Before I knew how to skillfully play it, I would want to classify poker as "gambling". If you are betting on the outcome of random cards, sure it's a gamble. A gambler would think "I'll just put my money out there and see what happens." Same with blackjack
, craps, roulette
But then I learned one thing that makes this game a whole lot less of a "gamble": I can control this game, baby! I can control the odds
. I can control my opponents' willingness to defend. I can control the information my opponents get.
Hmmm. Sounds kinda like baseball or football or basketball. Sure, there's luck in those sports, also. Some parts of those games are a "gamble". Stealing a base is a gamble. A fake punt is a gamble. Double-teaming a basketball player is a gamble. Do these things make these sports "gambling", also? Golf is another great example. Try playing golf on a windy day. Good luck! (pun intended)
Everything we do has some "gamble" to it. The more I watch the news, the more I think getting in my car or even walking down my street is a gamble.
Of course, poker has more lucky elements to it than many athletic sports. But in my opinion (and many, many others on this earth, including the lawmakers in my state of California
), you can't lump poker in the same "gambling" category as strictly outcome-reliant games like roulette, craps, and blackjack. Those games take strategy, yes. But you can't control those games with skill like you can in poker. It is a huge difference.
Maybe we should come up with a hybrid category. We could call it "Skill-bling" or something. Then we'd all be happy.