Professional poker player Daniel Negreanu has presented a unique concept of poker that might lead to the game being accepted as an Olympic sport in the future. The fact that several countries are still unable to decide whether poker is a luck-based or a skill-based game does not appear to have discouraged the poker pro.
He presented his idea of poker as an Olympic sport on a forum called FullContactPoker, including not just the concept, but also a format, and this is what has captured the attention of the poker media.
The Olympic Games of 2016 are scheduled to be held at Rio in Brazil, a country where poker enjoys a great deal of popularity. Although the Chinese consider poker to be a sport in its own right, the rest of the world is yet to realize that the game requires skills and strategy.
Dave Drannan, the chief executive officer of Mindsports International, which is trying to make the world understand the value of mind sports, says that poker will soon be incorporated into the Olympic Games. He opines, “It was being considered for the potential for it to be tested at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as a side event, but that idea was dropped after the debacle surrounding Full Tilt and Black Friday.”
Although prestigious bodies such as the Mindsports International are doing everything in their power to establish poker as a game of skills and strategy, the game is the property of gaming operators, and this makes Mindsports’ task very difficult.
Negreanu is well qualified to deliver the concept of poker as an Olympic game, but he can improve his chances of success by collaborating with companies that have nothing to do with gambling. Currently, Negreanu is associated with PokerStars, owing to which he may not be taken seriously, especially considering the fact that PokerStars is finding it very difficult to obtain a license in regulated online poker markets in the US.
Brannan says: “League of Legends is registered as a sport in America, but poker isn’t, which is crazy.” Regarding the possibilities of poker becoming an Olympic sport, he says that it could happen, but “whether it will happen in the next 10 years is another matter.”
Negreanu alone might not be able to popularize his concept because of his association with the gambling industry, but it could become a different story if he teams up with Mindsports International.