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Does Poker Make You Racist?

First off I would like to declare that I am a white man, but have never thought of myself as racist, nor been called racist by anyone. I grew up with friends of all different colors. Now with that being said, I think I might be very racist when it comes to playing poker. When someone first sits at the table, all I have to go on is what they look like and the stereotypes that go along with that. Just as I judge someone for the way they dress I also judge their skin color, sex, orientation, age, weight and wealth.

I don’t know, maybe I am the only one who does this. After a while you train your self to look for differences instead of ignoring them like you should in the real world. If I see an Asian player sit down to the table with his wife or family near by I see dollar signs. The first thing I think of is that he is a rich guy on vacation who loves to gamble. If I see a white guy in his 60’s sit down at the table I usually think, he is a stiff blue color rock. Now if he is in his 80’s, I might think he is just gambling away his money before he dies. Black guys never really seem comfortable at the table and can usually be either bullied or slow played into monster pots. Women can go either way, but they are usually an extreme. They can be really tight or oblivious to what others might have, but the way they dress usually gives it away. Notice how I stayed away from young people in every category. That’s because everyone above is smart enough to have gone out and read a few books before they came to the tables. But the younger you are the more ready you are to learn from a book. So I am always ready to re-adjust my stereotypes. These are just some of the examples of how my past experiences at a poker table have influenced my future opinion of all players in that category.

I think it makes me a better player to constantly look for differences and try to fit them into a previously created category. I also think that makes me racist at the table. Some people might say why don’t you view everyone the same when they sit down. Well my answer is because they are not the same, but we are also not that different. I have not taken the time to count they number of different type of people that play, but there cant be more then 10. Some people can switch back and forth between some of them, which makes them better players. Over all, the millions of players out there can be put into one of maybe 10 groups.

Now after I have played with any player for an hour I might have a totally different opinion. I let their actual play determine how I will judge them. But, I find it less shocking when an Asian player plays crazy then when a middle aged white guy plays crazy. Even that is racist. Confirming previous stereotypes with selected individuals is how people become racist.

When I say racist I don’t mean only toward Blacks, Whites or Asians. What I mean, is that you treat people different based solely on their appearances. We all practice this over and over for hours a day. That has to have some kind of effect when it comes to the real world. I know I use poker terms when I talk to friends at a bar so why would that be any different then using poker logic in the real world? When you see a news report on TV and the only “read” you have on the victim or suspect is one picture. It wouldn’t be that far off to go from he did that because he was on tilt. To; he did that because he is a stupid gangster. Or they deserved it because they are all like that.

In wrapping up my little article I would just like to point out that, all racism is bad for man kind. What I want to know is, is it good for poker players?

Ok well that’s about all for my random thought driving home from the casino. I don’t like to bash poker but I do like to write about all my thoughts about poker. This happened to be one of them so I present it to you. There may be some flaws in the logic which I invite you to point out. After all, I love to play poker so this could be a black eye for the game. I would welcome everyone to disagreed with me and show me why this is not true. If you think this is a worthy debate I invite/ask that you to link to this article from your blog so that more people can read it and comment.


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Comments (1)

To me, poker is a society within a society. Like the internet, you can look at it as a gateway to being who you want to be, with it rarely impacting your long-term personality outside of the casino or card room (the only real impact is financial, and in most cases mood-altering).

I myself consist of a mixture of introversion and extroversion, with a healthy dose of love in between. On the poker table, I find that whilst often my true personality does come through (competitive spirit anyone?), in that entire session, I can be who I want to be, target whoever I wish, and either dominate or be dominated with the next day starting fresh.

One could say that even though skilled players win more often, that the opportunity to win is there for all players, young and old.

Sorry if I have rambled somewhat :)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 9, 2007 11:27 AM.

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