“Socialized poker” coming to South Carolina

I think someone’s got their semantics wrong in this Card Player article about legalizing at-home poker in South Carolina:

This week, after a hearing that included testimony from the Poker Players Alliance, a local businessman and poker player, and a number of elected officials, a South Carolina House sub-committee voted 4-1 to change the state’s 1802 law, which currently bans “any game with cards or dice.”

Under the new proposal, socialized gambling would be allowed. That means friendly poker games would no longer be subject to random police raids and prosecution. The new proposal would also allow state-certified non-profit groups to conduct raffles, as long as 90 percent of the money goes to charity.

Hank Sitton, one man who was at such a raid, also testified before the sub-committee, saying a rifle was pointed at his head by authorities when he was just trying to enjoy himself with some poker.

“I am the face of socialized poker,” said Hitton, a local car dealer. “They’re not a bunch of seedy gamblers. We’re Joe Six-Pack.”

via Friendly Poker Games Might Finally Get Legalized in South Carolina – Poker News – CardPlayer.com.

According to the author, “socialized gambling” will now be legal. What is “socialized gambling?” If we’re reasoning outward from “socialized medicine,” it’s a system of gambling of unknown quality guaranteed to all citizens and paid for by the government. So I guess you have the right to play whatever game you want, and the government gives you money to do it?

“Social gambling,” on the other hand, has long referred to gambling among peers with no house edge and no single, continuous banker. The average poker game is the perfect example, as contrasted with a game like blackjack or roulette. You can check your copy of Roll the Bones if you want a more thorough definition.

It’s just a few letters, but they make a big difference. Kind of like the difference between a socialist and a socialite.

It is particularly ironic that someone would proclaim themselves “the face of socialized poker” because poker is really the essence of capitalism–investment, risk-taking, and profit or loss. I have a hard time even imagining what socialized poker would look like. A bunch of guys sitting around a green felt table singing the Internationale as they play? Do they redistribute hole cards before the flop to make for a more equitable outcome? To play the cards as they’re dealt would be, to borrow phrase from Vladimir Voinich’s Moscow 2042, “volunteerism.”

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