An issue that has recently arisen in the poker world is the rules that govern tournament play. Unlike the the PGA Tour, where golfers can expect the same procedures to take place at every tournament, poker has a different system going, and most complain it is a lack of one. According to Miguel Strother at PokerListings, due to Poker’s semi-illicit status in the past and present, odd changes in the unset rules have taken place over time and created inhomogeneity in poker.
Many professionals have complained of tournament poker’s lack of a good system, but finally someone is doing something about it. Professional poker players Marcel Luske and Michelle Lau founded an organization called the Fédération Internationale de Poker Association (FIDPA) to promote poker as a sport and force unity world-wide within that sport. Their creation, the “International Poker Rules” or “IP Rules” are set to be endorsed by many international poker players and officials later this month when they are unveiled. “As poker has exploded, the beauty of having one set of rules that everyone can learn and follow is such a big step for the game and as a sport,” Luske said. “New players and professional players finally have a resource from which to learn and play. Poker is a game that requires skill and knowledge and should be played with fairness and integrity.”
To create these rules, Luske and Lau have collaborated with some influential figures in the poker world. Notable proponents of the IP Rules include Bob Ciaffone of the Poker Tournament Directors Asssociation and Jack McClelland and Doug Dalton of the Bellagio. “With the support of Doug Dalton and Jack McClelland at Bellagio, one of the world’s finest card rooms, FIDPA and the IP Rules are off to a great start,” said Lau. “We still have a lot of ground to cover but the fact of the matter is that there really is no reason why a card room or tournament should not use the IP Rules as a base.”
Luske speculates that the rules will be beneficial to tournament directors around the world. “We have a large number of international poker players who compete in our tournaments on a regular basis,” said McClelland, who is the director of tournaments at the Bellagio. He continued, “We want to make sure they are comfortable with the rules and hope to maintain consistency in rulings worldwide. Bellagio is happy to support both domestic and international tournament efforts which in turn will strengthen our position as the leader in the industry. We look forward to a successful partnership with FIDPA.”
As for the IP Rules themselves, according to PokerListings they consist of 80 technical rules, policies, and procedures for tournament play that reference the latest version of the Tournament Directors Association’s “40 Rules”. According to PokerListings, “Cardrooms and tournament organizing bodies are permitted to modify the rules in accordance with house rules, state and federal gaming commission laws and regulations and/or tournament directors’ procedures and policies. All modifications made to the IP Rules will be provided to the players and will take precedence in that venue.”
Lau says about the new rules, “By allowing tournament directors to make and disclose any necessary modifications prior to a tournament, we can now know the rules, simply note the changes and be able to ensure the rulings are made are fairly. A standardized set of rules [is] desperately needed; as a professional poker player traveling around the world to play in tournaments, there is absolutely no way to know the different rules in every country or even from venue to venue.”
Given the amount agreement among professional that these rules are needed, and the large quantity of people gravitating towards poker, it seems the Fédération Internationale de Poker Association is a timely and necessary addition to the beloved game. It brings more legitimacy to poker in a time of legal gray area for online professionals and will surely solidify poker’s place as a respectable profession and sport.