Poker's Big Gamble —Dropping Gambling
Poker federation wants to change image into that of a 'mind sport'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2011 6:47 AM CST
A poker fan plays on an Internet gaming site from his home in Virginia in 2006.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The International Federation of Poker is making its biggest gamble yet—that poker can become a bigger game by getting rid of the gambling. “The fact is there are all these people who are attracted to poker but have stayed away from it because they didn’t want to risk money,” the president of the federation's US branch tells Forbes. After all, he notes, one of the most popular Facebook games is Zynga Poker, which has 60 million users, despite not using real money.

The IFP hopes to rebrand the classic game in the vein of bridge or chess—a smart sport for strategic thinkers, notes Bleacher Report. The first big push comes this weekend in London with a "Nation's Cup" tournament featuring top players from around the world playing for their countries. (And, yes, there's a Team Zynga.) If it's a hit, the IFP hopes to land mainstream sponsors for subsequent tournaments. "It’s a different type of person being drawn to the game," says the federation official. Click for more.