PDA

View Full Version : Teen poker producing full houses (Minneapolis Star Tribune Article)


Cubswin
09-28-2004, 01:47 PM
link (http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5001612.html)

Teen poker producing full houses
Allie Shah, Star Tribune
September 27, 2004

Saturday nights used to find Danny Langseth and his Minnetonka High pals at the movie theater or at one another's homes playing video games. But since the summer, their pastimes have been replaced by a new obsession: Texas Hold'em.

Spurred by online poker and cable TV shows such as ESPN's "World Series of Poker" and Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown," the game has become wildly popular with teenagers and college students. They hold tournaments in their basements and dorm rooms, paying $5 to $10 each for a shot at winning the jackpot. The more players, the bigger the pot.

And while the money certainly holds their attention, most teen card sharks say they're hooked on the ambiance, not the betting. "I think we just play for fun and have fun with each other," said Danny, 16. "We crack jokes all the time. It's just a good pastime, a good way to spend the weekends." A tournament Saturday drew 16 teens to a Minnetonka home where players -- some wearing sunglasses -- filled three rooms with the sound of poker chips and the occasional "all-in" shout.

A winning hand.Richard Tsong - TaatariiStar TribuneState gambling enforcement officials say private, social betting is legal even among minors, but parents should watch to make sure they don't turn into high-stakes gambling events. Others caution that the poker fad could lead some teens to develop a gambling addiction.

Fifteen-year-old Chris Osborn of St. Paul considers poker his No. 1 hobby. A casual player, he said he really got into the game last summer when he and his friends had a lot of free time. "At first, I thought it was kind of a manly thing to do. Then it was just really fun," said Osborn, who has a date to play Texas Hold'em this Saturday with 40 friends. "It was something I just liked doing."

Pondering his next move.Richard Tsong - TaatariiStar TribuneLike so many other teen poker groups, his is an all-male crew. Osborn said he knows a few girls who play Texas Hold'em, but they don't seem to enjoy the game enough to devote their weekends to it. "They kind of get mad at us because we don't hang out with them," he said. When he's not playing, Osborn, a sophomore at Como Park High School, likes to watch the great poker players on TV.

The shows definitely are popular with teens, observed Danny Langseth's father, Tom. "Listen to these kids, and you'll see they know all these characters, like with wrestling," an amused Tom Langseth said. "They'll say, 'He's the guy who wears the hood,' or 'He always wears glasses.' "

At first, Tom Langseth was wary of his son's new hobby. "My initial response was -- I don't want to say concern -- but cautious interest," he said. "I didn't want him wrapped up in some activities that are financially going to be an impact for him or a distraction for other things that we put a greater value on, like church, service work and homework."

Any questions he had about the poker tournaments evaporated once he found out that Danny's poker buddies are an intellectual bunch. The fact that the weekly games have expanded Danny's social circle is another reason his parents don't object, Danny said. "It gives me some different kids to hang out with than I normally hang out with, and they welcome that."

Saturday's tournament lasted more than five hours. At $5 each, that's cheap weekend entertainment -- cheaper than a movie and more interactive, too, the Minnetonka players said. Erik Adams, 16, who started the "North Star Poker League" in August with his friend, Chris Eckes, also 16, created a Web site to keep track of players' standings and upcoming tournaments.

On Saturday night, the teens downed cans of pop and nibbled on pizza as they studied their cards, placed bets and talked about everything from music to Spanish class to the presidential candidates. Like a baseball game, the tournament shifted quickly from easy-going to intense. When one player decided to go "all-in," meaning he bet all of his chips in one hand, the others rushed over to watch, jumping up and down as the dealer revealed the turn card (fourth card dealt face up), then the river card (last card given in a game). They hooted and hollered when a player survived the round, and shook his hand when he lost and was out of the game.

Eventually, Peter Ladner, 16, won the tournament, collecting $25.

Frank Ball, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement division, said parents often call him and ask if their children's poker parties are legal. "I tell them: Let them play cards, but be mindful of the betting. If you see them betting their allowances, say, 'Why don't you play for toothpicks or monopoly money?' "

Betty George, director of the Minnesota Council on Compulsive Gambling, casts a worried eye on poker's increasing popularity among teenagers. She said studies show that compared with adults, minors are three to four times more at risk of developing a gambling addiction. That's because the power of the win is very attractive to teenagers, who are less likely than adults to understand that winning is a random thing, she said.

She said a twenty-something named Andy started gambling in the casinos when he was in high school. A gifted athlete, he won a college scholarship to play football. But he became addicted to gambling, George said, and he resorted to illegal activities -- breaking into a cabin, stealing a credit card -- to fund his habit. He spent time in jail, losing both the scholarship and his family's respect. He sought help and has since helped the council develop a video called "Andy's story," which is used in schools to educate kids about the dangers of gambling.

George's advice to parents and teenagers is to get the facts and make the best decision for your family.

For his 17th birthday last week, Greg Narayan of White Bear Lake asked for poker chips. His mother, Susan, paid $120 for the present, which included 500 brightly colored chips and two sets of cards in an aluminum case.

All of a sudden, her skateboarding son and his friends are into poker. "Everyone plays," she said. "They sound like a bunch of old men. They sit around in the afternoons and play poker."

Sponger15SB
09-28-2004, 02:55 PM
[ QUOTE ]
That's because the power of the win is very attractive to teenagers, who are less likely than adults to understand that winning is a random thing, she said.

[/ QUOTE ]

I didn't know this, I thought you could win by playing better.... but only because I'm a kid right?

haha

whiskeytown
09-28-2004, 06:18 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Like so many other teen poker groups, his is an all-male crew. Osborn said he knows a few girls who play Texas Hold'em, but they don't seem to enjoy the game enough to devote their weekends to it. "They kind of get mad at us because we don't hang out with them,"

[/ QUOTE ]

Youth is wasted on the young and stupid....KIDS...you only have so many years you're allowed to feel up teenage girls....don't waste your youth the way I did....[sob]

RB

Blarg
09-28-2004, 07:01 PM
Poke doesn't beat feeling up teenage girls, but it sure beats t.v. and Nintendo.

It's often the functional equivalent to hanging around with your friends, because it can be very social. It can even introduce you to wider groups of people, and do it on a fair and equitable level, a big plus in the social development of teenagers.

Nothing's good if you do it all the time, and neither is poker. But hey, if it keeps you off the streets and you do it moderately and have some fun, it sure beats a lot of things it can substitute for. Think of all the crazy, stupid crap that teenagers do that is so much worse than playing poker with their buddies, or just vegging out in front of the t.v. or getting stoned all the time.

Joe826
09-28-2004, 08:50 PM
[ QUOTE ]
"I tell them: Let them play cards, but be mindful of the betting. If you see them betting their allowances, say, 'Why don't you play for toothpicks or monopoly money?'"

[/ QUOTE ]

these people are so out of touch it hurts.

lefty rosen
09-28-2004, 09:59 PM
So I guess poker has replaced D+D with the dorkus malorkus crowd..........

jagoff
09-29-2004, 02:23 PM
you only have so many years you're allowed to feel up teenage girls

I didn't care how popular anything was my main focus was on getting some sweet virgin ass! Invite those girls over, have them sit on your lap while you play, play tight so you can play with something tight! Christ it ain't that hard to finger out! I mean figure out! /images/graemlins/blush.gif

James282
09-29-2004, 05:31 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Like so many other teen poker groups, his is an all-male crew. Osborn said he knows a few girls who play Texas Hold'em, but they don't seem to enjoy the game enough to devote their weekends to it. "They kind of get mad at us because we don't hang out with them,"

[/ QUOTE ]

Youth is wasted on the young and stupid....KIDS...you only have so many years you're allowed to feel up teenage girls....don't waste your youth the way I did....[sob]

RB

[/ QUOTE ]

You realize this makes you sound like a huge creep right?
-James

deuces09
10-01-2004, 11:49 PM
[ QUOTE ]
So I guess poker has replaced D+D with the dorkus malorkus crowd..........

[/ QUOTE ]

You think the youth movement is huge now, wait until 5 years from now when these guys are playing in tournaments.

*of course, assuming poker is still booming. Who knows.

AncientPC
10-03-2004, 05:53 AM
[ QUOTE ]
So I guess poker has replaced D+D with the dorkus malorkus crowd..........

[/ QUOTE ]

You forget Magic: The Gathering . . . not like I would know anything about it.