The Dispute About Poker: Is Poker a Sport or Not?

is poker a sport

Is poker a sport or not? Nowadays, opinions about whether is poker a sport or not are often divided. Many people call poker an ordinary game of chance, where everything depends on luck. Others consider it a serious sports discipline or a complex intellectual game, where everything depends on the knowledge and experience of a certain person. It is necessary to figure out which opinion is correct and whether poker can be classified as gambling.

The debate about whether poker can be considered not a game of chance, but a game of the mind, or even a sport in general, has been going on since these classifications were invented. So far, the results are as follows: poker players are confident that they are athletes, and officials in different parts of the world are convinced that they are not. 

Is Poker a Gambling?

‘Is poker a sport? – Yes,’- any professional poker player will say. In gambling, success depends only on luck. Poker is won not only by the most successful but also by the most skilled. In one tournament or one hand, luck is really important, but in the long run – that is, with multiple repetitions – the one who is better at poker wins.

“Is poker a sport?-No,” – will say many of those who have never sat at the poker table. There are some arguments that can tell us whether poker is a sport or not. 

poker gambling
is poker a gambling

First, poker is played for money, and the only significant indicator of success is the amount of money won. In poker, you can win a lot and lose a lot – and this is a sign of gambling.

Secondly, poker is played in a casino, that is, where gambling is usually played.

Is Poker a Sport?

There is no doubt that poker is not roulette, and skill plays have an essential role in poker. But is poker a sport?

poker is sport
is poker a sport or not

Purely intuitively, it seems that the answer to the question ‘Is poker a sport?’ is no, because traditional sport is associated with two main characteristics: competitiveness and physical activity.

Some Interesting Historical Facts

Not all classic sports are about heavy loads on the body. Darts hardly require serious physical activity – but it is definitely a sport. You don’t need to be pumped up or tough to play bowling. Among the Olympic sports, there is clay pigeon shooting. Chess is a sport, but where is the physical activity?

In today’s world, things are even more complicated. Dota 2 and CS: GO are not recognized as Olympic sports, but we call those who practice them, cyber sportsmen. In 1995, at the 104th session of the IOC, the bridge was recognized as part of the Olympic movement, and the World Bridge Association received Olympic status, although it is still a long way for bridge tables at the Olympics.

cybersportmen
is poker a sport or not

Since the 1960s, they have tried to solve the problem of a more accurate classification using the phrase mind games (“smart games” / “mind games”). There is even a special federation of such sports, which includes bridge, chess, go, mahjong, and other “smart” games. Since the 90s, the UK has hosted the mind games Olympiad annually (only in 2020 it moved online due to the coronavirus), and it has a poker tournament. The difference from the usual poker is that the participants do not play for money: in tournaments, in different poker disciplines you need to take places as close to the top as possible – and the best amount of these places makes you a champion.

 Is Poker a Sport?: Matchpoker

matchpoker
matchpoker winners

The main reason that poker cannot become a mainstream sport is that it is highly dependent on short-range luck. To reduce this dependency, several poker disciplines have emerged in recent years in which the luck factor is diminishing. The most famous of these experiments is Matchpoker. Several teams are divided into game tables (one team member at each table). The players receive an equal number of chips and the same cards are dealt at each table. After each draw, the number of chips is counted, and before the next draw, the balance is restored to its original value. After a few laps of the game, the winner is determined – the team with the most chips.

This is really closer to a full-fledged team sport, but here the variety of poker narrows down. In addition, Matchpoker is only possible if there is a computer system that would distribute the same cards to everyone, and a large number of participants.

Training In Poker 

Is poker a sport: another proof? In poker, you can train, like in any other sport, get certain skills and abilities to win. Masters of the game constantly read books about poker, watch online broadcasts from tournaments and work on their mistakes. That is why there are people who consistently win and earn on poker. All this is not only luck but the stability of clear actions in poker, as well as in sports.

Casino Effect

Poker is considered gambling, as it takes place in a casino. However, it must be remembered that each person is not playing against the casino, but against another player at the table. The casino only takes a small percentage of the winnings for organizing and providing its services. This is very different from roulette and slot machines, where we play against the casino.

Distance Stability

Is poker a sport? If so, then the winners in it shouldn’t be always different from case to case. However, we observe that professional players take first place in tournaments consistently or are among the top ten winners. With a chance of luck, they could not have received cash prizes so many times.

Professional poker player Phil Hellmuth is known in the history of poker tournaments in the World Series. He won the world tournament 13 times against a huge number of players. Agree, this could hardly be influenced by luck. Have a look at the list of the richest poker players and how much they win. The player takes prizes with his knowledge and skills in poker.

This is not the only example. Many professionals, when participating in tournaments, steadily enter the prize zone and receive a cash prize. And ordinary beginners who believe in luck most often fly out in the first half-hour of the tournament and are left without money.

What Does It Matter If Poker Is a Sport or Not?

Yes! Nowadays, it is really important to answer the question is poker a sport or not. 

In Europe, online poker is clearer: in most countries, it is possible to play with significant restrictions. France was the first to adopt a special law on online poker in 2010. Here you can play on sites licensed in the country that pay taxes to the local budget. But, for example, in Germany there is no such law yet – it should appear at the beginning of 2021 and limit monthly deposits to 1000 euros. In America, each state establishes its own relationship with the card game, which leads to comical situations. 

It can be assumed that in the coming years, many countries will take poker and online poker out of the gray zone. Poker is a sport or not really a sport, but thanks to online poker have risen a lot and have attracted millions of fans. They do not think whether this game is a game of chance or not, sport or not sport – they just play and enjoy. Gain your experience and play with lots of real players all over the world right now. Download Turn Texas Holdem Poker at Google Play or AppStore.

is poker a sport

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