The debate whether poker should be considered a sport is an old one with two sides of the argument stubbornly sticking to their guns. However, the latest breakthrough will certainly sway the argument towards those who see poker as sport. Namely, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) has accepted Match Poker into the Olympic family, granting it the Observer status.
What is Match Poker?
Poker is played in a number of variations with different rules determining hand strength, betting patterns, etc. However, for the most part it is played against other players using the hand you were dealt. The luck factor is most strongly pronounced in this aspect of the game, as you have no control over two starting hands you receive.
Creators of Match Poker recognized this problem and created a variation where the starting hand distribution would no longer be an issue. The game is played similarly to bridge, with different players seated at the same positions at different tables receive exactly the same starting hands.
This way, no one can complain about having bad luck. Seat One at Table One and Seat One at Table Nine will receive the same starting hands during the competition, and the one who plays them the best will win most and/or lose least chips.
Gambling no more
One important upside of Match Poker is that it removes any and all “gambling” arguments. Since the luck of the draw is no longer an issue, no one can complain about unlucky dealers, missing flops, etc. It is down to player and player alone to use his knowledge and wits to make the best results.
In Match Poker, you’re not competing against other players at your table. You’re just playing against them, while the real competition is against other players at other tables playing with the same cards.
Hence, this particular variation has been deemed fit to be accepted into the Olympic family of sports and it is also the game that can be played by players of all ages. Match Poker is about the game, not about gambling.
Huge step for poker
Upon this announcement, the International Federation of Poker (IFP) changed its name to the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) to clearly set itself as the governing body of this newly introduced discipline.
The battle to get this kind of recognition for poker has been a long one. Finally, with Match Poker and the governing organization behind it, it received a wider acceptance that could mean a huge boost for the game.
While there is still work to be done, granting the Observer Status establishes necessary foundations for national federations of Match Poker to be established around the globe, and the people from the IFMP believe that this is just the beginning of something much bigger.
The first professional league will debut in India next month, and we’re certain to see more Match Poker leagues in the near future.