Why Poker is Good For You

by Lou on September 4, 2007

In a fascinating article in Two Plus Two Internet Magazine (Vol. 3, No. 9), David Sklansky and Alan N. Schoonmaker, Ph.D. state that many people believe poker should be considered differently from gambling in general. According to Schoonmaker and Sklansky, “This argument has been made in discussions of legalization and related topics. Their argument is usually that poker is a skill game, while other gambling games are much less dependent upon skill.”

The authors agree, “… but believe that they have not gone far enough in explaining many of poker’s unique attributes. Poker does not just require skill. It demands and develops many skills and personal qualities which are essential for making all types of decisions, such as choosing a career, investing money, performing a job, and buying a house.”

Although the authors describe many of the skills and personal qualities that poker develops, they believe that “… most of poker’s lessons are variations on one theme: Think carefully before you act. That principle applies everywhere, and far too many people ignore it.”

At nearly 6,000 words long, their article presents these arguments as a case for poker, and can be found at http://www.twoplustwo.com/magazine/current/sklansyschoonmaker0907.html. They invite readers to reprint as much or as little as they want.

Poker Is A Great Teacher.
Poker Improves Your Study Habits.
Poker Develops Your Math Skills.
Poker Develops Your Logical Thinking.
Poker Develops Your Concentration.
Poker Develops Your Patience.
Poker Develops Your Discipline.
Poker Teaches You To Focus On The Long Term.
Poker Teaches You That Forgoing A Profit Equals Taking A Loss (And Vice Versa).
Poker Develops Your Realism.
Poker Teaches You To Adjust To Changing Situations.
Poker Teaches You To Adjust To Diverse People.
Poker Teaches You To Avoid Racial, Sexual And Other Prejudices.
Poker Teaches You How To Handle Losses.
Poker Teaches You To Depersonalize Conflict.
Poker Teaches You How To Plan.
Poker Teaches You How To Handle Deceptive People.
Poker Teaches You How To Choose The Best “Game.”
Poker Teaches You The Benefits Of Acting Last.
Poker Teaches You To Focus On The Important Subjects.
Poker Teaches You How To Apply Probability Theory.
Poker Teaches You How To Conduct Risk-Reward Analyses.
Poker Teaches You To Put Things In Context And Evaluate All Variables.
Poker Teaches You How To “Get Into People’s Heads.”

Schoonmaker and Sklansky conclude that, “The government’s attempts to outlaw poker are based upon a misconception of its nature and value. It is not ‘just gambling,’ and it should not be subject to the same rules and penalties as other gambling games. Instead, the government should allow you to play poker in regulated and taxed places because poker is good for you and good for America.”

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