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OT: Poker a Sport?

I wanted to hold off on this until the final results from the World Series of Poker aired because I didn't want any temptation to disclose spoilers for those (like me) who were watching every week.  But now that it's done...something's been on my mind.

There's been a running underground argument since poker blew up nationwide about whether it should be considered a sport or not.  The debate was strongest a year or two ago but some still bring it up.  (The WSOP does, after all, run on a sports network.)  For the record, though I respect the skill poker demands at the elite levels, my vote is no.  The reasoning is simple.  Look at the last four years of the World Series.  The winners were Moneymaker, Raymer, Hachem, and now Gold...amateurs all (at the time they won anyway, and none have made huge or consistent inroads since).  Name me a single sport in the universe where that could happen.  You could pile 900, 9000, or 90,000 tennis players or golfers into the same tournament with the top 100 pros in each of those sports.  Maybe Tiger Woods and Roger Federer wouldn't win every time, but they'd win their share and when they didn't some other pro would.  Maybe, MAYBE a rogue amateur might sneak through once on a one-in-a-million shot, but even then that amateur would probably be able to repeat his performance in other venues.  There's no way unknown amateurs topple the pros four years straight, or anything close.

Again, I'm not trying to downgrade the skills of poker players, professional or otherwise.  It's a difficult game to truly master.  But a sport, it's not.

--Dave

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