Should Poker be Considered a Sport?
This is a question that many may ask and that has been a subject of debate for years. Let's start then with the definition of sport: Sport is the set of physical and mental activities performed in order to improve and maintain the whole human psycho-physical apparatus in good condition and to entertain those who practice it or those who are its spectators. In other words, sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. So, what about Poker?
Poker and the Mind Sports
Sport is normally associated with sweat, physical fatigue and performance, victory, personal and team commitment. But there are also the so-called "mind sports", such as chess and bridge, and also poker. Sports where physical exercise is replaced by cognitive and intellectual ability.
If we consider this kind of sports, poker does not lack anything. We have concentration, mental effort, a structure of the play and a strict set of rules. However, if we give a look at professional poker tournaments, we can easily find sessions that can last up to ten hours, and mental effort in those cases can be really compared to endurance sports. Moreover, a decline in concentration can lead to the loss of a huge amount of money. Given the countless calculations and analysis that a poker player must do, his brain can get to burn as many calories as a professional sportsman. Those who engage in long tournaments that last several days, often exercise in the gym, in order to be physically able to face up the challenge. It is physically stressful to sit for hours and hours a day always in full concentration.
Online poker tournaments can last longer as well. And professional poker players do not only participate in real tournaments, but also in virtual ones. Playing online poker in New Jersey, is a very popular thing to do among the enthusiasts, and it can lead up to long sessions full with thrill and excitement.
Mind Sports and The Olympics
So, you do not sweat to play poker, but you do not even sweat to play darts, for example, which is universally recognized as a sport. The same happens in the case of chess and bridge, which have also applied for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. However, the chances of these sports being accepted at the Olympics are very low. We must also consider that the Olympics are a show and the mind sports are not really exciting to watch, even if they have all the connotations to be considered sports.
If we go back to ancient Greece and to the birth of the Olympics, we see that there were competitions that rewarded the mental efforts in the same manner they rewarded physical efforts. Among the disciplines present, there could be found for example music, theater, poetry and other arts. In conclusion, it is very unlikely that the so-called mind sports will ever be admitted to the Olympics again but one thing is certain: Poker can for sure be considered a sport.