Vice Squad
Friday, January 02, 2004
Poker Boom

Will Baude over at Crescat Sententia tried to bait me into action on Indiana alcohol laws. I evaded the hook, only to be ensnared in a frequent Baude topic: poker. (Will seems to prefer Texas Hold 'Em, if my memory overcomes my complete ignorance of card games.) The world suddenly seems to be awash in poker -- OK, maybe it wasn't so sudden, but the on-line version, at least, is relatively recent. An article in today's tells of a recent report by the British betting firm Ladbrokes; here's an excerpt from the article: "the amount gambled on poker websites around the world increased from [pounds] 6 million a day in January last year to [pounds] 38 million in December.

There are thought to be around 150 poker rooms now operating on the Internet -- up from 30 in 2002."

Wow, the amount gambled in on-line poker rose by a factor of more than 6 in 2003! Land-based poker games also seem to be enjoying a surge in popularity. If you would like one of the best players in the world to take $10,000 (US or Aussie?) of your money, better hurry to Melbourne.

I tried to learn a little bit about poker in America by reading Andy Bellin's Poker Nation. What struck me most about it was the lack of enforcement of anti-gambling laws against regular and sizeable illegal poker games. There's also a story or two of people ruining their lives via their poker obsession. (Don't worry about Will: it's blogging that is ruining his life, apparently, not poker!)

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