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Friday, February 08, 2013

Is It Wrong to Teach My 10-Year-Old To Play Poker?

Teaching my daughter to play poker
Teaching my daughter to play poker
What say you?  Am I a bad parent for teaching my 10-year-old daughter to play poker?

Some might say yes.

Some might say that I'm teaching my daughter that gambling is OK, at an age when she is very impressionable.

But I don't see it that way.

Play poker, for free thanks to Zynga, teaches many things, including:

  • Money management
  • Patience (good things come to those who wait...)
  • Discipline
  • Statistics
  • Budgeting
  • Calculated risk (risk management)
  • How to think (e.g. not to make strong bets out of position)
  • Keeping a cool head under pressure
  • The perils of overconfidence
  • The importance of being bold, when the timing is right
  • Practice anything every day and YOU WILL become an expert
  • Self-esteem / self-respect: never play crappy cards....NEVER!
  • etc. etc. etc.

To those who still don't agree with my position, let me shed some more light on my point of view.


Back in 1979, I was 9 going on 10, and living in NYC.  I was @ the UN school (UNIS) on the East River (www.UNIS.org.)  A very, VERY good school, but not a good school for me.  I had some serious issues with discipline, and my learning suffered.  My dad, suffering much resistance from my mother, insisted that I attend an English boarding school in 1981.  I went, and I'm glad I did. 


In 1979, while I was @ UNIS, my sister, at age 9, attended the very, VERY prestigious Dalton School (www.dalton.org.)  Dalton only has The Trinity School (www.trinityschoolnyc.org) as an institutional  peer.

At Dalton, my sister was taught about economics and the stock market, AT AGE 9!  She used to tell me about the virtual stock portfolio she had, and how her teachers would monitor her portfolio's performance every day.

Are the equity markets risky?  Yes!  Just ask the folks who lost their life savings when General Motors -- a top Fortune 500 company -- collapsed during the peak of the Great Recession.

But if you teach your kids early, they can learn to play the market, and be wealthy at an early age.  Yep.  Of this I have no doubt.

And that's the difference between a good school, and a great school.  A great school will teach kids very serious money lessons very, very early.  Why?  Because they get it.  Teach kids important money lesson as early as possible, and chances are, you won't have to worry about their financial well-being when they grow up. SIMPLE AS THAT.

You don't have to have loads of money, or be a movie star,  to teach your kids to be successful in life.  Just take the time to teach them all the good stuff you've learned over time, as often as possible.  That's the difference between good parenting, as just phoning it in.

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6 Comments:

Blogger dio said...

learn poker not bad idea,but I am against gambling for money.

Friday, February 08, 2013 8:26:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Brown said...

@Dio: >gambling for money...

I understand. I respect your opinion.

Friday, February 08, 2013 8:38:00 PM  
Anonymous I.C. Jackson said...

This is a really interesting question! My answer would be...proceed with caution. I learned to play poker early (3rd grade, actually) and it got me into a little trouble later in life. I did not, however, learn with parental supervision. In later years (late teens, early twenties) I learned to play BlackJack (the right way) online...which ended up leading me to the casino and a brief bout with outright gambling addiction. I was so confident in my abilities and understanding of the game that I decided to try my hand at making some real money with it...and for a while, I did. Again, however, there was no parental supervision involved. Once I got in over my head my mother intervened and with her help I was able to get my life back on track. If I had involved her earlier in the process, would the outcome have been different? Quite possibly. But if one teaches their children to play gambling games like poker, they should probably learn about real life economics, including the stock market, so that their frame of reference is broad and they will know that risking one's money is very serious and not just fun and games.

Saturday, February 09, 2013 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Brown said...

> so that their frame of reference
> is broad and they will know that risking
> one's money is very serious and not
> just fun and games...

Understood...And very good.

Context is very important. I hear you, loud and clear.

We watch Bloomberg and the Suze Orman show. My little lady loves the part of the Orman show when Orman asks, "What do you want to buy?"

Saturday, February 09, 2013 1:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ask a good question and I honestly don't think there is a thing wrong with it as long as you keep it in the context that poker is just a game at her age. You can teach your child the same basic skills as you mentioned in your article; i.e., money managment, patience and budgeting, by simply dragging out the Monoply board as another option. I say as long as you are teaching her skills that she is going to use in the "real world", then teach her in a way that you both enjoy that gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together!

Sunday, February 10, 2013 7:01:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Brown said...

> Monopoly board...

You can't compare Monopoly to Texas Holdem'. Monopoly is fun, but Holdem' much more challenging, mentally, when played well.

> opportunity to spend quality time together!

Yes. Hopefully she won't get bored of it too quickly

Sunday, February 10, 2013 7:30:00 PM  

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