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Perception of Poker Players?

ClarkH

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First off, I really don't expect any sort of quantitative answer here, or anything other than anecdotal. I just want to get a feel about general attitudes among Nippon-jin toward this topic... to confirm whether I have the right idea...

So, I play a lot of poker in the US. I'm actually very good at it. I make about $40/hr over thousands of hours (I keep vigorous statistics). Most gamblers will tell you that they make money at it, but I actually do! Poker is one form of gambling that may actually provide positive expectation over the long run. I won't go into all the reasons poker is so great, and all the reasons it's different from other forms of gambling. It's not relevant to my question...

Now the perception about gambling in the US is still mostly that "all gambling is bad", and I think it's pretty safe way to think of it... But there are a lot of professionals making money at poker (not at other forms of gambling though), and actually many other people in the US realize that it's possible to do so over the long run. I'd say 50% of people understand it, while the other 50% are more old-fashioned, with the attitude that "if you continue to gamble in any form, you will assuredly lose money in the end".

Now in Japan, it seems that gambling is looked down on even more. There are no casinos? Or the only form of gambling is Pachinko? And Pachinko gamblers will assuredly go broke in the long run! The only poker games are underground illegal games? From speaking with a handful of Nippon-jin (good friends even), and telling them that a lot of my income is from poker, they seem to have a very hard time understanding it.

I'm starting to wonder if I should even not mention it anymore, and just speak about it like it's a hobby that I do rarely (which is quite false). Am I mistaken to think that nearly 100% of Nippon-jin would ever believe that a person can make a living playing poker? Even people that are quite mathematically and statistically inclined, it seems they can't get past the "gambling" fact. It seems to be a very strong notion among Nippon-jin.

My apologies if I'm being naive about the perception about poker players in Japan.

On the other hand, people from S. Korea of China seem quite comfortable with the notion that a person can gamble professionally. Any particular reason there might be such a big difference in mindsets about gambling among people from that region?
 

Mike Cash

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I don't know why the common perception is that the only form of gambling in Japan is pachinko.

There is also horse racing, bicycle racing, boat racing (all parimutuel and with off-track available), as well as a few lottery variants.
 

ClarkH

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Ah, yes! I forgot, I've actually heard a lot about horse racing, and seen many wood block prints of horse racing as well. Still, I never knew there were those other forms of gambling in Japan.
 

Davey

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Mahjong is pretty popular as well. Someone that I know puts money into that.
 

ClarkH

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Are there actually casinos in Japan though? I thought there weren't any legal casinos. Perhaps there are some illegitimate casinos run by yakuza? My friend told me there is definitely illegal gambling in Japan. Maybe in home games or something?
 

Supercords

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I enjoy a good home game from time to time myself. I've been in Japan a month now and was hoping I might find a nearby group. There is a decent sized Meetup poker group in Tokyo, but they play too far away from where I live. I'm out in Hachioji. I think they have some form of casino, but I'm not sure what is legal and what isn't. I have never been.
 
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