By Jason Lake
It isn't all peaches and cream when you're a professional poker player. Even if you've got a solid poker game with all the angles covered, a bad run of cards can send your bankroll spiraling downward. Travel costs and taxes have to be factored in when you're on the tournament circuit. And all that sitting down isn't good for your health. It's not glamorous.
Poker is still the greatest game of them all. You don't have to be 7-feet tall or 350 pounds of rippling muscle to play – you just need the proverbial chip and a chair. Having a positive attitude helps, too. Since it’s Thanksgiving week, let's take a moment to count our blessings and remind ourselves what makes poker such a great game.
1. The Internet
It hasn't even been 20 years since the first online poker games were held using the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) protocol. Before the Internet, if you wanted to play for real money, you often had to deal with shady characters who might see your bet and raise you a Smith & Wesson. Now you can play any time of day from the comfort of your own home – or while you're on the go.
2. Disposable Income
We haven't quite reached the point yet where robots have taken over all the jobs. Until they do, there's enough work for smart and talented people to pay their bills and save some money on the side for building a poker bankroll. Not only that, there are still enough hours left after work is done to study poker and play at a higher level.
3. Public Acceptance
With the growth of online poker and the general decrease in poverty, it's become much more acceptable to play poker, either professionally or just for fun. The “Wild West” vibe has been replaced by a younger generation of smart, community-minded players who make for excellent poker ambassadors.
4. Nice Casinos
Some poker rooms are more inviting than others, but on the whole, the live poker experience is pretty sweet compared to the old days. If you do well enough, you could find yourself playing at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, or the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Or you can book yourself a poker vacation at the Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas. It sure beats working at a cubicle farm.
5. Our Relative Freedom
There are far too many places in the world where people aren't allowed to play poker, or do much of anything that we take for granted here. That should change in the long run as the global economy continues to develop, but until then, we need to be actively thankful for what we've fought so hard to achieve, and supportive of those who are running away from tyranny – lest we become tyrants ourselves