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Rant: If You Want to Stereotype Me for Playing Poker, Up Yours
What’s your opinion on the man who wakes up and has a bottle of beer with his egg on toast?
I bet you think he has a problem.
Theoretically speaking, why should a bottle of beer consumed at 8 am be viewed any differently than the bottle you consume 8 pm?
There is no difference - except the one that we have indoctrinated into our society through the art of story.
These stories are so familiar to us that we don’t even know them as stories anymore. They simply are.
It’s our way of life. It doesn’t matter if they're truths or lies, it’s just another story and we believe all of them.
Pitched in the Same Backyard as Drug Dealing, Law
Take the story about poker for example.
People believe that poker players have gambling problems; that we're not in control of our actions.
That the sight of cards and fish and chips sends our hands deep into the backs of our sofas, deep into the purses of our loved ones, or deep into the credit of those who charge us a lifetime of interest.
Robbing, stealing, bastards.
When it comes to the choice of career; poker is pitched in the same backyard as prostitution, drug dealing, thieving and the good old-fashioned criminal lawyer.
Do you know how hard it was for me to get an apartment when I told the owners what I did for a living?
And I wasn’t even telling them I was a poker player. Instead, I told them that I wrote about poker. Nobody would entertain the thought of having me as a tenant.
Then I changed tact and started revealing my other career to the owners and things changed.
People Don't Trust You, Which is Strange
Once I opted to keep the dark side of my moon to myself, the lightness and nicety of being a coach who helped people recover from alcohol addiction helped me secure a lease just by clicking my fingers.
During a recent interview with Kara Scott she told me that her and her fiancé Giovanni Rizzo had exactly the same problems in Italy.
“It was a nightmare and I didn’t expect it because I have never faced this problem before. As a poker player, sometimes you have to offer to pay 6-12 months rent in advance, and that’s a lot of money.
"It’s all because people don’t trust you, which is strange because I have really good references
“We went to place after place. We would meet the people, we would sit down with them, they would find out what we did for a living, and they would say no.
"It started to feel like a personal rejection based on our life choices and the industry we work in.”
I recently set up my own limited company and had to have a meeting with the bank’s Business Advisor.
During my meeting she asked me how I made my income. I told her that I wrote for gambling and poker companies as well as helping people quit drinking.
“We should just focus on the quitting drinking aspect of what you do,” she told me.
When I enquired why, she showed me the forms that we had to complete. Lo and behold, the bank didn’t want to do business with people from the gambling industry.
This is Poker
Like I said: prostitutes, drug dealers, thieves and lawyers.
This is poker. It’s a game played by families sitting around kitchen tables all over the world. Playing cards is just a way of life, not all trouble and strife.
Two lepers were playing poker. One threw his hand in and the other one laughed his head off.
It’s a joke. It’s not real. We aren’t lepers.
I don’t want to be treated like a pariah and instead I want to be respected for what I do.
We are different. We take a different view on life.
We want to be freed from the shackles of mundanity, to stomp on the alarm clock, stick a knife in the 9 to 5, say no to banality and say a Hell Yeah to living a life of free abandonment.
If that’s a reason to decline my mortgage, stop me from opening a bank account, or disallow me from owning a home … then up yours you uneducated, pig-headed, dogmatic world. Up yours.