Saturday, January 10, 2009

Does poker make you a worse person?

I made a post (Changing Paths: Experiences about leaving poker) on an internet forum about this, and wow, I received pretty good responses. Some of the are really interesting and I think I'm gonna post them here because they are good, deep and offer a pretty interesting perspective for us poker players; and I'll offer some of my thoughts in the topic.

This response from "Ice" caught my eye and opens a pretty good discussion: Do we get worse as persons playing poker?

Here is the post, I quote:

"Ive been playing for about 2.5 years and im thinking about quitting or at east taking a long break. its probably for different reasons then other posters here, TBH i just feel like poker has turned me into a worse person then i used to be. i remember when i started playing poker i was a pretty honest and genuinely nice guy(for a poker player lol) and i don't remember intentionally trying to make some other person feel bad for no reason. but recently i've just noticed that ive turned into kind of a dick at the poker table. i despise almost everybody i play against. i show people bluffs only to **** with them and make my opponents feel bad. ive noticed myself become more greedy and selfish over the last 6 months or so. u can just see what poker does too people when u play live, all the douchebags that u see at the casinos at 3AM. i mean it just cant be good for somebody to be around these types of people.

It also just makes no ****ing sense to spend your 20´s in front of a computer grinding 12 dollars an hour when i could get a job and make more then that for half the time and probably feel better about myself while doing it.

i think poker has just turned me into a really miserable person and i would be doing myself and everyone around me a favour if i quit or take a long break or something."

I certainly can feel related to a lot of things Ice mention here, I started my career as a poker player in a B&M casino, and I remember the long hours, the terrible smoke (thanks God now is banned almost anywhere from good), and the scumbags/degenerates anywhere. Despite finding online good friends and pretty nice people, most probably in general the online poker scene is no much different, super greedy people, cheaters, lairs, sociopaths, people with no morals aside from using everybody to make some bucks, I sometimes lol at the "moral codes" some poker players think they have, probably they saw the Godfather or something and pretend they have some untouchable honor and "deep" respect for the game and their peers; most of the time this is just BS, of course it's not general, hell I'm a poker player and a pretty decent human being :), and of course there are plenty more, but I agree with Ice that for those who have the scumbag gene, poker accelerates their path to scumbagland, and some who otherwise would be pretty social and nice people, poker deteriorates them. There should be a minuscule minority who poker helped them to be better human beings. And I'm not naive, I know there are plenty of professions who make people worse (in general), just pointing out mine (sadly) is one of them.
Even for us who try to avoid all these shit and are constantly fighting against it, it takes its toll, definitely. I think if you want to go pro or if you are already one, you need to take a hard look at this and answer yourself if you like such environment, if you are not bother by it or if you can be one of the uncorruptibles.


Kenny Bier said...

Hey David, another good read. I see alot of poker players as shady people. I turned off my player chat/observer chat a while ago, because I don't like alot of my opponents either. I'm going to UTEP this semester but I was disappointed to find out that you stopped there 3 years ago.

Pacocho said...

I think poker works like a mirror or some stuff out of a starwars movie jedi shit.

If you take the light side, poker will help you develop a lot of positive skills.

if you take the dark side you will only develop the nasty part of it.

Is a personal choice, you just have to make the effort.