Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poker: Sport or Game?

I've been wondering to myself whether or not poker should be called a sport. I can see both sides of the argument, but I'll leave it up to you. This is what I have so far:

Why poker might be a sport...

  • It airs often on ESPN, ESPN2 and other sports-centric channels.

  • It is a competition.

  • It is important to be in good condition to play poker well. (i.e. eating well/getting enough sleep.)

  • There is a (small) movement working towards making poker an Olympic event.

  • It has set rules of play.

  • The best players are offered endorsements.

Why poker might just be a game...

  • It is not athletic.

  • Luck is a contributing factor to winning.

  • It is often aired on Bravo and other non-sports centric channels.

CardA few other thoughts: I believe luck is a contributing factor to many sports. Bowling and golf are much less athletic than football or hockey, does that make those less of a sport? A golfer is more of a sportsman than an athlete. Are poker players sportsmen? Does a driver of a NASCAR need any athletic ability?

What do you think? Post in the comments your opinions and I'll update this post as we come to a decision.


  1. Nascar Drivers need to be very phisically fit because of the G forces put on them when they drive at that speed.

    I am fence sitting on wether poker should be a sport though... hmmm

  2. Hell Yeah it is a sport... come on guys.. it is a gimme..

    We have had synchronized swimming as an Olympic sport for years! A Couple of pinched nosed girls complete with water proof circus make up liberally applied and flapping around in the pool to some elevator muzak.

    And what about those guys that walk pumping their elbows and look like they are trying to remove their underwear by sheer buttock contortions. Walking is a sport! Chucking huge lumps of granite down an ice rink is a sport! Training horses to dance (dressage) is an Olympic sport!..

    There isn't an argument against poker being a sport when you actually stop and think what is already accepted as a "sport".

    And trying to judge if it is a sport because the sports networks show it or not.. well lol.. The day the sports networks (especially the pay channel ones) remove that he-man synchronized poncing around in a boxing ring whilst trying to pass off wrestling as a sport is moved off the sports channels, then you might have an argument.

    Poker is a sport.... if you want it to be... right? Man, it'd be nice to think I am not just an arm chair sports fan, I actually play a sport! Woot! That'll look good on the insurance form.

  3. I can see poker as a sport similar to NASCAR and horse dancing...er, dressage. In all three cases the competitor is relying on something not completely under his control that has to perform well to ensure a win...the car, the horse, or your cards. And with all three sports the competitor requires more from his mind than his body.

  4. Poker is not a sport. IMO nascar is not a sport and neither is synchronized swimming. Poker falls more in line with chess, a heavily mental game but not even close to a sport. Even synchronized swimming relies on athletic ability. Poker requires 0 athletic ability. Sure you have to stay focused, but that's true in any game, even playing video games. I compare it mostly to chess as I said, and say it is a very tough GAME that requires immense skill. Also the fact that it does or does not air on ESPN is not an argument either way as ESPN simply wants to boost their ratings, so they'll show whatever they think will get their target audience to watch. Hell arm wrestling was on ESPN along with darts. Anyone think darts is a sport?