In what came as a welcome surprise to many, the Global Association of International Sports Federations’ (GAISF) recognised ‘Match Poker’ as an official sport giving it an ‘Observer’ status. In their announcement the GAISF stated that a specific type of poker, “match” poker, has gained recognition as a sport and will be eligible for becoming an official Olympic sport.”

The announcement is certain have a positive effect on poker and all those who are employed under the umbrella of the game in varying capacities. After decades of being social spurned, poker, considered among the most challenging of mind sports, expects its due.

The other sports to receive the GAISF’s recognition alongside match poker are Pole-dancing, dodgeball, foosball (table soccer), arm wrestling, foot golf and kettlebell lifting.

The International Federation of Poker (IFP) is the governing body of match poker. The IFP promotes poker with its Match Poker format as a skill game and a mind sport. Having evolved from its original seven member nations to more than 50 federations, IFP is now the hub for a thriving world poker community.

About Match Poker

Match Poker is a team sport incorporating regular Texas Hold’em (albeit typically with a pot-limit pre-flop and no-limit post-flop structure).

Teams are split onto different tables with one player from each team in each of the different seat positions.

All players start each hand with an equal number of chips and receive their cards on a digital device.

The same cards are dealt at all tables (hole cards and community cards). This means that every player in seat 1 (each from a different team) has identical cards. The same is true in every other seat.

This allows the best players and the best teams to be identified. Each team’s combined chips are compared after every hand and points allocated accordingly. Players reset their stacks and the next hand begins.

After a pre-determined number of hands the team with the most points wins. All action is recorded electronically enabling real-time automated scoring, animated replay and detailed analysis.

match poker

Poker in the Olympics?

Sports are added and removed from the list of official Olympic events with relative frequency.

Next, the Olympic Programme Commission, within the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will review the sports on the program. Based on seven criteria which include history and tradition of the sport, universality, popularity of the sport, image, athletes’ health, development of the International Federation that governs the sport, and costs of holding the sport, the governing body decides whether to include the sport into the official Olympic programme.

There is still a long way to go for poker to be included in the Olympics. However, as far as starts go, this is as good as it gets.

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