Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

Returning to the question of whether poker should be considered a game or a sport, it’s probably a good idea to check out accepted definitions of the two words.

According to the dictionary, the word Game means a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators (which leaves the game of Solitaire, for example, out in the cold).

The same dictionary defines the word Sport as a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other, often for spectators (which, of course, doesn’t do a lot for the lone hunter or hiker who undoubtedly believe they are also involved in a sport).

Queen of Hearts ParisNotwithstanding my quibble with the number of people involved, it’s pretty difficult to distinguish between the two definitions, with the major exception being the word physical.

TPS Poker ChipsNo matter how physical one gets pushing a huge pile of chips into the middle of the poker table and/or pulling them in to sit in stacks in front of you, no matter how much you exert yourself shuffling and dealing cards, it’s a stretch to consider that physical activity.

In fact, the question might never have come up except for two facts. One is that ESPN and the Fox Sports Network cover poker regularly, certainly giving it the aura of sport. And two, the pressure in a major poker tournament is intense, the stakes are unbelievably high, players rake in millions and the last one standing is deemed the champion. Like most big-time sports.

Fortunately for anyone who finds all this confusing and/or irrelevant, the issue has actually been decided, at least in some circles.

In 2011, poker was officially accepted by the International Mind Sports Association at the organization’s congress held in Dubai, UAE. It is now considered a mind sport, meaning it requires skills that go way beyond luck, like chess or bridge.

So you can call poker a game, a sport or a mind sport and continue to enjoy playing it or watching it on TV or at a poker tournament. Just don’t call it gambling and you’ll stay out of trouble.

Click here to leave us your comments!

Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

Many times when I’m writing about poker I’ve been tempted to write “the game of poker . . .” and then I’ve stopped myself. Should I really be calling it a game? Don’t some people consider it a sport? After all, ESPN is not known for covering Monopoly or charades, but it sure is all over poker.

Queen of Hearts ParisNevertheless, I am pretty sure that poker is a game because of several things. First, it isn’t an activity that requires physical exertion and skill, attributes used to describe pretty much every sport. In fact, many would say that there is nothing at all physical about poker, unless you count the endurance necessary to get through long tournaments. On the other hand, although skill certainly plays a part in poker, luck seems to be at least equally as important, which is almost never the case with sports. It’s not that some athletes don’t “get lucky” in order to win or that some poker players aren’t incredibly skilled, but for the most part, “luck be a lady, tonight,” was written about the game of poker – not football.

The feel of the felt Still, it’s interesting to compare the most popular definitions of game and sport. In my next blog, I will demonstrate how similar they are. In the meantime, I’d love to know what YOU think, so please send in your comments. In the mean time we know a lot of people with Man Caves and for the most part their decor certainly welcomes you to their tables as a Player.

Click here to leave us your comments!

Texas Poker StoreBy: Queen of Hearts Paris

When I decided to write a poker blog under my own name (I finally conceded to the pleading of my husband, “Pocket Bullets” Paris, actually) I thought maybe I should bone up on poker strategy by reading a few ‘how to” books, like the ones we sell on the Texas Poker Store.

Queen of HeartsSo I did a little research, because that’s what I do. And I came across some interesting comments made by our all-time favorite poker star, Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, whose advice is to be careful who you trust. As he pointed out, anyone can get a book published and call themselves a poker expert. In fact, Kid Poker stated, “There are books on the market today that would actually make you a WORSE poker player if you followed their advice.”

Not only has that, but the game of poker itself changed considerably, especially in the last decade, because of the Internet. We now have a generation of young, skilled poker players who can play poker 24/7 if they so desire, thereby acquiring the skills, strategies and experience that used to take years to develop. In other words, the strategies that worked years ago may be obsolete today simply because the overall skill level of poker players has increased significantly.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be impressed by a famous poker player from before the 21st century! There is still a lot to learn from the old masters, including some great stories and fascinating history. There is also a lot to be learned from “how to books if you’re a novice poker player. But if it’s winning strategy you’re looking for, there’s one more question to ask yourself. Why would a player who is killing it at the poker tables tell everyone else how to do it? Wouldn’t they want to keep their best strategies secret?

Or, as Negreanu put it, “The truth is, many of the best poker books will never be written.”

Daniel Negreanu's Hold' em WisdomNevertheless, since our policy at the Texas Poker Store has always been about providing you with the best in poker supplies and accessories, we thought this to be the perfect place to introduce you to some of our favorite poker books.

Click here to leave us your comments!

Texas Poker StoreBy: Pocket Bullets Paris

There are times when events come together in a synchronous way that can surprise even an old poker player like me. Take the other day when I was at the doctor’s office. As I took off my jacket, an elderly woman in the waiting room got a look at the 44th Annual WSOP t-shirt I was wearing and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness. I LOVE poker! Were you actually there?”

She was probably the last person I would have imagined would react like that, but then again, poker is something that transcends age. At any rate, I told her that I had indeed attended the last three World Series of Poker Main Event play down to the Final Nine in Vegas.

At around that point, the nurse who’d come to call in the next patient overheard us and asked me if I’d mind posing for a picture, with my shirt prominently displayed of course, so she could show it to her husband, adding that they love to play Texas Hold ‘Em and that they follow the WSOP TV coverage every year. My elderly woman friend agreed, and her enthusiasm got to me. So I pulled out my cell to show her some pictures I’d taken sitting on the rail at the main table last November. I was sitting behind Daniel Negreneau, my favorite poker star, who she not only recognized but told me was her all-time favorite, too.

Daniel Negreanu and me discussing my Rock n Roll Memoirs "Them Changes"There was no way I could resist. I flipped to one of my prized photos, the one of me standing with “Kid Poker” as he held a copy of my recently published rock and roll memoirs, “Them Changes.” The woman was obviously star-struck, and after asking me the name of my book and promising to buy it on Amazon, it was time for me to go into the doctor’s office. As luck would have it, however, we found ourselves going down in the elevator together about a half-hour later. I told her that if she waited right in front of the office I’d be right back, went to my car and got out a copy of my book from the back seat. When I brought it over to her she was genuinely thrilled . . . and asked me to sign it “To Faye . . .”

Oh yeah, she disclosed her age to me and indeed, age is not a factor when it comes to loving poker … I wish her the best of luck at the tables  and smiled all the way home.

Click here to leave us your comments!