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Gambling easy trap to fall into

Nov. 1, 2005

by CHRIS HALGREN, columnist

Poker is great for anyone who is not afraid of risk and competition.

I have played in many tournaments and cash games of different levels.

The thrill that comes from taking a huge pot off an unsuspecting guy across the table is great.

When the cards are coming, the chips follow close behind.

It's easy to say it won't happen to you, but it happens all too often.

Luck can turn around and all the money you took from other people goes away and you go into debt thinking the next hand can put you back on top.

When a Southern Methodist University student placed second at the 2004 World Series of Poker, it seemed many poker players at Baylor felt they could follow his example.

Confidence in skill at the poker table has been pumped up by friendly games, and students are foolishly putting too much money at risk in games they should not be anywhere near.

Too many people think the experience they get from playing in a friendly cash game will give them the experience they need to play in a big game.

When the poker craze was at its peak, all I ever heard of were games being played in different houses by students.

Now, the number of house games is declining and the avid poker players are looking for a way to play. Some are now turning to the Internet. Others are finding live games around the Waco area.

Internet poker is an even bigger problem because students can play anytime night or day. As the games become more frequent, the risks become even greater.

Time and money are a deadly combination for anyone who likes to gamble.

But the problem is that these games are more expensive than the $10 buy-in games that are common around campus. Gambling as a college student is a slippery slope. Too many students are gambling with more money than they should. Also, as players start to get involved with higher stakes, it's easier for addiction to start creeping into the picture.

Any student who has trouble keeping limits or puts off responsibilities to play needs to be careful.

It only takes one hand to see your hard-earned money become someone else's.

Chris Halgren is a senior history and journalism major from Houston.