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Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Unlawful Gambling?

A couple of months back I heard about something that got my blood boiling: The US was going to ban online poker! To go further in depth, the bill called UIGEA which stands for Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act aka bullshit-that-doesn't-make-any-sense law, will put an end to playing poker online with real money by punishing the credit card companies that make you do so. According to some media outlets, this law has been pushed since 2006 and will be in effect by June 2010 (if it isn't delayed). Now I can understand if you don't give a rat's ass about this law (especially if you don't play poker), but allow me to explain how this piece of shit legislation makes absolutely no sense whatsover. The funny thing is I always complain about the Naija system and how corrupt it is, now I'm going to complain about the US lawmakers and how outrageously stupid they are sometimes.

First of all, I've been playing poker since I was 15 (I'm now 20), and I've got to say it's a wonderful game. I often played poker back in high school during lunch time with half a dozen Mexicans. Honestly, those were some of the most memorable moments I had in high school. Talking shit, joking around, making fun of each other while politely snatching their lunch money, even Nate Dogg would say we were "living that boss's life." Not only was there the fun that is derived from playing the game, I actually used that poker money to pay for my PSAT exam in my junior year. We even wanted to build a poker club at my school (so we wouldn't have to go off campus to play), but my principal didn't even wait for us to finish the proposal before saying no! And that's the annoying part of people; they tend to hate anything that's different or that they have no clue about. That's why it's the same people who have no clue about the game that often throw dirt on it and claim it is gambling in a condescending manner. The funny thing is poker isn't all gamble. It requires luck but it's mostly strategy and skill, that's why there is a term called "professional players" who know how to play the game (because they've mastered the SKILL of it). You don't have to call every hand you get you can always fold (decide not to bet on your hand), call (bet) or raise (set the stakes higher). It involves psychology, and reading your opponent, knowing whether he or she is bluffing or is for real. The aspect of reading your opponent actually makes me good at figuring out whether someone is lying or not (regular gambling won't teach you that). Another argument for their illogical law is that people get addicted to gambling and some even go to rehab. I mean c'mon, if you gamble to the point where you're homeless and still have the urge to gamble, then you really don't need rehab. You need school. You need an education, maybe a crash course in Common Sense 101 at that. These people who tend to "lose it all," because they were gambling have two problems; over-optimism and over-confidence. Poker isn't a game for optimists and pessimists, it's a game for realists, people who know their odds and play with it. If you invest all your paycheck money into gambling, then you're obviously not a realist. Like I said earlier on, this is a game that requires strategy and if people don't realise that then they're at a higher risk of doing something as stupid as "losing it all" to poker. However, regardless of these facts people will always jump into false conclusions about this game and frown upon it, yet you will see these same judgemental people at Save Mart trying to buy lotto ticket. Imagine the fuckerey. Like Wande Coal would say, "Na who born the maga?" They (including the US govt) have the guts to say the poker is "Unlawful gambling," yet they are the ones sponsoring and buying the "Mega million dollar lottery." If poker is gambling, I'm curious to what they will call the lottery. The lottery requires absolutely no skill, strategy or psychology, all it is is 100% random luck. And that isn't scrutinized as much as poker? Why the double standard? Is it because one is taxed and the other isn't, so therefore you must demonise the untaxed? And besides why is gambling as a whole frown upon? Do people even know what gambling is? For those who don't lemme give you a conventional definition of the word from

v. gam·bled, gam·bling, gam·bles
a. To bet on an uncertain outcome, as of a contest.
b. To play a game of chance for stakes.
2. To take a risk in the hope of gaining an advantage or a benefit.
1. To put up as a stake in gambling; wager.
2. To expose to hazard; risk: gambled their lives in a dangerous rescue mission.
1. A bet, wager, or other gambling venture.
2. An act or undertaking of uncertain outcome; a risk

Now lemme ask you a question, doesn't almost everything you do in life fit that definition? Businessmen are gamblers because they invest their money (or bet) into something that has an uncertain outcome (their business). Stock sharers, bonders, and holders are the same: The invest in something that they have uncertainties to the outcome. Unless you see the future, every futuristic investment you make is a gamble. You're gambling when you spend money on your education, because what if you spend all that money and the economy flops and no one hires you? Drivers, when you drive your car and commute you're gambling with your life because they is an uncertainty or risk that you may never reach your destination alive. In a sense, everything is a gamble, and Lil' Wayne put it best when he said "Life is a gamble and I'm all about my poker chips." My peeps, make una think about it and tell me what you think.


El-Divine said...

lol. i happen to be a big fan of poker even though I cant play it to save my life. I hope to learn though cos I see it as one of those games that teach you the way life really works.
screw the haters!!

2cute4u said...

gambling?k.. I'd rather not comment.. Nice reading!

Rene said...

I totally love poker

Aradi said...

You did well when you quoted Immortal Technique, Messiah, but since you've been going downhill I'm afraid, as you resort to quoting Lil Wayne in this genre of great word-smiths.

About the actual subject matter, I have a completely different take on things. But before I go in I'll say that as a reader of several body language books, I appreciate that Poker does have some skill in it, and I'm sure, after watching 21, that it is quite thrilling. However, I do not believe in gambling of all forms.

I do, however, like you, believe that the Government are being nothing short of hypocritical and farcical about this, but I'm not really surprise. This is the Government in a country that has made Corporate Greed it's King and forceful invasions it's "investments".

The lottery is nothing short of an extortion of peoples by organisations that do not care for them.

Although I'm somewhat fascinated by the psychologies involved in Poker, I firmly believe it's gambling, just like any other form of gambling.

i. It involves different parties of people, among whom there are surely losers. Losers hold grudges. I'm sure you'll tell me it's different with your Mexican ese's, but I et not all of them were thrilled about sponsoring your PSAT.

ii. You attribute addiction to optimisism, but I suspect there's something more underlying than that; The Thrill. The Rush. That intoxicating feeling of uncertainty when you know that which is very important to you hinges on great uncertainty.

iii. Isn't there a saying that the real winner is always only the house i.e. the casino?

Gambling damages ties between people. It also places the more indulgent among us in great financial difficulty. There are stories of violence and death everywhere surrounding this sport.

Personally, I know of a great dilemma a friend found himself in because he gambled a huuuge amount of money with a good friend and that spurred a whole lot of problems between them that ended with someone being arrested and subsequently had his studies halted.

There are grey areas in life in which some people are confident they can protect themselves, but really carry huge risks in them, so that when you succumb you find yourself wondering "How the hell did I get here?"

You enjoy your poker and you might be disgruntled by this online poker ban (to be honest, something I am heavily against), but you can't say gambling is not a dangerous thing.

It's very very different from business investments and life choices. You don't -always- have a winner or loser in those situations like you do in gambling. The intelligent among us also study the market in detail, note patterns, and predict the waves that would do them good which they ride on. I'm yet to meet a business investment addict.

Azazel said...

Lol Messiah I lvoed this post, and I do not play poker...
U might have to teach me sometime..

The Messiah said...

Aradi, you're clearly seeing this from an exageratted perspective. When it comes to gambling, the saying "don't swallow what you can't bite," is one of my mottos. Like I said, everything in life is a gamble. Business investment is a form of gambling, just like poker is too. There are winners and losers in business. There are companies that invest money to make sure their competitors lose, just the same way a gambler does, so your analysis of this is rather flawed. And just like the ppl for this awful banning claim, you give highly exaggerated examples of gambling (like the guy who bet large sums of money, which he probably couldn't replace and ended his friendship doing so)and then claim how dangerous it is. Your argument would be like me comparing a driver who likes to speed and ends up in an awful car accident and then claim how dangerous driving is. Both are right, and both could be prevented if careful measures where taken. This is why I compare driving to gambling in this post, because we all gamble with our lives every time we drive, but we can be safe gamblers if we take precaution. Same with poker. And besides poker isn't all gamble.

And about the Lil Wayne quote, I listen to everybody. I don't discriminate.

Oh btw, 21 wasn't a movie about poker, that was Blackjack.

Realist said...

To me it is gambling, but like you said everything is a gamble. There are people who easily get addicted to poker and throw their lives away... same think for the stock market. Online poker should have rules like the stock market that only allows players of a certain skill level to play.

The Messiah said...

Realist you truly stand for your name. I can speak for poker better than I can for other games that require betting (like blackjack, uno etc). It takes skill, brain power, and luck. Just like everything in life. Some of the most successful ppl always give you hints to success but always forget to add how luck plays a major role. You'll learn the art of life and decision making if you play this game (especially when you play with ppl who know how to play well).

Suru said...

I'm just guessing but maybe it's purely business and the government is not making much from it as they would be if you play in real life at a casino. And of course your principal didn't go for it. It's gambling and that can lead to a lot of troubles with money and fights especially as teens. Besides the parents wouldn't go for that either.

Azazel said...

Yeah I can understand why the principal would not want it