Jews and Poker (part 3)

I’ve written about Jews and Poker in two earlier posts.  In my last post about Jews and Poker I said that I read that the Torah is opposed to gambling if it’s done as a profession or out of greed.  I asked some people in a religion department of a university if they knew of where in the Torah it says anything against gambling.  One person said to me that she does not know of any mention of gambling in the Torah, but that if there is Jewish opposition against it, then it’s probably in the Talmud.  I’ll need to do some further research to find out the truth on this point.

As a response to my most recent post on Jews and Poker, a non-orthodox Jewish poker playing friend of mine wrote the following:

Over the years I played poker and Backgammon against a fair number of Black Hats.  Now none of them were
professionals (they were clear donators…), but they were religious types, ate only Kosher food at the clubs, never played on Friday nights or Saturdays.   I never sensed any religious guilt on their part.

Note this old article re a Las Vegas tragedy that happened to some orthodox Jews.  The group of 12 were part of a modern orthodox group who were visiting Vegas.  I assume that their stay at the Bellagio would include some gambling.  There was a little controversy at the time, as I remember one rabbi saying that this happened because they had gone to Vegas, an “unclean” activity.

Finally, about 20 years ago, I was introduced to a computer professional, who happened to be a member of
a Brooklyn orrthodox synagogue (Young Israel of…..).   He mentioned that the synagogue had encouraged and
provided space for a weekly low-stakes (.50-1.00 limit) poker game, as a way for some of the male members to meet and socialize outside of services.  They cut 25 cents per pot for charity.

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