Just like every other major sport, poker has rules. Unfortunately, because of its once-illicit status, all kinds of bastardizations of those rules have gained ground around the world.
With the creation of the Fédération Internationale de Poker Association (FIDPA), "The International Poker Rules" or "IP Rules" for tournament play are set to be endorsed by the bulk of the poker world. It's hoped that the rules will promote poker as a sport and unite the poker industry on a global level.
Professional poker players Marcel Luske, "The Flying Dutchman," and Michelle Lau will introduce the rules later this month.
"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 was quoted as saying. "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."
In collaboration with some of the industry's most influential people, Luske and Lau created the IP Rules to provide cardroom and tournament uniformity worldwide. Those endorsing the rules include Bob Ciaffone of the Poker Tournament Directors Association (TDA), as well as Jack McClelland and Doug Dalton of the Bellagio.
"With the support of [people like] 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."
And it sounds like the rules will make life much easier for tournament directors, as well as players.
"We have a large number of international poker players who compete in our tournaments on a regular basis," said McClelland, director of poker tournaments at Bellagio.
"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."
The IP Rules consists of 80 technical rules, policies and procedures for tournament play, that reference and incorporate the latest version of the TDA's 40 rules. The standardized set of tournament rules is fully modifiable by a tournament director, tournament organizer or cardroom manager.
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.
"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," said Lau.
"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."