Can poker be considered a sport?
What could be more thrilling than entering a competition or a sports game to win huge cash prizes? All that glitters when it comes to the glamour of casino games, poker can be every bit of exhilaration and adventure! However, a controversy has always been circled around the issue of whether poker is a game of chance or skill.
Let’s put it this way, poker is a sport because it can be played for entertainment, it is competitive and always require both physical and mental prowess in order to be consistent and win big hands at the highest levels. Multi-Table online players are required to have acute coordination while on the other hand, live players need physical endurance and mental awareness to play long sessions. A lapse in judgment due to tiredness can cost a player the entire tournament. This element of physical and mental exertion is what makes poker both competitive and entertaining, further fitting into the category of sport.
A stark contrast between poker and other competitions is written down by Larry Phillips in ‘Zen and the Art of Poker’, a classic of 1998. He writes that “In poker, you’re going to be cold a lot more often than you’re to be hot.” The game allows players to fold even before putting a single chip in the center. He adds, “this is what makes poker – at least a great deal of time – a game of withdrawing, not thrusting, attacking game that it may appear to the casual observer.” Phillips observes that the Western mind that is, however, action-oriented recoils at this idea that one can win a game from which they dropped out.
Making a decision in poker requires skill, deciding to play a hand is one of the biggest decisions. Now take for example in basketball, if point guard makes a difficult pass across the lane during a breakaway, sometimes the pass will succeed ending up in a lay-up. Or other times the opponent would steal the ball. No matter what, the players calculate the situation at hand. If the risk of passing was huge, then the player might take a difficult 16-foot shot. And this is how the skill works for every single sport in the world including poker.
Competitiveness is another area that poker qualifies as a sport. At the root of the game, one poker hand competes against another to find out the eventual winner. The best players efficiently recognize their opponent’s action and build-up a counterstrategy. There can be several hundred calculations and judgments that must be made in a single hand and each one of the actions analyzed for information that might help you identify the cards and their intention.
Poker offers a unique and counterintuitive option of competing. Folding in the skill-based game is denies your opponent any chance of taking your chips when they have an edge. While one starts comparing other sports with poker, genuinely, poker swings one’s perception. Playing poker can prove to be highly positive. It helps one to become much more analytical to be able to notice minute details and patterns.
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