Sunday, September 3, 2006

A Lot Of Fun For Ten Cents

I confess. I "gambled" last night.

After I put up ten cents to enter an online tournament run by, the game started with about 2,500 participants from all over the world.

Online hands of cards go much faster than they do with physical cards. Most of the big-risk takers were out after only 30 minutes. I was still in.

I won a few hands and stayed in just over an hour, and ended in 258th place, winning 22 cents, for a gain of 12 cents.

I could have going bowling instead. Except that I'm not sure I could have stood up long enough to finish a game due to my health problems. And except that the only bowling alley I know of allows smoking, and I'm extremely sensitive to smoke. And it would have cost a whole lot more than 10 cents for the shoe rental and the lane. Plus the gasoline and wear-and-tear on my car, and the increase of my carbon-footprint on the environment from its exhaust.

No, I stayed home, warm and comfortable on a cold night. I was surrounded by my family, and I had a whole lot of fun for a measly dime.

You have to pay taxes to pay for prisons, so I ask you: How long do you think I should spend in prison for what some bone-headed people think is a crime?

Friday, September 1, 2006

Poker is a Game of Skill

Congressman Bob Goodlatte is trying to get online gambling outlawed, and he seems to lump Poker in with the likes of roulette, blackjack, craps, etc. He was quoted as saying he played poker in college, and he therefore knows first hand that poker is a game of chance.

I have a question for the Congressman. If poker isn't a game of skill, then how do the same people keep showing up at the final tables in tournament after tournament? Chance would dictate a random selection of entrants at each final table.

Is there an element of chance in poker? Of course, just as there is in any sport such as football, baseball, or basketball. However, an element of chance does not mean the game turns primarily on chance. Poker has facets involving psychology and mathematics, which make it a game of skill that is more complex (and more fun) than chess. The reason that the same people keep winning national and international tournaments is because they have developed their skills to the highest levels.

Feel free to not play poker yourself, Congressman. But don't try to make it illegal for those of us who enjoy the challenge of developing a complex set of skills while enjoying a great American pastime.