Events rising to become an Olympic Sport is small achievement since the authorities need to be convinced that the activity is skill-based. The Olympic organisation holds a lot of credibility and only the best of the best will appear. The GAISF committee are the people who make this decision and take this into account and it is one of their primary objectives that they look to be fulfilled. If you ask the experts in poker, they will tell you that it is at least partially skill based. Even if a bad hand is received then the behaviours around this can still determine if you win or lose. There is a lot of variation in poker and the cards the players are completely random making the outcome somewhat interesting, unlike other activities such as bingo games where the outcomes are purely random.
There are a number of other sports at the moment who are determined to become Olympic sports and have been having this battle for some time. Some of these include arm-wrestling, foosball and dodgeball. All these sports (along with poker) have been given the status of “observer” by GAISF which the first step in this journey is, potentially. The GAISF are responsible for making these decisions and introducing some new sports to the Olympics (or recommending that others are disbanded).
When Could We See Poker Appearing?
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have now been postponed, however if and when they do happen, we can expect to see some new sports introduced which include Karate, surfing, rock climbing and skateboarding. Some of these sports have appeared in previous Olympic Games but are not a standard event. The Olympic Committee will then review the outcome of the games after the 2020 events and make considerations on whether to add these to other games. At this stage, it is highly unlikely that Poker will feature in the 2020 Tokyo games as this is only a year away. However, with the observer status fully granted, poker players are hopeful that it will appear in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Poker is most popular in countries like the USA and Canada but in the last decade, there has been a massive increase in popularity of the sport form Australia, Europe and Asia. TV and the internet have played a big part in this where there are many dedicated poker TV channels and internet sites. This has allowed a global connection of the game and people are able to play using this technology rather than go to a local casino or poker club.
In addition to this, there are many different versions of poker that can be played. One of the things that may go against the game becoming an Olympic sport is the connection of the game to gambling. Although players on the sport can play with chips that do not represent any real money value, the sport is played around the globe with real money chips. The game also has seen players win millions of pounds and it is not a hobby for some people but a full-time occupation!
Let’s hope we do see poker appearing at the Olympics! It would make quite a change from some of the louder sports we so often see played!