‘That was a crazy game of poker’

By Jason Radka
March 9, 2006

“My twenty thrown down in my fist of rage, and the man to my left just folded down. Johnny doubled up with a Royal Flush. I had three jacks and a pair of nines.” Even music groups, such as O.A.R., and their quoted song “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker,” include gambling and poker situations in their lyrics.

Poker and gambling is evident in just about every outlet of media on the planet. Online poker, The World Series of Poker on ESPN and billboard advertisements are platforms that have been flooding the media in recent years. Before the age of the Internet and online poker, the lottery and rub-off tickets were, and still are, popular forms of gambling. Gambling, especially poker gambling, has become an extremely popular activity.

Poker, more specifically, Texas Hold’em, is the most popular form of gambling. But do college students consider playing poker gambling?

“I don’t gamble, I just play,” Ian Lightcap, a junior English and communication major, said. “I’ll play with the chips, but for money, I’ll only play for like five bucks.” I would have to consider this gambling because it involves money and taking chances on getting the right cards. Ultimately, I think the word “gamble” strikes fear in younger gamblers because it has a negative connotation. By negative, I mean you always see the guy that lost all of his money on television talking about his problem and how people should know when to stop. Strangely, you never hear about the people who win.

Casinos don’t tell a person that they’ve had too much to drink or when it’s a good time to hang it up for the night. So, when does gambling become a problem? I think gambling is a problem when winning or losing makes or breaks your bank. Robert Murray, a business administration and human resource management major, expressed his thoughts on when gambling is a problem. “You don’t know when to stop. Basically when a person doesn’t realize they have lost a lot more than desired, it’s. Situations like these lead gamblers to borrow and play with other people’s money. That becomes an entirely bigger issue,” Murray said.

Gambling is an issue that starts early in life. Kids see that it’s an easy way to get money without working. However, it seems that at an early age a kid won’t realize what happens if you lose. Tommy Krukas, a junior criminal justice major, described his gambling roots. “I was a junior in high school. I began with a dice game called ‘C-lo.’ It was like a gateway drug. Soon after, I went onto poker and then finally roulette. I like gambling because it’s an easy way to make money. Whether it be poker, dice or sporting events, I love to take chances,” Krukas said. Some people love gambling no matter the consequences.

Is gambling the easy way out of life without working? I wouldn’t call it easy or even the best option, but there’s no saying that becoming a professional poker player isn’t out of the question for people. I would have to say that people who put it all out on the line are people who may work for a time and hope to make it big so they won’t have to work anymore.

“I think people who gamble to hit it big are people that don’t have a steady financial situation,” Tyler Sanford, a junior political science major, said. “They’re out there for the big game and the big win.” I think Tyler’s right and I’ve seen it before. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Just let it ride?”

Gambling is everywhere. I’m not saying that gambling is a bad thing, but I realized that a lot of people are involved in gambling. Whether college students think about it or not, the March Madness basketball tournament is getting closer every day. How many people do you know that participate in filling out a bracket? Now take that stat and compare it to how many people put money it.

Most importantly, the odds aren’t in your favor. Just like Paul Newman said in “The Color of Money,” “A dollar won is twice as sweet as a dollar earned.”

Posted to web by Brian Coary

Jason Radka

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