Poker at the Olympic Games
Relatively recently, it became known that esports competitions will be held at the Asian Summer Games-2022, and the medals won by athletes will be included in the overall unofficial medal standings. In the history of this large-scale tournament, esports will be presented for the second time, but in 2018 it was of an exhibition nature. By the way, among the esports games were the following: PES, League of Legends, Arena of Valor, Starcraft 2, Clash Royale and Hearthstone. They are also planned to be presented to the public in two years. Do you agree that not all of the listed entertainment can be compared in popularity with poker, especially in Europe and the USA?
Poker as marketing
Then it is logical to ask the question: are there any options to see poker at the Olympic Games? To find an answer to it, you will have to go back in history seven years ago. Then, unexpectedly, information began to appear in the news reports, saying that poker can replace wrestling already at the 2020 Olympics. As time has shown, the old representative of the largest starts of the fourth anniversary did not give up its positions. However, in the sports environment, more and more people began to wonder: why did they decide to scare the wrestling fans with poker?
It seems that Patrick Nelli, a well—known British entrepreneur who once became one of the founders of the current structure in football FIFA, played a role in this case. His knowledge of sports marketing allowed football to achieve the media popularity that the number one game still has. In 2010, Nelli contributed to the fact that poker was accepted into the International Association of Intellectual Sports, where such well-known disciplines as chess and checkers accompanied him.
Poker as a sport
For the first time, the fact that this intellectual board game can be included in the program of the Games was discussed when the calendar of the 2016 Olympics was compiled. Then, at the turn, poker confidently bypassed rugby and golf. Of course, poker fans can rightly note that if physical fitness is of serious importance in rugby, then its importance is greatly exaggerated in golf. It is not for nothing that golfers who have already turned half a century are playing on the world tour. We note, in our opinion, the pros and cons for recognizing poker as a full-fledged sport:
- Everything happens at the table; that is, there are not enough dynamics. To attract this element, poker players were even offered to play standing up.
- Great dependence on luck.
- Popularity. Poker is played on all continents at any time of the year.
- Famous athletes cooperate with poker rooms (for example, Neymar during the 2016 Olympics).
- Unpredictability and the absence of violence or murder, as in some esports games.
One way or another, but if poker wants to get to the Games, it will have to change something or offer other options for holding competitions that will seem interesting to the IOC.
Poker at the 2024 Olympics?
The opinion of the local organizing committee also matters at the Olympic Games. It is no coincidence that karate and surfing — popular and respected sports in this country — were included in the program at the Tokyo Olympics. Baseball is also popular among fans in Asia, so its return to the Olympic program was not a surprise. The 2024 Games will be held in the French capital. What is the attitude to poker in Paris?
In the fifth largest city in Europe, poker has long occupied its niche. However, at the end of the second decade of this century, there was a mass closure of such gambling establishments. In September 2018, the last of the 15 existing clubs disappeared from the map of Paris. The reason for this was police checks, during which it turned out that the organizers of the institutions were associated with organized criminal groups. In 2019, the Moscow authorities took care of creating a new set of rules according to which poker clubs should work. In Paris, five establishments have opened over the past time. At the same time, there are more French poker players in the online space every year.
It all boils down to the fact that poker may have chances for an Olympic entry in 2024 in two cases:
In France, there will be an initiator who will lobby for the interests of this intellectual game.
The sports included in the Tokyo 2020 program (after the rescheduling to 2021, the tournament has retained its name) will not be popular with the unprepared public.
What is your opinion about the inclusion of poker in the Olympic program? Write in the comments under this material.