Is Statistical Tournament Poker Gambling?

I’m a poker player, not a professional by any means, but not bad player either. This last month a new poker parlor opened in Portland, Oregon that got my interest. I had seen lots of tournament poker in bars around Portland but they didn’t appeal to me for a few reasons…

1. They were in a bar, which meant a smoke filled environment and I am not fond of cigarette smoke.

2. The nights of play varied, often it was like every Tuesday night but not every night, if I wanted to vary my nights of play I had to go to different locations.

3. There was no guarantee that I could play, if I made the trip to the bar and the seats at the tables were already assigned I was SOL, I made the trip for no reason, or I had to wait 2 hours for the next game to begin, which might already be all assigned.

4. There was an expectation to use the establishment, and I agree with this, if they host a poker game they should expect the participants to buy food, drink, and whatever else. But extra bar food is not always in my budget.

5. Because the game was free it was usually crowded and the seats taken up by regulars who usually did not use the establishment, they even had the audacity to bring food or drink from another location into the establishment where the game was being played.

So, needless to say I did not play in the bar tourneys much. In steps this new poker room, National Poker Challenge, opening a new location here in Portland in the Cedar Hills area. I had to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised. They had addressed all of the issues I had with bar tournaments.

1. The room was non-smoking, a smoking area had been set up outside for the players that had to have their addiction to get their fix.

2. There are games every day, several times a day. They open at 3:00pm and close around 10:00pm with their first game at 3:15pm and their last game currently around 8:30pm.

3. They have online sign-up available or you can call the room for a seat, if the game is full they can tell you the likelihood of you getting a seat as an alternate and if they don’t have enough players for a game they will call you and tell you so. They exercise an in-your-seat policy, at the time the game is supposed to start if you are not in-your-seat or at least called and told them that you are on your way, your seat is given to an alternate.

4. and 5. Because the location is devoted to the game and not a bar or restaurant itself there is no expectation to purchase anything from the establishment because poker is its business.

Their business model is similar to the bar tournaments in that you are not playing for cash but are playing for points and statistical analysis of your play. Rather then charging the bar owners for running the tournaments they charge the players directly and statistically track the players play. The players are charged a monthly subscription that pays for the facilities, the dealers, and the statistic tracking. They do offer invitational tournaments for the top players that have cash and prizes. There is no charge for the invitational tournament. So is this gambling?

According to the Oregon Department of Justice it is, because the players are paying a fee to play and there are prizes at the end. But what makes this different from other events? Is it the poker chips? Are poker players being discriminated against because they use a piece of clay to track their points during a game? Think about it, you can have a chess tournament with an entry fee, there are prizes at the end for the best players, but does the Department of Justice call that gambling?

You can have a marathon where the runners pay an entry fee and there are prizes at the end, and most of the runners don’t even have a chance of finishing first, but is this called gambling? But because poker players play a game that uses chips it is called gambling when the games they are paying for don’t even have prizes. So, again, is it gambling? In my humble opinion, No it is not gambling. You are playing a game of skill and having your skill tracked. My hope is that the Oregon DoJ is not successful in its discrimination of this location and drops their investigation.

I invite you to join us in the poker room and try your skill at the table, see how they track your statistics and see how it may improve your play. After all, their tag line is “Do you know who the best poker player is? We do!”

Asian Gambling Basics

Gambling became popular in China in the last phase of the imperial dynasty i.e. from 1644 to 1912. Canton, Macao, Shanghai and Hong Kong became the famous for their liquor and gambling. These areas inhabited foreigners, usually Americans, who were known to be rough. Moreover, majority of these inhabitants were males. Chinese natives indulged in gambling along with the foreigners.

Famous gambling games in China include Mah Jongg and Pai Gow.

Pia Gow consists of a bank having one woodpile. The banking duties are entrusted to one of the players. Other players are given four tiles of the woodpile, which they have to group in pairs of two such that the player’s pair should have a greater value than the bank. If the player succeeds then he wins the bet. A lot of money can exchange hands over this game.

Mah Jongg, meaning ‘sparrow’ is an ancient game which was developed primarily for the rich class of China. The game is said to have been invented by a fisherman to prevent sea sickness. It is said that the fisherman invented this game to distract the other fishermen from the surroundings, so that they do not feel sea sick in the middle of the sea. Later, a Chinese general heard of the game and engaged his soldiers in it at night to prevent them from falling asleep. The game underwent a lot of variations and every region called it with a different name. Finally, the game was standardized in early 1990s. the game consists of 136 to 144 tiles depending on the whether the players choose to play with flowers or seasons. The play resembles rummy except for the fact that the game is played with tiles. The game also uses a pair of dice and chips to keep the score. It requires four players, the aim of each being to obtain a set of tiles. The set types that are permitted are “kong”, “pung” and “chow”. A complete hand contains four sets and a pair of similar tiles. The fist one to have this combination of fourteen tiles wins.

Another game is Sci Bo, meaning ‘two dice’. This game is a betting game with players betting on the total of their dice. It is played with three dice. The bets include small bets that is the total may fall; between the range of four to ten, or big bets i.e. the total may fall between eleven to seventeen. The players shake the dice in a cup and keep the cup upside down with the dice hidden in the cup. Wagers are then made on the outcome. The player guessing the total can earn hugs sums. It is rumored that skilful players can predict the total by hearing the clanking of dice in the cup. In casinos the entire game is mechanized. Bets are placed on the number marked on the table. The dice are then shaken using a vibrating platform. The results are displayed on a screen. Other famous gambling games include Keno and Pachinko.

Despite the popularity of these gambling games, not all Chinese states are ready to legalize it. While Macao has legalized gambling, Shanghai carries it on illegally. In Hong Kong, only horse raising is legalized and The Hong Kong Jockey Club earns huge revenue.

Offshore Gambling – A Real Review On Offshore Gambling

Offshore gambling is commonly defined as the voluntary risking of a sum of money called a wager, stake, or bet, on the outcome of a game or other event. Gambling is risking something of value on the outcome of an uncertain event. Gambling is central to almost everything we do as human beings. Gambling is legal in 48 of 50 states. Offshore gambling is very much a leisure activity.

Internet gambling, for the compulsive gambler is defined as follows: Any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or skill constitutes gambling. Casino gambling involves betting, whether individually or in pools, in games of chance where the odds of winning or losing are artificially created so that those who win do so (at least in part) at the expense of those who lose. Offshore gambling has been branded the new “opium of the people” in a Church of Scotland report presented to the General Assembly. Internet gambling becomes a problem when it causes a negative impact on any area of the individual’s life. Internet casino gambling can include playing the on-line or video lottery games, playing cards, dice, or dominoes, playing slot machines, betting on sporting events (with or without a bookie), betting on the horses or greyhounds, betting on games of skill (bowling, pool, golf, video or arcade games), and many other activities.

Offshore gambling is the new pre-marital sex. Online gambling can be addictive, but only to persons that have an addictive personality. Online casinos are a choice adults make about how to spend their own money. Internet gambling is a more responsible way of gambling than going to a brick and mortar casino where there is no limit on the amount you loose, where you are encouraged to continue gambling. Blackjack gambling online for example, is growing rapidly over the last 2 years and attracts many companies to invest in this ancient game. Gambling systems can be better monitored to avoid problem gambling than traditional forms of land-based gambling. Online casinos have regulations in nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Antigua ensure that consumers are treated fairly and the games are completely honest. Online poker fans from the States are already comparing this era of prohibition to that of the 1920s. The level of interest in online gambling remained relatively consistent throughout the year and actually increased in July 2001, at the same time as the introduction of the Interactive Gambling Act.

Online casinos as they do present some difficulties for the new player to get accustomed to, have none of the intricacies as land-based casinos do. Gambling is based on the evil desire to get money or goods, which belong to someone else without giving fair value in exchange. Offshore gambling is big business, bringing in huge amounts of cash and tax revenue, and employing thousands of state citizens. Gambling is essentially an expression of a covetous spirit and in my opinion offshore gambling is so appealing because of the opportunity to get something for nothing. Online casinos are successfully regulated in many parts of the world, so it can obviously be regulated in the United States. If you think of gambling as a form of entertainment, that seems to take a lot of the mystique away, and it may be easier to see that gambling is pretty harmless if one looks at it from an economic point of view.

To be continued…

Teenage Gambling At Post Prom High School Party

The latest trend to hit high schools is supervised teenage gambling at the Post Prom School Party. Over the past few months I have received numerous emails from parents, students and school faculty expressing concern about the new alternative entertainment. In all cases these people believe it would do more harm then good.

The concept became reality for students once the Post Prom Committee voted to accept this new alternative entertainment.

This Post Prom Committee believes this is safe night party for the High School prom. The students who are taking part are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years old. Each student is able to purchase fake money to gamble with and at the end of the night they can trade this money in for prizes with at the end of the night. Some parents believe this is a safe wonderful event for their children. While others believe this is one area they prefer their kids not be involved with.

One of the emails I received was from a family who home schools their five children. I was surprised since their kids were not involved. She had explained to me that her daughter who is seventeen has friends who attend the public school system. She went on to tell me the negative behavior exhibited by these teens after the event took place. In fact they taught her daughter how to play black jack and poker. This is a good neighborhood that has strong community ties. She also informed me that she not see the difference between using fake money or real money when you still have a chance to win a prize that has value. She believes these teens are being educated on how to gamble, win and take the easy way out.

People in favor of this gambling event, nicely told those who were against it to have their teenager’s stay home. It was my understanding the post prom parties were supposed to be for everyone.

It surprised me that a school district finds gambling night an acceptable behavior for our teenagers.

I have seen first hand the self destruction gambling can do to teenagers and adults. It’s my belief that gambling should be limited to people who are eighteen and over.

Another email was asking me for the specific statistics on the negative impact on a teenager’s who attend a gambling event. General statistics reflect a percentage of those in attendance will develop a compulsive gambling addiction. Some of these same students may become addicted at some point in their life. I have found that addictions to gambling are not age sensitive. People of any age who are gambling for the very first time can develop a gambling addiction. Usually a friend or family member takes them to the gambling establishment. I first found it difficult to understand how a person who is sixty five retired and on a fixed income gets addicted to gambling. The seniors I spoke with were very upset and didn’t understand how this happened to them. The unfortunate part is they lost their pensions and now only have their Social Security to live on. In one case the Grandmother has to move in with her daughter.

There is very little difference between supervised gambling and allowing supervised drinking alcoholic beverages or serving the students there choice of dugs on a silver platter. If a Principal served a student an alcoholic drink he would be arrested. I am trying to understand how school educators and parents can distinguish between alcohol and gambling on school property. How is one more acceptable then the other?

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between alcohol addiction and gambling addiction. The correlation was based on individuals who attend both Gamblers Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

It would be a shame to find out ten years from now that students who took part in supervised gambling at the High School level their future was compromised by a life of self destruction and low self esteem.

It’s a proven statistics that students who gamble get a similar rush as if they just had an alcoholic beverage. The only difference here they will not wake up with a hang over and the side effects are minimal until it’s too late.

We have now given our students another option in life. The major concern is the student’s will probably like the rush from gambling a lot more then alcohol and or drugs since there is no hang over or smell. Some students are likely to continue gambling. Students with A grades are not exempt from this. Statistics show that compulsive teenage gamblers are also very bright and articulate individuals.

People need to be educated on teenage gambling and its long term affects. It’s illegal to gamble if you are under 18. It’s also illegal to drink if you are under 18 (some places 21) and it’s illegal to smoke cigarettes if you are under 18. These laws were set for a reason. Another email I received wanted to know do these school systems have any respect for the Law?

I emailed each of the people and asked why haven’t they raised their concerns to the school board? They all responded the same. “We are the minority and now we look bad in front of our kids.” This is truly a no win situation.

The parents who are against this sort of entertainment believe; if just one student develops a compulsive gambling addiction that is one too many.

For more information on Stop Teenage Gambling Website [http://www.teenage-gambling-addiction.org] and I Stopped Gambling So Can You http://www.istoppedgambling.com/.