It was decades ago that Pascal LeFrancois and Roger Black wrote the first book on the game of poker. While the book has been updated for its fifth edition, that is not saying much. In fact, it doesn’t look much different than the book that I used as a child.
Still, with the recent popularity of the card game poker being showcased in Hollywood movies, it is no wonder that poker is now considered a sport. While there is some validity to this, I don’t feel that poker is a sport in the true sense of the word.
There are two sports that I feel are sports in the true sense. Baseball and football are sports.
Baseball is a sport because there is a set number of games played. You know the number of games. If you don’t know the number of games, you can go into any bookstore or borrow a calendar from your local library, and find out. The point is that there is a specific number of games before baseball ends.
This gives you something to base an entire season around. It also means that you know who your team is going to be playing, if you are in the pennant race.
Football is a sport because it is played on a field with a specific number of points and boundaries. You know what you are playing for.
In other words, I’m not saying that poker is not a sport, because it is. But the fact is that poker players don’t play their cards in a league where every card counts.
While poker is played on a table, it is played in a separate room and in its own board game. In fact, most games of poker are played in a set number of rounds, where the winner of the game is the person who has the most chips at the end of the game.
So really, the distinction between poker and sports doesn’t matter, unless you consider the professional poker player more of a sportsman than the beginner of a new game who just wants to have fun. In which case, you would say that poker is more like a sports event than a game.
After the first book on the game was written, Pascal LeFrancois went on to write several books about various aspects of poker. And while all of them were enjoyable reads, there was one thing that stuck out.
In his first book on poker, he talks about the origins of poker. He relates that when he was a boy, he had to make a decision between going fishing and playing poker.
Poker, he believed, was a better choice, because it was something you could do all day, every day. And if you made a mistake in one hand, you didn’t lose the whole game, unlike a fish.