27 April 2006

Children and Poker: Wrap-Up

A rough, rough two days of poker for me during my travels. Down a whopping $1,675, which is a 20% drop in the bankroll. All of this at $10/20 and was even more brutal than that without my typically stupid jump up in limits, hitting the $30/60 Party tables and being up $750 on a couple of quick hit and run sessions. The downslide was a big part luck, losing 70% of the time with AK, QQ, and KK during the two days (that's 70%). Was it disappointing? It was a frustrating mix of loose folks at tables, calling stations who wouldn't go away when I had my big cards that didn't hit, and not getting paid off. The biggest reason I jumped up to $30/60 was the large number of tables going on. It looks like $30/60 is a big game at Party. I was in a good frame of mind, watched the tables I sat at, then played solid. It was different than taking a shot, more like taking a shot to stem the tide. It hasn't worked for me before, but this time it did. I didn't like my mentality at the $10/20, but it is at least understandable in my mind. Continuation bets not getting any respect, everyone staying in with something, all these hands become lessened in value. Saw one very fishy hand where I was between two guys, had been the initial aggressor, got turn raised/re-raised (finally getting out), then the re-raiser folds on the river bet with nothing else hitting. I don't think the above is anything more than variance, if you include me not stopping somewhere in the midst of the variance as part of the variance. If that makes sense.

When I was researching the topic of children and poker, one of the sources on the subject of the risk of gambling with children I found is Keith Whyte at the National Council on Problem Gambling. Keith was good enough to answer some of my questions regarding kids and poker. See their Pathological Gambling Criteria with key questions to know if your obsession has moved to a dangerous problem.

"Talk to your kids about gambling," White says, "just as you would with any other activity that can be addictive." At a minimum, use his Four Know's
  • Know the law
  • Know the health risks (gambling problems, as well as high co-occurance of substance abuse, depression, etc.)
  • Know the warning signs of addiction (pre-occupation, loss of control, harm to gambler and their family)
  • Know where to get help for a problem
I asked Keith if he sees benefits to poker for kids, like some of us do, or if we're just kidding ourselves amid self-justification. "In genereal, there may be some benefits to gambling, for those who are able to gamble recreationally. But there are also risks, and I feel that many advocates highlight the benefits and minimize the potential for harm."

I wanted to highlight some of the quotes and email's that I've received, then I'll give you my thoughts tomorrow. Again, thanks to everyone for reading and giving your thoughts as well.

"With my son who's now 6, I've removed all aspects of money from the game. Right now, to him, the game represents only a strategy game like many others. To me, the issue is the introduction of the financial aspect, not the mere fact of playing poker." BadBlood

"Growing up, I played blackjack and other card games with my grandmothers. I didn't realize it until recently, but that is one of the reasons why I love poker and games. It's subconscious nostalgia." High on Poker

"This is something I'm interested in; I've had some of my students (teenage girls) ask me to teach them poker. I tell them only with a letter of permission from their parents. I'm really of two minds about the whole thing, but I think I'm more on the side of informing kids and giving them some media awareness of the games and ads they see on TV." katitude

"I am a third-genearational gambler, as Las Vegas was always the conduit for a visit or the actual meeting place with my relatives (who all ive in Hawaii when we lived on the mainland). Now that I'm older, that tradition is a powerful part of why I'm a poker player and why I love the city. I walk through the downtown streetns and in the lobbies of casinos, and they are always with me. I think I benefited from my parents teaching me card games early. I think I learned from them the right way to handle winning and losing and winning and losing money." kurokitty

"In the end, gambling is like many other things--drinking, sex, drugs, reckless driving--that irresistibly attract many kids. Some will become alcoholics or addicts, get pregnant or father a child, or die in a car crash. Others will become problem gamblers. As parents, we can only teach our children to make good decisions, work with them to instill an understanding of the world around them and--in the end--put our trust in those efforts and pray for the best outcome. jestocost

Thanks for these and other comments and contributions. Final words tomorrow. I'll also try and add links this weekend to the blog, so anyone who isn't there and would like to be, just let me know. I try to keep it fresh with the sites that I go to daily, and like many I don't add the new good sites that I find, meaning I don't get to those places as regularly.

May you only see the positive end of variance--let everyone else get the negative end!

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