Is Playing Card Games a Sport?

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By Monica Bates

Card games have been a popular pastime for centuries, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether playing card games can be considered a sport. In this article, we’ll explore the different arguments for and against this idea.

What is a sport?

Before we can determine whether playing card games qualify as a sport, we need to define what a sport is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” This definition suggests that physical activity is a key component of sports.

Physical Activity in Card Games

At first glance, it may seem that playing card games doesn’t require much physical exertion. After all, you’re simply sitting at a table and shuffling cards. However, some argue that there is more to it than meets the eye.

For example, many card games require players to maintain intense focus and concentration for extended periods. This mental strain can be physically exhausting and even lead to sweating and increased heart rate. Additionally, some card games involve quick movements such as dealing cards or slapping down cards on the table.

Skill in Card Games

While physical activity may not be the primary focus of card games, skill certainly is. Players must possess an intricate understanding of the rules of the game as well as strategic thinking skills to outsmart their opponents.

For example, in games like Poker or Bridge, players must use math skills to calculate odds and determine their next move. In other games like Spades or Hearts, players must use social skills to read their opponents’ body language and predict their next move.

Arguments Against Card Games as Sports

Despite these arguments in favor of considering card games as sports, many still disagree with this idea. One of the primary arguments against card games as sports is that they don’t require the same level of physical exertion as other sports like basketball or football.

Additionally, some argue that card games lack the same level of spectator appeal as traditional sports. While many people enjoy playing card games themselves, watching others play may not be as thrilling.


In conclusion, the question of whether playing card games can be considered a sport is a complex one. While they may not involve the same level of physical activity as traditional sports, they certainly require skill and mental acuity.

Ultimately, whether or not you consider card games a sport may come down to personal interpretation. Regardless of your stance on the issue, there’s no denying that card games can provide hours of entertainment and enjoyment for players and spectators alike.