A non-profit organization dedicated to helping the game of poker grow and function on a universal level has been established by poker pros Annie Duke, Howard Lederer, Robert Williamson III, Marcel Luske, Thomas Bihl, Greg Raymer, and Clonie Gowen, among others.
The World Federation of Poker (WFP) intends to formalize a set of universal poker rules and bring uniformity to competition, and will offer the world's first sanctioned poker competition, the World Cup of Poker.
In its Mission Statement, the WFP pledges to "be the international governing body for the sport of poker, and as such, will regulate, educate and inspire fair and honest worldwide competition." It promises to regulate poker by implementing worldwide rules, tournament structures, sanctioning, and international rankings for its "WFP World Cup of Poker." Furthermore, the organization will host seminars and offer educational multi-media products and a newsletter to members.
A majority of the world's top poker pros are expected to join the WPF for an annual fee of $100. The organization will place members in four different classifications: pro, masters (seniors), college student, and amateur. Players in each classification will earn points by playing in weekly online tournaments (at a site to be determined), which are expected to begin April 1, 2006.
At the end of the calendar year (this year it's November 15, 2006), the player with the most points in their classification, out of all the players in their home country, will act as a national representative of their country at the World Cup. Each team will have four members: a pro, a master, a college student, and an amateur.
The inaugural World Cup of Poker will run in December, 2006, in Las Vegas. It will be an "Olympic-style" event hosting 160 players from approximately 40 countries around the world, and will take place in a different country every year.
Aside from the first World Cup, three other locations have been listed for upcoming World Cup competitions: World Cup II will be held in Austria in August, 2007; World Cup III will be held in Macau, China (Hong Kong), in August, 2008; and World Cup IV will run in Taiwan in July, 2009.
There will be one week of preliminary tournaments prior to the World Cup. The first day and a half of the series will be similar to Olympic heats: pros will be playing against pros from other countries in heads-up matches, and amateurs against amateurs, etc. The points accumulated by the people who play in those qualifying heats are aggregated, and the eight countries that have the most points will compete in the World Cup finals. The finals will have only eight teams, and they'll compete head-to-head.
The final eight countries will be seeded in a bracket format, with the No. 1 seed playing No. 8, etc. Each head-to-head session will last four hours. All players from each team will be at the table - four on one side, four on the other, approximating a team concept. Every representative from each classification will be the team's decision maker for one hour of the four hour session. The total prize pool of the World Cup will be $350,000, with a first place prize of $100,000.
The WFP has begun talks with ESPN to air the final table matches. The WFP also plans to shoot eight 30-minute shows leading up to the finale.
Please see www.worldfederationofpoker.org for further details.