Is Poker Gambling?

This is a very common debate among beginners on poker forums. I am not going to attempt to tackle the legal version of this question, as it is highly contentious and may vary by jurisdiction. I will also sidestep all the linguistics nuances of defining gambling. The issue that I am discussing today is this: Is it correct to tell your friends and family “Poker isn’t gambling, it’s not like other casino games. It’s only gambling if you don’t know what you are doing.”

Poker isn’t like other casino games in a lot of ways, but it still involves wagering a sum of money on an uncertain outcome that players cannot fully control. Poker is a game of skill of course, but gambling and skill are not mutually exclusive.

There is a reason that David Sklansky’s book is called Gambling for a Living. There is a reason that virtually everywhere in the world bans children from playing real money poker. Poker is gambling. But you say, “Investing in a business is wagering money on an uncertain outcome. The entire insurance industry is gambling!”

Warren Buffet says it better than I: “Gambling involves, in my view, the creation of a risk where no risk need be created.” Placing a bet at a poker game doesn’t fulfill some societal need. The major desire to play poker is to create a new risk that creates the opportunity to raise money and only results in money changing hands. Nothing is created, as there would be in a business.

There is no insuring of a inherent risks, such as injury, fire, loss. A very small percentage of insurance transactions might constitute gambling, if someone is using the policies to speculate on affairs they are not involved in, but generally speaking the insurance industry helps reduce variance in ventures that are necessary to a functioning society.

Ostensibly the above definition I took for gambling could be considered excessive by many poker pros including my friend Annette Obrestad. After all she managed to create a bankroll in the millions starting with only money earned from poker game free rolls. This requires a lot of skill and this odds of this happening by pure chance are close to zero.

In poker there is some gambling and some skill, and every player has his own balance between the two. It is a personal choice, in order word the question in this post will depend on each player.

Reno Spring Seminar

We have heard about available reservations for The Reno Spring Seminar March 12th and 13th. The seminar will be held at the Peppermill Casino and will be focused on a variety of games and ways to increase your income playing poker as a full or part time job. We couldn’t be happier to be working with the Peppermill, they will be rolling out the red carpet for our attendees and they have a lot to offer.

The cost for this seminar is $1,199 and includes everything except airfare and a few meals. We recommend you book your airfare online through a site like Kayak.com. You can see a tentative schedule for the seminar soon.

Instructors we have already booked include:

Chris ‘Fox’ Wallace – Professional player, coach, and author, Fox has coached hundreds of players with an incredible success rate. Read more about Fox later.

Dr. Alan Schoonmaker – The ultimate poker psychologist, Al has published multiple books on the subject of tilt control and worked with some of the best players in the world. Read more about Dr. Schoonmaker soon.

Lou Krieger – If you have trouble dealing with typical loose live games, we have the coach for you. Lou is an excellent writer and teacher, and has published books on Omaha and Holdem, as well as coauthoring Poker for Dummies. Lou is a veteran of the low-limit cash games in California, and a master of beating the “no foldem holdem” games. Read more about Lou at his website.

Mark Scellato – As an online tournament pro Mark has had great success, and he has translated this success in to the coaching world, often working with PokerXFactor.com to teach tournament strategy.

Adam Stemple – Coauthor of No Limits: The Fundamentals of No-Limit Holdem and twenty year pro, Stemple has been through it all in the poker world. Stemple focuses on pot-limit Omaha and mixed games these days, and is a well known expert on Seven Card Stud High-Low.

We do expect this seminar to sell out, so sign up now to make sure you get a spot!

The Secret to Bluffing

Knowing how to bluff is crucial in the world of poker in the UK. Whenever you sit down to play a game of poker, always consider that at least one person will be bluffing if not more. In this case, let’s consider all you need to know about bluffing:

If you want to win big money, bluffing is a necessary tactic in poker. It keeps your opponents thinking and on their toes. If your opponents are not sure what to expect from you, then they cannot plot against you.

There are two types of bluffs:

Pure Bluff: If a player makes a pure bluff they are betting or raising with a hand that has a little chance of winning. The aim of this tactic is to win the pot even though the hand is weak.

Semi Bluff: A semi bluff is when players bet on a hand that is not likely to be the best hand present but has a chance of improving. The aim of this bluff is to encourage other players to fold and essentially obtain the pot.

If you are new to bluffing then it may be worth starting with aggression. If you are aggressive, players are less likely to challenge you as they are afraid of losing anything. This is especially true in the case of new players. Similarly, don’t over bluff if you are playing experienced players.

Position is an important aspect to look at. Don’t bluff if you are the first person to act as you have no idea what your opponents are doing. However, being the last person to act is the best position to be in as you are able to observe what every other player is doing.

It is also worth bearing in mind that you do not need to bluff at every given opportunity. If bluffing is over used the game becomes weak and in fact players become more concerned about who is bluffing and who isn’t rather than concentrating on the actual game of poker.

At the end of the day, deception is one key to success in poker. The better you can deceive your players at poker, the more chance you have of winning.