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Sep 11, 2012

Judgment Day for Poker Playing Buddhist Monks

By RTR Dennis

Back in May, eight Buddhist monks shed their rigid stereotypes by playing poker, drinking and smoking for 13 straight hours in a luxury lakeside hotel. Unknown to this group, they were being videotaped while playing with US$875,300 worth of Buddhist followers’ donations. The matter caused a huge uproar that had many people questioning the morals of these Jogye Order monks. Furthermore, the poker games took place in South Korea, where gambling outside of casinos is illegal.

Judgment Day
Seeing as the eight monks violated South Korean laws and played with followers’ money, they were taken to court. Since none of the winnings were actually kept, only two of the poker perpetrators received US$1,775 in fines. The fairly light punishments may be puzzling after such an international controversy, but a courtroom spokeswoman explained this by saying, “The court only ordered fines because they showed remorse for what they had done.”

The ironic part of this case is that the worst punishments were given to those who videotaped the monks playing poker. Former Jogye Order leader Seong-ho had some men break into the monks’ hotel room and install video cameras for surveillance. In the process, the men destroyed hotel property and earned themselves a breaking-and-entering charge. For these crimes, the camera installers were all given suspended jail sentences, which is worse than what the monks got!

Factoring in Rakeback
Just for fun, last time we reported on the poker playing monks we discussed how much rakeback they could have made by wagering $875,300 in online poker. Using the 40% Minted Poker rakeback deal and taking 5% rake out of each pot, they could have collected $17,506 in rakeback ($43,765 rake x 0.40)

Sure the monks weren’t being charged rake because they were merely playing a home game, but it’s an interesting thought nonetheless. And even if you don’t bet a collective $875k and earn $17.5k back, you can still receive a great deal of profits through rakeback. Going further, this money could be the difference between winning and losing!