Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: Comparing Perceptions and Excitement Levels of Baseball and Poker

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Comparing Perceptions and Excitement Levels of Baseball and Poker

By Daniel Smith

The games of baseball and poker are both games that have roots in American culture.  Many of use have played the game at one time or another or watched the game on television.  Both of these games are very similar in how they are perceived and even their relative excitement levels.  Today we take a quick look at both games and compare these areas.

Someone that watches the game of baseball for the first time might be convinced that there isn't much going on.  For long stretches of the game, the pitcher throws the ball and the batter either strikes out, grounds out, or hits a fly ball out to result in each side going down in order.  While true fans of the game love pitching duels, casual fans can quickly become bored.

However, that all can change within an instant as a player gets on base as a result of a base hit and a power hitter comes to bat.  The coach decides to gamble and pitches to him.  On a 1-1 pitch, the crack of the bat is hit and the pitcher watches as the ball flies about 435 ft into the left field bleachers for a home run.  Fans are now cheering and screaming and there is a ton of excitement as the runners circle the bases to give their team the lead.

In a lot of ways, poker is much like the game of baseball. When a casual fan watches a typical poker game, they usually see numerous hands folded without any actions to speak about.  Someone raises and everyone folds is a common theme in many poker games.  Real poker fans appreciate this part of the game, but this can be boring to normal fans.  That is why pre-edited poker shows are much more highly rated than non-edited shows.

Like in baseball, the excitement level can change in a minute.  There is a raise, followed by a call and multiple players see a flop.  A check is followed by a bet, and then a raise.  Fans start to pay attention to see what the original raiser does, and that player moves all-in.  He receives a call and now fans are on their feet and once the cards are revealed, fans either cheer for their player's hand to hold up or they start screaming for the needed card.  Once the hand is played out, the fans of the winning player explode in celebration as the loser heads over to be consoled by friends after suffering a colossal defeat.

As you can see, both baseball and poker are very similar in how the games are perceived and their relative excitement levels.  They are both games that are deceptively boring but can explode into high drama action at any moment.  That could by why many baseball players have picked up the game recreationally and some even enjoy it as a career after their days of playing are through.

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