What If I Wanted to Break?

Last night at work, this customer came in. He comes in fairly often. He’s probably my age or a little older. I’ve noticed before that he drives a Porsche, and that he’ll come in even when we’re charging our highest rates, rack up huge bills, and never seem phased by them.

I always wondered what was up. He seemed like a nice guy, so I figured he wasn’t a drug dealer or hit man. But he seemed too young to have made millions. Maybe he was just from a rich family?

Last night he brought his laptop with him. And after a while we got to talking. He was playing online poker. (I should note that there is definitely not WiFi in our center. He has a cellular modem.) That’s where the Porsche came from. And he and his friends suggested that the Porsche was just a fraction of what he’s made.

Of course, I thought online poker had been outlawed. I looked into it a bit online last night out of curiosity, and it seems that, even after Bush signed the bill, it still exists in a gray area. (But many people are trying to pass bills allowing it. And from all over the political spectrum: a Republican from Florida, a Republican from one of the Dakotas, and a Democrat from Massachusetts have each introduced bills to permit it.)

I’m now intrigued. I’ve wanted to learn poker for a long time, just because a lot of people play it and seem to enjoy it. And while I know I’ll probably never get a Porsche out of it (I’d get either a BMW or Lexus first anyway), it’s sort of like playing the lottery: I know I probably won’t win a dime, but that remote possibility that I’ll come out ahead is thrilling and makes it worth playing once a month or so. It does seem to be a game with a high risk of addiction, but if you’re careful to just play for fun, I think it could be, well, fun. And if it ends up paying out, even better.

Of course, first I have to learn how to play poker. The good news is that, in addition to lots of tutorials online, a lot of poker sites have free, no-money versions specifically to let people practice.

One thought on “What If I Wanted to Break?

  1. People do make money playing online poker. I know someone who has made a small amount (a little over $1000) that way but can see how people who are really good at it could make lots. It is really much more a game of skill than many people realize.

    I have played on some of the free sites but I have to say I don’t enjoy it. It’s just too impersonal and not social enough for me. I do like to play live games. I’m not that good at it though so I try to be careful. I realized one day that I could easily get addicted so I set hard limits and work very hard to stick to them. I decide what the entertainment value is and spend no more than that.

    That being said I don’t always lose either. I have had a couple of outings where I left with $100 profit after playing for a couple of hours. Last night I was down for a while but worked my way back to where I was actually up $2. And I went home. It was late and I had planned to quite at that time anyway. Winning a big pot (about $50 which is big to me) wasn’t going to get me to change my plans.

    There are a lot of legal places to play poker in New Hampshire these days. A lot of people don’t know that. IN theory the games are all run for the benefit of charities (like bingo) and I am sure that charities are taking in a lot of money. But others are making money as well. The law only allows tournaments (which can have good prizes – up to thousands of dollars but more often hundreds) and low limit cash games.

    Let me know if you want lessons. 🙂

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