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Most people believe that poker is illegal but nowadays people are more open to poker than ever before which makes poker goes worldwide and completely legal and regulated in some countries. Some countries like Vietnam legalize it as a stimulus. However, poker still illegal or only permitted in particular situations.

What is poker?

Poker is a group of card comparison games that has been highly popular all over the world, where participants bet on which hand is the best following to the rules of that particular game. It is generally played with a standard deck. It’s required only 20 cards to play in the past but it can be played with 32, 40 or 48 cards. ​​Originated in the United States in the early 19th century. Any form of poker’s main goal is to try to outplay your competitor so that you can win that turn. Either online or live, poker players don’t play against the casino. You compete with other players, either win money from them or have money taken from you. Poker can be divided into different types of play. For instance, online poker will be in game form:

  • Bonus Poker: You are originally dealt five cards, and you can decide whether to keep any of them or toss them all out. After choosing the cards you will be supporting, press draw to acquire more cards to add to the ones you already have.
  • Deuces Wild: the deuces serve as a wild card and take the place of every other card to help players form winning combinations. It is well-known for its enjoyment and the various winning combinations you may obtain from wild cards, despite the fact that the pay tables aren’t as lucrative.
  • Joker’s Wild: You can have fun playing this game with an extra Joker card. You’ll like it since the Joker is the Wild card and can replace all other cards, increasing your payoff for winning hands.

Poker in worldwide

Let’s take a look at Market size of the online gambling & betting industry worldwide from 2018 to 2022, with a forecast for 2023-2028 which was USD 57.014 billion in 2022. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, online gambling increased. It is experiencing higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions in comparison to levels pre-pandemic to the pandemic.

Although there are many different views on poker throughout the world, generally speaking that it is a popular and well-known game that many people enjoy. According to the World Poker Tour (WPT), there are 100 million online poker players worldwide, with 60 million of those players located in the United States alone. It’s also very common in the UK, although specific numbers aren’t available. Despite it not being as widely played in Asia as it is in North America and Europe, Poker is increasingly being seen as more than just a “gambling game” in Asia.

Is Poker Gambling?

Before we can identify that poker is gambling, we have to know what is gambling first.

‘Gambling, the betting or staking of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident or have an unexpected result by reason of the bettor’s miscalculation.’

Glimne, Dan. “gambling”. Encyclopedia Britannica

Or we make it more easy to understand:

‘Gambling is the risk of something costly in a situation where the result is unpredictable.’

From the previous definition, poker sounds like gambling. It is a game with many potential outcomes, and you are putting money (or something of worth) at stake. You might see Pocket Aces all-in preflop playing a cash game on the other side of the poker world. When you stake money on an unknown result, you are putting something valuable at risk. Even with a significant equity advantage on the second-best hand possible, the result is still unpredictable.

When the result uncertain, we have to relied on luck. This makes playing poker risky, but does it really depend on luck to win?

Is Poker a Sport?

Same as the gambling, let’s dig down to the definition of sports first.

‘Sports, physical contests pursued for the goals and challenges they entail. Sports are part of every culture past and present, but each culture has its own definition of sports. The most useful definitions are those that clarify the relationship of sports to play, games, and contests.’

Maguire, Joseph Anthony , Guttmann, Allen , Thompson, William N. and Rowe, David Charles. “sports”. Encyclopedia Britannica

From the definition of Britannica, poker looks like sport as well. But what makes poker as a sport?

  1. Poker requires skill : Every step you make in poker needs a decision. In every poker hand you choose to play, you have to make a decision of these little choices. In fact, choosing to play a hand is one of the most important decisions. When playing poker, it takes skill to determine whether every move you make will result in long-term profit. The majority of individuals struggle to understand this part. Short-term luck can see a winning decision to lose money and a losing decision to profit.
  2. Poker is a game played for entertainment: If you have ever played poker you will know that Your first time going all-in against a player and hitting the miracle river card, is when the enjoyment begins. Many people find that the enjoyment of poker is in figuring out all the different puzzles that are involved. What card that other players have? Should I bluff?
  3. Poker is a competitive: This factor makes Poker can qualifies as a sport. In fact, competition is at the core of poker’s basic definition. The fundamental element of the game is competing poker hands to determine which one is the winner.
  4. Poker requires physical ability: Yes, it needs physical ability and most people wonder about this factor a lot. Let’s separate into 2 types.
    • Offline: Poker players must spend countless hours “grinding” at the table in to make money. Whether it fits into their preferred schedule or not, they must also play at the times when the lower competition is present at the tables. These occasional marathon sessions are exhausting on both a mental and physical level. The truth is if you have healthy body, you tend to play better at that time.
    • Online: The game involves more than just using some fingers to click a button while seated in front of a computer. Playing many tables to increase your hourly win-rate is almost necessary for online poker success. It needs excellent physical dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and a strong mind-body connection, to reduce the mistake that can happen.

From all these factors, it makes poker is unique from all other types of gambling. Poker is a skill-based game, not like the other games you’ll find on a casino floor. We can see that poker doesn’t depend on luck much but it’s about skill.

It leads to the tournament which has both live and online. For online tournament, players must buy a buy-ins ticket to participate the competition first and you will get some chips to play in the game. If you lose, you will lost your enter money. But if you win or stay at the level specified by the tour(Like they said that only 5th runner up), you will earn the price following the levels that you are. The main point is keeping the chips, which is money in poker, as much as possible so you can win the prize. However, live tournament doesn’t require any ticket, you can just walk in and play it with your skill.

For example, The World Series of Poker (WSOP), where the most experienced poker players compete for a prize pool that can top $1 million.

The rise of poker in Thailand

As everyone know that poker is still illegal in Thailand, but why people can still playing and streaming it?

Indeed, poker has been played for a very long time in Thailand, and some people were arrested by it. Surprisingly, the number of players have increased rather than decreased in recent years. We can see a lot of poker streamer or YouTube channel occur these days.

Taenaatak Channel

This video is contain many celebrities such as Harin Suthamjaras(lead vocalist of Tattoo Colour) to play live poker. Also, there’s famous ex-vrzo(the earlier YouTube channel, which had approximately 7 million subscribers and was very well-liked in Thailand) member who turn to professional poker player like THISKK. He is a full time streamer right now and makes income by playing poker and create content on Twitch.

Why are they not being arrested? For online cases, the reason is the website wasn’t located in Thailand and there’s no any agents through the process. so how can Thai police arrest other foreigners that are not in our country? And what about the live case? You must think that ‘They recorded the program in Thailand, they must be arrested!’. it’s because they didn’t use real money and the purpose is to make a new perspective and support poker as a sport, not gambling. However, if someone plays it as a gambling, they tend to be arrested. Moreover, Sita Tiwari, Secretary General of the Thai Sang Thai Party, support the legalization of poker. He believes that it can be a stimulus.

The purpose of Poker is still controversial. It can be both gambling and sports, depending on the way people will think. So what do you think? Is it just a gambling or sports? Or it can be both of them? Don’t forget to share your opinion in the comments!

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