Poker: Is it a Sport or Just a Game?

Poker: Is it a Sport or Just a Game?

The vast majority of those who have ever played have a definite opinion about whether or not poker is a sport. Since its stunning rise in popularity amid Chris Moneymaker’s incredible run in the 2003 World Series, poker has been covered by many stations, among them ESPN, leading to the question: is poker a sport?

Based on this author’s knowledge about sports in general and about poker, the answer has to be no.

Here is the basic definition of “sport” that I used in coming up with the answer to this question about the popular activity: a sport is a competitive athletic endeavor. The simplicity of this definition makes it inclusive enough to encapsulate all activities that are commonly considered sports, and exclusive enough to eliminate those which are not.

From the above explanation of a sport, the problem with poker is that, while very competitive, particularly at the highest levels, it is not an athletic endeavor. Poker prowess is dependent on the use of intellect and psychological analysis of one’s competitors, as well as instinct. Proficiency in sports, on the other hand, is reliant largely on athletic ability, which does not come into play in poker. Sports are played by athletes, whereas poker is played by card players and gamblers, even the best of whom cannot be considered athletes when they are at the table. For this reason, poker is no more a sport than Black Jack or roulette.

One argument for the recognition of poker as a sport