Poker is a pretty controversial game, even its sport-like variant called Match Poker.
On the one hand, it has a strong element of chance because players have to make the most of the cards that are randomly dealt for them. This element of chance is highlighted by games like Casino Poker, a game that you’ll likely stumble upon at any live casino India has to offer. Casino poker games are very popular both in land-based and online casinos, both in an RNG and live-dealer variant.
On the other hand, poker also has an undeniable element of skill. Making the most of a poker hand, reading the behaviour of the opponents at the table is something you have to train for.
There is an ongoing debate on whether poker is a game of chance or one of skill. Regulators usually consider it the former, while its supporters insist that it’s the latter. The International Poker Federation is actively trying to give poker the recognition it deserves. The game was officially designated a mind sport in 2010, and it tried to obtain the Olympic sport status for the game for years, even devising a new variant called Match Poker.
What is match poker?
Match poker is a poker variant that has almost every bit of chance removed from the game. It is a team sport played in real life, at multiple tables, with a set of rules that are almost identical to the rules of “real” poker – but with a twist. Or two.
The rules of match poker are built around those of Texas Hold’em, usually with a pot-limit pre-flop and no-limit post-flop structure. The game is played by teams at different tables, with no cards – each team has a member at each position of every table.
The cards and the community cards are dealt using digital devices, making sure that every position at every table receives the same cards. Each player receives the same number of chips at the beginning of the game, and the team with the most chips at the end of the match wins.
Match poker is played regionally in national leagues, and the best teams measure their worth in the IFMP Nations Cup.
The International Federation of Match Poker submitted the game for consideration to the International Olympic Committee after receiving the status of “sport” by the GAISF (Global Association of International Sports Federations). Unfortunately, the changes in the rules left a bit too much chance in the game for the tastes of the IOC, meaning that it wasn’t officially recognized as an Olympic sport – yet. But the IFMP has promised not to give up, tweaking the sport further in time.
One day, perhaps at the next Summer Olympics, we may have the chance to follow a Match Poker tournament in Paris.