After Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad’s post (blog no longer available, it was not affiliated with Kiyosaki’s famous book of the same name) on poker being a competitive sport, I found myself writing a comment. It soon got a bit longer than I had intended, so decided to make a post instead.
I may agree on the competitive aspect of poker, but I’m not so sure I’d agree on it being a sport. Usually I consider sports as being played by athletes. Webster’s online defines an athlete such as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” I’d through “coordination” in there as well- I don’t know why they didn’t have that. I’m not sure if a poker player qualifies as an athlete as I don’t really see the physical aspect of it. I can imagine Stephen Hawking playing it, for instance.
I see poker as gambling. There are professional gamblers that bet on horses and football games. They are all competitive in the same way that they use their their judgement as their advantage. If a great gambler plays long enough and has a way to make the math work out for them in the long term, it’s not really a game of chance.
I’ve seen complete novices (who have just learned how the game is played) knock out fairly experienced veterans (people who compete at local tournaments). I don’t play a lot, really just about 5 times ever and I’ve seen this twice with different novices and different veterans. I’d say that like anything, there’s a portion of luck and a portion of skill. For many, the portion of luck in gambling is high, while in other sports the portion of skill is high for almost anyone playing.
I wonder how many novice basketball players would beat a veteran in one-on-one
I can’t imagine a scenario where I could beat Shaq in basketball, but I can imagine one where I beat Moneymaker (or whoever the champion is now) in poker.