Earlier this year, we wrote about a startup that claimed it was raising funds by having its founders play online poker games. The story sounded bogus -- and seemed just like a story someone came up with to "hook" the press. However, hearing about students trying to pay for tuition by playing online poker seems a bit more realistic. What's not all that realistic, though, are some of the other details in the article. It's a student paper, so perhaps the reporter should be forgiven, but there are some obvious problems with the article. First, it never bothers to mention that online gambling is still illegal in the US. That would seem like a pretty big point. Even if plenty of people do it, that doesn't mean it's legal. The story also misses a few facts, such as claiming that the big online poker company PartyGaming is private and, therefore, its finances are private. The company, of course, went public over the summer to much fanfare. However, more important than any of that is that the article does little to note that people lose money on these sites pretty often as well. It does mention it in passing, but mostly glorifies playing online poker as a way to pay tuition and possibly as a full-time job after college (it quotes one student saying that getting a degree is now a "backup" in case online poker falls through as a career). Hmm, overhyped get rich quick schemes for students, causing some to skip getting a degree. Yet another similarity between the online poker bubble and the original dot com bubble.
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