Should a Christian be playing poker

I've called my site 'God, Poker, the Environment and all that' as this encompasses the issues that I am likely to talk about on the site and also lists the priority that I give each issue (ie. The most important thing in my life is God and my Christian faith, followed by my passion for playing poker and my concern and interest in environmental/green issues and then any of the other things I am interested in such as T.V., Radio, American Sports etc.).

Some may be able to see a link between Christianity and Green issues but some may be puzzled with the poker part.

In fact there are some (possibly a lot) of Christians that would positively denounce me for even think about playing Poker. The reason? Poker is considered to be gambling and some Christians see gambling in any form as a sin.

Now, I have a problem with both parts of that. Firstly there is an ongoing debate as to whether poker is a gambling game or not. Whilst there is an element of chance to it (as a Christian I don't believe in the concept of luck, but that's a discussion for another day), there is also a substantial amount of skill needed to play poker well and the fact that it is not a game that is wholly based on chance (like lotteries or bingo) or the skill of others (like betting on sports or horse racing) and requires you as a player to apply your own abilities to win, I won't image that this would come under any definition of gambling.

The second point is that some Christians pronounce that gambling is sinful. This is not true. There is nowhere in the Bible that states that gambling is sinful or wrong. The Bible DOES warn about the possible consequences of gambling in the same way that it warns about the possible consequences of drinking alcohol but it does not say that it is sinful. So even if we accept the argument that poker is a form a gambling, it is not a sin to play poker.

If anyone is interested in a more detailed look at this subject, you can check out an episode of the Two Plus Two Pokercast that includes an extended interview/testimony with a gentleman called Danny Robison, a high stakes poker player come born again Christian. I found this mind blowing given this was someone that is effectively talking to a non-Christian audience and I was left feeling blow away by his testimony.

This episode of the podcast can be found here.