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Re: My thoughts on gambling - online & otherwise

Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:03 pm

DavidS wrote:1. "Caveat empor": An adult daft enough to blow his assets on that kind of tommyrot - that's that sucker's problem! Just remember who it was behind the development of Las Vegas.
2. I object strongly to government managed lotteries, football pools and whatnot - definitely negative educational messages here! A person's wealth should be what he earns from honest graft (in the UK sense), not gaming. The Talmud automatically disqualifies professional gamblers from giving evidence in a Court of Law.
3. You are forced to take so many chances in life, what do you need money gambling for?
4. A man passes daily a kiosk selling lottery tickets, and never ever responds to the vendor's solicitations to buy a ticket. One day the ticket seller grabs him by the lapel and says, "Tell me, why shouldn't you try your luck? Maybe you are due for a windfall?"
Reply: "If such is decreed in heaven, why do I have to buy a ticket?"

I won't defend all gambling, since I don't care and I'm not an expert. I am an expert re: poker though.
1. poker is different, if you're good at it, you'll make money.
2. it is important to remember why gambling is forbdden by the talmud. the reason is because there is no actual act of "kinyan" - transfer of ownership. this is due to the fact when someone puts his or her money into the gamble it is not with the intention of handing them over to some specific person, it is with the intention of getting it back and more. you can't say it is with intention to go to the winner, because you don't know who the winner will be. so there is no act of kinyan. therefore when the gambler takes money he/she "won" it is an act of stealing.
I think casinos change the picture. there is an act of kinyan when the person gives the money to the casino for chips, the casino then gives money to the various people based on its own consideratios, which happen to be the ones involved in poker.
3. some people are good at poker, and it is their best chance at making a good living.
4. again poker is a game of skill.
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:06 pm

barfle wrote: Seriously, of what value is a concert?

good art music is more than entertainment.
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:11 pm

GC, see my answer to David's #2 and you'll see the talmud would allow brokers to serveas witnesses.
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:18 pm

GC, are you a pro?
i do it a lot too, as supplemental income and for fun.
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Postby DavidS » Wed Jul 19, 2006 2:27 pm

OK bignaf,
I can't argue with what you say about poker - I just, personally, find it less interesting than many other ways of making a living or entertaining oneself.
And I repeat, I am not judgemental of people who are into it.
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:22 pm

that's cool.
what do you think of my talmudic explanation, am I doing to much of a "pilpul"?
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Postby Shapley » Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:22 pm

David,

Isn't Whist the popular game across the pond? I've always thought of Poker as primarily an American pasttime, although I'm not sure why that is, unless it's the old Cowboy movies.

V/R
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Postby analog » Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:42 pm

Shapley wrote:David,

Isn't Whist the popular game across the pond? I've always thought of Poker as primarily an American pasttime, although I'm not sure why that is, unless it's the old Cowboy movies.

V/R
Shapley


I wonder similarly about that other great American pasttime, automobile nsurance fraud. Do you in other countries have personal injury lawyers advertising on the TV?

Living in South Florida I regarded my car insurance premiums as compulsory gambling, mandated by the state. But dont get me started on that.
Cogito ergo doleo.
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Postby Shapley » Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:04 pm

Yes, we have compulsory insurance in nearly every state. Despite this, the cost of insurance, including the 'uninsured motorist' rider, have risen markedly.

I don't know why it is considered gambling. With insurance, you're pretty well assured that you'll lose.

V/R
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Postby GreatCarouser » Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:29 pm

A number of things.....

1. I agree with barfle's post about entertainment, many casual gamblers adopt this attitude; it is the philosophy that keeps Vegas etc. up and running.

2.David I have no 'issue' with you, or anything you said. I was curious about why Talmudic law would prohibit testimony from this 'profession' and *ig has answered that. I would also have no issue with you if you told me I was going to hell in a handbasket. You have a right to your beliefs just as I do. :)

3. Shap, people who are involved in a poker pot have 'pot equity' and all of their decisions throughout the hand (including folding and sacrificing your share of the 'pot equity') have an 'expected value'. These things are because there is something of intrinsic value (chips...they are worth something very real, just as an authentic 'stock certificate' or deed of ownership has value) in the pot just the same as with, say, a commodity future. If I am correct here than your contention that 'ownership' is the key issue needs to be adjusted to include gamblers involved in 'pot games' and also ticket holders in lottery games at any time preceding the 'drawing'.

4. Shap, my thinking is the arrest of this gentleman is just 'the tip of the iceberg'. I'm waiting to see whether another shoe drops. The people who play at these sites aren't the only ones at risk. Many of these online sites are owned by companies that sell partial ownership. Another side of this may have something to do with Ralph Reed's recent credibility problems vis-a-vis online gambling legislation. Nothing this Administration does with and to the Constitution surprises me, they exhibit a Nixonian attitude toward interpretation.

5.B *g, while becoming a 'pro' is a 'desire' and a potential goal I am very much still learning and my investments in time and monies are 'small'....you may call it a small (very) business. It is far too soon to say whether or not it is going to be a profitable enterprise.

6. B*g, as I stated earlier, I feel there is ownership of pots, and since I would not steal the pot (since you can legally 'steal pots' through astute bluffs and other forms of misinformation that are within the poker rules I refer here to an act of stealing the pot after it has been won by another player) from the pot winner I would argue that poker players are no worse/better than brokers.

7. B*g if you are unfamiliar with the works of David Sklansky I commend him to you and others who might be interested in poker and gambling theory. His The Theory of Poker is must reading if you want to understand why poker is a game of skill and not solely of chance. B*g already understands that, I wouldn't be surprised if he is already familiar with Sklansky's works.

8. Shap, on reflection, you are correct that compulsory insurance is much more a 'tax' than a gamble.

9. Shap, poker is very popular in Europe and China. Search for the 'European Poker Tour' on your favorite search engine for more info. Australia is also the home of at least two online poker sites.
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Postby DavidS » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:15 pm

bignaf wrote:that's cool.
what do you think of my talmudic explanation, am I doing to much of a "pilpul"?

No problem there either.
One of the effects of the Talmudic mentality is intellectual exercise, to which anyone and everyone is equally welcome.
Many years ago, at university, I was required (during my engineering training programme) to take a short course in law, at the end of which we had to write an essay addressing some theoretical issue put to us. I don't remember the subject of the question, but do distinctly remember weighing all aspects of the matter with the methodology of my Talmudic training (which I had been undergoing since childhood) and then being awarded a prize for my extremely logical analysis.
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Postby DavidS » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:22 pm

Shapley wrote:David,

Isn't Whist the popular game across the pond? Shapley


Yes, though I don't think it necessarily requires wagering.
I never did much of that either - my thing was more Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Monopoly, Draughts ("Checkers", as in NYC taxicabs) and Chess.
Tel grain, tel pain.
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Postby DavidS » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:29 pm

GreatCarouser wrote:A number of things.....


2.David I have no 'issue' with you, or anything you said. I was curious about why Talmudic law would prohibit testimony from this 'profession' and *ig has answered that. I would also have no issue with you if you told me I was going to hell in a handbasket. You have a right to your beliefs just as I do. :)

Please permit me to say that unconditionally I have no "issue" with you or anyone else contributing to this forum - no way at all.
I quoted the Talmud as an ancient repository of wisdom, not intending to indicate that I agree with every single rule laid down in it.
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:35 pm

GC, I'm a voracious reader of Sklansky and 2+2. it makes no sense trying to play poker for money without reading his books.

back to the issue of stealing. you didn't understand the concept (and you're not ready for this post, stop reading it now [hehe, Sklansky reference...]). there is a general concept in talmudic money laws, of act of transfer of ownership. there are only a few specifc ways this can occur. betting into a pot is not an act of transfering ownership to a specific person. if every person at the table took out their chips at the end of the play and handed it to the winner it would be fine. if everyone declared that their bet is free for all to take, it would be fine.

I play mostly limit hold'em .5/1 or good 1/2 tables. also 25 or 50 buy-in no-limit. also 11 and 22 buy-in S&G's. made about 1500 to date including bonii. :)
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Postby bignaf » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:37 pm

oh, I forgot to mention. you are going to hell in a handbasket. I just reserved your ticket at Beelzebub and Associates, LLC. :twisted:
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Postby DavidS » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:52 am

analog wrote:Living in South Florida I regarded my car insurance premiums as compulsory gambling, mandated by the state. But dont get me started on that.

No, I won't tug your chain over that, but will just note that that was one of the things I was referring to by writing about all the chances and gambles forced upon us anyway in life.
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Postby Shapley » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:07 am

GC,

I don't dispute what you say, except regarding the value of the 'pot'. The chips only have value as defined within the game. I can by a bushel of chips at the local Sam's Club for very little money, certainly less than the value they will carry during a high stakes game. If I leave the game without cashing in my chips, the chips revert to their Sam's Club value once I'm out the door.

Casino chips have a value defined by the casino. A $1.00 chip has a value of $1.00 as long as I spend it inside the casino, but it is not legal tender. It does not represent anything exept the faith of the casino (in the same manner that a Federal Reserve Note represents the faith of the United States since we've gotten off the gold standard, but that is a topic for another day).

If I buy crop futures, I have purchased stock in a farmers output, in essence making myself a partner with the farmer. I have guaranteed him a price on his product, without regard to the market price at time of harvest. He agrees to the price with the understanding that the value of his crop may be significantly higher at harvest time than the agreed price. It is a risk he accepts in return for a price guarantee.

I'm not opposed to gambling, but I would not attempt to defend it by comparing it to commerce, as there is a clear distinction between the two.

V/R
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Postby BigJon@Work » Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:53 pm

GreatCarouser wrote: So if I am a banker and you are a farmer and I lend you monies using a share in your coming corn crop as collateral that's ok because you are 'creating' wealth and are in business to do so but if I come to you as an 'investor' (gambler) and make the same deal we aren't 'creating' wealth? Seems the difference is what name you give the lender?

Investing is not equal to gambling, both involve risk, but one is a zero sum game. And yes, IMO investing is OK, gambling is dumb because the odds are against you. Investing is smart because the odds are with you due to the open-ended nature of investments.

GreatCarouser wrote: Darn, I guess all those casinos, both Indian and corporately owned scattered around the US create no wealth? Tell that to their shareholders and employees. Tell that to the service industries that have sprung up to serve them, their customers, and employees.

You know you are misapplying my words because you quote me correctly below. Taking a sucker’s money is morally repugnant no matter how much “legitimate” business you build around it.

GreatCarouser wrote: Commodity traders and others who speculate in 'high-volatility' investments can come out winners. Because they may not be publicly traded partnerships does that mean that 'no wealth has been created'? Burn all the mom-and-pop small businesses then.

You are really stretching here. Traders who never intend to take possession of the underlying product are gamblers because that kind of trading is a zero sum game. A winner, a loser and the house takes it cut. No wealth has been created but for the house. I don’t understand how you compare this to Mom and Pop shops.

GreatCarouser wrote: Please don't tell me about the 'wreckage' of broke gamblers unless you are willing to include in that number the overwhelming number of small business owners who lose at their particular gambles when compared to the numbers that 'win'.

The businesses who fail are entering into an open system of unlimited potential. They succeed or fail based on their discipline, intelligence, application of ideas and all of those indefinable and knowable and unknowable risks that are out there. The winning or losing is not a foregone conclusion; that is the fundamental difference in gambling and investment.

GreatCarouser wrote: Just as more and more small businesses do survive and thrive so do more and more 'professional gamblers' and no other industry creates the possibility for quick wealth from a relatively miniscule investment for the casual and uninformed 'investor' that the gambling industry does (I am including a major lottery win here as it is legal gambling). As lousy as the odds of it happening are they are far greater than the odds of it happening from any other investment.

Where the hell do you get your statistics from? If you really believe this you have been hopelessly mislead. The rate of failure of a business is not the same as losing at gambling. As a business runs its course, the owners (investors) extract current and future value from it. Sometimes returning many times their investment before the business closes. Closure does not equal losing. The net aggregate return on US business investing is historically between 5-10 percent to the good. The net aggregate return on gambling is incredibly simple to calculate. Wagers, minus the house’s cut yields a net aggregate loss to the gamblers. You can not escape this or call it wealth creation for the gamblers. The returns to any one gambler are distributed on a standard bell curve with the fat part of the group somewhere around break-even minus the house’s cut. The folks you hear about making it big are thin end of the tail of the curve and they are no more common than before because it is statistically impossible.

GreatCarouser wrote: If you go to wager on a pari-mutuel wagering event (horse race or dog race, for example) you are giving the house an edge of approximately 17-20% on whatever monies you wager there...I'd love to find an insurance company that would offer me even odds 1/4 as good as those (and they are quite lousy odds compared to most casino games for example) on the return of my often legally-mandated 'wagers' with those 'wealth-creators'.

Again, you have been mislead if you believe that this is how insurance works. It would take another long post to explain it, let me know if you are interested.

GreatCarouser wrote: It seems by your lights, *ig Jon, only businesses that create something 'tangible' are wealth creators. Let's burn all the banks along with the lawyers, ad agencies, management consultants etc. then.

There are businesses who don’t deal in tangible items who take sucker’s money just the same as the gambling house, they are morally repugnant too. And again, you tar with a broad brush. Just because the usage has been immoral doesn’t mean the business is inherently unworthy. And no, a business of tangible items is not the only means to create wealth, but they are the most, well, tangible. They just happen to be the foundation of most systems of genuine wealth creation.

GreatCarouser wrote: Saying that ..."(t)here is a winner, there is a loser, the house takes it cut and no wealth is created, except for the house..." is like saying that all those 'winners' are bound to lose/spend what they have won and be left,

I never said that or implied it, but now you are delving into the gamblers psychology, which is how these Taj Mahals of gambling are created. Make the sucker think he is winning or it is easy to win and he will continue to gamble. Make it hard or no fun and he will go home. Google the gambler’s fallacy if you really want to delve in to what is wrong with gambling from the humane standpoint.

GreatCarouser wrote: at best, breaking even on their investment. That conclusion is laughable.

See above, it is statistically impossible for it to be any other way with gambling, no matter how much you wish it were different.

GreatCarouser wrote: Is it really my analogy that is 'shallow and malformed' or perhaps only the conclusions you reached that deserve those adjectives?

Your analogy is busted beyond repair, because you have apparently been trained by the very folks who want to take your money. Your illustrations are the classic gambler’s justifications and they don’t hold up to scrutiny.
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Postby Shapley » Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:07 pm

GC,

A casino does not 'create' wealth because the money that leaves the casino is of the same value as the money that enters it, albeit it is in different pockets.

The farmer 'creates' weatlh becuase he takes the bare ground, invests a small amount in seed and a share of his labour and, at harvest time finds the value of the land and the crops on it are greater than the value was in the Spring.

The Factory 'creates' wealth because it takes raw materials of value 'x', adds additional materials and labor, and produces a finished product of value 'y', which is hopefully greater than 'x'. Investors contribute to the creation of wealth by contributing the capital that is needed to hire the labour and purchase the raw product for factories to produce product. Unlike bank loans, which must be repaid with interest win or lose, investment through stocks is repaid in company value, which improves if the company is successful and decreases if not. This may be a 'gamble' in some manner, but it is a gamble on the creation of wealth, not on the redistribution of it.

V/R
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Postby barfle » Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:59 pm

bignaf wrote:
barfle wrote: Seriously, of what value is a concert?

good art music is more than entertainment.

So what is it, then? And how is "good art music" different in that respect than Celine Dion music?

How do any of these create wealth? Are their customers any better or worse off than the gambler?

What wealth is created in a baseball game? There is an infrastructure (equipment manufacturers, stadium construction, souvenir vendors and the like), but is that wealth being created?

How about movies? How about streaming Internet radio stations? How about dance bands? Theme parks? Churches? Art galleries? Fiction books? How do these differ in entertainment value from casino gambling?

All of these are simply indications of a society with enough wealth that it can spare a substantial fraction of it to keep itself entertained. And that's not a bad thing.
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