So, is poker a sport? You see it on ESPN and the World Series Of Poker is a pretty big deal, however, the question invariably comes up whether this truly is a sport.
Let me say this about that …
Poker may not require athleticism to play, well, unless a victory dance at the end is involved. But, no doubt, poker players are competitive.
The Gardnerville-Minden Basketball Club’s inaugural Poker Night fundraiser last Saturday night at the Carson Valley Inn was a lot of fun to watch — and raised funds for a community organization in the process — and it’s easy to see how competitive things can get with folks sitting around a table playing Texas Hold-‘em.
That was evident in the CVI’s Douglas Room, and I wasn’t even playing.
It wasn’t Bobby Knight throwing-a-chair-on-the-court intensity.
Nor was it like the knife fight scene from the 1993 movie “Tombstone.” To quote Val Kilmer in his portrayal of Doc Holliday, “Why, Ed Bailey, you look like you’re just about ready to burst” — then after being requested to showhis cards — “Well, I suppose I’m deranged, but I guess I’ll just have to call.” With that, Holliday lays down four queens. “Isn’t that a daisy?”
I can almost envision Terry Bradshaw and his analysis of that play.
Anyone who has ever played the game knows that adrenaline rush when the cards are dealt. The rush is there when you lay down two pair, and of course, the burst of the bubble can be felt when the other player lays down three of a kind.
It’s true whether you’re seated at the kitchen table with a group of buddies on a Saturday night, or if you’re sitting in a high stakes tournament.
That competitiveness was fun to watch at the GMBC’s Poker Night, and at the same time, it was neat to see the camaraderie of 35 participating players having a lot of fun.
“Everyone I talked to said they had a good time,” club spokesman Werner Christen said. “And hat’s off to the Carson Valley Inn for giving us such a great set-up.”
First-place prize money for the tournament was $500. Second-place was worth $250 and third-place was worth the buy-in money and dinner for two at the Carson Valley Inn.
How serious was the money? At the end of the night, the winner took the $500 prize money, gave a tip to the dealer and poker room manager then donated the rest of the money back to the basketball club. .
So, does poker honestly deserve to be called a sport? What difference does it make? You may not see any highlight reel plays, nevertheless, the competitive nature makes it sporting.
You have winners and losers, and critical decisions to be made that could impact each play. That’s what makes it so much fun. And yes, I’m already looking forward to GMBC’s second Poker Night.
Dave Price is Sports Editor for The Record-Courier.