Putting Players First
First of all, like the game of chess, poker is a game of skill. Poker involves mathematics, psychology, observation, and money management. In fact, numerous authors and academics have drawn analogies between poker and other endeavors that involve strategic thinking.
A good way to distinguish a game of skill from a game of chance is to answer the question: "Who are the top players of this game in the world?" Many people can easily name the top five or ten poker players in the world. But naming the best bingo or roulette players is a much greater challenge. This is because in bingo and roulette—games of chance—a skilled player and a non-skilled player have the exact same likelihood of winning.I really believe that the first step towards gaining the respect and support of the community for the game is to make sure that players are always, always put first. I cannot stress this enough. The rights of the players should always be protected from unscrupulous individuals or groups that organize games that are unfair to players.
Another step towards getting legitimacy for the game of poker is to make sure that all players are educated in playing responsible poker. Your right to play the game should also limited to your ability to play responsibly. Poker game organizers should recognize anyone who is not playing responsibly, and refuse them from playing if they know that the game is severly affecting the players' self, family, or responsibilities.
Poker has the potential to come out from the underground and lose the negative image it has gotten from ignorance and prejudice. It is evolving into a sport, and also as a social game where bonds of friendship and camaraderie are formed. It has also become an option for excellent players to take it to the next level and make a good living out of playing poker professionally. No other game or sport is more democratic and has the ability to make a champion out of any ordinary joe. Physique, race, education, social status, all these things don't matter on the felt.
I believe there should be an organization, an alliance of poker players from all over the country, that makes sure that the rights of players are protected while at the same time helping each other play responsibly. It can also help educate the public, and especially the government, about the game of poker. It can be an authority in setting standards for game structures, rules, and policies regarding technicalities in the game. If we do this, we can at least ensure the future of the game here in the Philippines. This will also make sure that the players only play the best and the fairest games in a safe and friendly environment.
Poker should be done right, and it can only be done by putting players first.