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Hi… my name is Lee… and I'm addicted to game shows.

It all started when I was young, I guess… I would climb the stairs of my house and wait for Rod Roddy (God rest his soul) to scream "Come on Down!" Like the contestant that never was, I would sprint down the stairs and sit in my own contestants row… my living room couch.

written by Lee DiGeorge

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Episode 6 - "Deal Me In" (July 18)

Welcome again, game show fans, as we discuss America's newest vice… Poker.

When posed with the question "Is poker a sport," the e-mails poured in with a resounding "NO!" I did not receive a single e-mail saying that poker would qualify as a sport… especially loyal reader Bill, who quipped: "If you consider this a sport, what's next? People playing solitaire on their home computers on ESPN2?"

Well… being told consistently than NONE of the "games" I play on a regular basis are sports… gets me a little upset. I mean, I am a bowler, a dart player and a poker player… granted, I do not have the physique of a bodybuilder… but until anyone beats me in any of these games, don't you dare not call them a sport.

So, this leads me to my column this week, in which I will throw some interesting ideas to you on why poker is a sport.

The American Heritage Dictionary has two different definitions for the word "sport":

1) An active pastime; diversion; recreation
2) A specific diversion, usually involving physical exercise and having a set form and body of rules; a game.

So, knowing this, I have one foot in the grave already… Poker does not involve any physical skill… or does it?

Being a tournament going poker player, there is a certain physical skill that manifests itself: stamina. Tournament poker goes on for hours a day (normally between 12-15) and days at a time. You need to be sharp mentally throughout every hand, otherwise, curtains may be heading your way. Granted, you aren't running, jumping, swinging, or fighting. Instead, the combatants are locked into a proverbial game of chicken.

Picture this… Aaron Boone is stepping up to the plate in Game 7 of the ALCS. Tim Wakefield steps onto the mound and begins to contemplate what pitch to throw at you. Guess right, your team could win… Guess wrong, it could mean imminent doom. Sound like a sport to you?

Picture this again… you get dealt pocket kings and make a sizeable raise pre-flop (if I'm speaking a different language, go read the Celebrity Poker Showdown or World Poker Tour summaries!) and I take a long, hard look at you and push $25,000 worth of chips into the pot. Guess right, you're going home the winner… Guess wrong? You're taking a long trip home… poorer than you came.

In baseball… no one is risking their own money to play. Everyone gets paid, win or lose… That's not a sport. Pride isn't even on the line. Baseball and basketball players joke around with the opposition on the field or court. At the World Series of Poker? No… unless it's a technique to get the other players rattled.

In baseball, coaches watch tape after tape looking to see if a pitcher "tips off" his pitches by a movement. In the world of poker, people have "tells" which give their opponents incredible information about their hand.

Still don't think poker is a sport? C'mon over. I'll be happy to take your money.

For next week, please answer this brain-buster of a question:

Please e-mail me with your thoughts. Until next time, peace out, cub scouts!

Starting this week, Lee will be all over the World Series of Poker... in hopes of beating Chris Moneymaker at his own game. E-mail him with game strategies at

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