Poker Gets Official

Poker Gets Official

By Alex J. Coyne © Great Bridge Links

Have you ever thought that poker should become an Olympic sport? You are not alone. In February 2014, poker champion Daniel Negreanu put forth his idea for Olympic poker on the FullContactPoker forums. Alex J. Coyne and Great Bridge Links took a look at just how well poker is being represented internationally and where it stands now as an official sport.

Photo: The Table, International Federation of Poker website

Poker as an Olympic sport

Negreanu’s proposed idea for poker as an Olympic sport includes six countries – each represented by a player; preliminary stages start with 100k in chips; then there are two heats per day for three day stretches. Winnings from these are put together for the final game, resulting in quite possibly one of the most epic poker games the world has ever seen. What do you think? (You can read the original post on FullContactPoker here.)

Poker goes official

Poker was officially recognized as a mind sport by the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) in 2010 at their Dubai conference. This means poker joins the ranks alongside games like bridge (yup!), chess, draughts and go. It almost goes without saying that this was a huge landmark for the game, and means that – among other things – it gets to compete as part of the World Mind Sports Games.

Where poker is not official, some players are hoping that the decision by the IMSA will sway their government’s opinion to reconsider the laws and regulations around it. One example is Russia, where poker was officially recognized as a sport in 2007, though poker was banned (and removed from the national sports roster, which is apparently a thing) in 2009.

The good thing is that more countries seem to be giving poker the recognition it deserves: In 2010, Lithuania’s Department of Physical Education and Sports officially recognized poker as a sport. Similarly, the Brazilian Ministry of Sport declared poker an official sport as of 2012. Soon, we might even see poker recognized by SportAccord, the union for international sports federations.

The International Federation of Poker

The International Federation of Poker (IFP) was founded in 2009 and has its headquarters based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Its aim is to have the various poker federations of the world organized (and represented) in one place. Currently, its membership includes more than fifty – not bad considering it originally started with seven member nations less than a decade ago.

They even represent poker on the literary front with its own publishing imprint: IFP Books. The first book to be published under this imprint is The Rules of Poker, called ‘the only definitive rule book for poker’ – order it here.

Visit the official website for the International Federation of Poker to find out more about what they do and how you can get involved.

What do you think of Negreanu’s outline of poker games? Has poker been officially recognized as a sport where you are, and if not, do you think it should?