Poker lore is full of unsavory degenerates. Images abound of those who play poker gambling away their rent money or cheating to win. Poker venues are imagined as mafia-backed casinos and smoke filled basements hosting illegal games. Check out the best poker movies and you’ll find plenty of shady characters and less-than-noble behaviors.
This, however, is not the poker world we have come to know and love.
Poker is a pastime for a wide variety of people. It’s an avocation, a hobby, that engages people in a mental and social activity, much like bridge or golf. There are definitely potential downsides to playing poker, but anyone can pursue poker as part of a healthy lifestyle if they attend to these pitfalls.
Play Poker as a Friendly Competition
The typical poker venue, like our go-to local room Hampton Falls in New Hampshire, has the feel of competitive camaraderie. Everyone is trying their best to play poker well and to win. Ninety-five percent of players are gracious and understand both the skill and luck aspects of the game. There is an overriding atmosphere of “we’ve come together to share this activity we all love.” There’s a real feeling of being an insider in a world that those who don’t play can never understand.