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Op-Ed: The obscenity of high stakes poker

By Alexander Baron     Feb 9, 2012 in Entertainment
Just in case you forgot, there is a recession on. Not that the players on these tables noticed; they can lose more in a minute than you earn in a month, and not bat an eyelid.
In Britain, men and women are soon going to have to work until they are sixty-six or older; in Greece, the government is implementing austerity measures - read penalising the workers to pay the banksters. It's a similar situation all over the world, and things have been this way longer than any of us can remember. Understandably, some people become envious of those better off than themselves. Some become worse than envious. Persons of a certain political persuasion rail against the Queen of England, although few if any of Royal baiters would want to take on her workload. There are though people who are doing very nicely thank you, and they don't all work for the banks. Take a look at the screengrabs below. The first is from a tournament on PokerStars, the world's biggest poker site where you can play for a dollar or even for free, but not here, where no fewer than 56 people from around the world (but excluding the USA after Black Friday) shelled out $530 a piece to enter.
That may sound like a lot of money if you have a mortgage to pay or a season ticket to buy, but the sums that are traded in the cash games put it to shame. William Hill is a much smaller site than PokerStars, but every Sunday it runs a free tournament with a £500 prize pool. It is though most unlikely any of the players on the next table would condescend to play the Facebook Freeroll, or any such cheapskate tournament. This is a $10/$20 Pot Limit game on the site. The guy in the bottom right has just cracked aces to win an $800+ pot.
The third screengrab makes that look like chickenfeed; back on PokerStars, the player on the bottom right of the screen has just won a pot more than ten times that size with a full house. On this table, the blinds are $50/$100.
This sort of thing goes on 24/7, every day of the year including Christmas Day and Leap Year. Where do these people come from? More to the point, where do they get the money to play for these stakes all day and every day? And don't you wish you could trade places with them?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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