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U.S. teens hit by poker craze epidemic

GamblingGambling: U.S. teens hit by poker craze epidemic

More teenagers have started staying home and working on math skills: calculating percentages, identifying patterns, adding and subtracting.  They're playing poker Texas Hold 'em.

"It's probably the hottest craze with teenages going on at this time. There's probably not another activity that they're interested in that's going on right now more than poker-tournament playing," said Pat Fowler, director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.

Since televised Texas Hold 'em tournaments have become the darling of ESPN, the Travel Channel and Bravo, the free-for-all brand of poker has spread like text messages through a high school.

"You see a lot more people playing it now," said Boone High School sophomore Russell LeBlanc, 16, who plays the card game mostly on Saturdays with friends and family. "Since it's been on ESPN, it's really picked up."

The newfound popularity of poker among teens worries some adults.

Orange County in Florida has become the first school district to include anti-gambling lessons in its curriculum. The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling thinks all school systems in the state should warn students of the perils of wagering.

"Instead of doing drugs or alcohol or other destructive behavior, they're now gambling for the excitement, for something to do," said Margie LaBarge, who admits to liking slot machines. She directs the district's Safe and Drug-Free Schools program.

Near Boone High's campus in downtown Orlando, LeBlanc said he has been playing cards for money since he was 11. He said it's obvious that some novices have a gambling problem because he has seen them lose $1,000 at a sitting.

LeBlanc said he has lost as much as $150, but he has also won $500.

At the gambling council, Fowler said she has seen card playing eclipse slot machines and the lottery to become the top reason people call the council's 1-888-ADMIT-IT hotline.

"It's a great concern to us," Fowler said. "In the process there will be many kids who get involved in gambling with this Texas Hold 'em craze, and some of them are going to end up becoming addicted to compulsive gambling."

Texas Hold 'em has become so mainstream with college students that Florida State University has sanctioned a campus tournament in October as part of the school's recreational offerings.

"We're the last ones doing this," said FSU's recreation director, Alicia Crew. "They have offered everywhere. We're not doing anything that anyone else isn't doing."

The prize is an intramural T-shirt.

While some worry about the dangers of kids hunting royal flushes, others say odds are slim that the young players will become addicted.

At USA Darts and Cigars in Orlando, which sells clay-chip poker sets, owner Rich Celenza Sr. said he hasn't seen many card-crazed teens come to his shop. While gambling can be addictive, Celenza said today's youths are not at a great risk.

"How much money can a kid have?" he said. "They don't have any money. They're going to lose what they have in their pockets and go home."

Even the cases of chips seldom sell. People call regularly about prices but then buy them online, said his son, Rich Celenza Jr.

"These are a bunch of kids who can't even afford chips, if you know what I mean," he said.

Gambling Gates

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17 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by CASH Only.
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DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
Yinzer Country, PA
United States
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Posted: October 4, 2004, 5:42 pm - IP Logged

it's a crying shame that people are developing compulsive gambling habits at such early ages.

I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.


    United States
    Member #379
    June 5, 2002
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    Posted: October 4, 2004, 5:43 pm - IP Logged

    Are you suggesting 18-year-olds not be allowed to buy lottery tickets?

      DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
      Yinzer Country, PA
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      Posted: October 4, 2004, 5:49 pm - IP Logged

      no. i mean the people who are starting to play poker for money at age 11, like the person mentioned. casinos have minimum ages for gambling for a reason.

      I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
        Chief Bottle Washer
        New Jersey
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        May 31, 2000
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        Posted: October 4, 2004, 7:51 pm - IP Logged

        I agree with the teens: Texas Hold'em is wickedly fun, especially with a good sized group of people.

         

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          ONEDAY's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          OHIO
          United States
          Member #5328
          June 30, 2004
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          Posted: October 4, 2004, 7:54 pm - IP Logged
          Quote: Originally posted by DoctorEw220 on October 04, 2004


          it's a crying shame that people are developing compulsive gambling habits at such early ages.


          I agree with you..

          have a great winning day!

            twisted's avatar - underground
            New Jersey
            United States
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            September 25, 2003
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            Posted: October 4, 2004, 8:18 pm - IP Logged
            Quote: Originally posted by Todd on October 04, 2004


            I agree with the teens: Texas Hold'em is wickedly fun, especially with a good sized group of people.


            I agree with Todd that Texas Hold'em is wickedly fun.  I wonder what kind of Poker players we are going to have in about 7-8 years when these kids grow up.  They will already have so much experience at an early age.
              DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
              Yinzer Country, PA
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              Posted: October 4, 2004, 11:53 pm - IP Logged

              i'm not saying that texas hold 'em is not a fun game, but should people who have not even reached puberty begin gambling?

              I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

                dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

                United States
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                September 17, 2003
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                Posted: October 5, 2004, 12:07 am - IP Logged

                I've never palyed texas hold 'em but i did start playing the lottery when I was 17

                  Avatar
                  Portland
                  United States
                  Member #7262
                  September 27, 2004
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                  Posted: October 5, 2004, 2:56 am - IP Logged

                  Hello everyone:

                  Please yield the jackpot award for me this time! I suffer with a ton of missery. I need money to recover!!

                  Winner ...to be of 177M or....200M!!! it is enough for me!!!

                    DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                    Yinzer Country, PA
                    United States
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                    Posted: October 5, 2004, 3:01 am - IP Logged

                    no offense, but you post for the first time when the jackpot is nearing $200 million why?

                    I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

                      Avatar
                      Portland
                      United States
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                      Posted: October 5, 2004, 3:11 am - IP Logged

                      Hi doctor:

                      I just r

                        Magnu$'s avatar - nw logo.jpg
                        New Member

                        United States
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                        January 20, 2004
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                        Posted: October 5, 2004, 4:25 am - IP Logged

                        Heck, I wouldn't worry too much about it. I Started playing 5 card DD when I was still in grammer school. We'd play every day on the way to school. It never seemed to make a difference to the group I played with and we just played for fun. It's a phaze the kids will get over it or worse get reprimanded by their parents. (Whose kids have $1,000 lying around to gamble with anyway... please send them my way *grins evilly*)

                        "In the codes of the warriors, there is a saying; 'Be strong, and do as you will. The swords of others will set you your limits.'" --p.10, Marauders of Gor

                          DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                          Yinzer Country, PA
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                          Posted: October 6, 2004, 1:41 am - IP Logged
                          Quote:

                          I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.


                            United States
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                            June 5, 2002
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                            Posted: October 7, 2004, 9:40 am - IP Logged

                            Welcome aboard!!