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Negreanu finds no conflict between piety and poker

6 October 2006

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) claimed a moral victory when he successfully attached the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to a Safe Ports bill last weekend.

"Gambling is a serious addiction that undermines the family, dashes dreams, and frays the fabric of society," Frist said in a statement.

Obviously, not everyone agrees with Frist.

When I interviewed Daniel Negreanu several months ago, I thought that his views on gambling and religion were very insightful. I couldn't find a place to include those comments in the profile I wrote at the time, but given the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act under the umbrella of conservative values, Negreanu's thoughts on the subject seem quite appropriate.

A few months after they started dating, Negreanu's wife Lori mentioned that she was a Christian and she felt it was important for Negreanu to explore his faith. He read A Case For Christ by Lee Strobel, and when he finished, he felt like there was "no option other than believing."

While some find conflict between Negreanu's faith and his profession, the Canadian card player does not.

"There is no reference anywhere in the Bible, not one scripture that says gambling is a sin or gambling is wrong," Negreanu says. "There are sinful things that can come out of a love for money. If you have an addiction to money and a love of money, yeah, that's sinful, but that doesn't have anything to do with gambling per se. You can do that if you're a businessman or a corporate man who is just hording his money and not sharing.

"The way I look at it, it's not how you make your money -- as long as you're not doing anything to cheat people or hurt others -- it's what you do with it. Certainly I'm going to be at a poker table with people that shouldn't be there -- where gambling has become a problem. I think gambling only becomes sinful when it becomes a problem in your life and it impedes your walk with God or with your family. From my perspective, if I'm playing with these people that are going to lose their money anyway, I can turn (bad) money into (good) money.

"It's no different than being a stock broker. How does one believe gambling is a sin and that playing the stock market isn't? What is the difference? You're making an investment on something you don't really know what is going to happen with. You do your research, like you research a poker hand. You say 'Well, I think this has expected value, I think I will make money with this hand.' But you don't always, sometimes you have some bad luck or you get the wrong read. When you research a business, you say 'Well, I think this stock is going to go up,' and make an investment in it. Sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down. Where is the difference?"

Negreanu is one of the few players that endorses an Internet poker room to publicly comment on the bill, which will become law if and when President Bush signs it.

"(Frist) is a self-righteous douche bag who has decided to push upon us his moral agenda by claiming that online poker is 'bad,'" Negreanu wrote in his blog on Oct. 4. "Has he ever played poker? Probably not. Does he even understand that it's different from slot machines? Probably not. Does he even realize that many Americans put food on the table by playing online poker? Probably not, and I doubt he cares. He thinks 'gambling is wrong' so we all have to have the same view of it as he does."

While several online casinos have stopped taking U.S. bets, the site Negreanu endorses, www.fullcontactpoker.com, continues to welcome U.S. play. Visit online.casinocity.com for a complete lists of online casinos and Internet poker rooms that accept and do not accept U.S. customers.

Negreanu finds no conflict between piety and poker is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.