According to Time Magazine, poker is more popular than ever with high school students, and many parents are letting their kids hold ‘poker parties’ at home. In fact, some parents are actually encouraging these parties! So why would parents urge their kids to start gambling? The answer is pretty simple: a lot of them believe supervised poker games keep their kids safe at home, instead of drinking, doing drugs, or running rampant at unsupervised parties. And parents aren’t the only ones using gambling as a way to keep kids safe – a lot of schools have started hosting ‘casino nights,’ where the top gamblers receive prizes at the end of the evening. School officials believe this is a way for kids to have fun, and it keeps them from participating in dangerous activities.
But safety isn’t the only reason parents are ‘cashing in’ on the poker craze. Many of them think playing the game teaches kids real life lessons. For example, keeping track of the odds and the cards during games can help sharpen their math skills. Also, playing in a group teaches them how to interact with other kids. This is especially good for teenage boys, since studies show they lag behind girls when it comes to developing emotional skills. And some teachers even use poker as a way to teach lessons! One professor at Emory University teaches his students about math probability by using 5-card stud.
But not everyone thinks poker parties are a good idea. One study estimates that approximately 5 million kids in the United States and Canada have a gambling problem. And some experts argue that although parents can monitor their kids during at-home poker parties, they won’t be able to do this when they go off to college, and some kids could spin out of control with their gambling habits.