Tim Luckhurst: It's so easy if you want to fritter away your salary

Share
Related Topics

The best thing about real casinos is the atmosphere. Amid tense, tuxedoed men and manicured ladies it is impossible to ignore the truth that this activity is not just primarily, but exclusively, about money. You cannot fool yourself. Play poker on a real green baize table and the odds are that you will leave poorer than you entered.

The best thing about real casinos is the atmosphere. Amid tense, tuxedoed men and manicured ladies it is impossible to ignore the truth that this activity is not just primarily, but exclusively, about money. You cannot fool yourself. Play poker on a real green baize table and the odds are that you will leave poorer than you entered.

Seasoned gamblers observe first, assessing the style and mannerisms of potential opponents, studying them for signs of vulnerability. You can tell a lot from the eyes. But sharp players know when they are being watched. Only the naïve hand psychological advantage to future opponents.

You can't see eyes when you play on line. Your opponents are user names. But you can watch for as long as you like, sitting out of the hand while virtual cards and virtual chips appear on as many tables as you care to visit. There were 4,505 players on line when I logged on to paradisepoker.com. They were playing games including Omaha and 7 Card Stud for stakes ranging from $5 to no limit at 603 active tables.

GeneBoss, Chief Wolf, Elkmaster and Rich Girl were being as macho as their user names suggested, contesting a game for high stakes. Nobody objected to my voyeuristic presence, but I moved on quickly.

These were confident card players who made snap decisions. Yet they were not the most assertive - 484 others were involved in "no limit" contests at 73 active tables. I looked in on a few. Average stakes hovered around $50 but some tables were raising each other by $200 a hand.

Getting started was easy. The 5.91 megabyte file required to gamble away your salary with people you cannot even see downloads in less than three minutes on a broadband connection. There is a pop-up warning that players may only participate if they are "of legal age of majority as determined by the law of the country where you live". It would not have stopped a child gaining access, but that is scant cause for concern. You need a valid credit card to gamble - though, as my teenage daughter pointed out, it need not be your own.

The downside is that gambling debts incurred online are harder to avoid than real ones. The schoolboy's favourite item of knowledge - that gambling debts are not enforceable in law - does not apply when losses are automatically debited from your account. It would be easy to squander hundreds of pounds in just an hour online.

Technically you can play for free. But the casino rule seems to apply just as rigidly online. Waiting times to join tables with low stakes were substantially longer than the queue to play with the big boys and girls and nobody seemed interested in a game without stakes. I eventually got in and drew a flush, five cards of the same suit, on my first deal at a table with average $10 stakes.

It was instantly tempting. There are plenty of hands that beat a flush, but more that don't. I agonised about risking $15. But the opening bet suggested someone else was brimful of confidence. In the end you don't have to see the eyes to see sense. Rawkus and BrooDogg reeked of gambling know-how. I bet they watched me watching. A good player just would.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

Software Engineer - C++

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software En...

Software Team Leader - C++

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software Tea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A young Palestinian boy walks over debris from a house that was destroyed in an airstrike in Deir Al Balah  

Arguments about Israel and Palestine have more to do with the fashion for revolutionary tourism than actual politics

James Bloodworth
 

The daily catch-up: what if Hillary sticks, drowning sorrows and open sesame

John Rentoul
Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor