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The Christian and Poker – What should we do?

Poker, gambling and its forms have often been considered acceptable in today’s society.  What was once found only in gambling halls is now found on primetime television. No longer relegated to Las Vegas, poker is in California, online, and practically in every state in the U.S.  If you do a Google search for “Christian Poker”, the top ten results for me at least showed only articles saying “go ahead” or “as long as it doesn’t take over your life you are not sinning” but each article had little or no study of the Bible.  Surprisingly, there is hardly any Christian material on this subject.

The question is, are we obeying God’s commandments?  Are we following Jesus by playing poker?  Are we dishonoring God by playing poker?  Can a Christian justify playing poker?  Is there such a thing as a Christian poker player?  Is it a sin and does the Bible say anything at all?  These questions can be answered by investigating what Jesus said.  So let us study the Bible, God’s word to find the answer to whether Christians should play poker.

But before we do so, let us ask God for help as we study His word.  Let us pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, today we ask that you give us your guidance and clarity in regards to this topic.  Lord help us to have open hearts and minds, help us to overcome our sinful and selfish nature and to have a heart and mind like your son Jesus.  Thank you for your great forgiveness and please send your Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and understanding as we study this topic today.  We pray all these things in Jesus name, amen.

Nearly two thousand years ago, a lawyer came to Jesus and wanted to know what the most important commandment in the Bible was.  It’s a good question don’t you think?  What is the greatest commandment?  I invite you to turn with me in your Bible to Matthew 22:35-40 to find the answer that Jesus gave.  It says…

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.[1]

The greatest commandment is to love God with every ounce of your being.  Not some of our soul, mind or heart, Jesus said love God with all your heart, soul and mind.  How can we display our love to God?  Jesus gave us an answer in John 14:15 where He says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments[2].”  Are we loving others and God by playing poker?  Also what did God mean when He said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’?  Notice both of the two greatest commandments are about love.  God is love, and we also want to love others correct?  In fact if we call ourselves Christians and have not love we have gained nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).  Although humans are naturally selfish, we find that we wish to love God and follow his commandments because He first loved us (1 John 4:19, John 14:15).  It is the great love and sacrifice of Christ that has drawn us to God.  There is no greater love than God’s love for us.  And fortunately we can follow His commandments but only through the power of Christ and with the help of the Holy Spirit (John 15:5, 1 John 3:9, John 8:31-36).

So what does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself?  The Bible says…

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.[3]

Loving your neighbor is the fulfillment of the law.  (Galatians 5:14)  It is the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments.  A lot of people today hear about the Ten Commandments and without deeply thinking about them they think they are some harsh restrictions that God gives people to punish them.  Their selfish nature says, “Don’t tell me what to do” and many people look at the commandments as a bunch of “thou shall nots”. But really would we want to live in a world where there are no regulations against murder, fraud, theft, and rape?  It is a law of love, not a law of harsh restraints.  Could you imagine a world where everyone followed the Ten Commandments?  You turn on the news and the newscaster says “there were no murders today, in the entire world”.  Wow, sounds like heaven doesn’t it?  Based on Romans 13:8-10, obeying the Ten Commandments are the fulfillment not only of God’s law, but they are the fulfillment of loving God and your neighbor.

Sin is definitely something evil, something bad.  But what exactly is sin?  Sin is defined as the breaking of God’s law for it is written “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.[4]”  Since sin is breaking God’s law, and love is keeping God’s law we can logically judge whether playing poker is loving or unloving, pure or a sin based on the Ten Commandments.  God is calling us to purity, to His original plan to love like Him.  Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.[5]

So let us consider poker.  In any form of poker the goal is the same.  Players sit around a table and attempt to take each other’s chips.  The entire purpose of the game is to take the other players’ money.  But God’s law, His Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 state…

You shall not steal. ~ Exodus 20:15 (NKJV)

Poker is a game of stealing.  Often a poker player may argue that poker is a game of skill but let us consider how it is played.  One player may “steal” the other player’s blinds.  Another will fool another player out of their money.  In fact a good poker player knows two important factors of poker, bluffing and trapping.  Bluffing is the art of lying, of fooling another player or players into thinking their money that they have put in a pot is no good and that they should give it up.  The second poker skill is trapping which is the art of deception.  A player with a strong hand will act like their hand is weak in hopes that they will fool another player into giving all their money to them by betting.

Interestingly enough, Satan in the Garden of Eden first perfected deception.

Genesis 3:13 says…

And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Satan made the fruit seem so good, if Eve would only eat the fruit she would be like God Satan promised.  Unfortunately, Eve was deceived by Satan’s great deception and she willingly disobeyed God.  Satan is a master deceiver, and he wants people to follow in his footsteps.  God on the other hand clearly states again in the Ten Commandments that deception is wrong and sinful.  It is written…

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. ~ Exodus 20:16

In addition the Bible states “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil” (Proverbs 12:20) And Jesus said “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37) Truth is of God; deception, in every one of its myriad forms, is of Satan; and whoever in any way departs from the straight line of truth is betraying himself into the power of the wicked one.

This commandment is repeated throughout the New Testament,

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.[6]

Do we enjoy it when people lie to us?  Do we enjoy it when people deceive us?  Of course not, sin is what has caused death in this world and sin is what has caused the great pain and suffering humankind faces daily.  But the art of trapping in poker is actually the art of deceiving.  A player flops a big hand but acts like they are weak by checking their hand to the other player.  What are they doing?  Attempting to deceive the other player.  Think about it, 100% honesty doesn’t make a good poker player does it?  No bluffing, no lying, no deception would make a player very easy to play against.

But even if a poker player was 100% honest, they never bluffed, they never lied, and they never deceived, would they be free from sin?

Again let us look at another of God’s commandments…

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. ~ Exodus 20:17

Covet as defined by the Princeton dictionary is to…

wish, long, or crave for (something, especially the property of another person);[7]

Poker is all about coveting; the goal is to take other people’s money.  People sit around a table in an attempt to take other people’s money.  In fact if we are honest, each player’s mind is focused on, wishing for, longing for, or craving the property (in this case chips which represent money) of the other players.  Did God really mean we shouldn’t do this?  How about a friendly Christian poker game, after all poker is just a game right?  God didn’t just write the Ten Commandments in stone, He spoke them as well.  Exodus 20:1 says “And God spoke all these words”.  When God speaks, it is a reality.  There is not a 99.9% chance that God meant what He said, there is a 100% chance that God meant what He said.  God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?[8] In a world where men’s promises are like ropes of sand, God’s word stands as firm as a mountain of rock.  So when God commands us to not steal, not lie, and not covet there are no exceptions.

How about just a little poker?  What if we play for $1, surely $1 isn’t hurting anyone right?  After all it doesn’t affect me.


Many who have been trapped by alcoholism or substance abuses such as cigarettes have warned others saying, “My addiction began with just casual smoking or casual drinking”.  But what began as a smoke every once in a while soon turned into greater and greater urges that then lead them down to smoking packs of cigarettes a day.  Gambling for many doesn’t start at the $500 table; it begins at the small limits and then grows.  The Bible also says, It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.[9]

It is good to do nothing that makes a fellow Christian stumble.  Tempting others to sin is detestable in God’s eyes.  In fact, Christ greatly warned that those who cause others to sin and do not repent would be better off drowned in the ocean! (see Matthew 18:6)  If that isn’t a powerful warning then I don’t know what is!  The Bible also says, Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.[10] We will find happiness if we are not approving sin.  Besides making others to stumble a little sin is still sin.  A little disobedience is still disobedience and God is not pleased.  Let us consider whose character are we emulating by playing poker.  Below is a simple worksheet to cover what we have gone over so far and you can simply place each characteristic in the appropriate box.

Characteristic of Satan Characteristics of Poker Characteristic of God

Greed / Covetousness



Harming Others

Interesting that all those characteristics go in Satan’s corner!  Deception, lying, greed, selfishness, pride and the desire to harm others all are characteristics found in poker and they are also found in the character of Satan.

What if this is my primary source of income?  I’m really good at making money and if I quit I won’t be able to pay my bills!


Again and amazingly we can find an answer directly in God’s word.  Ephesians 4:28 says

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Just because we are good at making money through a sinful act does not make it right.

Jesus said…

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. ~ Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

But what is also amazing is that God promises to take care of our needs if we put our faith in Him.  Jesus made this promise to us.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.[11]

God has made a promise that He will take care of you if you seek Him first.  Trust Him, He won’t let you down.

But what if we just play poker for fun?  Nobody is losing money so is that ok?

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. ~ Ephesians 5:3 NIV

Perhaps God can seem like a killjoy.  But His purpose is always best.  If we look away from our own pleasure and see what characteristics we are demonstrating in even free poker games we see some alarming factors.  Impurity such as lying, greed, pride and selfishness are still center stage even in a free poker game.  Should we practice sin for fun?  Should we practice lying to each other?  Should we practice deceiving each other?  And yet that is exactly what we are doing even in a free poker game.  Let us say that poker is 100% skill, it still does not pass God’s Commandments.  There is still deception, lying, greed and covetousness.

The bottom line is this.  You can’t play around with sin.  You can’t nibble around the edges.  God’s word says…

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.[12]

The flesh is a word simply meaning the cravings of sin, our carnal nature.  So we should not seek temptation, Christ never sought out temptation to display His power, and He avoided it at all costs.  When He was tempted it was for a purpose to demonstrate God’s power over sin and Satan.  Too many Christians are struggling with sins and one reason they do not have victory is not for a lack of God’s power but it is because they are making provision for sin.  Those who are trying to overcome cigarettes for example would promise God that they would not smoke but then leave a pack of cigarettes in their bedroom.  Then they wonder why they are tempted to smoke!  We must demonstrate to God that we trust His promises by also taking steps of faith and getting rid of everything that can bring temptation.  Online poker accounts should be closed, watching poker on TV should no longer be watched, any form of temptation that we have control over we should get rid of.  Eliminating forms of temptation are statements of faith to God saying, “Lord I trust that you will give me the victory as promised and here is my demonstration of trusting in you”.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.[13] If we are in the habit of playing poker, in any form then we should not just remove the evil but we should also replace the evil habit with a good habit.  There are plenty of positive things we can do instead (study, pray, share with others, spend time with friends or family, read the Bible, workout, help others, these are just a few suggestions).

It might be a hard task for us to give us certain sins.  The reality is some sins like poker can bring us worldly profit.  It might seem like you are losing by giving up something that can give you additional money and power.  Often it can seem like you are losing out on a profit that could be yours.  The reality however, is that those who desire to hold on to this worldly profit are actually those who lose.  Jesus said…

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?[14]

We may have thought that we can’t afford to give up a certain sin, the reality is that we can’t afford not to give it up.  If you don’t surrender your will to God and allow Him to give you the victory, you will exchange your soul for the things of this world.  Trust me, you are not losing out on anything by giving up poker.  In fact, you are actually gaining by giving it up.  It is written…

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-11 (NKJV)

The reality is in the past, and even now we seem to be pretty messed up based on God’s word.  Perhaps today you have realized that you are guilty of  playing poker, deceiving others, lying, stealing and coveting.  But there is hope, a great small little book entitled Steps to Christ says this…

“The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature.”[15]

When faced with God’s truth, when faced with the perfect life of Jesus, we see just how much we need Him.  Habits can be hard to break.  We know that God’s desire is for us to completely give up poker and gambling, and it may seem like a big request.  But is it really too much to ask when compared with what Jesus gave for us?  I invite you to turn to the book of Romans 8:12-14, it says…

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.[16]

I have a mortgage.  My entire house was already paid, every penny of it.  I am simply in debt to the party who paid for my house.  Therefore I have an obligation to pay that debt.  Romans chapter 8 verse 12 says we have an obligation.  Only this debt is not one of a financial nature.  This debt is much deeper.  It was paid not with American dollars but with something better, with the blood of God’s only Son the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.[17]

Indeed there is no greater love than Jesus for us.  He paid it all, by laying down His life for us.  The death that we deserved was laid on Him.  Therefore we have such a great obligation to live no longer for ourselves but for Christ.

Based on the enormous amount of scripture we have considered it is clear that gambling and all forms of poker are evil and not in God’s will for our lives.  We have an obligation, let us take a stand for Him and forsake our past life.  I invite you right now to ask God for help, for His forgiveness in this area and thank Him for His power to overcome.   Ask Him to help you gain the victory in all areas of your life where you may be struggling with sin.  I invite you pray to Him now and may God bless you as you choose to follow Him.


Before commenting on this article we encourage you to read the comments and answers provided.  Some individuals have argued that bluffing is not lying, this has been sufficiently proved a false argument from the Bible and the dictionary. In addition other arguments regarding comparing poker to business, sports etc have also been answered from the Bible. We also encourage you to listen to this powerful testimony of an ex-professional poker player.

[1] Matthew 22:35-40 (NKJV)

[2] John 14:15 (NKJV)

[3] Romans 13:8-10 (NKJV)

[4] 1 John 3:14 (NIV)

[5] Romans 12:9 (NIV)

[6] Colossians 3:9-10 (NIV)


[8] Numbers 23:19 (NKJV)

[9] Romans 14:21 (NKJV)

[10] Romans 14:22 (NKJV) – only partial quotation of the verse

[11] Matthew 6:26-34 (NKJV)

[12] Romans 13:14 (NKJV)

[13] Romans 12:21 (NKJV)

[14] Matthew 16:26 NKJV

[15] Steps to Christ, p. 44. E. G. White

[16] Romans 8:12-14 NIV

[17] John 15:13 NKJV

35 thoughts on “The Christian and Poker – What should we do?”

  1. Hey Will – I have responded on our church’s blog to your post. Check it out if you would like to continue the dialogue.

  2. I enjoyed this article about playing poker. I was trying to find an article to help a person I know that is a compulsive gambler and says it is OK because there is nothing in the
    Bible that says gambling is a sin

  3. if poker is a sin then so is trading stocks,forex and the like. when you by or sell someone is on the other end someone gains or loses. everyone at the poker table knows what is going on, by holding back information and not saying anything is not lying.

    1. Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for the comment, yet I don’t quite follow your first statement. You are saying that when someone sells an item to someone for money that is just as ethical as when someone bluffs someone out of money at a poker table? So for example when Jesus sold a table He made in the carpenter’s shop, that was just as sinless and pure as when someone bluffs someone else out of their entire paycheck.

      I think logically we can both see there they are quite different. When I buy a table from a carpenter, I pay him money for his time and effort and the materials he used. In return, I receive a new table. It is a mutually beneficial and fair agreement. But in poker, one deceives someone to take all their money and the other receives nothing but an empty wallet. I think we can agree that the results are not mutually beneficial.

      Now considering your last statement, when you state that because everyone already knows that deception and bluffing can occur at a poker table (in fact it is part of the game), then it is not lying. Let me kindly share yet another example that we can agree with when we consider such a statement. Let’s say two nations are at war, and one representative of each nation meets with the other to talk terms of peace. They come into the meeting knowing that the other individual could lie. And let’s say both of them do lie to each other. And then the meeting ends. Now, let’s ask the question, did they still lie and was it still a sin? Of course! Lying is a sin no matter what, there is no stipulation in the Ten Commandment stating otherwise. And a foreknowledge of danger does not negate the sin. For example, let’s say those two individuals meet again, knowing that because it is a war, that one might attempt to murder the other. And when they meet one does murder the other. Does God just overlook such a sin? Certainly not.

      Let us therefore consider if bluffing is a sin….first a definition from

      Main Entry: bluff

      Definition: boast; deceit

      Synonyms include fraud, front, humbug, jiving, lie, pretense, pretext, ruse, sham, show, stall, subterfuge, trick

      Here we see the very definition of bluffing is “deceit”. Synonyms include fraud and also to lie. The law of God, the Ten Commandments tells us “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. ” (Exodus 20:16) The Bible also states..

      Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. ~ 1 John 3:4 KJV

      Bluffing is lying. Lying is a transgression of God’s law. Transgression of God’s law is sin.

      If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ~ 1 John 1:8

      These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” ~ Revelation 3:14-19

      Jesus says today you are spiritually naked, you are not clothed in Christ’s righteousness and you have been blind to your own sin. But….”As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten”. Jesus says my son, I still love you. “Therefore be zealous and repent” Why?

      He who covers his sins will not prosper,
      But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. ~ Proverbs 28:13

      The only way to inherit eternal life is to confess and forsake such a sin. Attempting to justify such an action will result in eternal loss. But humbling yourself before Jesus at the cross, confessing your sin to Him and forsaking such a sinful action such will result in you receiving complete mercy and forgiveness. On top of that, Jesus has promised “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:21) What a great reward is this!

      Beloved wouldn’t you rather have Jesus? “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Matthew 16:26, Deuteronomy 30:19)

  4. Hey Will,

    I read your article but I think you are assuming to much about the heart of the grambler. If I place a two dollar bit at the race track where I might win 5 bucks and no one is bluffing or lying is that a sin? I would have to say no. Also, I am sure that there was gambling during the NT era so why is it not mentioned in the bible. Lastly, in your last paragraph it seems that you would list drinking as a sin. I would say be drunk is a sin but not drinking. I am sure that the water Jesus turned to wine was alcoholic. I am think that gambling or drinking in excess is sinful. Moderation is the key as with so many things.

    1. Hi Kenall,
      Thanks for the comment. Actually the Bible amazingly does covers both the topics of drinking and gambling in the same passage in the New Testament in Mark 15:16-24 when the Bible says

      “Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.

      And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. (verse 23) Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. (verse 24) And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. ”

      So verse 24 records New Testament gambling, it was done by those who crucified Jesus Christ. As followers of God we are called to “Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). And “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (2 Corinthians 6:14, Epesians 5:8-11)

      The apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit continues to write…
      ” For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. Therefore
      “Come out from among them
      And be separate, says the Lord.
      Do not touch what is unclean,
      And I will receive you.” ” (Ephesians 5:12, 2 Corinthians 6:17)

      Gambling in all forms is something we must completely abstain from.

      Regarding alcohol I actually am in the process of writing an article in regards to this subject and will post the link here, however for a quick answer we saw in Mark 15:23 referenced above we saw that Jesus refused to drink alcoholic wine. The word wine in the Bible can refer both to alcoholic or non-alcoholic grape juice. This article goes into an in-depth study of New Testament Bible passages such as the one you mentioned. Regarding alcoholic wine the Bible is clear “Wine is a mocker,Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1) Jesus never partook of such a substance as the aforementioned link shows. I hope these verses are beneficial to your walk with Jesus and your additional comments or questions are welcome. Let us put away these actions and be transformed by His grace.

  5. I enjoyed this article…make me think of things from God’s eyes. I don’t play poker, but do occasionally partake in Pokeno with girls from the family. I enjoy it for the family time, not the winning, but winning always helps. 😉 Although we don’t bluff and lie, and the general rules of Poker don’t apply, I am seeing that it could be a sin with the fact of coveting other’s money and greed of the desire to win. By the sound of it, family game nights should be off limits as well…even Monopoly has you coveting Park Place and hoards of hotels. Am I right?

    1. Hi Mattie,
      Thanks for the comment and you have a good question. During Jesus’ ministry on earth, His disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus told them “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:25) Again it is written “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3) Amusements such as sports and games are often are designed to develop in the participant a character that is exactly opposite of Philippians 2:3. If we desire to become like the humble King of the universe in character, we shall not seek the highest position, we will not participate in anything that leads us to develop pride or the love of the world, or even tempts us to do so. Heaven condemns such amusements, for they are contrary to Jesus’ perfect character of selfless love. The only safe course is to shun such and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place. At Jesus’ “right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11) His presence will bring us more joy and happiness than anything this world may offer.

      I hope that was of some help to your question, I have written a more detailed study on the topic of sports in which many of the same principles would apply to board games which would be found here entitled “Competitive Sports & Christian Character”. May the Lord continue to bless you and guide you.

  6. two quick, in football when a quaterback fakes a handoff it is deception. just like a bluff. and two if you play a tourney in poker just like a golf tourney everyone puts in a set amount usually something they can handle and that is all they can lose as to keep from losing everything they have and becoming an addictive compulsion. So i think it may not be harmful just as golf tourney are not.

    1. Hi Gene,
      Interesting points and thanks for the comment but if we want to go to heaven we must ask what does God say? You see beloved, God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority—not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support.

      Therefore we must ask, where is the scripture which justifies gambling or bluffing (which is lying) in order to take another person’s money? My friend prayerfully consider this point, thus says the Lord “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence. Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, that I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord.” (Psalm 101:7-8). And again it is written “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16). Lastly it is written “there shall by no means enter it (heaven) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life”. (Revelation 21:27) Do not think that men will plead their excuses in the day of judgment. The actions of men who do not know God will never justify anyone in sin. Satan is whispering in your ear attempting to hold you fast in the ways of deceiving others at the poker table and hoping that you are still on the path to heaven. But Jesus in His mercy and love is speaking to you through the Bible, attempting to save you from sin. He loves you with an everlasting love, He died on a cruel cross to forgive you of all sin. His door of mercy is still open, but you must choose to follow Him and lay off this sin. If I can gain the victory over poker, so can you. I appeal to you my friend, follow Jesus not sinful erring man, your eternal destiny is at stake.

  7. Hi there, Will! Thank you for posting this article about a christian who’s playing poker. If i may just ask, is playing poker ONLINE like Texas Holdem Poker on Facebook gambling too, or a sin? And what if while playing poker online, a christian plays christian songs and sing along with, is that a worthy manner? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mish,
      Good questions. Regarding your first question, may I recommend the last section of this article entitled “But what if we just play poker for fun? Nobody is losing money so is that ok?” I believe that should give a clear answer, and that section definitely applies to online free poker games.

      Regarding your second question. If I may rephrase your question a little perhaps we could ask “would God accept me playing poker while performing an act of worship at the same time?” If you search the Bible, you find the answer to this question in the book of Leviticus chapter 10. In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu the sons of Aaron performed an act of worship by presenting incense before God (Leviticus 10:1). But while worshiping, they were also in an act of disobedience (offering profane fire). In Leviticus 10:2-3 God showed that He did not accept their act of worship because it was mixed with disobedience. Jesus loves us with an everlasting love, He is our example, and I’m sure if we ask the question “what would Jesus do?” we would agree that Jesus would never be found at a poker table. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:6) Let us therefore follow Jesus. May the Lord bless you as you choose to do so.

  8. thank you so much! now i can correct my father with supporting bible verses. Because it always bothers me and i know there’s something wrong with poker even though it’s online but I don’t know how to stop him from doing that. because once my mother told him that it’s not good coz it also consumes his time for his family and for God but he just answered that it’s just for fun and no money involved. and so I just pray for him to have a realization. so thank you will! may our God bless you and your family always! Glory be to God! tysm

  9. I read your article and I do not know if you really know the game of poker,, One I play poker tournaments and I am a CHRISTIAN and i witness at the table,,
    You have made comments about stealing and bluffing. Ok if that is all true then should we even engage in the sports of Baseball , basket ball or football where stealing becomes a big part of the game.. I believe that this whole subject is a gray area… Have you ever heard of Doyle Brunson,, Ons of the worlds best professional tournament players.. Christian,, Read his story on how many people he led to the lord and Danny Robinson another christian,,, unfortunately people really do not understand the game and really understand the strategic moves in a tournament,, If poker tournaments are bad then in the same light so are fishing tournaments, golf tournaments and or any tournament or competition that pits skill against skill for an entry fee and awards prizes to the winner..

    1. Hi friend,

      To answer your first question, unfortunately I was in the sin of poker for a few years and quite involved but by God’s grace I have ceased all playing of that game. Bluffing is lying, and we should not ask the question, if it is bad, there is no doubt. It is one of the commandments, God warns that all liars will not make it to heaven (Revelation 21:7-8). If we would see this as God sees it we would fear to sin. People lie at a poker table to take other people’s money, this is not found in basketball, football or baseball. No one leaves a basketball game with less money in their pocket. However if they did bet in a competition, this is not something Christ would have us do, it is something Christ Himself would never do.

      Satan loves to see “Christian” poker players at the tables. For they have a name to live but are dead. By their example, they lead others to think that they may commit the same actions and yet inherit the kingdom of God. But such is a fatal deception. Regarding famous players who say their are Christian, Jesus has warned us “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) Who is the class mentioned in this verse? It is a class of people who claim to witness in the name of Christ. It is therefore not Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, Hindus who are making this statement. This statement made to Christ “Lord Lord have we not…” is made by those who take the name Christian. And why with tears in His eyes does Jesus say I never knew you? “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4) Jesus says depart from me you who practice lawlessness. They are disqualified because they are practicing transgression of God’s law, they are breaking commandments such as ““You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:15-16) “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. That those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:14, Galatians 5:21) Men will not plead their excuses for transgression of God’s law in the day of judgment (Matthew 22:12) The actions of professional athletes or gamblers is not our example. Jesus Christ is the only safe pattern to follow. Abundant grace and mercy is offered to all who will humble themselves as little children at the feet of Jesus. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of His own character. This Christ will do for you, on one condition. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

      1. Dear Will, Like most of what you comment on. I too have always loved competitive sports. Played them also. But the Bible tells us to “exhalt others above self”. When we play or participate in sports in any way or form, we exhalt ourselves above others. There is always the spirit of us against them. One of my favorite writers said , regarding volleyball at a christian school in Australia, it would be appropriate if no one kept score. But what fun would that be?The carnal nature of the world is to win often at any cost. That is the “world” and we are counseled to love not the things of the world, Would you agree?

    1. Hi Akeem,
      I am very unfamiliar with the forex market and how it works. I can provide some safe generic counsel but perhaps you will have to study this topic in more detail yourself. The Bible counsels against trying to “get rich quick” for it is written

      “A faithful man will abound with blessings,
      But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20)

      “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

      Also it is written, “The desire to engage in speculation, in buying up country and city lots, or anything that promises sudden and exorbitant gains, has reached a fever heat; and mind, and thought, and labor are all directed toward securing all that is possible of the treasures of earth in the shortest possible time. Some of our youth bid fair to be hastened on to ruin, because of this feverish grasping for riches. This desire for gain opens the door of the heart to the temptations of the enemy. And the temptations that come are of such an alluring nature, that there are some who cannot resist them.” ~ Counsels On Stewardship p. 231

      I stay clear of the stock markets, it is the safest path for we do not know what the future brings. Yet I would not say that is wrong to save money, it is wise to be economical and save for emergencies. Overall, the best investment strategy is to invest in the bank of heaven for Jesus said “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

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