Christian Poker Players – An Oxymoron?

Christian Poker Players – An Oxymoron?

Latest Casino News 29 Mar , 2019 0

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 deal of flack from Christian for the fact that he is a poker player and a millionaire. Is he living in sin? Can he really 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, Satan in the Garden of Eden first perfected deception.

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 Eve would only eat the fruit she would be like God Satan 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. God on the other hand clearly states again in the Ten Commandments 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, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge 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 has caused death in this world and sin is what has caused the great pain and suffering humankind faces daily. But the art of trapping in poker is actually the art of deceiving. A player flops a big hand but acts like they are weak by checking their hand to the other player. What are they doing? Attempting to deceive the other player. Think about it, 100% honesty does not make a good poker player does it? No bluffing, no chewing, 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?

Again let us look at another of God's commands ...

You will not covet your neighbor's house; you shall 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

Covet as defined by the Princeton dictionary is to ...

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

Poker is all about coveting; the goal is to take other people's money. People sit around a table in an attempt to take other people's money. In fact if we are honest, each player's mind is focused on, wishing for, longing for, or craving the property (in this case chips which represent money) of the other players. Did God really mean we should not do this? After all poker is just a game right? God did not just write the Ten Commandments in stone, He spoke 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 mean what He said, there is a 100% chance that God meant what He said. 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 do? [3] In a world where men's promises are like ropes of sand, God's word stands as firm as a mountain of rock. So when God commands us to not steal, not lie, and not covet there are no exceptions.

How about just a little poker? What if we play for $ 1, surely $ 1 is not hurting anyone right? After all it does not effect me.

Many who have been trapped by alcoholism or substance abuses such as cigarettes have warned others saying, "My addiction began with just casual smoking or casual drinking". But what began as a smoke every once in a while soon turned into greater and greater urges that then lead them down to smoking packs of cigarettes a day. Gambling for many does not start at the $ 500 table; it begins at the small limits and then grows. The Bible also says, It is good either to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. [4]

It is good to do nothing that makes a fellow Christian stumble. Tempting others to sin is detestable in God's eyes. In fact, Christ was greatly warned that those who cause others to sin and do not repent would be better off drowned in the ocean! (see Matthew 18: 6) If that is not a powerful warning then I do not know what is! The Bible also says, Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. [5] We will find happiness if we are not approving sin. Beside making others to stumble a little sin is still sin. A little disobedience is still disobedience and God is not pleased. Let us consider what character are we emulating by playing poker.

Characteristics of Poker

  • Deception
  • Lying
  • Greed / Covetousness
  • Selfishness
  • Pride
  • Harming Others

Interesting that all those characteristics go in Satan's corner! Deception, lying, greed, selfishness, pride and the desire to harm others all are characteristics found in poker and they are also found in the character of Satan.

No Christian should play poker, light and darkness can not stay together.

[1] Colossians 3: 9-10 (NIV)
[3] Numbers 23:19 (NKJV)
[4] Romans 14:21 (NKJV)
[5] Romans 14:22 (NKJV) - only partial quotation of the verse


Source by Will Fults


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