Author Topic: Small time gambling with buddies  (Read 412 times)

Siddharth

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    • dampening oscillations towards the golden middle
Small time gambling with buddies
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:40:21 PM »
Hello everyone,
What are your views on playing small stakes poker with buddies.

Lately I have mixed feeling about it. Sometimes feeling it being harmless. Feeling being a meditation I am somehow more equanimous and able to take the swings better.
But then sometimes pondering it being a unwholesome activity and regardless of my skill/interest it should be avoided.
At times I feel it is a gateway to more unwholesome activity and then at times feel I am thinking too much and what is wrong in having a little fun with friends.
Overall my mind is playing with me on this and I am not sure how to handle this.

If any of you is experienced or can give any insight I will be grateful
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Suited4Battle

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2018, 09:43:00 PM »
I play poker semi professionally, its a lot different from other forms of gambling as it is a skill game with a lot of short term variance.
I don't see poker as an unwholesome activity, quite the opposite actually. It is a great way to compete mentally against other people and it forces you to be objective, humble, mentally and physically prepared to compete at a high level. There are so many nuances to poker and I think of the game as a microcosm of life.

Nicky

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2018, 11:30:29 AM »
Just think of it as friendship. Poker is gambling for unskilled players but if it does not lead to "ruin" & is mere fun with friends, it is not contrary to the Dhamma. The Dhamma teaches gambling is a "road to ruin" when it can lead to financial & social ruin.

Siddharth

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    • dampening oscillations towards the golden middle
Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2018, 01:16:55 PM »
Thank you for the insights.

The essence seem to be :
there is nothing inherently wrong with poker which is a game of skill.
As far as I am doing it responsibly, i am good.
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Nicky

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2018, 08:50:48 PM »
Poker is not a game of skill for unskillful players. For example, many skillful players make very good income for living from playing on-line poker. These skillful winners can only make a living from the unskillful losers (that lose money) they defeat. Its still gambling, as ruled by many tax laws in many countries.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 08:52:33 PM by Nicky »

Suited4Battle

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2018, 10:31:22 PM »
Just think of it as friendship. Poker is gambling for unskilled players but if it does not lead to "ruin" & is mere fun with friends, it is not contrary to the Dhamma. The Dhamma teaches gambling is a "road to ruin" when it can lead to financial & social ruin.

interesting, I would think anything is a "road to ruin" when it can lead to financial and social ruin.
poker is also gambling for highly skilled players, its just gambling with a positive expected value over the long run and sometimes it takes a long time to get to the long run depending on what type of poker you're playing. so you can have a significant skill advantage over your competition but still lose over a long period of time and vice versa

I would argue that poker is a game of skill for less skilled players as well, even the very worse players are using their poker skills when playing, they are still thinking and applying a strategy, even if its terrible and easily exploited ,,poker is a game of skill and everyone playing has a different skill level, some will be profitable over the long run and most will not.

Nicky

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2018, 05:21:55 AM »
Its gambling because there is always a loser. Its not like having an ordinary job or making a sound investment. Here, everyone makes money.

Siddharth

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2018, 05:28:06 AM »
So even if you win in poker, someone looses money. Moreover a skilled player would want unskilled players to play with her and therefore want ruin for others for their own good. So win or loose, it is not an activity which can be called wholesome and thus should be avoided in the light of dhamma.

Is this what we are trying to say above ? It makes much sense to me.
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Siddharth

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    • dampening oscillations towards the golden middle
Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2018, 06:15:30 AM »
On the other side you instantly get punished for being assuming or letting your ego get the better of you. Punished in the form of money. So trying to become better poker player makes you realize your ego and provides many insights about self in competitive situations which can be applied in life.

As said above it can be seen as microcosm of life by some. Just that this journey can itself be too heavy for many loosing more than they can handle emotionally and ruining financial and personal well being.

Overall as you can see my mind swings on this issue. Perhaps because I have suffered and enjoyed poker in equal proportions.
But at this moment I feel like stopping for a month or 2 and then re-evaluating.

Though I would be grateful to further discussion here
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Ottercreek

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2018, 05:07:20 PM »
Hi Siddharth! Interesting, somehow I am VERY uneasy with that sort of game and to me it seems really  inconsistent with meditation, I guess that's because people are just trying to fool each other! But that's just an innocent and probably oversimplistic view, I have no experience at all with poker or anything near that. And, I don't mean it's bad, I don't care what's good or bad, just a personal feeling with no real reasonable argument. But taking a break for a while might give you some perspective, why not give it a try? I'm also wondering how other practitioners feel about it...

oscarabeo

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2018, 09:44:44 PM »
Siddharth,

it's easy to bin activities into "wholesome" and "unwholesome." But most activities we commonly do can probably go one way or the other, depending on the context, who's doing them, and how they're done. Eating, sex, working, talking, are some simple examples which come to mind.

If you get the feeling that what you're doing is unwholesome, try to figure out where those feelings are coming from. Explore them. I wouldn't jump to conclusions or seek out opinions about whether poker is or isn't wholesome.

oscarafone

Siddharth

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2018, 07:48:59 PM »
oscarabeo,
I agree. I did not realise I was doing this. Thanks for pointing this out. I was raised in jainism, whose leaders in today's age focus a lot on abstaining. Now what to abstain from is filled up by society while growing up as rules of thumb; but more importantly, my contemplation in the past few hours after reading your reply led me to realise that my default reaction to anything for which I have a feeling of aversion is to abstain completely due to this conditioning. More so If the unwanted feeling hits me unexpectedly.
It is easy to label people, things and activities as unwholesome or wholesome as you pointed out, which has been my subconscious response, but this is just running away. Now some things it is wise to run away from, say a snake (referring to clearly unwholesome activities like killing or cigarettes), but my approach is leading me to a path of isolation, and more importantly, making me just less exposed and not more equipped.

I will now try to be mindful of this subconscious reaction and rather try to find the true reasons or sources of my feelings.

As far as poker is concerned, I think I will take a break to contemplate more and decide. Also I have a little outstanding debt(~60$, nothing exceptional) which i will first settle.

Thanks again,
Siddharth   
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

oscarabeo

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2018, 11:06:59 PM »
oscarabeo,
Now some things it is wise to run away from, say a snake (referring to clearly unwholesome activities like killing or cigarettes), but my approach is leading me to a path of isolation, and more importantly, making me just less exposed and not more equipped.

This sounds like wisdom.

oscarafone/oscarabeo

Trojan1958

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Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2018, 01:00:41 AM »
I was recently staying near a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal, up in the Himalayas. It is called Tengboche Monastery and is on the Everest Base Camp trek, a popular tourist adventure trek. I stayed in the backpacker lodge 6 nights, right next to the Monastery. Since there is no wood heating stove in the Monastery (or something like that??) the Buddhist monks would come over to the backpacker lodge every night and gather around the warm wood stove (chilly at 15000 feet in the Himalayas) They would sit around in a circle dressed in their red robes and gamble with cards. I asked if its OK for monks to gamble, and they assured me if it is only 20 or 30 rupees it is OK to gamble.

Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2018, 05:07:41 PM »
Truth is available to only a true gambler who risks everything he got. Doesn't hold on to anything.

Siddharth

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    • dampening oscillations towards the golden middle
Re: Small time gambling with buddies
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2018, 07:32:58 AM »
Truth is available to only a true gambler who risks everything he got. Doesn't hold on to anything.

Now that's a quote !
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?