In a recent Baltimore Sun column announcing that poker will take a regular spot on its sports pages, Bill Ordine writes that "the debate as to whether poker belongs on the sports pages mostly has been resolved."
Not so fast. Although it's true that ESPN has aired poker tournaments and some newspapers do run poker columns, to say that poker is a sport is still highly debatable. (My students over the past few years have overwhelmingly given poker-as-sports status the thumbs down.)
There are plenty of leisure activities that have, over the decades, ultimately failed the "is it a sport?" test in the U.S. Think Roller Derby and the XFL. Really, it's still too early to say the debate is over, and it'll be interesting to see how long poker will last as a sports section staple.