Poker is a Russian sport


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

A significant breakthrough for Russian poker players

The poker portal Poker published a truly encouraging story for poker players this week with the news that the Russian Federation's 'Federal Agency of Physical Culture and Sports' has cleared the way for a new Russian poker boom by characterising the game as a sport.

Poker tournaments have received the status of official sport competitions as a result of the ruling.

Poker News reports that Dmitry Lesnoy, president of the Sport Federation of Russia, an organisation created to promote poker's interests within Russia, testified on behalf of poker during the commission's hearings on the topic.

Roughly translated, Lesnoy contended that poker is an 'intellectual game' with widespread, mass-market interest. Lesnoy , an established Russian gaming writer, also organised a November 2006 conference of pro-gaming forces with representatives present from over 50 different Russian regions. This meeting of the 'Federation of Sports Poker' paved the way for the lobbying efforts supporting the game.

Lesnoy focused on the unique characteristics that define poker as a game of far more than luck: skills and tenacity, analytical constitution, and plenty of training. "It is so pleasant," commented Lesnoy , "that with the general background of persecution from the government towards gambling, the state still revealed wisdom and agreed with a factor, that poker can not belong to the category of gambling. It is a sport!"

Though not yet detailed in subsequent reports, the Russian agency's decision is expected to exempt poker from the provisions of the four 'gambling zones' being created across Russia.

Lesnoy hopes that his own federation will fill a strong supporting role in the growth of Russian poker. The organisation's goals include the propagation and popularisation of poker, the creation of ethical norms and standards, organisation of poker tournaments by the sports principles, creating official player ratings, organising poker schools and growing young talents, and searching for sponsors.

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