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Poker News | World Poker News

Poker As an Olympic Sport?

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It has been discussed on many occasions amongst groups of poker players and in blogs, especially in 2008 when the Summer Olympics took place in Beijing, China. But the effort to make poker an officially recognized sport by the Olympics has yet to be made formal until now., a subsidiary of Mansion group, is ready to bring poker to Olympic organizers and make it part of the festivities by 2016.

On December 27th, announced that on the back of a public internet campaign, the company is launching an effort to collect further support and forward an official request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ask that poker be recognized as an official game of the Olympics. The plan is to make a plea for poker to be listed as a demonstration sport in 2012 and a main event in 2016. is part of Mansion, which is a member of the international Genting Group, one of Malaysia’s leading multinational corporations. Considering Mansion’s status as the United Kingdom’s biggest casino operator, the way to the Olympic organizers’ hearts may be through the company’s status and extraordinary number of players and fans that are part of the Mansion family. The campaign is currently gaining strength through a Facebook petition entitled “Campaign for Olympic Poker” and looks to enlist the support of poker aficionados around the world. does face an uphill battle, however. On one hand, there are two other games attempting to get into the same Olympics -- women’s netball and cricket. While poker is a globally popular game, netball and cricket are more widely recognized as sports and may find an easier time making it to the 2012 or 2016 Olympic games. In addition, there is the fact that no matter the skill factor in poker, there is the irrefutable luck factor that plays a role in it. No matter the mental or physical training that a player might endure, the aspect of luck does have a determining role in the outcome of the game, making poker as a sport a particularly hard sell.

Those willing to take up the fight to get poker into the Olympics do have some facts on their side as well, though. Poker is a game that does not discriminate or cater to any one gender or age group, nor does it depend on physical ability. This brings a truly unique aspect to poker as an Olympic game, and considering its international popularity, it could bring an entirely new breadth of fans to the Olympics.

Peter Nolan of noted that poker is “ripe for Olympic recognition.” He stated in a press release, “Millions play every week, millions more watch it on TV, but perhaps more importantly, we’ve got some world-renowned British players. This fantasy squad is our take on who would best represent Team GB [Great Britain] if poker did ever get to Olympic level.”

The team to which Nolan referred includes the following players: Jon Kalmar, Adrian Lambe, Dave Colclough, Dave Ulliott, Vicky Coren, Neil Channing, Lucy Rokach, and Mark Goodwin. Said players have not confirmed their willingness to participate, however.

If the effort of will perk the ears of the IOC, any response its representatives give will be interesting to say the least.

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