Once again the start of the Olympics are bringing those odd, sorta-serious sorta-goofball calls for poker somehow to be considered for inclusion as an officially recognized Olympic “sport.”
PokerListings made reference to a failed petition yesterday in their Daily 3-Bet. The Ante Up guys also tossed up an op-ed a couple of days ago renewing the call for poker to be considered for inclusion in the Olympics.
I’ve been keeping this blog long enough to have seen this idea come up a few times by now. Heck, four years ago I was making reference here to the start of the 2008 games and that same silly suggestion to include poker as an Olympic sport.
I’ve discussed that old debate over poker being considered a “sport” several times in the past as well. For me, I’ve always come down on the side that says poker is not a sport though obviously shares some common ground, including a lot of overlap between the way poker tourneys and sporting events get covered.
To me poker is better referred to as a “game” than a “sport.” And even though they do call them the Olympic games, if one looks at the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation criteria for sports and disciplines, poker satisfies almost none of them.
Of course, there are those who have problems with calling poker a “game,” too. Not long ago on my Twitter feed I idly watched a strangely heated debate begun by a person referring to poker as “just a game” and another jumping in to gripe about how the phrase somehow demeaned his chosen profession.
The original tweeter was simply trying to point out poker’s relevance when compared to other, more serious matters, but the responder thought it needful to defend poker as more than “just a game.”
I suppose the issue isn’t so much calling poker a game (which it is), but referring to it as just a game, when it also can represent a lot else, depending on one’s perspective. After all, the fact that poker can mean so many different things to different people is one of its greatest attributes. And a reason why so many find poker a worthwhile activity.
Or hobby. Or pastime. Or pursuit. Or whatever you think poker is.