NY Sports Day

The Similarities Between Poker and Baseball Explained

If you were taken aback a bit by the title, then you are not the only one, but it also piqued your interest as you wanted to know more regarding what similarities we are talking about here. Rest assured though, it’s not one of those clickbait titles that have become so common these days on the internet. There really are some factual similarities between baseball and poker, whether most of us know about them or not. Admittedly, some of these similarities may not seem likely at first, but after we are done discussing them, you might be inclined to agree as well.

They Are Both High-Value Games

It is estimated that some of the richest professional poker players in the world have a huge net worth attributed to them, which are similar to the amounts attributed to the richest baseball players in the world as well.

For example, Erik Seidel is the most admired and possibly the richest poker player in the world right now, with a net worth exceeding $40 million. On the other hand, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is estimated to have a net worth of roughly $45 million, and he is the richest baseball player on the planet.

It’s true that baseball players may on an average earn a bit more due to the somewhat reliable nature of their salaries, but there is little doubt about the fact that both poker and baseball are high-value games where the respective players can easily earn millions every year.

If you never had what it takes to be a professional baseball player, or if it is already too late for that, there’s still time to take up poker though. Learn how to play a popular form of poker like Texas Hold’em, get to know a few strategies, understand how the ranking chart works, and get some experience under your belt before taking on local and online tournaments. Even if it doesn’t turn you into a millionaire right away, playing poker intelligently could become a solid source of extra income on the side.

The Mental Fortitude Necessary is Common in Both Games

The term Poker Face refers to a nonchalant and expressionless face which poker players are able to pull off even when tensions are running high. A good poker face is often what determines both the mental fortitude of the player, as well as his/her chances of winning big in the game. It may seem easy, but only to those who have never played a hand at a real poker table.

If the opponent is able to read whether you are excited, angry or sad after looking at your hand, they have already won half the game, and it is no easy task to keep your frustrations from showing up on your face or in your body language when you know you are holding a 2-7 offsuit!

Similarly, to finally hold a Straight Flush or a Royal Flush and not letting that smile of satisfaction creep up on you is extremely tough in tense situations where thousands, if not millions of dollars are at stake! It takes mental fortitude and alertness in poker, not unlike what is required in baseball as well.

What sets a great pitcher like Cy Young or a superb hitter like Babe Ruth apart from hundreds of other good pitchers and hitters in their respective timelines is mental fortitude, which comes down to being able to perform in the same manner over long periods of time, without breaking under the crushing pressure of fans, owners and the team itself. To be able to consistently pitch or hit well for the entirety of a game and the season is beyond most players, even professional ones. Baseball is often associated so much with physicality these days that people forget it’s the mental fortitude that counts when it comes to consistent success, just like in poker.

They Are Both a Long-Term Numbers Game

At a professional level, the actual difference setting two teams apart in a baseball match, or the players at a poker table are minimal in most situations, and therefore, it is the consistency once again that matters and the numbers also come into play.

In baseball, any given team can beat another on a good day, but after the end of a season that consists of 162 games, you will always find that teams who have the most consistent pitchers with the highest strike rates and the most aggressive hitters with a significantly high extra base hits, are on top of the table.

In poker, luck does play a big role sometimes, and even a poor player might end up winning a million dollars at times, but it has been found that after a certain period of time, they always lose a lot more than they win. While on the other hand, good players will eventually win a lot more than they lose, even if they lose out on a few hands or entire tournaments. The numbers always catch up in both baseball and poker, which is why they are once again similar.

The Differences

Of course, there are a lot of dissimilarities between the two games as well, like for starters, poker doesn’t require you to be at the peak of your physical fitness, while even a slight lapse in form or fitness can end a career in baseball as fast as it started.

Anyone at any age can start playing poker and earn at least a bit of money from it, even if they are just decent at best, but unless you are really, really good, the competition is too tough to make it into professional baseball, and even then, due to the tremendous physical and mental demands of the sport, baseball careers do not always last very long.

Nevertheless, it would probably not be a stretch to guess that since you are reading this, you are a fan of both the games and what we just discussed might just answer why that is indeed so!


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