Poker, God, Sin and Addiction

(This article was written by one of my good poker friends. This is what happens when you play
with money you don’t have.)

The rush of poker is, for a lack of a better word, addictive. To hold that pocket pair and flop the
set or catch the nuts to grab a large pot is an unbelievable feeling. Poker is extremely exciting
and without a doubt the most fun I have ever had playing a game!

I learned a valuable lesson recently, from what some call the “Poker god”, I know to be my
Heavenly Father. You see God tries to give me subtle hints in my walk, and when I don’t listen
to those hints he tends to try a little harder to get the message through to me.  His inability to get
through to me is solely the fault of me not listening, not Him not trying hard enough to tell me.

I recently ventured to a casino knowing full-well that my family could not afford me to go,
however the rush of the game, the thrill of the cards pulled me and my money in. I was already
down big when I had the dream flop of K-10-3 with my K-K. Everyone folds to first action
raise, I re-raise only to be greeted by a shove. I snap call and find myself covered by my
opponent, however I am way ahead as he turns over a set of 10’s. The turn brings a 10,
giving him quads and me with a prayer. The river saw an 8 and I was broke! 

God’s message was loud and clear.  There are odds of that type of hand occurring, but God used
that moment to humble me like I have never been humbled. I knew I didn’t have the funds
available to play. Up until the moment I sat down at the table I KNEW I couldn’t afford it, but
once I sat down, the action made me forget about my guilt. 

God made it clear to me that day that I should focus on the needs of my family, and when those
needs are met and exceeded then and only then should I consider playing again.  I have made a
promise to God…..a promise to not only “hear” Him, but “listen and obey”.  I love the game and
will return to the felt one day, but not until the needs of my family financially, emotionally and
spiritually are met and exceeded!
George Brackens, Dallas

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