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Parallels Between Poker and Esports: A Deep Dive

1,612 Views on 13/6/24

Poker and Esports

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Poker and esports may seem a world apart on the outside, but a little examination reveals tons of similarities.

These industries have seen exponential growth thanks to the internet, for instance, but they also have a lot of other similarities in terms of how strategy is used, and the fact that some people watch these games as well as playing them.

Both Involve Gambling

Let’s start with an obvious one! Poker is a gambling game where people can stake based on the strength of their hands and with the rules of the game in mind. Esports can be played without gambling, and people don’t always wager on the results of course.

Recent years have seen a growing esports gambling scene, though. Similar to other sports and games, people can bet on what the outcome might be and things like the score of the games, and individual markets. Counter-Strike is a huge global franchise in gaming and CS2 betting markets go to show the huge interest a lot of people have.

Counter-Strike actually launched in the '90s, so it has had a similar trajectory to online poker which also got its first players then (though poker itself is much older). CS2 is the latest installment in this franchise and hundreds of thousands of people tune in to watch. In fact, millions of people play the game and there can be over one million online at the same time.

The Internet Changed Everything

Gaming, including console gaming and card games like poker, got a turbo boost when the internet made them playable online. Online platforms have revolutionized the way the game is played.

We had a poker boom when the game first went online, and the rise of online poker sites has made the game accessible to millions of players worldwide. Poker fans can now play from the comfort of their homes, at any time, and against opponents from different parts of the globe. Mobile accessibility has significantly broadened the player base and fueled the popularity of poker and new tech like crypto is even making more changes to the way it is played today.

Esports owes much of its explosive growth to the internet – well, it wouldn’t exist if we didn’t have superfast connections. Competitive gaming existed before the digital age. Space Invaders even had a national tournament. Nobody is denying that it was the ability to play online that turned esports into a global industry.

With superfast broadband, gamers can now compete against each other regardless of country and language, creating a diverse and huge competitive scene. Online streaming platforms have further fueled this growth, enabling fans to watch live tournaments and matches.

Blending Strategy and Fortune

You might say both of these games are a blend of luck and strategy, and both poker and esports are strategic, demanding a high level of skill, concentration, and tactical thinking.

Poker is not just a game of luck and it requires an understanding of probability, psychology, and game theory. Players learn how to read opponents, manage their bankroll, and make the best decisions they can based on all their information as well as their own strategy.

Esports, too, is built on a foundation of strategy. In a multiplayer online battle arena, each game demands a unique set of skills and strategic approaches. Players try to master game mechanics and understand strategy to outdo their opponents just like in a basketball game or any other sport. Players’ need for quick thinking and tactical planning in real-time is not dissimilar to the strategic nature of poker.

Huge Communities

Communities provide spaces where players can share strategies and chat about the world of the games they enjoy – this can be poker or esports. Forums have created loads of knowledge and a supportive environment for players of all levels, even if the world of esports is changing. Poker’s rules and the way the game is played stay pretty much the same (with some innovations now and then).

In esports, community engagement involves social media and streaming platforms that enable fans and players to discuss their passion for the games they play, which are very varied – no two esports games are exactly the same, of course.


You can see how these different areas are actually quite closely linked, and as technology continues to evolve, the worlds of poker and esports will undoubtedly keep going down a similar path. This could mean offering new and exciting experiences for players and fans.

There’s some overlap in people who like poker and people who like esports. Some esports pros are even known to play the game, and it is little surprise as both offer some similar experiences for enthusiasts and can even share some aspects of the skillset. Are the games different? Of course, but not without some shared factors.


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