The Poker Federation of Australia is affiliated to the global International Federation of Poker (IFP), which is the recognised governing body for the mind sport of poker.

The IFP promotes poker and its Match Poker variation as a game of skill and as a mind sport. Having evolved from its original seven member nations to more than 50 federations, the IFP is now the hub for a thriving world poker community.

The Poker Federation of Australia has compiled an interim board, which combines experience in the poker industry with business and media skills. The interim board comprises Julius Colman (chairman), Robert Huxley (CEO), Keith Sloan, Jackie Glazier, Sean Callander, Garth Kay and Steve Putsey, representing a wide range of experience across various areas of poker and industry.

The Poker Federation of Australia expects soon to release details of its first Match Poker events, which will provide local players with the chance to represent the first ever “official” Australian tournament poker team to wear the green and gold in IFP-sanctioned international tournaments.

More details of Poker Federation of Australia initiatives and events will be announced in coming weeks. Also check out the Poker Federation of Australia Facebook page.

About the International Federation of Poker:

Founded in April 2009 in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the Olympic movement and most other sports federations, IFP champions poker as “a mind-sport of strategic skill”, alongside chess, bridge, draughts and Go. As it campaigns to emphasise the skills inherent in poker and present it as one of the five “mind sports” it will also lobby legislators to separate poker from gambling. “It’s a disgrace”, says CEO Justin Huxley, “that ordinary slot machines carry the label of “pokies” when they are nothing but gaming machines with no element of skill”.

IFP’s member nations now number more than 50 worldwide from five continents. IFP events do not involve buy-ins or gambling. IFP now has observer member status of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) and SportAccord, the general assembly of international sports federations. IFP is also working closely with Harvard University and the recently established Mindsport Research Network at the Berkman Center, at Harvard University.

Since its creation, IFP has grown in scope and stature to become poker’s official governing body. Beyond its role in organising major international tournaments, IFP will compile international rankings with separate national classifications and present players from around the world to compete against each other. While the size and scope of IFP keeps expanding, the goal remains the same: – to promote poker and its match variation as a mind sport, without any discrimination as to race, sex, creed, or disability; and to reinforce the element of skill involved, as well as the talent and determination required to succeed.

What is Match Poker?

Each hand of Match Poker, in isolation, is a hand of No-Limit Texas Hold’em where a player is looking to win the most (or lose the fewest) chips they can.  A chip stack of 10,000 (200 big blinds) is set for every player at the start of each hand and the blinds do not increase from 25 and 50 respectively.

The same order of cards is used at all 14 tables. The “seat draw” dictates that teammates play on different tables with one specific player from each team sitting in each of the different seat positions, and that all teams are split evenly across the tournament tables.  Over the course of a hand, therefore, each team receives each set of hole cards in the same positions.  A team’s collective skill in playing these hands and consistently outperforming the other teams determines their finishing position.  In no way does the quality of the cards a player or team receives influence their chance of winning the tournament.

Scoring:

On each hand, a player will have a net change of chips – negative if they commit chips to the pot and do not win, zero if they fold without committing chips, and positive if they win the pot.  This is an individual player’s “chip-score” for that hand.  A team’s chip-score is simply the aggregate of all of its member’s individual chip-scores for that hand.  Team chip-scores are compared and points are awarded accordingly (1st = 14 points, 2nd = 13 points, and so on to 14th = 1 point).

Where two or more teams have equal chip-scores, the associated points are shared between them.

This point structure is applied after each and every hand, and the team with the greatest number of points at the end of the tournament wins, with overall team chip-scores used only to settle ties.

A consequence of this scoring system is that each hand is as important as any other (i.e. the first hand of the tournament contributes just as many points as the very last, as does a hand with seemingly little action compared to a hand with multiple all-ins).  During each hand players have no knowledge of how their teammates are performing on the other tables, and even the smallest of bets/calls could make all the difference when the aggregated team chip-scores are compared.

The IFP has adopted a sporting four-session event structure (akin to Basketball’s quarters) to allow teams to adapt and strategise throughout the course of the tournament.  For the first time detailed hand logs will be freely available for teams and coaches to analyse previous sessions and revise their tactics.

In order to record and score the event, software has been designed to allow the table managers to input the actions of all players at the table (checks, calls, bets, raises and folds) along with the bet amounts on each round and the subsequent winner(s) of the pot.  This software communicates directly with the scoring system that displays in-running scores as soon as a hand has been completed on all tables.

Player of the Tournament (and player of each seat):

While the 2013 European Nations Cup is primarily focused on crowning the overall winning National Team, and for deciding which six Nations progress through to the Nations Cup Finals, for the first time the IFP will also be awarding trophies to individual players who demonstrate great skill.  These will be players with the highest overall chip-scores in each seat position.  From these six players, the overall “Player of the Tournament” will be the player whose overall chip-score in relation to the average chip-score for their seat position is greatest.  Eligible players must have played at least 200 hands during the course of the event.