Is Poker an Addiction?

Like a lot of people, poker legend Doyle Brunson has a Twitter account. Doyle is remarkably candid about his life and poker-playing activities. He recently took some time off playing poker and reflected on what his absence from the game did to his personality and feeling of well being.

Brunson noted that some people thought poker was addictive. He added, 'I never felt that way myself, but now I am wondering if they are right. I have been going through the pangs of addiction and can't wait until I get back to the game.'

His words got me to thinking.

IsPokerAddictionGameSkill

Poker has been a key part of my life for quite a few years. It is part of my profession since I have written for the poker magazines as well as other publications that have used my stories. And the best way to get a story about gambling is in a casino so I have spent a lot of my time searching out those dens of iniquity as I fondly refer to them.

There is something about sitting down at a poker table that reminds me of the saying, 'Captain of my Destiny.'

When a person plays poker, he or she gets the feeling that anything is possible.

Poker, after all, is a game of skill, not gambling. While luck certainly plays a role in the outcome of a poker game, it is not the key factor. The outcome is determined by many things, including the art of the raise, seat position, the luck of the draw, and the actions of the other players.

When I sit down at a poker table, I set aside a certain number of hours to play. I generally stick pretty closely to my established time, although I have overstayed some sessions in the past. The most satisfying part of my poker session, of course, comes at the end when I cash in. Carrying those chips back to the cashier's cage is one of the most pleasant aspects and I am 'cured' of my habit --- until the next day.

No, to me, poker is a way of life. I sometimes find myself thinking, 'Wouldn't this be a better world if the global leaders decided important international issues by playing poker rather than imposing embargoes or going to war?' So many lives would be saved, a nation's sovereignty and integrity would be protected, and life would be better for everyone.

As for my friend Doyle Brunson, poker may indeed be addictive. It certainly captured the imagination of the last generation of Americans and other people around the world. Despite the government's banning of Internet poker and other games of chance on the Internet, the game is still immensely popular where it is legal and in places where it is against the law.

A poker player is the captain of his own ship, the master of life for a little while. Until the final card is dealt, he is full of life and ready to tackle the devil himself to win a pot.

I remember a poker-playing session at Binion''s Horseshoe one night. The year was 1982 or '83, and I had been extremely successful. As I lugged five traps of chips back to the cashier's cage, Johnny Moss and Benny Binion were standing there.

Binion turned to Moss and said, 'Well, the newspaper reporter has proven he's a poker player. Congratulations. Don't spend it all in one place and remember where you won it.' Benny winked and Moss just smiled.

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