Poker is a rich and varied game. It is played for pennies among primary school friends. At the other end of the scale, poker is played for hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars, among the world's toughest poker pros and foolish millionaires. Of course, it is also played at all limits in between.
Poker is played in college dormitories, service clubs, and basements. It is played in casinos, cardrooms, and even brothels. Players gather during lunch breaks, coffee breaks, and spring breaks. In short, poker is played everywhere there is money and cards. You will not have trouble finding a poker game if you seek one.
Why choose poker over another hobby or vocation? In either case, you should pause to consider why you play poker. You could, after all, golf or knit. You could play craps or roulette. Why choose poker?
To be human is to be emotional. To delight in happiness and suffer in sorrow. To laugh and cry. To applaud your fellow humankind and to be jealous of them. I like to view poker as a microcosm of life. It has ups and downs and twists that are partly within my control and partly not. The adrenaline rush of winning a big pot is hard to top. The anguish of losing a big pot to some palooka who has never played before is tough, so tough that some people are unable to control themselves. You will see the best and worst in people at a poker table. A couple of hours of poker will give you more highs and lows than most people experience in a year. Playing poker is a roller coaster of emotions compressed into a small time period: I am happy, I am sad, I am very sad, I am angry and I am unbelievably elated. All these emotions happen in a single hand. Poker is emotionally stimulating. That is why gambling has such a strong hold over some people.
If you are good at it, poker is profitable. You will make money doing it. Either as a hobby or as a living, making money is not a bad thing. I know, money can't buy happiness. True, but I tend to agree with David Lee Roth (on-again-off-again singer with Van Halen) who said: "Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a big yacht on which you can pull up right beside happiness." This makes a lot of sense to me. Money is not the key to my happiness, but happiness is easier to find if you have the bus fare.
Poker is social. Typical poker games have a lot of socializing. At a typical poker game, there are eight to ten players. In the crowd there might be a lawyer, a butcher, a businessperson, a radio personality, a real estate agent, a computer analyst, a pimp, a retired soldier, a carpenter, a farmer, an accountant, a restaurateur, a student, a financial adviser, a pediatric cardiologist, and a comedian. Actually, there is a comedian in every crowd. You may delight in sharing your time with such a wide and varied group of people in a setting where you treat each other, for the most part, with respect and interest.