4/21/10 – In what it described as a landmark announcement for poker around the world, the International Mind sport Association has officially recognised the game of poker as a mind sport and a game of skill, on a par with chess and bridge.
“I am delighted to welcome the International Federation of Poker into membership of IMSA. 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," said IMSA President Jose Damiani.
Commenting the decision, which was made at the IMSA annual congress in Dubai this week, the President of the International Federation of Poker, Anthony Holden said the recognition constituted a major milestone in the IFP’s 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,” 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," Holden said.
The IFP is now a member of IMSA, along with federations of chess, bridge, draughts and Go who are also members of SportAccord, a global organisation with some 150 member Sports Federations.
Holden said the next step for the IFP is to secure membership of SportAccord, and to this end he would be at the SportAccord Congress as an observer, lodging a formal application for membership in the hope that this will be granted at the next agm in London in 2011.
Holden said that the granting of SportAccord membership hinged on certain requirements, identifying these as the need to have a minimum of 40 member federations from at least three continents.
“We have already achieved more than 50 percent of that target and, boosted by today’s [IMSA] 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.”
Poker legend Doyle Brunson, who is 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.”