Poker is an enjoyable pastime for millions who play the game for small stakes or even just for chips with no monetary value. However, it can also be a high stakes gambling game, in which people with gambling addictions do serious harm to themselves and their families.
According to Reverend Sun Myung Moon, gambling in itself is not an evil. Indeed Reverend Moon portrays God Himself as a type of gambler, who is willing to risk everything for the sake of True Love. However, if one gambles simply for money or power, gambling indeed does evil, especially when it becomes a compulsion.
The recent popularity of televised poker tournaments taps into something basic in the human nature, having to do with the excitement of taking great risk in order to attain an even greater reward. This teaches us something important about human beings and even about God. Indeed, sometimes a person of God must gamble, must risk everything, for the sake of the Providence. As Reverend Moon explained in relation to his Washington Monument Rally of 1976:
I felt I would rather die than be defeated at Washington Monument. I was more serious than a prisoner who is about to be brought up for execution. It was a great gamble in which one toss would determine the destiny of the world, in which the moment that one card was lifted, the destiny of all mankind would be determined. That was the gamble Washington Monument was.
Poker does not need to be played for stakes as high as Reverend Moon describes above. However, it can provide both enjoyment and some real thrills for people who play a friendly game in which the amount of money is low enough to ensure than no one can get seriously hurt.