How does the general public perceive poker or professional poker players?

How does the general public perceive poker or professional poker players?

What do people generally link poker players with?
I am doing a university study on gambling(specifically poker) so anyone’s replies are appreciated. It seems to me that many people aren’t very enthusiastic about the notion of people playing poker for a living.

What do females and/or working males think about poker in general? Would you be weary of dating or befriending someone who plays poker? is it seen as ‘sleazy’ or in a negative light by alot of people?
what do you friends think?
thanks a lot for your input.

Question posted by: Jim C


The perception of poker and professional poker players can vary widely among the general public. Some people view poker as a game of skill and strategy, and they admire the ability of professional poker players to make a living through their expertise in the game. They may see it as a legitimate career path, similar to other competitive pursuits like sports or esports.

On the other hand, some people associate poker with gambling and may view it as a risky, addictive, or even morally questionable activity. They might be skeptical about the long-term sustainability of a career in poker or worry about the potential for financial instability and addiction.

Females and working males can have a wide range of opinions on poker, as their views will depend on factors such as personal experiences, cultural background, and exposure to the game. Some may be open to dating or befriending someone who plays poker, while others may be more cautious or disapproving.

Poker’s image has improved over the years, with the rise of televised poker tournaments, online poker platforms, and high-profile professional players who have helped to promote the game as a legitimate sport. However, the association of poker with gambling and potential negative consequences can still lead some people to view it with skepticism or disapproval.

It’s essential to recognize that public opinion can be diverse and influenced by various factors. The best approach is to engage in open and honest conversations about poker and the implications of pursuing it professionally to better understand different perspectives and address any concerns.


  1. You need to ask this question in the main forum. Most people in this section are gamblers and therefore probably not very objective. My perception is that poker has gained in popularity so that it has become quite glamorous. Winning a million dollars playing a tournament is a very attractive idea. This makes it quite dangerous because you have to be very aware, educated, and skillful. Many people have gone bankrupt and worse if they develop a gambling problem. Playing poker is like swimming in shark infested waters and it pays not to be a fish. In other words, it is a game of skill and not just luck. In other forms of gambling you are playing against the house and there are very few beatable games. In poker, you can control the outcome a bit more but that doesn’t guarantee success. The game is harder than it looks. Some poker players make a very attractive living – and others do not. If you are asking me if I feel there is a stigma I don’t. However, there is such a thing as gambling addiction. If a professional enjoys gambling they will probably not be a successful player. Playing poker professionally is a job. It is a grind and is not easy. I would only be wary if that person consistently tried to borrow money, could not control their finances, and could not keep their life together.

  2. I think that public perception has changed a lot over the past few years.

    The move Rounders came out and got people interested, the Chris Moneymaker (an amateur player) won the WSOP Main Event, and the popularity of the game has surged. Since 2003, the WSOP has seen record number of players. The WPT gets a bunch of viewers on TV too. There are dozens of poke based TV shows these days. Even Celebrity poker up until recently.

    All this kind of media attention has probably done a lot to improve the image of the game. Some of the top players now enjoy a celebrity status.

    All that said, I imagine there is still a side to it that people are wary of. Players who act like the guy in that horrific movie Lucky You. Compulsive gamblers who win a million and lose it again within a few weeks.

    I imagine that if you met someone on a date and they told you they were a professional poker player, it might sound interesting, but I think the average person would be a little wary. More so than if the same person told you they were a fireman, banker, salesman, or consultant.

  3. Nowadays most people look at Johnny Chan, Phil Helmuth, Daniel Negraneu (sp?), and all the superstars and think that poker is a glamorous, easy life that lets you make millions for a day or two of work. Turn on your TV and you’ll see three or four different shows, all featuring clean cut guys who don’t seem to care if they win or lose, having a great time at their “job”. They’re earning more than I’ll make in 5 years while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and playing outside in the Caribbean! I can think of dozens of people who all claim they wish they could be professional gamblers. They’re all fools.

    What they don’t show you is the 80% of people who try to make a living playing poker and fail. They also don’t really acknowledge the fact that a poker player lies for a living, and most are pragmatic to an almost Machiavellian degree. I’m friends with a couple of professional gamblers, and once accompanied one of them to an underground game in Phoenix. I wasn’t playing all that great, but that’s probably due to the fact that I was playing in a small, smoke filled, dingy, poorly lit room surrounded by people who desperately needed a shower, several of whom were openly carrying firearms. I left after 3 hours, down about $150, and asked my buddy why he played there. He told me they took half the rake of an Indian casino, and then went back to play for the next 18 hours. Even if you’re in a casino though poker is a tough, tough way to make a living. Grinding out the rent money on a limit table is, to put it bluntly, boring. The funny thing is that it’s exactly like work. What’s fun and exciting when you do it for you becomes boring and tedious when it’s your job. And that’s all that it is to most professional players: a job.

    The poker explosion in the last decade has really cleaned up the game. But there’s simply no getting around the fact that for every Doyle Brunson or Erick Lindgren there are a thousand penniless bums who thought they were better than they were. And for every final table on the WPT there are a thousand dingy games in second rate casinos and run down apartments. I love poker. I love playing it with friends, sometimes in casinos, and online. But it’s just a hobby. To do it as a job is a hard, hard life. I’m not wary of professional poker players, same as I’m not wary of cops or truckers or anyone else who does a hard job. They’re at least giving their dream a shot.

    For a great reference read Poker Nation: A High-Stakes, Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country by Andy Bellin. He chronicles some of his experiences trying to become a professional poker player in New York and the experiences of some of his friends. A truly great read.

  4. They are respected a lot by poker players, but general public I don;t think so.

    A lot of players play for living at this forum so you can ask them

  5. The general public probably don’t approve of poker all too much, but here’s what I think, maybe my view will be of interest to your study:

    To play or do anything well there has to be some kind of “investment”. For example, if I wanted to be a good football player, I would fork out loads of money in training and kit, and if I were to fail at my shot at being a professional footballer, I would have lost money, right? Lost my risk, lost my gamble.

    To play poker you pay money because you want to play a game, have some fun. So in a way, you’re just paying for your entertainment, right? The only thing is is you have a chance of winning it back, and that is what people frown upon.

    Imagine if you took the winnings, the prize money, out of poker. Then you would see it my way. You’re playing poker because you want to, you’re just paying to play the game. It’d not be ‘gambling’ anymore, it’d just be a night out. No harm.

    So basically people frown on poker because you can win your money back. It’s only like going to the cinema, enjoying the movie and then at the end of it somebody giving you your money back.

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