Why i play poker

Why i play...
A lot of people don't understand my obsession with the game so i'll try to explain it a bit here.
I've never been a gambling man, never bet on sports and (until very recently) i had never been in a casino, never play bandits (those 'gaming' machines you see in pubs) and i can count on one hand the amount of times I played the national lottery since it started in 1994. The simple reason for my no gambling rule is that money is difficult to earn and i'm not going to part with it easily. Having said that then why would i wager money on poker? First i have to explain why poker is different to gambling.
While gambling promises to take your money and make it into more money this is simply not the case, it's a matter of basic maths. From my years of barwork i noticed that If you look on any bandit in any pub there will be a payout percentage on it, i think it's the law that that sticker has to be there. That sticker will say something like 'the payout on this machine is set to 90%'. At first glance this might seem like a good thing, Some may think "wow i'm going to win 90% of the time, right?"  Wrong! this plainly means that given enough time you willl have 10% less money than you started with. The attaction with these machines is that they never meet the average in a short period of time. On any given day day you may be up or down, you may win the jackpot one day or lose a few pounds the another but if you take an average over time you will only EVER end up with 90% of the money you have played through. People continue to play for the time that they will win the jackpot.
The same applies to casino games, the house edge, in these games, is the name for the difference between the odds of the game and the odds that the casino gives you. For example roulette has numbers 1-36 and the casino gives you back gives you 35 to 1 on your original stake if you win which means you would get £36 back for an original stake of £1 if you win. Half the colours are red and half are black. If you decide to bet on red or black then you get 2 to 1 on your money. That seems fair, doesn't it? Well it would be if the number 0 wasn't on the table. This is neither red nor black. A quick calculation means that (even if you weren't playing against the casino) the edge in these games is 2.78% and this is doubled on american tables where there is a 0 and a 00 on the roulette wheel.People continue to play for the one time that they make more money than they started with.
Sports betting works on the same principal, the book makers calculate the chance of an outcome (in the same way that insurance companies do) and then subtract a little bit from the odds. Get the idea? So why is poker different?
 
But mainly it takes complete concentration, when i play poker, for the amount of time that i am in a game nothing else matters, a thousand voices in your head working out a thousand calculations in a fraction of a second nothing else in my life even gets a look in at that time. Essentially a it's a hobby, a total escape from the considerations of real life.
 

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