Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’

Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

Returning to the question of whether poker should be considered a game or a sport, it’s probably a good idea to check out accepted definitions of the two words.

According to the dictionary, the word Game means a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators (which leaves the game of Solitaire, for example, out in the cold).

The same dictionary defines the word Sport as a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other, often for spectators (which, of course, doesn’t do a lot for the lone hunter or hiker who undoubtedly believe they are also involved in a sport).

Queen of Hearts ParisNotwithstanding my quibble with the number of people involved, it’s pretty difficult to distinguish between the two definitions, with the major exception being the word physical.

TPS Poker ChipsNo matter how physical one gets pushing a huge pile of chips into the middle of the poker table and/or pulling them in to sit in stacks in front of you, no matter how much you exert yourself shuffling and dealing cards, it’s a stretch to consider that physical activity.

In fact, the question might never have come up except for two facts. One is that ESPN and the Fox Sports Network cover poker regularly, certainly giving it the aura of sport. And two, the pressure in a major poker tournament is intense, the stakes are unbelievably high, players rake in millions and the last one standing is deemed the champion. Like most big-time sports.

Fortunately for anyone who finds all this confusing and/or irrelevant, the issue has actually been decided, at least in some circles.

In 2011, poker was officially accepted by the International Mind Sports Association at the organization’s congress held in Dubai, UAE. It is now considered a mind sport, meaning it requires skills that go way beyond luck, like chess or bridge.

So you can call poker a game, a sport or a mind sport and continue to enjoy playing it or watching it on TV or at a poker tournament. Just don’t call it gambling and you’ll stay out of trouble.

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T-LiciousBy T-Licious

In our continuing analysis of the legality of poker and what plays into it, we continue to break down how public opinion has been shaped over the past few decades.

Today I want to focus on why public perception is different for poker in America versus around the rest of the globe.  It’s pretty simple, actually.  The “American Experiment,” as Tocqueville coined it in his book Democracy in America, was a two-fold experiment based on freedom: economic freedom to pursue a more prosperous life, and freedom to follow the religion of your choice.

Many immigrants have come to America since the initial New England colonists, sometimes in sweeping waves due to famine, war, or religious persecution.  However, it was the colonists that broke away from England who framed the founding documents that established the government, the free market system, and the moral base that shaped the core of the new country.  These people were not entrepreneurs who occasionally attended church; they were extremely pious pilgrims and puritans who would fight to the death to defend their right to worship as they believed.  The first colleges were established by religious denominations in order to train ministers, and the first life insurance policies in the United States served to provide for the families and replacements of church leaders.  Three periods of religious revival known as “The Great Awakening”,”The 2nd Great Awakening”, and “The 3rd Great Awakening” have occurred in America’s history leading to cultural and political changes including the push for abolition of slavery, establishment of new denominations, and the Y.M.C.A.Las Vegas Strip

Let’s face it – gambling has not been given center stage in America.  It took the great depression to establish legal gambling in Las Vegas in 1931.  82 years later Vegas and Atlantic City still have only limited competition showing reluctance of most states to fly the gambling banner.  However, the tide seems to be changing. The gradual secularization of Western society coupled with states facing increasing economic pressures are leading them to find new revenue streams in lotteries and casinos.  Sometimes freedom to pursue a more prosperous life trumps the freedom of those wanting to restrict gambling out of fear that it will lead to moral decay.  And not all religions look down on gambling.  The Vatican takes a neutral stance on gambling stating that as long as the game is fair and one wagers within their limits without giving in to excess, then gambling is no different than drinking or other indulgences that can be good or bad.  The rest of the world seems to support gambling as a revenue driver from locals and tourists alike.  Then again, the rest of the world is far more secular in nature as well.  For many countries, opulent casinos such as those in Dubai are a sign of prosperity and national wealth.  In order to attract big spenders to their poker tables, the casinos must keep the riffraff away and be very inviting.

This is the image many supporters of American casinos have for Las Vegas and what their state could offer in the near future.  Could this be the year that states ignore the powerful anti-gambling lobby efforts and vote to keep tax dollars local?  We are getting close, but there are still a few institutions that need to take a serious look at their attitudes towards gambling and if current policies are doing more harm than good.  We will examine a couple of these next.

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