In a landmark announcement for poker around the world, the International Mind sport Association officially recognized Poker as a mind sport, a game of skill, on a par with chess and bridge.
Speaking from Dubai,where the decision has been taken at the annual congress of the International Mind Sports Association, International Federation of Poker president Anthony Holden welcomed “a major milestone in our campaign to have poker accepted throughout the world as a game of strategic skill.
It comes exactly a year to the day that the International Federation of Poker was founded in Lausanne, Switzerland on 29 April 2009 with the primary objective of having poker officially accepted as a ‘Mind Sport’.
“Over time, this should help to free poker from much governmental interference and other such unnecessary restrictions all over the globe,” said Holden. “Equally exciting, poker will now form part of IMSA’s World Mind Sports Games, due to be held in the UK in 2012 alongside the London Olympics."
The announcement came after a busy year spent working towards membership of IMSA. A presentation to delegates yesterday at the IMSA general meeting in Dubai. After firther deliberations behind closed doors IMSA President Jose Damiani emerged to announce the acceptance of IFP as a member.
As well as poker, IMSA is also formed by federations of chess, bridge, draughts and Go who are also members of SportAccord, the global organization with some 150 member Sports Federations.
Anthony HoldenAnthony Holden
The meetings in Dubai attended by IFP delegates were part of the SportAccord Congress and International Convention. The next step fo the IFP is to secure membership of SportAccord to maintain its IMSA status.
Holden will be attending the SportAccord Congress on Thursday as an observer where they will lodge a formal application for membership, something the IFP hopes to secure at SportAccord’s next annual meeting in London in 2011.
Speaking in Dubai, Holden said:
“Now it has secured IMSA membership, poker is officially designated a mind sport and IFP is eligible to become a member of SportAccord,” said Holden. “This will involve satisfying all the requirements to obtain formal membership at their 2011 Congress in London."
“Above all, we need to have a minimum of 40 member federations from at least three continents. We have already achieved more than 50 per cent of that target and, boosted by today’s decision, we anticipate little difficulty in meeting this and the other requirements over the coming 12 months."
“I know the whole poker world will now come behind our efforts, not least because it means that poker will be played in the World Mind Sports Games due to take place in the UK alongside the 2012 London Olympics.”
Doyle Brunson, poker’s elder statesman, and a member of IFP’s Advisory Board, warmly welcomed the news.
“The IFP deserves our thanks and congratulations," said Brunson. "I believe that history will show this was a key moment for poker. All over the world the game has been faced with governmental controls and other obstacles. Yet it is obvious it calls for qualities and skills that go far beyond a capacity just to take a chance.”
IMSA President Jose Damiani said:
“I am delighted to welcome the International Federation of Poker into membership of IMSA," said Damiani. "Poker’s participation alongside bridge, chess and other mind sports in the annual IMSA events will demonstrate to the world that poker is indeed a mind-sport of strategic skill.”
Next year IFP will be launching poker’s first annual world championships, both team and individual, as well as participation in regular IMSA events.