Anyone in the UK starting last weekend with a copy of The Times might have had their attention drawn to the front page headline regarding the suggestion that British school children should be taught about gambling.
But the report, which suggested children analyse horse racing form as well as the odds for sporting contests, neglected to highlight poker.
Surely a mind port such as poker should top the list as an excellent way to teach people of all age groups and nationalities, from children to senior citizens, analytical skills, as well as favourable odds, as a letter to The Times on Monday by the IFP President Anthony Holden pointed out…
Sir, As President of the International Federation of Poker (IFP), I was surprised and dismayed to find no mention of poker in your front-page lead (“Lessons in gambling urged for all children”, Dec 3).
As is evidenced by IFP’s provisional membership of the International Mind Sports Association, alongside chess, bridge and other such cerebral pursuits, our mission is to promote poker as a mind sport of strategic skill, with huge educational potential.
While IFP does not regard poker as gambling — unlike craps, slots and the other games you mention, players are wagering favourable odds — we are already embarked on an international initiative to use poker as an educational tool.
At our annual congress last month, the keynote speaker was Harvard’s senior law professor Charles Nesson, who uses poker to teach his law students courtroom techniques, and is developing a worldwide, university-based mind sports research network in collaboration with IFP.
The Labour Party and other supporters of the scheme would do better to promote the teaching of mathematics, statistics, probability and other such valuable skills via poker rather than the mindless games of chance your report mentions.