Drop the Ban on Online Poker

17 August 2009

There is a debate today both in congress and across this great country of ours, about just what is poker playing? Is it gambling, as the government wants to say? Or is it a game of skill, mathematics and strategic thinking?

In 2006, congress outlawed internet gambling by making it illegal for banks and credit card companies to handle or process payments made to online gambling sites. As if that were not enough, congress made itself several loop holes. They exempted state run lotteries, online betting on horse racing and fantasy sports online betting. 42 states now have lotteries, and the states promote those lotteries to the tune of $529 million in advertising in 2007.

There is a professional poker player by the name of Howard Lederer, a.k.a. “The Professor”. He compares playing poker to playing chess. He says that chess players have symmetry of information. Both players know the positions of all the pieces on the board but have no idea of their opponent’s intentions. But in poker, the opponent’s hand is hidden. Poker involves strategic thinking, probability and the ability and skill to bluff successfully. Winning at poker requires applying skills, gained by experience, in an attempt to increase the chances of winning a hand.

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