Debate surrounding whether or not poker constitutes gambling has long been contentious. Non-poker players tend to view it as such due to its inherent element of wagering with an uncertain outcome; however, actual poker players contend that it should not be considered gambling since its core skill component differentiates it from sports betting or lottery playing.
To answer the question of whether poker falls under gambling, it’s helpful to refer back to Merriam-Webster’s definition. Gambling refers to “betting something of value on an event with the possibility of gain or loss.” In poker, players place chips, which have specific values assigned before starting play; at the beginning of each betting round these are exchanged for real cash and become part of a bet pool.
At any game there is always the possibility of winning or losing; however, in an online or casino environment the odds of making specific hands are much lower than with other forms of luck-based play such as poker or bingo. This makes online casino less resemblant of gambling than other forms that depend on luck alone.
Poker also requires mental and physical endurance; the game often lasts long hours with players making decisions under stress, potentially leading to chronic stress and anxiety that has long-term detrimental health impacts such as high blood pressure or heart disease. Furthermore, prolonged play time may lead to lack of physical activity which in turn contributes to weight gain or musculoskeletal problems.
Poker addiction can have devastating repercussions for an individual and his/her loved ones, including financial and relationship difficulties. Anyone experiencing an addiction should seek professional assistance immediately to prevent it from worsening further.
Warning signs of poker addiction include an intense preoccupation with playing and an unwillingness to engage in other activities or fulfill other responsibilities. An addict may also become restless or irritable when trying to limit or stop their poker playing, and engage in risky behaviors, such as borrowing money to fund their habit.
Families and friends of an addict should recognize early warning signs and seek assistance, supporting an addict through therapy, support groups or medication recovery steps. Furthermore, learning more about gambling addiction will allow family and friends to provide emotional support and comfort during difficult times for their loved one.