Harvard professor: Use poker to educate kids

Well-known Harvard law professor Charles Nesson wants to teach kids the skills of life using a form of online poker. There is nothing evil in this scheme, underlines the founder of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society.

Poker is not just a game of skill, it is a game that hones a wide range of human skills that can be helpful in confronting a variety of life experiences. The Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS) was created to promote this view.

The founder of the GPSTS, Harvard law professor Charles Nesson, made a name for himself by defending Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon Papers case in 1971. He is extremely motivated to win mainstream acceptance for poker and assure it its rightful place in American society.

"I'd like to legitimate poker as an educational instrument," Nesson said in an Associated Press article. "It's a great way to learn and practice the skills of seeing what things look like from another person's point of view."

"Kids should learn those skills while they are good so that they are better empowered to deal with evil when they meet it," states a message from Nesson on the GPSTS Web site.

"I want to speak to the fundamentalist right about using poker to educate kids. I want to teach using a form for playing poker which is not gambling, at least in the way that you may have been thinking about it."

Nesson is seeking to relax the restrictions on small-scale poker tournaments in his home state of Massachusetts. He's still annoyed that a yearly charity-based poker tournament for students was canceled due to legal technicalities.

"Poker is a hobby to many, a job to some and it can be, in the proper context, an excellent learning tool to teach children a number of different skills," Nesson continues.

"Though just a game, poker teaches survival skills and encourages the development of good instincts. A good poker player learns to size up the competition quickly and decide where potential risks lie."

The GPSTS has a presence on the Harvard-originated social networking site Facebook, with its group including poker pros like Howard Lederer and Andy Bloch from the Full Tilt Poker team.

About Lars Sundin

Lars is a Stockholm-based writer with a master’s degree in mathematics and language studies under his belt. He has always been keenly interested in games, and online poker immediately captured him when he discovered it in April 2003.

“Poker isn’t just one of the best games out there; it also lends itself to various kinds of mathematical treatment - an added plus!” says Lars.

While he usually tends to jump from ice floe to ice floe when it comes to passions, poker has remained an unusually stable part of Lars’ leisure time since he first sat down at Paradise Poker.

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