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Is Poker a sport?
After an interesting discussion with my Twitter buddies @somethingpc and @Nintendo_Legend, a question needs to be asked, and I would love to hear from all of you. Is Poker a sport?
As an avid poker player, I know how tough the game is, and I have sat through 9-hour games being both physically and mentally exhausted. But even I would admit it would be an insult to say that it would compare to a basketball player going up and down a court for 48 minutes or competitive runners running 1600 meters. But in my mind, I think that there is an element of "sport" in the game of poker. Which is why I would call it a "non-athletic" sport, or for another term from @somethingpc, "skill competitions".
The whole conversation started when we were discussing from an article from Time. Should Yoga be an Olympic sport? My response is an emphatic "Hell no", because my biggest peeve about the Olympics are any event that requires judges instead of some objective way to measure victory. Judges imply subjective opinions, meaning the possibility of foundational biases and unfair assessments to determine a winner. This stems from the 2002 figure skating controversy in Salt Lake City where the Canadians were initially screwed out of a gold, because of judges leaning towards the Russians.
The big dilemma I find is, even when Oxford says it, is physical activity mandatory to be considered a sport? Why? Some people say that Bowling and Golf is not a sport, but Chess is. So why not Poker? It has a measurable way of determining a way to win. It's competed all around the world. It's easier to get a game going than say baseball. (You don't need a diamond, just a table and cards). And most important, there are a lot of sportsmanship to the game, just like any other sport.
With all due respect, because the athleticism they can do is astounding, but for me, figure skating is not a sport, it's art. It's a performance. It's competitive, but the basis of who is better than another is opinion. If figure skating is a sport, then acting is a sport. Is Cirque du Soliel a sport? Is WWE wrestling a sport? WWE is shown on sports channels, just like poker, and hockey and such.
What you have to ask yourself, before you answer, is the following; Does a sport have to be physical? I think that as long as there is competition and an objective way to measure a winner, be it points, distance or money earned. Bowling can be a sport by the definition, because it requires physical movement (albeit very minimal), and golf, although leisurely, has an element of physicality. Hell, in Korea, there's competitive video gaming, and they are called athletes. And no, playing a video game in your room is not a sport. Even competitive eaters are called athletes. But I'll be damned if eating becomes an Olympic sport.
Let me know, and please leave a comment on what you think. Tell me what you think the definition of "sport" is. Send me an email in the contact page if you are having issues with the registry process.