Can Poker be considered a Sport?

Sponsor October 10, 2013 1

This is a question that I have pondered over a fair amount, is poker a sport? Obviously there is no physical activity involved in the game other than holding your cards and pushing in your chips to bet.

However I think the answer to this question probably lies within the definition of sport itself and whether or not poker can truly be considered gambling or not.

Let’s start with the definition of sport… The oxford dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment”. By that definition alone, poker would not be considered a sport as no physical exertion is required to play poker.


However, I have also seen countless other sources, including Wikipedia, that state that sport could also refer to an activity that involves mental exertion (such as chess) or indeed co-ordination (such as pool). It’s extremely difficult to find out which of the definitions is the right one, as there isn’t really a ‘correct’ definition unless you consider one specific dictionary to be the be all and end all, ‘sport’ as a word is a very relative term.

Another criteria of a sport is that there cannot be any element of luck designed into the sport. This is probably the killer when it comes to poker being considered a sport, after all poker is in its core, a game of luck. However, many would argue that poker is also a game of skill and that you can win a game of poker whether luck is a part of the game or not.

I would agree that poker is indeed a game which requires an immense amount of studying, knowledge and skill. If you have a quick look at this page on about the basics of poker you will be able to see that there is a lot to learn about the game, when you start to take in to account the mathematical side of the game and the countless strategies, you can begin to see that it is a lot more than just a game of luck.

One last point that goes in favour of poker actually being a sport is that it is in fact shown on a multitude of sport networks such as ESPN and many others. While it is a trivial fact, it is a true one.

To sum up, I think that it’s a question that doesn’t really matter all that much. There is no specific list of what is or what isn’t a sport, and poker being one or not doesn’t really impact the game much at all. However, after looking through everything we have done, I don’t think that poker can officially be classed as a sport.

Let us know what you think on the subject by commenting below. Is poker a sport or not?

One Comment »

  1. dave bowen March 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm -

    A sport,by definition,requires some kind of athletic ability. Judging from the fat cigar chomping slobs I see at the tables,poker does not qualify. Hell,even bowling requires hand to eye coordination. Poker is a game of CHANCE,nothing more Other than the ability to lie with a straight face,about what you are holding,it requires no skill whatever. It is the luck of the draw,pure dumb luck. Shame on ESPN for cheating its subscribers!!!

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