Set-up. As long as I’m sitting at the table and not running into him someplace else, it’s still part of the game.
I would also hope you’d find it unethical to play with an addicted gambler, someone who is already failing a spouse with regards to financial responsibilities, someone who would find losing to you a near occasion of the sin of murder, or something like that.
Well, a lot of the time, most actually, you play with strangers. But, his addiction is not my business. If he is an addict, he is giving it away to somebody. The fact that I’m in one of the seats he’s giving money away to is a matter of chance. Gambling addicts who are also losers will insist on losing their money. After they give away their buy-in at the table, they run off, get more money and go shoot craps to make up their loss. I’m part of the system he involves himself with.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. The game is not the main thing.
No, it isn’t, and there are ethical lines and moral ones, IMO. One of the more famous poker players is someone who’s personal ethics I find reprehensible. I consider myself ethical within the parameters of the game: I don’t angleshoot, I don’t bring anything from real life to the table or take the game play off the table. If people hold their cards so I can see them, I tell them. Once.
I think moral issues in this case involve anyone choosing to play in the first place. I can make the case, pretty easily I think, that it’s completely immoral for anyone to be paying money to watch television as long as there is one starving child in the world. Or adult. In fact, if every American gave up TV and sent that money to those whose job it is to feed the hungry, we could eliminate world hunger in a few months. And in doing so in that way, we improve all of our lives immeasurably. We’d find out that our big sacrifice is actually the best thing that ever happened to us, our families, our children.
What is the main thing? If we actually made the main thing into the main thing in all of our lives, our lives would look radically different and so would the world.