There are bad beats, online scandals, addictions, stuck-up professional player, cheaters, gossipers, degenerate gamblers, hopeless dreamers, liars, sell-outs and other more dubious drawbacks to the industry.
It's nothing new and you almost expect it from a game that encourages lying and calls Las Vegas home.
These negatives are widely publicized and if you'd like to learn more about the degenerate side of poker there are many books, forums and even movies you would find interesting.
Today, however, I wanted to talk about all the positives of poker.
Since getting involved in the poker industry in 2006 I've covered some great stories and I've seen countless lives changed. I've interviewed winners who were literally on the verge of tears after going from rags to riches in a poker tournament.
I remember talking to Annette Obrestad after she won the WSOPE Main Event and the thing she seemed most excited about was buying her mom a house. It's not often an 18-year-old girl is in the position to provide for her parents in such a manner.
Charity and poker are not mutually exclusive, either. There are countless charity poker tournaments held across the world and well-known philanthropists like Barry Greenstein give a large portion of their winnings to charities. Just last week I saw Eric Brooks win $400,000+ in a WSOP event and donate 100% of it to charity.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is the opportunity to travel and make meaningful relationships with people around the world that I perhaps wouldn't have in another career.
This is obviously not exclusive to the poker media, either. I've spent time with players and I've seen the bonds of friendship some form online across the world, despite the fact some players have never met in person.
We're talking about kids from the mid-west of the U.S. who might not, without poker, have had the opportunity to travel to exotic locations like Italy and Australia. It's the chance to perhaps live a life less ordinary.
Putting all that aside there's one more important thing to remember: It's a pretty fun game.
Some of my favorite poker memories come from the weekly home game I used to play while working at a small newspaper. Even online there are some great times to be had and if you doubt me I recommend starting anaccount.
The folks over at the Global Poker Strategic Thinking society have found the game encourages cognitive thinking and can be used as a tool to educate.
All this from a little game with 52 cards and some chips. The negatives will always be there, of course, but I prefer to look on the bright side.