International Federation of Poker Introduces New Book, “The Rules Of Poker”



In its short existence, the International Federation of Poker has arguably done more for the game of poker than any other organization in the same time frame. Founded in 2009, the IFP has been able to unite over 40 different national poker organizations under one umbrella, bringing a level of respectability to making poker more of a “sport” than just as a game. The IFP has promoted poker as a skill sport, getting the game officially recognized by the Mind Sports Organization and included in its Mind Sports Olympiad, and has promoted the game through its own tournaments, including last year’s “The Table” and its intriguing Match Poker variation.

Recently, the IFP has entered into the world of poker literature, publishing a tome that many in the poker world have long called for.

“The Rules of Poker” is the first-ever venture by the IFP into the world of books and it is a necessary manuscript for all poker players to have at hand. Compiled by David Flusfeder, the chairman of the Rules Committee for the IFP, it admits that it has had a great deal of help when it comes to creating a singular international rule book. In the acknowledgements, the book mentions the Tournament Directors Association, the World Series of Poker, the European Poker Tour, the World Poker Tour and other organizations as a genesis for the IFP efforts, stating “we stand on the shoulders of giants” for their contributions to the game and the book.

In publishing “The Rules of Poker,” the IFP is looking to bring about an international guideline to the world of poker, something that has long been needed in the game. Players frequently complain about different rules in different locales – even between poker rooms that are literally across the street from each other – and, with the IFP’s “Rules of Poker” and its implementation, it would introduce a streamlined system for organizing and arbitrating the game of poker worldwide.

The book isn’t long by any stretch of the measure – only 139 pages – but it captures what could be fairly stated as any circumstance that might arise at the poker table. It hits every game that is currently being spread and offers a simple format for the implementation of those rules. In issuing the rule book for poker, it also offers the directions for rectifying certain circumstances that come up in poker, such as exposed cards or a misdeal, that often bedevil home game players.

Along with offering a comprehensive rule book, “The Rules of Poker” includes other information that is useful. For example, “The Rules of Poker” includes a section on how to score Chinese Poker – to be honest, I had never considered the complexity of the game before reading the rules and now find it to be intriguing – and this is something that others might like. The IFP’s “Rules of Poker” also offers the guidelines for running a Match Poker event, which sounds like fun, but a bit difficult to do in a home game setting; not many people can put together that many decks (75 for each table) as well as their setup for their home game action!

There were a few things I found interesting in the rules. One is the usage of “English only” at the tables. While this is nice for those who speak the language, there are tournaments worldwide now; the IFP’s “Rules of Poker” amend that to include the native language of the country where a particular contest is being held. Additionally, there is a “dress code” that the IFP has introduced for its sponsored events that bans hoodies, sunglasses and hats at the table. While some might not like this fact (can you see Antonio Esfandiari having to wear shoes at the table?), it does address something that Poker Hall of Fame member Mike Sexton addressed earlier this year regarding the appearance of poker players.

The segment that I found most enjoyable, however, was the inclusion of the Hendon Mob’s popular series of articles, “You Are The Tournament Director” and endorsed by Hendon Mob member Barny Boatman. Utilizing several of the situations presented in that series on the Hendon Mob website, “The Rules of Poker” offer the appropriate decisions on several instances that have actually occurred on the felt. This segment allows the reader to exercise what they have read through the book as if they were actually in the position of rendering a decision.

While the book isn’t going to teach you how to play a middle pocket pair from under the gun, “The Rules of Poker” should be something that all poker players (and perhaps tournament directors) have in their libraries. If it helps to settle that row in your home game when a disagreement arises, then it is worth the price of purchase ($19.95 U. S., £12.95 U. K.). By attempting to unify the guidelines of this game we all love, “The Rules of Poker” and the IFP should be commended for their efforts.

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