Poker Vs Chess – Which is harder to master?

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 Around the world, chess and poker are incredibly popular games to play. As technology has developed, these games have also become popular online, making them more accessible for people across the world to learn and play. When comparing poker to chess, both games are similar in terms of the strategy required and knowledge of the rule, but there’s something that makes them even more similar. Both chess and poker are classified by IMSA as ‘mind sports’. 

However, the tricky question is evidencing which mind sport is harder to master. Let’s explore some of the reasoning below.

The Reputation of chess

 Chess is an incredibly popular game that people usually learn to play as a child. In recent months, it’s popularity has been streamed online in the popular Netflix series ‘ The Queens’ Gambit’. After the series debut, statistics show there was an 87% increase in sales of chess sets in the US and a 603% increase in sales of books on chess. 

This series is important here as it reflects how society thinks of chess on a whole. Chess players are thought of as talented and highly intelligent people who are respected by society. From a young age, children are taught to play and even compete in school and state junior tournaments. Chess benefits include disciplining the mind as players require strong memory skills and the ability to foresee and solve problems. As such, chess players are highly respected. 

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The reputation of poker

Similarly to chess, poker is also thought of as a game of skill, however it doesn’t seem to get the reputation it perhaps deserves. While it could be argued that poker players are required to have just as much intellect, the nature of poker as a gambling game makes it less respected by many.

In many cultures, gambling is considered as taboo or even illegal, meaning that the game is not tolerated or respected. In addition, the deceptive nature of the game can also be considered as a negative quality.

Despite this, as the popularity of poker has grown with the power of the internet, more people than ever are beginning to play. As it is officially recognised as a sport, many people have also made very successful careers out of playing professional poker. 

Which game is more complex?

The term complex is very far reaching in this sense and is best approached by looking at which game has more variables and outcomes. One of the key differences is that poker is a game where not all components can be seen. When players are bluffing, there’s no way to tell to what degree they are bluffing until you see their cards. 

Differentially, with chess you are able to see all of the pieces and are able to calculate your opponents next move. They cannot bluff and the pieces are laid out in the front of either player and each move is transparent. This means that poker can have more outcomes and it’s harder to predict what these could be.

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However, when it comes to variants, chess easily wins. A one hour game of chess is far more analytical than a game of poker online and requires much more mental skill in terms of rapidly calculating what moves your opponent could make before trying to counteract them. 

Playing as a sport

 When it comes to chess, the game is played as a competitive mind sport with contests taking place all around the world. There is prize money involved in the game though. In the 2020 World Championships, the 1st prize was 110,000 dollars which is an impressive amount that could provide a chess player with a salary in between contests. That being said, chess isn’t thought of as a game to make bets and win money. 

On the other hand, the winner of the 2019 World Series of Poker tournament won a grand prize of 1,000,000 dollars. While poker players win millions, chess players only win thousands. Could this be due to the popularity and prize pool or is the reward greater because of the amount of skill it takes and the rarity of it?

Overall, both chess and poker are both highly respected games in the field of mind sports. Both games are very strategic and require a lot of mental capacity. As for which one is harder to master, it comes down to a variety of factors as chess is learnt as a child, whereas poker is considered as an adult game and players don’t have as long to master the skill.

While it’s difficult to say that one is harder than the other to master, one thing’s for sure. Thanks to technology and popular culture continuing to innovate such as the Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 gameplay experience which can be played on consoles online. Both poker and chess will become a force to be reckoned with if the industry’s development continues to thrive. 

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