Poker as art?

I come from a very geeky family that plays a lot of game. I love games. My boyfriend loves games. My sister games all the time, and so does her boyfriend. Whenever our whole family gets together, things often turn to games. At the last party we had, we played a kind of memory game that had all geeky questions about games.

Games are such a huge part of all our lives. My sister, who is two years younger than me, plays World of Warcraft. I've played a little but the game is very time-intensive. With everything else I'm doing right now I just don't have the time for it.

For example, recently I was invited to participate on a talk show in Belgium with some famous Belgian art-lovers. The topic we debated was, "Are games art?" This topic was chosen because the Museum of Modern Art in New York City announced that it will open an exhibition dedicated to video games in early 2013. Games represented include Tetris and Pac-Man.

Of course I think games are art. There are a lot of schools, art schools, that people come from before going into the gaming industry. Besides that there are many creative people behind every game that is produced, and some of the decisions that are made are high-level artistic decisions For example, with the making of the video game character Mario (of Mario Brothers fame), they made a lot of color studies and environment studies before finalizing the character's look. My answer is yes, that's art.

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I have to say, there were very few opponents on the other side of the question. A well-known professor of art in Belgium also said games are art. I was very happy because normally, games are portrayed in the media by their violence and the violent behavior of people who play it. When students at a school are shot by a murderer, the media focuses on violence in video games. The fact that these games are art gets lost.

Poker isn't art though. Not really. It can't be. Maybe the themes of online tables are art, but the game doesn't lend itself to art.

Still, just because poker isn't art doesn't mean it's not a great game. I haven't been playing a lot of poker the last month, because of school, but most of my breaks from studying are spent playing poker. When I take a break from studying I don't want to play a game like WOW because I know it's just a short break. I'll have to start studying again soon. Poker is perfect for such a short break. Plus it's a little time for myself, time to unwind from all of the other things I'm doing right now.

That is the best thing that every game has to offer, whether it's art or not.

Charlotte Van Brabander is a member of Team PokerStars Pro