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16/11/2011 No.34
he Good Gambler
The Editor, Richard Whitehouse makes regular contributions to coverage of the gambling world.
International Federation of Poker

IFP's inaugural World Championship in London 2011

Back in April of 2009 the International Federation of Poker (IFP) was formed in Lausanne, Switzerland. Its President is Anthony Holden the well known author of the poker world's top selling and best written poker memoir, Big Deal.

Originally it had 7 members but now has more than 40 federations signed up to its code and its purpose of promoting coherent governing poker rules that show poker to be a mind sport and game of skill. Beyond its role in organizing major international tournaments, the IFP intends to compile international rankings with separate national classifications and present players from around the world with the chance to "Outskill the World," and compete at The Table in 2012.
The IFP now has a commercial agency partner, Mind Sports Partners, which is a joint venture between British entrepreneur Patrick Nally and Dentsu, the world’s biggest advertising agency. They have secured finance to sponsor the IFP's inaugural World Championship which they are calling 'The Table', an event taking place on the 19th and 20th November 2011 at County Hall, London. This tournament is invite only for 130 of the world's finest players including poker playing celebrities and they will be playing for a first prize of $200,000 out of a total fund of $500,000.

The Table is a deep-stack Texas Hold’em competition designed to accentuate the skill of players and unlike contemporary casino-based Poker tournaments, The Table requires players to compete for points and a share of the prize fund and not accumulated winnings. Although invitation only, subsequent editions of The Table will be open to all-comers with rounds leading up to the final being played by registered players online. Registration will be open to all, providing amateur players of differing levels of experience and ability to compete with the pros for the world title.

This years Table is the final event of the larger UK Mind Sports Festival, held under the auspices of the UK Mind Sports Federation, starting on 17th November with demonstration games in a number of the world’s leading mind sports. They will take place in capsules on the EDF Energy London Eye, complementing the IFP Nations cup of Duplicate Poker. The games, which will be played by renowned international class players, including Grand Masters, are Chess, Bridge, Go and Xiangqi (Chinese Chess).

The showcase event of the Festival is the IFP Nations cup of Duplicate Poker. Twelve teams compete including eleven nations, USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Brazil, France, The Netherlands, Brazil, Japan, Ireland and Denmark. Also competing are a team from Zynga, the social network games developer, which became the world’s first ‘digital sports nation’ when it recently became the 38th member of the International Federation of Poker. Zynga's membership aims to challenge conventional thinking on exactly what constitutes a sports federation in the digital age.

Teams consist of some of the world’s leading players who are competing not for money but the Championship Trophy, medals and national pride. The competition sets the tone for an IFP campaign to shake-off the sport’s association with casino gambling and promote its recognition as a pure mind sport demanding the intellectual fitness, dexterity and discipline associated with physical as well as mind sports.

In duplicate poker each table is dealt an identically shuffled pack of cards which means that each player holds the same hand as those in the equivalent seat on other tables. The contest is not simply between players at each table but between those occupying the same number seat on every other table. The winner is determined by players’ performance against their opposite numbers.

IFP President Anthony Holden said: “The Nations Cup is a genuine celebration of all that is best in intellectual sports. Some of the world’s best players playing for pride and the honour of representing their countries in an intense competition with the added spice of international rivalry. “Poker is played by millions around the world and Duplicate Poker is the game in its purest form," said Holden. "Players compete against each other based on skill, without any fluctuation in chance. I believe that it’s the best way to highlight poker as a game of strategic skill and as a Mind Sport.”

After the Nations Cup is completed many of the players will take their seat in The Table playing alongside top players and two wild-card celebrity picks of the IFP president. Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne and six-time snooker world champion Steve Davis will both compete. Warne, a dedicated poker player, once said he’d rather make the Final Table at the World Series of Poker Main Event than play another Ashes Test. Steve Davis is a regular televised poker tournament player and has made the final table of the 2003 Poker Million and has competed successfully in many World Series of Poker Events.

Click here for the 2011 World Championship Results.
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