What You Should Know About Poker as an Esport

Nowadays, esports has become its entity as a lot of people are tuning in to watch pro players watch their favorite games. Esports is home to many gamers and gamblers, from intense MOBAs, FPS, real-time strategy games, and even Poker. Like real-life sports, esports and its respective players have sponsorship deals and fans who follow their lives in and out of the tournaments.

In short, it’s a whole competitive culture on its own that has a lot of following online. If you log in to twitch these days and see a Poker tag, you might wonder, is Poker even an Esport? Back in early 2020, close to 60k people came online and watched a game on Twitch. And as we all know, Twitch is the unofficial home of professional play, and if a game is being played on Twitch and a lot of people are watching, you can be sure that it’s a popular game indeed.

However, the game in question wasn’t League of Legends, Apex Legends, or Fortnite; it was Poker. We know you have many questions right now, so here are some things you need to know about Poker being an Esport.

It’s Still the Game We Know and Love

Poker as an Esport is not much different from the game of Poker we usually watch or play in a live casino. However, it still has the allure that attracts many people to play it. Even professional players from different games go into Poker because it’s fun. For example, from the 90s to the 2000s, many players made a name for themselves in the world of Poker, like Gus Hansen and Erik Seidel, who were professional backgammon players in the past.

Even players from popular video games on both consoles and PC who are skilled enough to play their favorite video games professionally made a transition to Poker like Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who was a professional Starcraft player.

Another example is Doug “WCGRider” Polk, who played Warcraft 3 competitively. He played Warcraft 3 in college competitively until he discovered Poker and made a transition and is now one of the most well-known personalities in Poker Esport.

So what enticed these players to transition into the world of poker esports? These players transitioned from games of strategy and critical thinking, which you need to enjoy and win in Poker. However, this is not only exclusive to former players of MOBA games, as even players from FPS games have also transitioned to poker esports.

Massive Online Players

The number of people playing games connected to esports is staggering, and it varies from game to game. For example, League of Legends has 120 million players each month, Valorant has 15 million, and FIFA has 5.

Regarding online Poker, it has been estimated to have at least 60 million players each month, and its most popular app Pokerstars has at least 450k people playing the app every month. However, experts say this will only increase as online Poker, both a game and an Esport, will only get more and more popular shortly.

Player Demographics

If you ask a random person on the street what the typical appearance of a poker player is like, you might get cliché answers like a cowboy hat, sunglasses, and even big cigars. On the other hand, if you ask them what the typical look of a gamer is, they might say someone sporting a hoodie, the stereotypical cat-eared headphone, and even thick eyeglasses.

In truth, nowadays, the typical player of Poker isn’t far from the appearance of a typical gamer. The demographic of online poker players has been far and wide as the youngest age range is 18 nowadays. However, the biggest demographic is still 35-44, perhaps because they have more access to disposable income due to their stable jobs.

Interestingly, however, younger people nowadays are more receptive to nontraditional games like esports other than your usual sports like football or soccer. Poker certainly is a nontraditional sport since the only way you can play it competitively and professionally is through esports. However, whether Poker is a sport is still hugely debated nowadays. Nevertheless, it still has requirements if you want to join Poker as an Esport yourself.

Final Words

Esports poker and traditional Poker have a lot in common, but they still have key differences. Like other sports, Poker takes strategy and skill to win. However, Poker’s huge association with casinos and gambling is often regarded as something different from esports.

That said, whether you see Poker as an Esport or not, many people still find it enjoyable, and because of that, its popularity in the Esports scene will only continue to grow. Even now, a lot of people are starting to watch more poker on Twitch and more and more professional players from other games are making the transition to poker.

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