The below is a questioned posted to the tiltbook community. Since it highlights something relevant and significant I thought I would share my thoughts on TWOC:
Q2: A known massive fish joins your table at a live cash game. He has a very sad look on his face and he admits that he has the last couple of buy-ins left to his name to try to turn this around. You know that he has a wife and three kids and it is very likely that he is telling the truth. What’s your move? Do you stay at such a juicy game? Do you walk away? Do you try to talk him out of playing?
Its a very interesting question I think and difficult for many. It also highlights very well the purpose of the article I wrote and concept I came up with called “Moral Poker”. Moral poker shows a possible division or perspective of how poker might exist without the degenerate players that are described above.
I think it could be said on some levels a person who does not tend his budget well enough to feed his family might not be the best person to manage a portion of society’s wealth (ie let the money flow from the fools to the intelligent managers!). So in that taking the money they so willingly choose to part with seems “moral”.
But this isn’t what “Moral Poker” is…
Poker COULD be played WITHOUT degens at all, and instead pros (who only seek to play games they are profitable in) could be fuelled from (wealthy) philanthropists and players that spend a REASONABLE amount of their excess income in exchange for entertainment (notice I don’t define ‘reasonable’!)
I’ll try not to go so far as to say this is how poker SHOULD exist.
But I would like to make a point that I think stands to reason.
A game that is built on degenerates, that professional sharks have marketed and supported is a game that will eventually cannibalize itself. Eventually the immoral-ness of it will pervade the public opinion and you will lose political support for it. Unfavorable laws will be erected against such a game regardless of the (ir)rationality behind the laws.
Eventually you’ll find yourself in a position where the games have been sucked dry by governments and 3rd party operators that work in tandem against the skillfull pros and the integrity of being a skilled game.
And society and the greater community won’t care.
But its not the only way poker could be played.
I think if the game was seen, understood, and arranged slightly differently there could be great value in such donations from wealthy recreationals, and peoples that enjoy the entertainment of the game the professional (winning, skillful) players provide.
Such an environment where the money flows to the intelligent creative game theorists of this world might be said to have moral implications, since we all might gain from the value they bring to this world, that they are afforded to bring to life because of (moral) profitable poker.