Nearly 7 percent of the adult population spread across the United States, Canada, and Western Europe plays poker regularly, according to Poker Players Research. This makes it one of the most popular and widely played games in the entire world. For some, this also means that its one of the most popular sports. But is poker really a sport? Can it be a sport without a physical aspect? What about when the worlds of poker and physical sports collide?
That’s where baseball poker comes in. Baseball is already one of the most popular sports in the world, with more than 500 million people tuning in or heading to the diamond to watch their favorite teams. Baseball poker allows fans of the sport to flex their passion and offers other poker-enthusiasts a new way to mix up their favorite game.
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- Officially licensed by the MLB
However, while the name might have “baseball” in it, does that make baseball poker a sport? Keep reading to learn the answer.
WHAT IS A SPORT?
To figure out whether or not you think that baseball poker is truly a sport, you first need to decide what you consider a “sport” to be. While a few ideas may vary, most people can agree on at least a few characteristics of a sport.
First, it takes at least some amount of skill. While small children with no experience can toss a baseball back and forth, they aren’t truly playing baseball until they learn to catch with a mitt or hit a ball with a bat.
This brings us to the next characteristic, which is the existence of an agreed-upon set of rules. Without rules, there is no sport. Baseball has no shortage of rules that players need to learn to follow (and that fans love to argue with refs over!).
Finally, a sport involves keeping score, which also means that there is always a winner and a loser.
IS BASEBALL POKER A SPORT?
Based on the above characteristics we’ve just listed, any kind of poker is a sport. After all, poker certainly requires a very special set of skills. After all, anyone can sit down and flip through a deck of cards, but until they know what the cards mean and how they are played, that deck is useless. There is a set of rules that dictate how different types of poker are played, and there is always a winner.
Poker players may not need to run laps or lift weights to prepare, but that doesn’t make them any less of athletes. Like any good competitor, they practice for months or even years to get good at their sport. They learn the ins and outs of the rules and study the sport’s great players to learn from them. When it comes time to sit down at the table, they need to be both mentally and physically prepared. Poker tournaments can be incredibly long, and players need to be able to sit at the table without growing tired, which could cause them to slip up or lose that coveted poker face.
If any kind of poker can be a sport, then there’s no question that baseball poker is one as well. After all, besides being a game of poker, baseball poker comes with a unique set of rules and challenges that players have to learn.
Baseball poker combines two of America’s favorite pastimes. It is a variation of stud poker, but with betting — a system of “strikes,” “balls,” “outs” and “innings” inspired by baseball. It adds a fun angle and a touch of difficulty for players who are used to traditional poker and looking to mix things up. Clearing the bases means gathering up a hand full of aces. Just as three strikes means you’re out, four balls mean a walk, and games are played to nine innings, baseball poker players also need to learn the importance of 3’s, 4’s, and 9’s played in the game.
PRACTICING THE SPORT OF BASEBALL POKER
Just like any other sport, playing poker, and especially playing baseball poker, takes plenty of practice. Whether you’re brand new to the game or a seasoned professional, you need to keep your skills fresh and your mind prepped every single time you sit down at the table. It never hurts to practice that poker face either. Like a pitcher steeling himself for his next throw, baseball poker players need to be sharp and have that game face ready from the moment they sit down at the table.