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“Student” vs “Player” vs “Gambler”: life balance

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  • “Student” vs “Player” vs “Gambler”: life balance

    Some ruminations which occurred to me while reading a BBC article.

    clearly, poker is a gambling game with a skill element.

    I’m sure we all here consider ourselves students trying to get better at it, and we all appreciate the game.

    However, it remains a gambling game. I would suggest there is a spectrum where “a student studying a gambling game” ...merges into “a player who uses ‘study’ as an excuse, even if unconsciously “. ... and further down that spectrum, “a gambling addict”.

    ...And possibly we all have elements of all of those, scrambled together in various ways,

    Now, i only play poker at a financial level that is well within my means - and with a very safe bankroll, less than 1% of my annual income. However, its not just money I invest but significant time. Time in an activity I enjoy, but still, time. Time I could spend on social life, career advancement, other training, etc.

    I’m not (at this stage) too concerned in my involvement , but I do think its a healthy thing to keep in the back of your mind, the whole life balance aspect.
    It clearly takes many hours of play and study to become genuinely good, which is a place we’d all like to reach ... but I do wonder if perhaps we all need to be a bit more conscious of the impact and risks.

    Poker is a strange form of pyramid scheme, if you think about it, which we all voluntarily enter into...which requires a significant investment of time and effort in order to succeed...and not all of us will succeed- possibly for external reasons.

    Jonathan refers to unfocussed unstudied play as goofing-off , which is certainly true. it can also be just gambling. Playing in the other sense, as an entertaining but not otherwise productive endeavour.

    Its also important, i suspect, to be self reflective enough to keep an eye on your own motivations and life balance. It would appear terribly easy to slip from a “dedicated hard working student of the game” into “a gambling addict”... or even just someone who neglects other important areas of their life, perhaps even deliberately (but unhealthily).

    What do others think? How do you balance things? Does it come naturally to you or do you have to work on it? Do often step back and assess these sorts of things?

  • #2
    I currently consider poker to be a hobby.

    Yes it does cost time and can cost money, but so does playing tennis, or collecting novelty things (never been a collector, couldn't think of any good examples haha).

    And yes it's gambling, but even more simply, it's just a game of cards.

    What's important is to not quit your day job just because you had a profitable month, or start playing bigger tournaments to chase losses etc.

    It certainly requires a level of discipline that not everyone has.

    But it can also have a positive impact on the rest of our lives too.

    I often find myself making small life decisions on whether or not they're +ev.

    Should I have a beer in the evening? If I've worked hard all day and want to unwind, relax and enjoy myself then sure, +ev decision. Is it 3am, work the next day and I've already had 10? Then this is -ev and I should go to bed.


    • #3
      It definitely is something that is capable of people getting in over there head and losing a lot of money the same as any form of gambling but what I would say is one major difference is that there is a mass amount of constant emphasis on proper bankroll management from everyone involved in poker from top to bottom.

      I have spoke over the years to so many people who have been heavy into traditional gambling and always spoke to them about the importance of bankrolls and no one ever pays attention or knows even what I’m properly talking about but when anyone who is serious about poker and starts to study the game is taught about the benefits of a bankroll but also taught how to do it sensibly which is why I believe that you hear more sad stories connected with traditional gambling if it wasn’t for bankroll management then in sure I could very easily of chased the dream with money I didn’t have


      • #4
        It is a scary thought but I think poker does serve as gateway to gambling. I never used to play casino games or bet on sports. By the way if you haven't read the book ' The Gambler'. I used to think I could have edge over the ones who was drawn to gambling. You dance with devil, devil don't change, I became the gambler lol
        Last edited by broke&livin; 07-07-2021, 12:05 AM.


        • #5
          hey man,

          for me: i have no balance. I wake up poker and go to bed poker, in between I eat and go grocery shopping.

          Very interesting topic though because I have asked myself the addiction-question before and I came to a funny conclusion.. what if there is no such thing as a gambling addiction? What if gambling is only one manifested expression of greed?


          • broke&livin
            broke&livin commented
            Editing a comment
            gambling addiction is something about the thrill of either losing all or the unknown. I am not sure. Greed is another thing to overcome if possible.