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It's on ESPN. But is it a sport? Click here to vote on poker and nine other activities. When it comes to proving a dubious point, dictionary definitions are often the last refuge of a scoundrel.
So, according to "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language," here are the first two definitions for "sport":.
A specific diversion, usually involving physical exercise and having a set form and body of rules; a game. So far, so good Okay, poker doesn't require any of those, unless you consider the strength needed to push large piles of chips into the middle of a pot, or maybe the manual dexterity necessary to see your hole cards without letting anybody else at the table get a clean look.
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However, we have a major out -- the adverb "usually," which, if taken literally, means "sometimes not. Plus, let's be fair: How much more "physical exercise" is required to play, say, bowling or golf or pool than poker?
And nobody would question whether bowling or golf or pool are sports. Of course, SI once regularly covered bridge and yachting, too, but it seems unkind to make too much of that.
In any case, is it really true, as Kornheiser contends, that most people watch sports on TV to see incredible physical feats?
While incredible physical feats are a regular feature of some popular sports -- notably basketball -- there are many popular sports in which incredible physical feats are quite rare, and even those seldom determine the outcome of an event.
Just two of many in this category would be baseball and auto racing. While it is true that baseball has its share of web gems, for example, most of the key moments in a game are noticeable only because of the results.
The difference between a swing by Barry Bonds and a swing by, say, Rey Ordonez is perceivable primarily because of the results of those swings -- in Bonds' case, often a home run; in Ordonez's case, almost always, at best, a weak ground ball.
Similarly, what's the difference between a slow curve from Mets' lefty Tom Glavine and a similar pitch from the Yankees' Gabe White?
One winds up in the catcher's glove, and the other in outer space; but until those fateful moments, to the naked eye, they look pretty much the same.
In auto racing, everybody goes round and round and round and round, and the only thing that differentiates one guy who goes round and round from another who goes round and round is which one arrives at the finish line first.
True, an occasional driver will show an occasional flash of other-worldly reflexes in avoiding a multi-car pileup, but I doubt whether that's why people tune in to watch.
In fact, you can make a better case that they tune in to watch, hoping to see multi-car wrecks.
In other words, if the vast majority of race-watchers appreciate anything that has to do with incredible physical feats, it is most likely the absence of them.
No, people watch sports for one reason: to see who won, to see who can exhibit the most grace under the most intense pressure, and then to celebrate the winners, often by cashing a bet.
Yes, football fans, I'm talking 'bout you. Be honest now -- would you rather see a week's worth of incredible physical feats, or collect on one meaningful wager from your local bookie?
And the reality is that big-time poker provides just about the most intense pressure the fertile mind of man can create -- not to mention an endless stream of meaningful wagers.
Coaches have to make lots of intense decisions -- poker players do, too. First of all, the money is huge. In that sense, I suppose, great poker players resemble great coaches more than great athletes -- they have to make constant choices, any one of which could cause the entire enterprise to collapse.
Foul Shaq? Foul Looooo-ke Walton? Foul Kobe? Double-team Kobe? Play Kobe straight up? Poker players have to make decisions like that hundreds of times in a tournament -- and there's no third and fourth and fifth and sixth and seventh game if they are wrong.
A group of hustlers encounter "The Dean" and pull off a successful sting that results in their pursuit by a vengeful gangster.
PG 86 min Comedy, Drama. Director: Gil Cates Jr. PG min Drama, Romance, Sport. A hotshot poker player tries to win a tournament in Vegas, but is fighting a losing battle with his personal problems.
Not Rated min Documentary. A documentary focusing on why one of America's oldest games has had a renaissance in the past few years and why, for so many, poker is the way to chase the American Dream.
Votes: R min Biography, Drama. The story of poker legend Stuey Ungar. A gambler by the age of 10, Ungar won millions playing card games.
Director: A. Glazer , Michael Imperioli , Brian Kaplan. Votes: 2, Sign In. Nach dem Ausschalten des Adblockers muss Sport1.
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