Impacts of the arrival of Magnus Carlsen to poker in the world of chess

poker in the world

Although he has stated that he will not give up chess entirely and is even guaranteed his participation in Norway Chess 2023, Carlsen’s announcement that he would not defend his world champion title this year caused a great shock in the chess world, which undoubtedly admires him very much and wants to see him play.

At this moment, in which Carlsen seems to feel more competitive at the poker tables, chess experts are wondering who will be able to conquer this multi-world champion vacancy left by the Norwegian, who held it for 10 years, between 2013 and 2023. Any idea who will be able to fill it?

After the last Chess World Cup, some names of at least two players have already emerged who seem quite interested in assuming the position. The main names appearing at the moment are Chinese Ding Liren, who was crowned World Cup champion in Astana in April, and Russian Yan Nepómniashchi, who finished second in this same World Cup.

Background of chess players and poker

players and poker

Carlsen’s case has received a lot of press; however, the relationship between chess players and poker is not something so recent. In fact, we reviewed that there are several precedents in the industry:

  • Alexander Grischuk (9th position in the world chess ranking).
  • Hikaru Nakamura (11th position in the world chess ranking).
  • Jennifer Shahade (twice crowned at the United States Women’s Championship).
  • Almira Skripchenko (awarded International Master and Women’s Grand Master).

Chess and poker: What is their relationship?

“Chess and poker are very similar”, declared Magnus Carlsen in the last Main Event of the European Poker Tour in Monte Carlo, and added to the long list of professionals who see the same logic in both disciplines. Our team of experts compared the similarities of these two disciplines and identified the following points of contact:

The importance of making decisions to anticipate others

In both disciplines, players must have a solid reading of the game to assess their resources (cards or pieces), anticipate the other player’s actions (bet or move), and articulate their play combination.

The strategy inherent in the game

strategy inherent

Beyond the fact that there are different types of poker or chess players, the main resource of both games is strategy. A planning that can solve a play at the moment and, at the same time, is part of a long-term result.

Analyze patterns

In both disciplines, the mechanics of success are based on identifying a game pattern, analyzing the dynamics and executing an action. These three instances are common to both poker and chess, since from a play to the rival’s sharing, they provide information.

A mind game

In these games, the mental abilities of the players are put to the test. The true physical effort is in the logic of each one, through concentration, calculation capacity, the decisions that are made and adaptability.

As we can see, there are many similarities between chess and poker. However, it is important to note that they are different games. Poker concentrates a distinctive quality: chance. This represents a difficulty in reasoning, but also a challenge, and is perhaps the reason why it attracts so many virtuoso players.

The risky move of Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is the clear example of what it means to get out of the comfort zone. His apparent distance from the competitive chess circuit (where he is one of the biggest winners in history) and his arrival in poker is a risky, but motivating move.


The Carlsen-Poker pairing is great news for the world of mental sports, as it tells us about the value of this card game that has managed to captivate a brilliant mind such as number 1 in the FIDE ranking. Don’t miss out on this and other stories about the interesting world of poker, in our related articles section.

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