Exactly one year to the day after it was founded, the International Federation of Poker (IFP) accomplished a major goal Thursday when poker was officially accepted as a “mind sport” by the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA). Poker will now join chess and bridge as part of IMSA’s World Mind Sports Games, expected to be held in the U.K. in 2012 alongside the London Olympics.
“I am delighted to welcome the International Federation of Poker into membership of IMSA,” said IMSA President Jose 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.”
The final decision was made at the annual congress of the International Mind Sports Association held in Dubai this week. Upon hearing the news, poker writer and IFP president Anthony Holden called the decision a “major milestone in our campaign to have poker accepted throughout the world as a game of strategic skill. Over time, this should help to free poker from much governmental interference and other such unnecessary restrictions all over the globe.”
The IFP’s next step is securing membership of SportAccord, a global organization of 150 sports federations whose goal is to unite the world of sport. Holden and his colleagues plan to attend the SportAccord Congress in Dubai on Friday and present the IFP’s application at that time. The application will be considered at the 2011 SportAccord annual meeting if the IFP has organized a minimum of 40 countries in three continents by then. The IFP has currently achieved more than 50% of that target, according to Holden. IMSA members include chess, bridge, draughts, and Go, all of which are also part of SportAccord.
Said Holden, “Now that it has secured IMSA membership, poker is officially designated a mind sport and IFP is eligible to become a member of SportAccord. This will involve satisfying all the requirements to obtain formal membership at their 2011 Congress in London. 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 U.K. alongside the 2012 London Olympics.”
The hope is for poker to join SportAccord to help gain further ground in becoming a part of the Olympic Games. The IOC has outlined that a game or sport must be practiced by men in at least 75 countries on four continents and by women in at least 40 countries on three continents in order to be recognized.
Legendary poker player Doyle Brunson, a member of IFP’s Advisory Board, was thrilled with Thursday’s news: “The IFP deserves our thanks and congratulations. 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.”
Besides participating in next year’s regular IMSA events, the IFP will be launching poker’s first annual World Championships. IFP’s member-nations will be running sanctioned National Championships, both team and individual, with the winners advancing to the IFP’s World Championships.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for continuing updates on the International Federation of Poker.