Poker is booming!

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Poker is booming!Poker TV ratings are way up and climbing. Poker playing on the Internet has more than doubled in less than a year. Casinos everywhere are adding tables to their poker rooms. We know that many more people in the hinterlands are playing poker (especially hold’em) in their social gatherings than ever before. And a lot of smart money is now jumping on the poker bandwagon.

Is this just a random phenomenon? Not really. The population of the world is growing, people are living longer, and modern technology continually reduces the demand for human labor. As this new century progresses, more people will have more leisure time. Sports and gaming will probably continue to surge in popularity.

Increasing popularity and expanding global communications will probably increase the demand for international competitions. For more than 50 years, there has been an annual international contract bridge world championship, and a World Bridge Olympiad every four years. Should “intellectual games” such as poker, contract bridge, and chess become Olympic games unique casino
? Or, are the Olympics for “physical sports” only? Are curling and rifle shooting physical sports? Maybe the Olympics should evolve to reflect the increasing dominance of mental over physical in our society.

In what direction is our world going? Hopefully, we have seen the last of world wars, since it seems clear that the next world war would probably be the last! Mankind, with no natural enemies, has flourished on this planet; now, it finally has a natural enemy — itself. Nuclear weapons are still threatening our existence. We have already passed our first major tests — but there probably will be others. There are still lots of crazies in the world.

Actually, we have been very lucky so far that the leaders who control nuclear weapons have been sensible enough not to use them. This new century will determine whether or not we humans can learn to share and protect this bountiful planet and resolve our differences without destroying ourselves.

Can poker, sports, and international Unique Casino competition help save the world? Clearly, yes! One of the strongest bonds between human beings is friendship. If we play games together, hang out together, and get to know each other better, misunderstandings are less likely and major differences in opinion are more likely to be negotiated and resolved peacefully (even Palestine).

In order to survive, the human race must avoid nuclear holocaust — most likely by mutual respect, negotiations, and handshakes between men of honor. My father’s formula for success might apply: goodwill and a sharp pencil!

Eventually, the planet must have a world government. Back in law school, I joined an international organization called “World Peace Through World Law.” One of my essays proposed the building of a world capital city in the Azore Islands (“Paragonia”), where every country in the world would have an embassy where one of its top three leaders would reside. If these world leaders frequently mingled socially (playing golf, tennis, and Friday night poker games), friendships would develop and grow.

If all world leaders got to know each other better, that would probably lead to better rapport. A leader would be less likely to be hostile toward his friend’s country. And each might better understand the other’s point of view. Several U.S. presidents have actually become friendly with their corresponding leaders in Russia. That might have saved the world.

What would an Olympics poker championship be like? Keep in mind that Olympic competition is for amateurs and for glory rather than money (although some kind of world charity Calcutta — especially with global television involved — might be tolerated).

Each of the 191 countries, however small, could send at least two players, whereas the most highly populated countries could send perhaps 10 or 15. Each country could run its own national qualification playoffs. There would be several world championship poker events, each starting with as many as a thousand players (and perhaps a ladies event). They could be run something like the current World Series of Poker, although many players believe pot-limit is a better test of skill than no-limit.

Once upon a time, a runner on the plains of Greece ran some 26 miles several times, a feat of endurance that gave rise to one of the premier events of the Olympics. If the IOC (International Olympic Committee) insists on having only “physical” sports in the Olympics, perhaps we could offer to play one of the above events, which normally would last several days, nonstop and without sleep! Mine eyes have seen many such feats of physical endurance at the poker table. Maybe poker is more physical than curling, after all.

Someone should point out to the IOC that poker and other “intellectual games” have an extra level of spectator appeal, which would greatly add to the overall balance and appreciation of the Olympics. For most sports, the viewer simply watches the athletes perform, but for poker, bridge, and chess, many viewers will choose to follow the action and inevitably ask themselves what they would do in a particular situation. Thus, with these intellectual games, there would be a whole new level of involvement, interest, and appeal that would certainly add to the overall appreciation and success of the Olympics.