International Rules? There's an app for that
Poker has done so much for me I feel it is only right to give back and do something positive for the industry. To me, the players are the industry and I believe they deserve to get the best possible poker experience for their money. That's why I'm so passionate about the International Poker Rules and the governing body that promotes them, the FIDPA (Federation Internationale de Poker Association). For the last few months, I've been hard at work on the 2013 update to the rules and I'm excited to tell you that we've launched a mobile version of our website that puts the International Rules right at players' fingertips while they're at the table. The rules themselves are contained in an expandable list that is easy to navigate. My hope is that by giving players quick and easy access to the rules, they'll not only be more educated when situations arise at the table, but will also be able to aid the dealers when it comes to correct procedure.
I believe it is crucial for our game to be played by one consistent set of rules across the globe. Of course, different countries have their own individual customs and gaming regulations to consider. However, by adopting the International Rules, individual tournament organizers can include their own modifications based on their country's laws. Playing by one worldwide set of rules has a twofold benefit. It's good for the players because it ensures they'll be treated honestly by the tournament staff anywhere they go. There's nothing worse than traveling to another country to play poker only to discover the locals (and good tippers!) get an unfair advantage when it comes to floor rulings. If everyone plays by the same set of rules, the right and wrong rulings will be right there in black and white instead of having to put your trust (and ultimately your money) with organizers that have the potential to bend the rules to suit their own interests. I want to make sure that if an American walks into a casino in Holland or a German walks into France and they know the tournament is being played by the International Rules. They should have the comfort and security of knowing they're protected wherever they choose to play.
Adopting one set of International Rules will also help poker's cause when it comes to becoming more widely accepted as a game of skill rather than a form of gambling. The more countries and organizers adopt the International Rules, the stronger we all become when it comes to advancing the game and bringing it more into the mainstream. Recently, I worked with organizers in Mexico on getting a license from the government to produce televised poker. Poker is growing fast in Mexico and is becoming more socially acceptable and a big part of that is that they have chosen to play by the international rules. Although they could have written their own local rules, ones that could potentially make them more money, the organizers saw the advantages of joining a larger international body. By adopting the International Rules, Mexico made a statement to the poker industry that said, "Listen, we want to be a part of the evolution and advancement of this great game and want our country and economy to grow along with it."