Hence, as it is not the cash, what is it?
I have been bringing this a bit of thought lately and I have come up with five types of players who play poker with suitable frequency.
Each has a different motivation for playing.
You probably not like this grouping. That is OK. It is not meant to be definitive.
It is meant to point out that there are different sorts of poker players out there, with different psychological make-ups, and they are playing for a host of distinct reasons.
For most, it is just for fun.
The "Pure Fun" Player of Poker games
These folks play poker since they like to play poker.
They oftentimes play for relatively little stakes, sometimes Limitation, but a few will venture into No-Limitation games.
This category, I suspect (without having any hard information to back me up) represents the majority of poker participants.
I will forecast that somewhere approximately 65% or 75% of all players fall into this category.
Heck, it probably be even higher. Not for a second do I think that these folks are there to winning prizes.
They win sometimes, but mostly they lose.
Even those who are a tad better than the others lose since, in the long run, the rake and the tips chew them up. But that is ok.
They view the experience fancy going out to a nightclub or for dinner. They expect to come home poorer in the pocket but richer in other, meaningful methods.
The "Fun add a Bit of Ego" player
For some it is for fun and ego.
These players share a lot with the first group, but there is an added factors at work.
For them the game has a competitive target to it.
They appreciate that skill and hard work play a rule and they understand, oftentimes deeply, that they are only going to win as they study and pay attention. I do not think these folks are absolutely playing "for cash" either. Again, winning is important but the cash is just a marker of success.
As they win they feel good about themselves since they have managed to come out ahead of a game they know is tough to beat.
They can be found playing at all stages, from littles deposits to the nosebleeds.
They are very much into having a good time and losses are not a problem as the experience was satisfying as well.
The majority of these gamblers are almost certainly long-term losers. I would estimate that something probably 15% or 20% of players fall into this group.
The "Fun Plus a Little Using Money" Player
This sort is more serious about the financial factors of the game.
They have a great goal: to be winning players - but not by much.
Some are more studious.
They recognize that to start to think seriously about the money factors would mean stepping up their game in myriad methods:
Seeking out weak games
Playing in a variety of rooms on different nights and at different times
Researching a wide range of material
Working constantly on strategic factors
Trying to stay abreast of the newest angles
Keeping careful records
Participating in the discussion groups
This is demanding stuff.
For the most part, they have other jobs, families, hobbies and just do not absolutely have the time, nor do they want to put in the attempt.
Their target is to beat the game, make a little additional money but still have fun.
These are the ones who think that poker is the neatest available pastime 'cause it's the only one that does not drill a hole in their pockets.
My forecast is 4% to 6% of players are in this group.