What poker teaches us

A fourth skill that can be learned from poker is money management. In poker, running out of money means losing the ability to play poker. Players know that just because they have money, they can’t spend it if they want to “stay in business” (play poker), and that it’s good to have reserve funds available. Players who wish to play regularly learn money management skills that that are useful not only to business owners but to everybody. After all, every financial advisor will tell people to have an emergency fund. It takes discipline to have an emergency fund and not be tempted to spend it.

The argument from those who oppose gambling is short-sighted. It ignores the enormous leisure benefits people can gain from certain games, like blackjack, betting on horse-racing, and especially poker. Companies, universities, stock-market traders, and others rely on wisdom from poker to help train their workers and students. The benefits go far beyond simple recreation.

That being said, this isn’t the best argument to keep the government from prohibiting gambling. Even if there were no benefits from gambling, one could argue that our government shouldn’t restrict it. After all, is it the government’s right to tell adults how to live their lives? For those of us who think it isn’t, the better case to keep the government away from gambling prohibitions is the argument that we deserve freedom.