The World Crazed-Out for Poker

What makes Poker a hot appeal? Kenny Rogers made a cool old song about it. Mel Gibson’s Maverick popularized it during the 90’s. And here we are, in the 21st century, going nuts about the sport.

OK, did I just call it sport?

Well, in our current mainstream media, it is.

Fifteen years ago no one would imagine Poker as a sport. And they probably have good reasons. Who would have thought seeing those players on the table as your stereotypical athletes, as they puff their cigarettes and drink their liquors on the side?

Now, I’m watching a poker tournament on TV and I see commentators talking excitedly, audiences on the background are either on the edge of their seats or standing, a ticker tape is flashed on the screen showing all the cards and the big dough at stake. I’m enlivened at what I’m watching to be frank, because here’s a program that has it all: suspense, drama, comedy, and verbal action. And I can’t believe I am. Just imagine: this scene used to be a vice condemned by Congress, now it’s for TV venture – a top rate reality show.

Poker is so in these days that for Daniel Negreanu, winner of the $4 million pot in a 2004 poker tournament, related his new devotion to Jesus Christ for his win.

Far out.

High stakes poker players have developed a line of poker vitamins from listening to an iPOD during a game or the recorded sound of an ocean or a bird chirping, to meditating before a game.

Poker has grown into a billion dollar industry and I’m talking about Poker outside the Las Vegas confines. Today, in addition to televised poker games, we haveĀ online poker, computer poker programs, and dozens of tournaments. Tournaments range from World Poker Tours to Celebrity Poker Showdowns. Most of these tournaments are tied up to charitable organizations, which is a strategic marketing move since they’re putting a good face to the odd and dirty game of gambling.

Everybody seems to want to become masters of Poker. That’s why Poker Magazines have become a hot sell. It’s not entirely the game that’s appealing, it’s the art of bluffing, deceiving and succeeding business that players learn from the game. Magazines and books know this. Some books even related the mathematics of Poker to economics and finance.

So far we’ve covered the ties of Poker and Sport, Poker and Media, Poker and Computers, and Poker and Christianity. Now, it’s Poker and Math.

Now, I’m thinking Poker and Politics wouldn’t be far out, would it?

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