Is Poker Really a Sport?

The ongoing debate surrounding whether or not poker should be classified as a sport has continued for years. This topic remains relevant due to the exponential growth the game has achieved, becoming a multi-billion dollar industry in recent times.

There is a need to fully understand what components constitute a sport for the purpose of categorizing poker. Traditionally, sports have been classified as physical activities that require a level of athleticism. However, in recent times, the definition of sports has been expanded to incorporate mental and strategic abilities.

Defining a Sport

The classification of poker is a topic of debate that has persisted for years. The popularity of the game and its financial success make this debate an important one to consider.

To fully understand how poker should be classified, there is a need to accurately define what constitutes a sport. While traditionally, sports are described as activities that require physical prowess, the modern conception has broadened to include strategy and mental ability as well.

Arguments in Favor of Poker as a Sport

There exists several arguments that suggest poker should be considered a sport. To excel in poker, players must possess athletic, mental, and strategic skills. Many renowned poker players have become popular due to their exceptional abilities in this game.

The ability to calculate odds, take calculated risks, and count cards are essential to becoming a successful poker player. Additionally, this game requires endurance, stamina, and an immense level of focus for players to perform well. These attributes are similar to those required in traditional sports, adding weight to the argument that poker should be considered a sport.

Arguments Against Poker Being a Sport

Detractors argue that poker cannot be classified as a sport due to the lack of physical activity involved in playing. Some claim that there is no regulated athletic competition in poker. Furthermore, poker is sometimes classified as a game or a mind-sport instead of a sport.

However, others contrarily view poker as a sport. The International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) feature poker on their lists, highlighting that this game can be classified as a sport.

The Perspectives of Different Organizations

Various organizations hold different views regarding whether poker is a sport or not. The World Poker Tour (WPT) recognizes poker as a sport and provides resources and facilities, including professional coaches, for players to improve their skills.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, does not regard poker as a sport. The IOC insists that the sport must be played in a competitive setting without relying on any element of luck for a player to succeed.

Discussion and Conclusion

The debate on whether to classify poker as a sport is likely to continue with valid arguments on both sides. Nonetheless, poker does require physical, strategic, and mental abilities to succeed, all of which are essential aspects of sports.

There are convincing arguments that support considering poker as a sport, while it is crucial to consider various organizations’ different viewpoints. With its immense popularity, the debate surrounding whether poker is a sport or not may continue to evolve in the future.


  • Lucas, A. F. (2013). The Nature of Poker: An Introduction to the Structure and Strategy of Poker. Springer Science & Business Media.
  • Kivimäki, A. (2014). Chance, skill, and equity in poker. Philosophy of Sport, 41(2), 225-238.
  • Kroeger, T. (2019). PokerPlayerBox: An Intelligent and Autonomous Framework for Multiplayer No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker. arXiv preprint arXiv:1901.03256.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *