"dishonest" -- Of course there is some deception involved in poker. In a recent artictle, Tommy, you wrote about how were (loosely quoted) "incapable of telling the truth" when it comes to discussions about hands.
However, I do not see this as "dishonesty" because it is within the rule set of the game that we do not let people know what cards we have, and we try to trick them. It would be wrong livelihood, however, to be a card mechanic and deal yourself full houses, of course. So where is the line drawn?
Pokertracker/HEM could give us a more interesting discussion into what is or is not dishonest, or to stretch the term a little bit, fair. Is it fair to casual player that we have data mined hand histories and HUDs? I argue it is because it is available to him, and if he read the terms of agreement for joining the site he would see it is in the rules.
Again, I think the crux on whether or not Poker is an example of right livelihood falls on the crux of how we define "harmful". 95% of the time, poker is not a harmful activity to our opponents. People bring money to the casino and if the leave without the money they came with, oh well. Sure they're blue as they're leaving the parking structure, but they will fall asleep just fine. The problem comes when we are playing against gambling addicts or degenerates.
We've all seen them. My friend only plays live poker on the day that unemployment and other government aid checks arrive in peoples mailboxes because of this. He knows this is an easy money day.
Certainly, there are people who are not eating enough because of their gambling problems. Undoubtedly, these people are suffering. But is it US, the people sitting across the table, that are causing them pain? I would argue no. Maybe its just the addictive nature of the game, but we are not there to prey on helpless people. They just ... show up. If I could snap my fingers, I would make poker games less juicy and bar all people that can't help themselves from playing.
But, what about my friend who shows up on the days people get the aid checks?
Thanks again for the enlightening series.