Matthew Rousu published an excellent pro-poker piece at The Federalist today. The basic premise of the article is that poker is not simply a degenerate form of gambling. It argues that poker actually teaches valuable life skills such as understanding game theory and statistics, emotional control and money management.
The article goes even further to explain how poker is clearly a game of skill and not a game of luck. These are things that I (and pretty much all serious poker players) have been saying for years, but Matthew Rousu words it beautifully. This is one of the few poker pieces I’ve ever read on a non-poker site that should simultaneously appeal to a general audience AND to serious players.
Here’s one tidbit from the article:
The math in poker can get quite advanced. You can examine the probability that a player holds a particular hand given the variety of possible hands you’d expect him/her to hold. A serious poker player will learn the equivalent of at least one college-level statistics course through playing. There are far more benefits from poker than just learning statistics, however.
And finally, my favorite quote – the closing paragraph:
That being said, this isn’t the best argument to keep the government from prohibiting gambling. Even if there were no benefits from gambling, one could argue that our government shouldn’t restrict it. After all, is it the government’s right to tell adults how to live their lives? For those of us who think it isn’t, the better case to keep the government away from gambling prohibitions is the argument that we deserve freedom.
That last quote is the most important part of the article in my opinion. Way too many self-proclaimed conservatives have fallen on the wrong side of this issue. If you remember, the UIGEA was pushed through with great support from Republicans Robert Goodlatte, Jim Leach, Bill Frist and Jon Kyl.
Seriously, this article got the issue right on every single point. Even if you’re not big on poker, I think you’ll find it an interesting read. It’s great to see poker get a little positive exposure for once. Seems like the media would rather repeat tripe like “click your mouse, lose your house” rather than do any real research-based reporting.
Here’s another great piece by the same author: