THOUGHTS ON THE NEW IFP LOGO

New Logo SmallChange isn’t always for the good, but we think the new IFP logo is change for the better.

The new design, which you’ll see from now on when visiting the IFP website, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages, marks the start of an exciting new period for poker’s governing body which is entering a new phase of its development since it was launched in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2009.It seems a long time since the handful of original member federations met to create an organisation to promote poker as a Mind Sport. Since then the IFP has expanded to 44 member nations, staged the first IFP World Championships in London and developed the innovative variation Match Poker.

The same spirit with which the IFP has evolved since then is captured in the new logo that is both modern and elegant. We hope you agree.

FOOL’S GOLD FOR PHELPS AT THE POKER TABLE

Gold Small 5sept12It seems the press’s favourite poker player these days is Olympic champion Michael Phelps.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian, retired from competitive swimming after winning six medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Now he’s using poker to satisfy his competitive instincts, playing for ludicrous stakes at various places across North America and visiting various nightspots with his huge profits.

That’s if you believe what you read in the papers.

Yesterday the British newspaper The Daily Mail ran a story detailing Phelps’s winnings during a recent trip to the poker tables of Las Vegas. They quoted a TMZ report suggesting that the 27-year-old walked away from one cash game at Caesars Palace having won $100,000.
All nonsense according to Phelps, who tweeted:

@MichaelPhelps: I wish I won a 100k…. Haha not true tho:(

Phelps began playing poker several years ago but admitted that it’s a form of relaxation rather than anything more serious.

“I love to play, and it’s fun,” Phelps told Card Player magazine in 2008. “It’s exciting. This is a good time for me to learn some things, to pick up a few things in poker, to try to read people and [learn the] mind-set that goes into it and everything — just to try something new.”

Phelps, who has sponsorship deals with Visa, Omega and Hewlett-Packard among others, may play down his prowess at the tables, but his former roommate Jeff Gross believes the Olympic swimming champion is no “fish”.

“Mike is easily one of the best celebrity poker players around,” Gross told Card Player last year. “Overall, I’d say he treats the game seriously and loves the competition, but it’s just a hobby. Once he finishes up his career at the 2012 Olympics in London, I think you’ll be seeing him competing more in live tournaments.”

We may yet see Phelps at the business end of poker tournaments around the world. For now stories of big wins remain fiction, although it may be true that he spent that evening at a nightclub. But that’s hardly headline news in Las Vegas.

NEW GRANDMASTER MAKES HISTORY

Chess King Queen Large 7june12When chess players reach Grandmaster status it’s an honour they possess for life. No one can strip them of it. It’s for keeps, recognised not only in the chess community but also beyond as a mark of intellectual prowess – even non-chess players are familiar with the word “Grandmaster”.

That’s the title bestowed on Kenny Solomon this week, who has become the South Africa’s first ever Grandmaster following a competition in Turkey.
Solomon, 32, from Mitchells Plan, was part of the South African team at the 2012 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Now he is recognised as being among the best in the game, making history at the same time.

It’s a ranking process absent from poker, which has Players of the Year and other annual awards, but nothing as definite or long-lasting as an official designation such as Grand or International Master.

In chess however, Grandmaster is the highest ranking any chess player can obtain. As you’d expect it’s not easy to achieve. A player must perform consistently to a rating of more than 2,500. For reference a strong player is usually rated at around 2,000. The world number one, Magnus Carlsen, tops 2,800.

Furthermore Solomon becomes only the second Grandmaster from sub-Saharan Africa and only the eighth player from the continent ever.

Should there be “Grandmasters” and “International Masters” in poker? It’s a theory that IFP is working on as it develops its own ranking system for players around the world. Perhaps one day poker’s equivalent highest rank will be as familiar and need as little explanation as the designation “Grandmaster.”

For now you can read the full story about Kenny Solomon on the IOL news website.

CELEBRATING THE RULES OF POKER IN STYLE

Small Banner EnAnyone in doubt that poker can be fun without money need only have glanced through the polished windows of The Club at the Ivy in London’s West End last Friday night, where press and members of the poker community joined the top brass of IFP to celebrate the launch of The Rules of Poker, the first publication from IFP Books.

Occasionally those in the poker press relish the opportunity to take on a pro at the poker table. It usually ends with a decision to stick to the day job. But throw in a cocktail or three, plus some canapés, and everyone leaves happy, even after falling short of a first prize in the stylish shape of a wristwatch provided by the IFP’s Official Sponsor, Perrelet Watches.

The Perrelet Turbine Poker timepiece, which retails at a cool £4,500, was eventually won by 33-year-old London accountant Patrick Binding, best friend since childhood of Bobby Nayyar, publisher of Limehouse Books, who have collaborated with IFP on the launch of IFP Books.

Binding and his heads-up opponent Jon Young, editor of WPT Poker magazine, had bested a field of 50 including such top pros as John Duthie, Neil Channing and Team UK captain Barny Boatman. Third place went to the party’s organiser, UKPF board member Natalie Galustian, proprietress of a rare books shop in nearby Cecil Court, and editor-in-chief of IFP Books.

The real business of the night was of course the launch of The Rules of Poker.

It’s difficult to imagine why something of its kind has not been written before, but no definitive guide to the game exists. Until now that is.

Produced in hardback and with a sleek cover designed by Katrina Clark, The Rules of Poker, edited by novelist and poker player David Flusfeder, and with a forward by IFP President Anthony Holden, will complement the bookshelf of any home game player or card room manager.

In it is covered the type of eventualities you may never even have anticipated, with answers to complications never before imagined.

The book also features the definitive guide to Match Poker (formerly “Duplicate Poker”), first used in competition during the Nations Cup last November. You’ll also find a selection of conundrums from “You Are the Tournament Director”, supplied by the good people at The Hendon Mob.

It is the first publication of what is hoped will be many from IFP Books, and well worth the cover price. Alas, it may not tell you how to beat the pros but it will tell you how not to flop too soon or foul the deck.

AUTHOR AMONG THOSE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC

Poker Chips SmallAuthor and IFP Ambassador James McManus was among those quoted in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, suggesting that the recent decision by Judge Jack Weinstein could make the path to legal poker in the United States much clearer.

McManus, author of “Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker”, urged caution but was adamant that the case for poker as a skill game was getting more and more convincing.

“No one knows professional craps players or bingo players or lottery players,” said McManus, adding that poker players have become celebrities because of their repeated talents. “Obviously (poker) is a game of skill.”

The article, written by Michael Shapiro, quoted industry experts reflecting on the potential effects of the Weinstein comments – that poker is a game of skill. Professor I. Nelson Rose, a specialist in gambling law at Whittier Law School, called Weinstein’s opinion “significant”, while Jeff Ifrah, a Washington DC based attorney specialising in gambling, said the ruling laid the foundation for legal poker.

Professor Rose urged vigilance, adding that while individual states like Nevada and Delaware look set to legalise poker, other states could easily enforce prohibition. McManus agreed but added that Weinstein’s conclusion, combined with the Department of Justice’s ruling last December that the 1961 Wire Act excluded poker, “adds up to poker becoming legal at the federal level.”

Read the article in full on the San Francisco Chronicle website.