The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) is the governing body of poker, promoting poker as a skill sport through its Match Poker variation

Founded in April 2009 in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the Olympic movement, IFMP champions poker as “a mind-sport of strategic skill”. With the use of digital technology IFMP provides global team competition making Match Poker a popular eSport.

As it campaigns to clean up poker’s image, and lobbies legislators to separate poker from gambling, IFMP’s member nations now number more than 60 worldwide from five continents. IFMP events do not involve buy-ins or gambling. IFMP collaborates with other International Mind Sports, with the International eSport Federation, and specifically with SportAccord, the general assembly of international sports federations. IFMP is working closely with Harvard and the recently established Mindsport Research Network at the Berkman Center, Harvard.

At the heart of IFMP are its member nations. IFMP consists of National Poker Associations and Federations from around the world with each member federation holding a seat on the Congress of IFMP.

Match Poker was devised by the International Federation of Match Poker to reduce the element of luck inherent in traditional forms of poker, ensuring that it is a ‘contest’ based on players’ skill and conforms to the accepted definition of a sport.

While all sports contain an element of chance, most notably the unpredictable bounce of a ball, the definition used by SportAccord is that chance should not be integrated into the very core of the sport.

Where in traditional poker the element of chance is inherent in the random dealing of cards, Match Poker captures the excitement and romance of the game, but has orientated it to a skill based format.

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Match Poker was conceived as part of the IFMP’s campaign to gain recognition of poker as a ‘mind sport’ by demonstrating to governments and sporting authorities around the world a new sporting format where it could fairly be said that reliance upon luck was removed.

The response to the new format has been overwhelmingly positive. Because authorities have accepted Match Poker as “non-gambling”, events are no longer restricted to gaming-licensed casino environments and can be staged in any venue. The first IFMP Nations Cup was held on the world-famous London Eye.

Today the 60+ member nations of the IFMP use the format for all of their international team competitions.

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