The Instigator
OMGJustinBieber
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
JacobHession
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Poker is good for you

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/23/2011 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,337 times Debate No: 16663
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (5)

 

OMGJustinBieber

Pro

Res: Poker is good for people.

Definitions:

Poker: Any of the major games: Stud, Hold'em, Omaha, etc.
Good: Satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
JacobHession

Con

I'd like to begin by thanking my Justin Bieber loving opponent for creating this debate.

I accept both of the definitions presented as well as the presented resolution.

I look forward to my opponent's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
OMGJustinBieber

Pro

There would seem to be two broad types of poker players: Those who play for fun and the social aspect, and those who play more seriously to win money. Since the latter type certainly have a better understanding of the game, I will be arguing from their perspective. Those who "play for fun" often gamble small sums of money (or small for their net work) and derive little benefit from the game except perhaps a little happiness when they win and sadness when they lose. However, this argument is not about them. This argument is about the real poker players, who strive to advance their knowledge about the game and possibly use their skills as a source of income.

1. Poker helps with memory.

This is especially true with Stud, where is incredibly important to know the cards that are out, the cards that have been folded ("dead cards"), and your odds. Even in other poker games, if you want to be successful you must know your history with an opponent (whether they bluff, what hands they have shown down, etc.) Memory is important outside of poker because it helps you remember things about people which can certainly come in handy. A good memory helps in remembering appointments, birthdays, duties, and a number of other situations.

2. Poker teaches you to think in the long run.

You will get sucked out on in this game. You will lose as a 90% favorite, or more, when you've played a while. Moreover, these "suck outs" will often cost you your entire stack especially in a game like Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). A good poker player cannot be result-oriented, and an ability to think long term can help in many fields such as business, stocks, and others.

3. Poker teaches emotional control.

As noted above, you will feel cheated sometimes. The key to being a successful player is to be able to put the emotions aside, and continual to think rationally. If you know you have an edge over your opponents despite taking some bad beats, a good player will be able to continue here while an emotionally unstable player will go "on tilt." Emotional control is certainly useful in real life as it can help with decision making and de-personalizing conflicts.

4. Poker helps with math.

If you want to be a good player, you must know the odds. A corollary to this is being able to calculate the odds, or "outs." Many people have trouble with math, and when you are able to reason out the odds it will give you an enormous edge over an oblivious opponent. Math is certainly a useful skill in real life.

5. Poker helps dispel stereotypes.

It's crucial that you see players as individuals rather than members of a racial group while you're at the table with people. People play very uniquely, and making assumptions can be very costly. There is no one way asians play, or one way blacks play, or Jews play. I can assure you that people across racial boundaries play very different, and when you recognize this collective assumptions about racial or ethnic groups are weakened.

I look forward to Con's response.
JacobHession

Con

I will begin with my arguments then move on to attacking my opponent.

First I would like to accept my opponent's transition to debating primarily the more serious poker players.

Contention 1: Gambling is rarely a good idea.

Subpoint A: Financial loss.
When a person plays any type of poker at a serious level there is often relatively substantial amounts of money being gambled. This is obviously detrimental to the player. They are placed in a situation where they risk a substantial financial loss nearly completely at chance. Gambling of any type creates this dangerous situation.
Subpoint B. Gambling can be addictive.
In the previous Pro argument my opponent stated that this debate will focus around players who are more serious about poker and intend to gamble more money or even base their income off such a game of chance. With such an increase of money in play there is a definite chance of a gambling addiction forming. This is a situation that can be dangerous both psychologically and financially. If there is a chance of the player becoming addicted to an already bad practice the amount of good being done for the player is substantially reduced.

Now on to my opponent's arguments.

1. Poker helps with memory.
My opponent is attempting to argue that there is a substantial benefit to the memory by playing poker. However he offered no evidence to support that the amount of memory gain is substantial. On top of this there are ways to remember appointments, birthdays and duties other than building your memory through poker. For example one could purchase a calendar. This is a considerably more financially sound choice than risking large sums of money to gambling.

2. Poker teaches you to think in the long run.
I would like to ask for further clarification of the wording of this argument.

3. Poker teaches emotional control.
While this may be true we must once again look back to the dangers of poker or any gambling game. While poker may help emotional control, the cost/benefit ratio is rather poor. While you may benefit in this way you may also be damaged in the long run by financial trouble and gambling addiction.

4. Poker helps math.
The amount of math that is actually needed in poker is relatively small. On top of this any math used is used only in context to poker and would not hold any substantial benefit. My opponent said that you must know the odds but never actually clarified what part of poker actually requires mathematical calculations to be done while playing. This argument is obviously invalid.

5. Poker helps dispel stereotypes.
This argument is entirely invalid. Poker does not dispel stereotypes in a special way. Similar things can occur in many social or business setting without risking substantial amounts of money.

In conclusion, when looking at whether or not something is good for a person we, as a rational society, must look at the benefits and then compare then to the costs. In this debate the pro side has presented various weak benefits while the con side has presented powerful downfalls to playing poker. With this I ask for a Con vote in this debate.
Debate Round No. 2
OMGJustinBieber

Pro

Con brings up some understandable and common objections to poker.

R1(A): I actually agree with Con that gambling is rarely a good idea. However, there are clear differences between a game like Poker and a game like Roulette, which is always negative expected value. Poker involves much more skill than gambling, and you can find players online who have very consistent winnings. This would never happen in a game where the odds were skewed against you, and in such a game you would never show long term winnings. Online player Nanonoko is proof that poker winnings can be steady and long term.

http://www.pokertableratings.com...

Con also brings up the point about losing money, and there is certainly some validity to this. However, the money that you play with should not be enough that if you lost it would crush you financially. It is extremely common knowledge that a form of bankroll management needs to be used by any successful poker player. Regardless of how good you are, you will experience downswings and this demands a "cushion" in any bankroll. If a certain player loses a certain number of buy ins (these bankroll management numbers are usually represented in buy ins in NL/PL games and big bets (BB) in FL games) he moves down stakes. When talking about "losing money" we have to understand that it's relative because a loss of a few thousands might be detrimental to one player while to a multi-millionaire it is negligible financially. Additionally, there will be winners and losers in every poker game and this would imply a balancing out effect.

(B) Con suggests the risk of poker addiction, and this certainly does occur. However, there are potential addiction issues from something as innocuous as eating to exercise to video games. Given that there is the potential for abuse in a number of activities, is this criteria really meaningful in labeling something as "bad?"

--------------

C1: The fact that poker helps with memory should be very self-evident, especially in Stud. You simply need to have a good memory to be a good Stud player, and it takes practice to memorize the cards in terms of number and suit that have been seen. Memory, just like any other muscle, has the "use it or lose it" concept [1]. It is crucial that a new Stud player learn to memorize the seen cards if he wants to advance his game and gain on edge on the opposition. It's structured similar to other memory games and uses the same muscles.

C2: Certainly. Any poker player who has played a large amount of hands knows that short term fluctuations in profit will be inevitable. Any poker player who gets exceeding caught up in the short term will never be successful because making correct decisions is done by viewing decisions in terms of their long term expected value. For example sometimes it's fine to go "all in" on certain draws, like a flush draw, even though it's like 2:1 against to hit if you're getting the right price to do it.

C3: It appears Con has conceded this point and reiterates one of his objections so I will be moving on.

C4: This argument is obviously valid for anyone who has played a substantial amount of poker. The math can sometimes he quite difficult, and you generally need to calculate a few things when in a hand: Your equity (often versus a range of hands your opponent might have), the price you're being laid by the money on the table, and the more abstract "implied odds" which help you get an idea of how much you can earn if your hand "hits."

I never claimed that poker was calculus, but it can certainly keep the mind sharp and in some cases the math can be quite challenging for us non-math geniuses. Moreover, we have to be very careful what we count as a "good" card when deciding which cards help us and often must make several calculations against our opponent's possible holdings.

C5: You seem to concede this point, but note it's lack of speciality. This is an entirely fair point, but you do the same thing when you claim that poker can lead to addiction. I'm a little confused since this is the first time you use this line of argument and seem to apply it very selectively here.

Conclusion: The "losing money" part Con brings up is a little dubious since it can be balanced by a "winning money" part on the other side of the equation. There will be winners and losers in every game, and it would be disingenuous to consider the winners as less deserving than the losers. It would appear these two events would balance each other out. Con brings up the idea of viewing it in terms of cost/benefit which I agree with. In my view, the critical thinking skills (especially in risk management) encouraged by poker outweigh the net costs in that they provide you with life skills that can be applied to many other fields particularly business, stocks, and personal relationships.

[1] http://www.helpguide.org...
JacobHession

Con

JacobHession forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
OMGJustinBieber

Pro

argument extended
JacobHession

Con

JacobHession forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by JacobHession 5 years ago
JacobHession
Sorry about the forfeit. I was too lazy/busy to reply. Vote Con.
Posted by i8JoMomma 6 years ago
i8JoMomma
so is weed
Posted by OMGJustinBieber 6 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
Pfft, no.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Better than listening to Justin Bieber?
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
OMGJustinBieberJacobHessionTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's strongest contention (the rest were clarifications or concessions followed by weak rebuttals) was the cost of money of gambling, which was unfortunately refuted by Pro who showed the other side of winning...Pro earns points for sources and forfeits for obvious reasons...
Vote Placed by thett3 5 years ago
thett3
OMGJustinBieberJacobHessionTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter to MDs absurd votebomb.
Vote Placed by MassDebator255 5 years ago
MassDebator255
OMGJustinBieberJacobHessionTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: poke-her is good for you
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 5 years ago
quarterexchange
OMGJustinBieberJacobHessionTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
OMGJustinBieberJacobHessionTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit