Is Poker Only Gambling Or it May be a Professional Sport?

By  //  April 26, 2023

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There are lots of game types you can play in the best online casinos for real money or in a fun mode. Most of these gaming machines fall under the category of Game of Chance, which means the result of the play is completely random and depends only on the house edge and RNG.

There is only one exception on the list and it is poker – the type you play with other gamblers in a poker room – not casino poker where you compete with a dealer. It has an element of skill and it completely changes everything. The right approach employed by a trained player can make all the inbuilt math irrelevant. So, is poker a sport or only a game of chance? Let’s figure it out.

  • The Element of Skill in Poker Games

The cards you get in any poker game are chosen randomly and you can’t influence the process in any way. This means the quality of the card hand you have depends only on luck – a distinctive feature of the game of chance.

What you can impact are decisions made by other players and your own choices. Most people think about bluffing here, but that’s only part of the skill you should have. Another component is making confident decisions at a right time. A professional poker player knows when it’s better to bust the hand rather than continue the round.

The element of skill in poker potentially can make it a sport. Lots of official definitions state that it is so. The fact whether you consider poker sport or gambling, however, depends on several circumstances.

  • When Poker Is a Sport?

Both sports and poker include competition. You can also get a monetary prize if you win the tournament in most sports leagues. The only thing you won’t find in professional sports is players placing bets. Exclude this element, and poker can very much be a sport.

Tournaments that don’t require real-money bets from participants are just sports competitions. Players use chips and cards to figure out who is better. They don’t win the pot and leave the table. The only monetary prize they may get is a reward for a winner, which is common for all sports.

Playing poker with your friends without real money is not gambling as well. This can be defined as entertainment or amateur sport.

  • When Poker is Gambling?

The most common example of poker being just gambling is when you play for money in an online or land-based poker room. You may like the game very much, but the purpose is still to win money. The element of skill is still there. However, it’s now not relevant because of the goal you pursue. You may leave the table and take what you’ve won, in case you don’t participate in a tournament at the moment.

  • Conclusion

Poker may be a sport or gambling depending on the conditions of the game. Professionals and amateurs who compete just for fun and to outplay the competitors do sports. Players in poker rooms who join poker tables to earn some bucks do gamble. The edge where sports ends and gambling starts may be a bit blurred, but the “real-money bet” criterion is the best to employ.

Besides, poker evolves with time shifting in the direction of sports competitions. There are even voices to add it to the Olympics program.