Is poker really a sport if you’re doing it to earn a living?

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Is poker really a sport if you’re doing it to earn a living?

Random thought I had driving to the gym this morning. I write this sitting in my car, procrastinating going into the gym.

Ive played poker part time for about 6 years, and played full time in 2019. As we get underway into 2020, I’m in the process of enrolling into school to become a teacher. Playing full time was successful(if only mildly so), but I found myself burnt out heading to the new year, realizing I didn’t want to do this as a profession for the next few years and seeing no future for myself in the game.(lack of interest/purpose)

It’s all had me thinking, is poker really a sport? The past year playing full time, a primary focus of mine had been game selection. I show up to the poker room, scan the existing tables, searching for the one with the most spots, and, my god, I’ve spotted a whale!

“Matthew, I’ll take table 9, thank you.“

It all became to feel a bit predatory. The more active I am with table swapping, game selecting, playing specific hours, the higher I can inflate my earn. The more years Ive played poker and developed an understanding of playing winning poker, my initial idea of being a top player when I first started shifted to seeking out the juiciest games devoid of any good players at all.

It makes sense, if your goal is to make the most amount of money, then playing in the softest lineups is the quickest and surest way to achieve that. But can this really be considered a sport? If the Texas Rangers sole purpose was to seek out amateur league teams so they could boost their winning record, wouldn’t that diminish the appeal of their craft a little?

It’s something that has teetered in my mind, and maybe I’m just a little bit jaded after having been exposed to the industry for so many years. Hell, maybe I’ve been approaching it wrong all these years. It’s an interesting contradiction; to strive to be the best in the realm of poker is almost counterproductive, as seeking out tougher lineups invariably reduces your edge.

Note: by definition I think poker is, but that’s not what I’m getting at here

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