Over the decades, poker has become one of the most popular card games in the world. As this game has grown, the general perspective of it has changed. From once being considered just another form of gambling, it is now defined as a sport both in the traditional definition and as part of the Mind Sports Olympiad. The improved perception of this game has allowed for many players to turn playing poker into a career.
Poker, no different than any other sport, requires training, practice, the proper mindset, good mental health and analytical skills for decision-making. Becoming a world-class player and competing on the biggest stage, the World Series of Poker (WSOP), is a goal for many aspiring poker athletes. The prizes for the WSOP events regularly reach into the millions with the winners being awarded the biggest portion of the prize pool and a coveted gold bracelet.
Gambling with Poker
With poker being accepted into general culture as a sport, many countries chose to legalize, regulate and tax the games. However, there are still many countries that, unfortunately, consider poker, whether you play live poker games or online poker games, a luck-based form of gaming, despite all evidence to the contrary. While many sports are affected by some form of luck – such as getting a good bounce in any sport with a ball – the anti-gambling countries still view poker, because it is associated with gambling, as a game that is based purely on luck. As such they treat poker as an illegal activity. The fact is that while learning to play poker does not take much time, to become good, poker is a card game that requires practice to develop the skills necessary to compete. Regardless of the opinions of the anti-poker countries, poker is all about Mathematics, which is why there are so many theories and courses offered at many locations on the subject.
Poker Industry in Thailand
One of the many countries that does not recognize poker as a sport is Thailand. Although there are no specific local laws that prohibit the playing of poker, gambling is illegal as is having more than 120 cards – as per the Playing Card Act passed in 1943. So while not specifically illegal, there are enough restrictions to make playing poker online or live, illegal. And in almost all cases where people are caught playing poker, especially offline poker, people are prosecuted. Even with all of these restrictions, there are still some underground (illegal) poker rooms in Thailand, but the cost of being found in one can be a fine or even one year in jail. It is because of these penalties that most poker players in Thailand play online poker instead of offline poker.
Even with the restrictions on playing poker, Thailand has become a popular location for foreigners to move to and play online poker without being blocked. Regardless of the legalities, the cost of living in Thailand is so incredibly low, when compared to European countries or the Americas, that these players have determined it is worth the risk. This is part of the reason you will see so many players with the Thai flag beside their avatar on GGPoker and on some other online poker sites.
Playing Poker in Thailand
Previously, playing poker in Thailand was quite difficult due to the legal status of the game, making the risk of playing live poker extremely high. However, over the past few years, online poker applications have become more readily available which has made poker more accessible to the entire population. From this, the popularity of poker in Thailand has steadily increased, as has the availability of poker games. Another addition that has come from the resurgence of poker is the growth of poker clubs which gather to study the game at a more serious level.
Presently, poker is growing exponentially in Thailand. Poker is viewed as an investment game, like investing in the stock market or real estate, by the players in Thailand. As a benefit to poker, unlike market investments, you do not need a large capital investment to begin which is one of the reasons it is experiencing a growth surge.
Being a successful poker player takes education, money management skills, a good mental outlook, proper physical condition, practice, analysis and review to be able to play and have positive long-term outcomes. The widespread growth of poker clubs and study groups dedicated to teaching people has likewise increased in Thailand. Poker has the additional charm of allowing you to play with your mind. Although the game is significantly different, poker is quite like chess. The game, although simple to learn, is much more complicated and elegant than it appears and there is no fixed method that will guarantee you win all of the time.
The Future of Poker in Thailand
Sadly, poker is still viewed as gambling in Thailand; however, the Thai people have started to change their opinions. The movement is also partially backed by some famous Thai’s and other successful poker players, including a few influential people in the media. And while this push to the future has taken a few steps in the right direction, it is not there yet. The hope is that one day poker will be viewed as a sport in Thailand, but until the laws are changed, those of us here will do our best to stay safe while we play online.