In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard plainly says that there is no money in the future:

Picard: The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the twenty-fourth century.

Lily: No money! That means you don't get paid.

Picard: The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves...and the rest of humanity.

Does that mean that there are no stakes to the poker games played by the officers on the Enterprise-D? Or were there alternative stakes that didn't involve money?

  • Bragging rights? this is (esstentially) a military organization even if they say it isn't and the people are pretty competitive. Alternatively they could be betting on chores or dares. Person who wins doesn't have to do <insert-activity-x> this week.
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 29, 2016 at 17:51
  • @iandotkelly Is there evidence of betting on chores in the show? I do recall a Voyager episode where Tom Paris and the EMH made a bet for sickbay duties, but that was based on if Seven of Nine would botch a date, not a poker game. Jul 29, 2016 at 17:56
  • I'm not confident enough to write an answer - because I don't have evidence based on the games of poker in the show. Betting on an event shows that betting is part of their culture - so it seems reasonable that you could bet on the outcome of a poker game to give the game 'meaning'.
    – iandotkelly
    Jul 29, 2016 at 17:59

2 Answers 2


The poker games in TNG were friendly games between officers, with no actual wages. Not even a shift change was at stake, as no one was over worked or lazy. The wages were tokens and the winner just got bragging rights till next game. Just a way to relieve stress and get closer to their peers. In line with Roddenberry vision of the future.

Voyager was different, due to the rationing economy developed by their isolation, lack of access to supplies, and no full crew complement. And Tom being a cad and bad influence on Harry.

DS9 iirc had bets for money used by vendors like Quark. As a border station, it was farther from main stream Federation culture, and often had illegal or frowned upon deals. Mostly due to the large Flux of non-human cultures that had alternative currencies and economics.

That said, I'm sure that the enlisted crew of the Enterprise had actual wages. O'Brien, or any number of Ensigns who are less career oriented and shared bunks instead of their own rooms or had to do grunt work.

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    What makes you sure the enlisted crew of the Enterprise had actual wages when all the evidence says otherwise? What about the existence of bunks on starships tells you that enlisted crew must have had wages?
    – J Doe
    Feb 15, 2017 at 19:17
  • While I don't see why the Enterprise enlisted receive wages, the Star Fleet personnel at DS9 must have received some sort of stipend so that they could interact with all the non-Federation establishments on the space station. To pay for drinks at Quarks for example, or for a tailoring from Garek.
    – Chris
    Sep 13, 2020 at 22:16

Old answer, but I'm going to offer this anyway.

The whole notion of money and credits in the Trek universe is fraught with inconsistency. To suggest they had no concept of money is wrong, although many who want to perpetuate the myth that the Federation world was money-free will assert this. Cyrano Jones "sold" tribbles (and Uhura referred to the idea that they were bought with money, too), Kirk once told Scotty he'd "earned his pay for the week." And, just to be even more contradictory, Kirk told 20th century Gillian that they "don't use money" in the 23rd century - but amazingly, every one of them knew how to use it. Canon is canon, except when it isn't :)

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    Good points, but they seem to all be based on The Original Series. It's possible that the economy had changed in the time between then and the the era of The Next Generation. Feb 15, 2017 at 15:57
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    @Thunderforge My point was that the TOS world was already showing inconsistency in this regard, just as TNG did. And there was good reason - eventually, if you dig down too deep in that idea, you come up with some paradoxical puzzles that don't quite reconcile with the utopia Roddenberry envisioned. Hence the inconsistency.
    – David W
    Feb 15, 2017 at 16:12
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    Gene Roddenberry made it very clear that there ain't no money in the Federation. That's the word of God, so to speak. But scripts are written by humans that are fallible, and we are so inured to our own money-based system that it is understandable that some lines like Kirk's would slip through. That doesn't mean there absolutely is money in the Federation, just that writers understandably forget.
    – J Doe
    Feb 15, 2017 at 20:05
  • There are some great answers over on scifi.SE that attempt to reconcile apparent inconsistencies and explain things like how there could be corporations and what would motivate people without money: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/82763/… scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/82442/… scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/1151/…
    – J Doe
    Feb 15, 2017 at 20:09

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