Christian Poker Players – An Oxymoron?

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The 2004 Poker Player of the Year and 2004 World Series of Poker All-Around player, Daniel Negreanu, is a professional poker player and professed Christian. He’s taken quite a bit of a deal from Christian for the fact that he’s a poker player and a millionaire. Is he living in sin? Can he truly glorify God in the poker world? Let’s get down to basics, can a Christian bluff, or deceive others and still be a faithful Christian?

Interestingly enough, the first perfected deception of Satan in the Garden of Eden pkv games.

Genesis 3:13 says …

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Satan made the fruit seem so good, if only he would have eaten the fruit that God had promised. Unfortunately, Eve was deceived by Satan’s great deception and she willingly disobeyed God. Satan is a master deceiver, and he wants people to follow in his footsteps. The Ten Commandments in God’s Other Hand-Against States That Deception Is Wrong and Sinful. It is written …

You will not bear false witness against your neighbor. ~ Exodus 20:16

In the New Testament this commandment is repeated,

Do not lie to each other, you have taken away your old self with its practices and have put in the new self, which is the renewed knowledge of being in the image of its creator. [1]

Do we enjoy it when people lie to us? Do we enjoy it when people deceive us? Of course not, sin is what causes the great pain and suffering humankind faces daily in this world and sin. But poker in the art of trapping is actually the art of deceiving. A player flops a big hand but acts like they are weak checking their hand to the other player. What are they doing Attempting to deceive the other player. Think about it, 100% honesty doesn’t make a good poker player does it? No bluffing, no lying, no deception would make a player very easy to play against.

But even if a poker player was 100% honest, they never bluffed, they never lied, and they never deceived, would they be free from sin?

Another of God’s commandments …

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; You will not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. ~ Exodus 20:17

The Princeton Dictionary is defined as Covet …

wish, long, or crave for (something, especially another person of property); [2]

Poker is all about coveting; The goal is to take other people’s money. People sit around a table and take on other people’s money. In fact, we are honest, every player’s mind is focused on, wishing for, longing for, or craving the property (in this case the chips which represent money). Did God really mean we should do this? After all poker is just a game right? God did not write The Ten Commandments in Stone, He spoke of them as well. Exodus 20: 1 says And God spoke all these words. When God speaks, it is a reality. There is not a 99.9% chance that God said what He meant, there is a 100% chance that God said what He meant. God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, That He should repent. Has he said, and will he not? [3] In the world where men’s promises are like ropes of sand, the word of God stands as a mountain of rock. So when God commands us to steal, not lie, and not covet there are no exceptions.

How about just a little poker? $ 1 for What If We Play, surely $ 1 Isn’t Hurting Anyone Right? After all it does not affect me.

Many who have been trapped by alcoholism or substance abuses such as cigarettes have warned others, “My addiction began with just casual smoking or casual drinking”. But what starts out is a smoke every once in a while that turns into bigger and greater urges that lead them to a pack of cigarettes a day. Gambling for Many Don’t Start at the $ 500 Table; It comes with small limits and then grows. The Bible also says, “It is not good to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything which your brother stumbles or is offended or made weak.”

It is a fellow Christian stumble that does nothing good. Tempting others to sin is detestable in God’s eyes. In fact, Christ warned that those who caused the sin and do not repent would be better off drowned in the ocean! (See Matthew 18: 6) If that is a powerful warning then what I don’t know! The Bible also says that he does not condemn himself for what he approves. [5] If we are happy we are not approving sin. Besides making others a little sin is still a sin. A little disobedience is still disobedience and God is not pleased. Let us consider whose character we are emulating by playing poker.

Characteristics of Poker

Deception
Lying
Greed / Covetousness
Selfishness
Pride
Harming Others.

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