Monopoly vs. Poker: Greed, Ill-Will, and Manipulation

Recently some friends and I sat down to play a game of Monopoly. As you can imagine, we are not friends anymore. I haven’t spoken to my wife since.

Monopoly holds special powers. It’s like Jumangi that way. Emotions burst out with each roll of the dice—we scream and yell. People to your right and left, they are not your spouses, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends anymore. They are landlords, tourists, and prisoners.

This last game, a friend of mine gave her boyfriend an ultimatum: continued friendship for Baltic Avenue. What kind of game is this?

Monopoly makes me curse. It’s like Halo that way. There’s something about going to jail early in the game, or landing on the same owned property every time, or having two people land on your Boardwalk right after you mortgage it because your dumb friend just added another stupid house on the spot you landed on right before that.

It gets ugly fast.

Monopoly makes people manipulate. It’s like poker that way. Am I the only one who wears sunglasses while playing Monopoly? We make deals and give advice. We bluff. Ultimately, our interest is always best. After all, there is only one winner in Monopoly.


This brings me to a good point. Growing up, it seems that poker, or general playing cards for money, had a stigma attached to it—especially in the church. “We don’t gamble,” is maybe a similar statement you’ve heard in your lifetime.

I’ve always loved poker. It’s genuine. It teaches. Sure, there is manipulation involved (I prefer to call it “acting lessons.”). But I’ve built up more friendships with poker than I’ve ever done with Monopoly. If we’re talking morality, is Monopoly really much better than poker?

I ask you this:

Which game do you want YOUR kids playing? A gambling card-game that teaches the value of money, fosters friendships, creates conversations, and rewards practicing patience, or a board-game with fake money that fosters greed, manipulation, and ill-will towards friends?

Somewhere down the line the church got it wrong. That’s all I’m saying.

Photo Credit: []

What is your favorite board game? Any good Monopoly stories? Ready to give poker another shot? 



  1. I think a title for a good follow-up post to this might be: “Monopoly and Manipulation: The American Way”. Monopoly mirrors the crass capitalism on which so many people – rich and poor alike pin their hopes. Of course, it’s not just America anymore – but it is uniquely American, like baseball and apple pie.

    1. Tony,

      I worked on about five different titles before I gave up and used the one I had. Titles and “default images” hold me up more than the bulk of text in the post.

      But back on boardgames, if you have Netflix, there is a great-ish documentary about Monopoly you should check out. It turns out, the original creator designed the game to show why capitalism is a broken system!

      I don’t remember the name of the documentary, but I’m sure you could find it if you looked.

  2. It was a non-event cheap landlord insurance (Johnette) at the time,
    the Philbrooks held an afternoon beer party to which Marci Clemmons and her 2-year old son, Anthony, came.
    If, say, you disagreed over the flat’s cleanliness at the end of his tenancy
    and kept back part of their deposit, he could site then appeal.

Don't be bashful (reply!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s