It’s an odd thing, online poker, as it tends to exist in its own special space, devoid of any rules to attach to it as where it should be classed. It’s no longer just a game of chance – multiple countries have classed it as a game of skill, and given it comes in digital flavours, such as the renowned partypoker, it’s difficult to not classify it as an eSport, in a way.
But many gamers who view “online gaming” as something restricted to anything from Words with Friends, to World of Warcraft, to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, are not as likely to classify it as such. “There’s money at stake,” some of them might say. “It’s different.”
Well, let me ask you this. When you log onto Xbox Live and join in on a game of 1 Vs. 100, or you’re watching a Starcraft 2 championship that will yield a monetary reward for the winner, are they any different (yes, money for Starcraft – it’s a thing)? Any sane person would argue that they aren’t.
They also have a platform that many pro gaming networks do not (and unfortunately it’s still a major one, despite the internet streams) – television. Televised poker tournaments are a big thing, but they also work around the advantage that these are people playing a physical version of the same game. Not that anyone would complain about Magic: The Gathering taking to television, but that’s also not a major eSport.
While online poker slowly gains its bearings in the gaming world and pro gamers begin to actually look to poker as a way of progressing into a new career, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not people are willing to lay down their standard definitions of “online gaming” to embrace something new and exciting. Time will tell.