Four years ago after amateur poker player Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million in the televised World Series of Poker, the dreams of millions of players flourished. So when Chris Benton needed a summer job, he thought online Texas Hold’em. Now listen to this, Benton can easily make an average of $40 to $50 an hour playing 5 hours a day. Compare that with what he’d make waiting tables for minimum wage plus tips, well, you do the math and that’s exactly what he’s done.
Benton is among a small but apparently growing group of young people who view online poker playing as a way to earn income while fine-tuning their skills in psychology and strategic thinking. He thinks of his online poker playing as a vocation, several of his friends think so too. They don’t consider themselves gamblers in the usual term because they take a more studied approach to the game. Most likely the exception of the majority of youths, Benton has a four year plan; in his savings account he deposits a fixed amount of winnings every month. His goal is to have a five figure annual at the end of the year. According to his plan, by the time he’s earned his degree in either business management or casino management, he will have accumulated a sizable amount enough to launch his career as a professional.
Even though Federal law bans US based online gambling and prohibits banks from transferring funds to gambling sites, players easily get around this law by gambling on offshore sites. At supermarkets, Teens will buy MasterCard and Visa gift card then deposit funds through small financial firms that do business with online casinos. And all they have to do once online is check the on screen box asking if they are 18 years or older. On many college and some high school campuses, online and live poker are very popular.
Through Indian casinos and online games, we are now faced with our youth having yet another potential addiction and like other addictions, will inflict financial and mental health harm. Many experts say today’s youth want things now and they are easily lured with the possibility of instant wealth and becoming a celebrity. While this is true, it’s just not our youth who want this, our whole culture does.