Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Is Poker a 'Mind Sport'?

Does Poker qualify as a 'Mind Sport'? If membership of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) is a qualification, then the answer is "Who knows?".
Earlier this year there had been rumours that the next World Mind Sports Games had secured a lucrative sponsorship deal from an internet poker site. Obviously part of this deal involved poker being part of the WMSG, although the poker format was described to me as 'Duplicate Poker'. This was to remove the luck element from the game, meaning it met the IMSA definition of a 'Mind Sport'.
It seems these rumours also reached the poker world, as there seemed to be quite some excitement that poker has been recognised as a game of skill. However, follow up reports suggested that this excitement might have been a little premature, as IMSA was yet to actually approve pokers application.
Now it turns out that the application may be held up for far longer. Apparently the statutes of IMSA require the unanimous consent of the existing members for a new member sport to be admitted. And in the case of poker, it is actually FIDE that is digging in its heels. The concern, as explained to me, is that no matter how you sugar coat it, poker is essentially a gambling activity. And it is this feature that makes poker unacceptable to a large number of FIDE member federations. So for now organised Poker does not have a seat at the IMSA table. As for the sponsorship deal for the next WMSG, I'm assuming that is on hold as well.

1 comment:

TrueFiendish said...

If we play contra, does chess cease to be a mind sport? Maybe not but it does take on some of the characteristics that make poker enjoyable. Playing the man rather than the board, for instance. Human nature being what it is, the cash imperative gives contra chess its own unique flavour. :)