WILL POKER PLAYERS SWAY THE ELECTION?

Vote Here Sign SThe Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is one of the game’s key lobby groups in the United States, having campaigned for several years for the rights of the country’s several million poker players to play the game they love without committing a criminal office.

This week the PPA published the results of its survey of poker players’ voting intentions ahead of this year’s elections. Thousands of PPA members completed the survey which created some interesting results, results which could be politically significant in November.

As you can read on the PPA website, 31 per cent of those questioned were registered Democrats, 31 per cent were registered Republicans while 38 per cent were Independent, Libertarian or Undeclared.

Will this make poker players pivotal to the election? The PPA certainly hopes so, pointing out that both major parties are fighting for the vote of those not affiliated with either the Republicans or Democrats and that 90 per cent of poker players (according to the survey) intend to vote in the elections.

Not only that but 75 per cent of respondents indicated that their vote for Congress and the Senate would be determined by their local candidate’s position on legalized online poker.

For that there’s the Congressional Ratings Site giving details of all elected representatives in the US. Will the voice of millions of American poker players make a difference? Results in November may tell.

INDIA’S POKER LAW GETS COMPLICATED

India Flag SThe situation regarding online poker in India sparked confusion this week. A Delhi court ruled that online betting is an offence in India and a website allowing people to play poker involving money cannot be given protection under the constitution.

The ruling effectively means that, while poker is considered a game of skill in India, it is illegal to play it.

District Judge Ina Malhotra made it clear in an order released this week that even skill games cannot be held to be legal and banks can refuse to provide their normal service to companies offering such games.

The courts verdict came following a petition made by an internet start-up company founded by an Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi alumnus, along with others, proposing to launch a website offering games including chess and poker, as well as other “games of skill.” The company sought the opinion of the court to ensure they did not violate any laws.

The news was not good. The court ruled that online games such as these were “illegal.”

“So, while betting or playing for money among players on a game of golf, chess, bridge or billiards may be permitted, they cannot be considered legal if operated by a gaming house,” the court said.

Read the full article on the Daily News website.

POKER PRO WINS CHESS TITLE… AGAIN

Chess Pieces 3sept12Further proof that chess and poker do mix came in The New York Times this weekend, which reported on the victory by Almira Skripchenko in the French Championship. It was the fifth time Skripchenko has won the title.

Most impressive about her performance was that it came despite her focus being divided between chess and her career as a professional poker player.
Skripchenko, who was born in Moldova but who now lives in France, turned poker pro in 2003, racking up significant live earnings in tournaments across France, Europe and the United States. As she put it, the world of professional poker simply pays better.

She’s not alone in making the switch. Dan Harrington, known for his epic tomes about how to play high stakes poker, was Massachusetts chess champion in 1971 while more recently Ylon Schwartz, a chess master from Brooklyn who used to play street games in New York, finished fourth in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event.

The switch came easily to Skripchenko, who admitted to finding poker easier than chess, study of which used to consume large parts of her day: “I think chess is one of the last games where everything is based on creativity.”

But the two games complement each other she admitted, suggesting that poker had helped her chess game: “Poker in a way helped me to find joy in simple things, to be happy, to accept defeat.”

Read the full article on The New York Times website.

VIEWPOINT FROM LILLE

Chess King Queen Large 7june12News from the World Mind Games taking place in Lille, France, is starting to enter the mainstream press, withThe Daily Telegraph in London publishing a report from the 15-day competition.

The article, written by William Langley, details the atmosphere of intense concentration at what is a unique “Olympics of the mind” which, given a decision here and there, could have been part of the regular games, according to IMSA.

It also gives an insight to the level of competition taking place, comparing participants to regular athletes who limber up prior to playing and who train to keep in shape – after all, 12 hours of Bridge, Chess, Go, Draughts or Xiang Qi can be exhausting.

Mind sport fans will be familiar with Langley’s observations, but it serves as a reminder to those who aren’t of what it takes to compete at the highest level, as well as an interesting perspective on the games which concluded yesterday.

Read the full article on The Daily Telegraph website.

MASTERING THE TEAM GAME

Golf SA curious thing happens when a group of poker players join together to form a team to compete in an international contest: things don’t always go as they should.

The team dynamic often adds an additional layer of complication. Players who are used to living and dying by the decisions they make, suddenly have to factor in their team mates. A bad call or some sloppy play is one thing if it affects only you, but what about your teammates? Do you really want to be the one to scupper their chances? It can make even the very best players think twice.

It was this exact scenario that players faced during the IFP Nations Cup in November of last year. Each player knew they had to perform to their best, but tough decisions became even tougher, with the outcome of a single hand potentially ruining the hopes of the entire team.

Another team event begins today, one that brings together players who are usually more comfortable playing by themselves for themselves – the Ryder Cup.

One commentator said this week that the Ryder Cup is the golf tournament even those who don’t like golf should watch. It’s not hard to understand why.

It throws together two teams – the United States and Europe – into three days of competition near Chicago, USA, with every match adding to the team’s points tally. The first team to reach 14 points is declared the winner.

It’s one of the sport’s most anticipated events, with emotions and sometimes tempers running high, providing no shortage of drama, even to those who can’t tell the difference between a birdie and an albatross. But the players must play not for themselves but for the team. As the world number one Rory McIlroy said this week: “I’m one man in a 12-man team and that’s it.”

It’s not an easy conversion. Former European captain Colin Montgomery was the type of player to excel in the team format, while others, including Tiger Woods, have struggled. Either way it will prove a spectacular contest.