Is Poker Considered Esports?

The online gaming industry is booming, and Statista estimates it has a market volume around the $62 billion mark. This figure is expected to almost double in the next six years as more players transition from traditional to online play. Within the sector, online poker is a key player in the online gaming industry.

Poker players compete against one another to win all the chips in play. This game can be played anywhere from a small, casual game between friends to large, televised tournaments with millions of dollars at stake. The rise of the internet has brought poker into the digital age. Now, online poker sites allow players to compete against other players worldwide by hosting live tournaments and competitions that simulate actual gameplay. With the rising prevalence of online poker, we’ll dive deeper into its position in the realm of electronic sports.

What constitutes esports?

Electronic sports, or esports, are video games played in a highly competitive online environment. The players often constitute professional teams or individual players, and the games can include anything from board games, card games, multiplayer online battle arenas, and first-person shooting games. Esports have skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years and are considered an integral part of the constantly evolving internet culture. The number of players and viewers has made esports a multi-billion dollar industry and has transformed societal views on traditional sports.

We previously covered here at RPG Host how sports and video games are similar in terms of athletic abilities, competitiveness, dedication, and practice. Video gaming undoubtedly shares many of the skills and features required in physical sports, which contributes to the case of esports. With the increasing availability of online gaming franchises such as Valorant and League of Legends, and streaming services such as Twitch and Youtube Gaming, esports is becoming a mainstay in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Online poker as an esport

Poker has been a staple in the online gaming world since its inception, and it continues to surge in popularity both in the number of players and online competitions. Today, online poker is considered an esport because it requires the same mental attributes of quick thinking, logic, and strategy in order to win big prizes, much like traditional sports. With so much at stake in online tournaments, players are putting in hours upon hours of training to hone their skills and take down their opponents on the virtual felt of their favorite poker rooms.

Popular tournaments such as the World Series of Poker and the European Poker Tour attract thousands of players yearly, a testament to online poker’s rising legitimacy as an esport. Even some of the world’s most successful poker players have added online poker to their roster of competencies. For one, Justin Bonomo is one of the best poker players of all-time, and he primarily plays online. He first made his mark in online poker during the poker boom and has eventually made his way to live poker tournaments. By the end of last year, he had amassed over $57M in lifetime tournament earnings. Bonomo demonstrates how poker players make a living and a name through online poker, much like any other professional sports and esports athlete.

Harvard International Review has described esports as an international cultural phenomenon that attracts thousands of eager viewers and players. Online poker is one aspect of the rapidly expanding genre of electronic sports and will continue to draw attention among online gaming enthusiasts in the years to come.