and in-laws Protestant, this is not a matter of pushing religion on anyone. We both have the same faith (in my eyes) and believe the same things. However, because of the way gambling and poker are viewed (or were viewed prior to the latest boom), they believe it to be seedy and full of low life scum. While there are "bad" people in poker, there are some wonderful people that I would have never met otherwise. I feel that my in-laws are passing judgement to quickly, but I have no "evidence" to change their mind. Showing a profit, not using "the rent money", giving a portion of my winnings to the house, keep very accurate records and having a wife who has no problem with it do not convince them. So is there a way to show them this is not a problem, or again, am I wrong?Always keep an open mind.....

#15 jeff_536

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:25 PM

Playing poker is really any different that gambling money on the stock market, as long as it's done responsibly. And I bet there's not a forum of stock brokers discuss the ethics and morals of what they do.

#16 allinbluff35

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:27 PM

lockdown, with the last post that you submitted on this topic, after giving the examples of showing how poker is not viewed the same way as it once was I would honestly probably "give up" on selling the idea to the in-laws. just my opinion
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#17 Wilderness

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:38 PM

LockDown said:

I feel that my in-laws are passing judgement to quickly, but I have no "evidence" to change their mind.  Showing a profit, not using "the rent money", giving a portion of my winnings to the house, keep very accurate records and having a wife who has no problem with it do not convince them.  So is there a way to show them this is not a problem, or again, am I wrong?
In short ... probably not. You are doing about everything that you can do I think. All you can control are your actions, so you act well, give some of your winnings to the church, keep good records, and play the game resepectfully. They will have to realize at some point that there is nothing inherently wrong with poker and gambling. There are some bad people who play poker, or people who have problems with gambling, but that's because of who they are, not what game they play. Most people out there are like you, just playing to have fun with money they can easily afford to lose.I like the analogy that someone else posted, how its just like spending money to entertain yourself at a sports game, or a movie. Only in poker, you might not lose your money and may win as well. I think you've got the right approach to it, and if your family members can't see that then I don't think you will sway them with any other arguments.
Jason

#18 HoosierGrady

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:38 PM

I sometimes play poker online at the computers at my church, but i play under the name Moses...and then donate half my winnings to the collection plate, do you think the man upstairs is pissed at me?

#19 rog

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 12:45 PM

I wonder if tournaments are actually gambling. People compete in sports events with buy-ins and payouts all the time and we never consider it gambling. Why is a floor hockey tournament not gambling while a poker tournament is? Cash games are another matter.Rog

#20 LockDown

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 01:08 PM

I think your right (sorry I didn't grab your name from your post), but if my current actions do not change their mind, most likely, no amount of discussions/proof will do that. I know I tried before, but in that case it was BlackJack. When counting cards and finding the correct game, it can be profitable, but it takes a lot of work and you can still lose. Is this gambling? Is poker gambling? All life/work has uncertanties, but we look down at them as much as we do any game that has to deal with money and cards. Inherently, greed is sin and any game involved with money will be looked at with a certain light. But am I playing and being greedy, I don't think so. I'm trying to grind out my 2BB or better an hour (100 hands online). I know the risks/rewards and I work to get better.Enough rambling. There are my thoughts....




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