Poker as Sports

There have been numerous discussions surfacing online whether poker should either be considered as a sport or just another plain game. Several factors are being considered on these debates but the main contention is the physical activity involvement in poker. Some considers physicality in an activity before it may be considered as a sport - just like basketball, football, boxing, and other contact sports. But there are also arguments disputing this claim because there are also other activities which don't require any physical movements but are still considered as sports globally - these include chess, billiards, bowling, and other contactless activities.

Aside from the physicality, people are also considering the skills involved while playing poker. Some believe that poker winners are those who just took the risks and are lucky to have the best hands. But others consider the intellectual skills players should have to manipulate or make "bluffs" with their hands to succeed in every round. Pro-pokers also consider the number of poker tournaments hosted worldwide by reputable sports organizations.

An Interesting Discussion

One of the most prominent poker tournaments being hosted up until today is the World Series of Poker or WOSP. This is an annual tournament hosts known and newbie poker players worldwide who battle it out in the heart of Las Vegas to win the huge jackpot at stake. WOSP usually runs for two months during the summer season which hosts more than 50 events for the entire tournament. If the main event will require a $10,000 buy in requirement, this will accumulate a 60-million dollar prize-pool for the entire tournament. The overall winner can take home as much as $7,000,000. This jackpot payout is somehow higher than other professional athletes participating in sports tournaments.

WOSP also houses the similar advertisement and sponsorship offered in big sporting events for the said tourney. It is also broadcasted in huge and prominent TV networks like ESPN - which also hosts big sports leagues and events.

WOSP's tournament duration, number of involved players and events, as well as the huge jackpot rewarded after the entire tournament is somehow similar with other big sporting events worldwide.

The Definition of Sport

To justify if poker should be considered a sport or not, it is essential to define what is sport. As generally defined by the Oxford dictionaries, sport is an activity which involves physical skill and exertion of competing individuals or teams to either win or for entertainment purposes.

Some may say that poker doesn't involve much physical movements compared with other sport activities, but the International Mind Sport Association has regarded poker as a "mind sport" in 2011. These mind sports include chess, backgammon, bridge, and cribbage.

In terms of the skills used, poker players may not have the physical skills to be considered as sport players but they believe that the "strategic skills" they apply in every table should be vital for them to win games and even big tournaments.

The Definition of Games

On the other hand, some European countries consider poker as just one of the regular games offered in land-based gaming establishments and online sites. Poker players - may it be newbies or experienced ones - who participate in these gaming platforms only considers the wager they're going to play which could win them set jackpot amounts at stake. Others believe that some players still apply strategic skills but for them, most of these poker gamers just depend on pure luck to win tables.

They also consider the environment that these online poker players engage to especially when they're playing right in the comforts of their own homes. In addition to this, all wagers placed on these online sites are tax-free and real money cash-outs are expected.

Should Poker Be Considered a Sport?

According to an ESPN review, there are several factors which can justify the consideration of poker as a sport rather than a game.

The author starts off with the contention of before poker should be considered as a sport; it should somehow involve any physical activity or exercise. He believes that this statement is very contradicting to some "less physical" sports like bowling or golf. These sports don't require its players to be physical strong and advantageous to succeed. There are icons of the said sports that ended up as world champions with just pure talent and skills.

He also considers the regular broadcast by large TV networks like ESPN and Fox Sports to tournament pokers worldwide. Prominent magazines like Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine also do covers and write-ups of these sporting tournaments. He enumerated three reasons why people watch sports telecasts - to know who won, to see players succeed even under intense pressure, and to celebrate together with winners. He believes that all these factors are very evident in every poker tournament being televised or streamed via different platforms.

He also added that poker players feel the most intense pressure that any sport athlete can ever experience. According to him, poker tournaments have huge amounts of prizes at stake. This pressures any player to never miss a hand and make a mistake against 2,500-plus contenders for six straight days of 60 hour playing time per day. If they lose in one of the events, they also lose their chances in winning the tournament jackpots, as well as their initial cash-in.

The author believes that anyone under extreme pressure should exert all his/her best skills and abilities to win in this challenging table tournament - just like any other competing sports players.

The Power of Poker

In terms of the acceptance of other countries to poker, it is regarded as one of the most popular games available real time and online. Its regulation and legality usually varies with the countries hosting the said table game. Here are individual evaluations from sportsinteraction review of different countries hosting poker games and tournaments for their players.

In most countries in Europe, poker is considered as a game of luck and chance, rather than a game testing one's skills. This results to poker being classified as a card game in online gaming sites and land-based establishments. It is also subjected to the region's gaming rules and laws which govern the wagering and cash-out transactions in this game.

On the other hand, the Brazilian Ministry of Sport has been considering poker as a "mind sport" since 2012. The Ministry believes that poker is another competitive sport which requires players of their ability, behavioral, and intellectual skills to succeed. Since its recognition as a sport in Brazil, the region has been hosting the Brazilian Series of Poker or BSOP which is considered as the second-biggest poker event worldwide and largest outside Las Vegas.

Other countries' poker hosting depends on their region's existing gaming regulations, laws, and support.

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