Is Poker a Sport?

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:

One of the most popular events shown on ESPN is poker.  ESPN being a cable sports network, it is easy to see why many people would consider poker a sport.  Doyle Brunson of Doylesroom.com recently referred to poker as one of the best spectator sports around today.

The definition of sports competition implies physical dexterity, which would exclude poker players. Yet, the combination of skill, strategy, competitive spirit and cerebral input it takes to play the game successfully just may place poker in a sporting category all its own, writes John G. Brokopp of The Times of Munster, Indiana.

"Every hand that makes up a poker game or a tournament is a competition all its own with a beginning and an end. There are winners and losers.

It's the combination of those decisions that determine the ultimate decision, but because there are so many strategic layers involved in getting there, the correlation of poker to sports gets complicated.

The mechanics of the game create the tempo for the playing experience. The subtleties, which revolve around timing and decision-making, are what give it life as a sport.

In tournament poker, success seems to feed on success, or better yet, a position of strength.

The bigger stacks of chips, the more daring you can be and the more gambles you can take. The damage created by mistakes is minimized by the cushion you enjoy over your opponents."

If the definition of a sport has to do with the amount of physical activity required, poker might not qualify, but how many sports truly involve a large amount of physical activity?

Jay Lovinger of ESPN:

"While incredible physical feats are a regular feature of some popular sports -- notably basketball -- there are many popular sports in which incredible physical feats are quite rare, and even those seldom determine the outcome of an event. Just two of many in this category would be baseball and auto racing.


"While it is true that baseball has its share of web gems, for example, most of the key moments in a game are noticeable only because of the results. The difference between a swing by Barry Bonds and a swing by, say, Rey Ordonez is perceivable primarily because of the results of those swings -- in Bonds' case, often a home run; in Ordonez's case, almost always, at best, a weak ground ball.


"Similarly, what's the difference between a slow curve from Mets' lefty Tom Glavine and a similar pitch from the Yankees' Gabe White? One winds up in the catcher's glove, and the other in outer space; but until those fateful moments, to the naked eye, they look pretty much the same."

So is poker really a sport?

Gambling911.com is going to go out on a limb here and say "Yes".  After all, the legend of poker, Doyle Brunson, agrees.

Ace King, Gambling911.com


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