As a pokerplayer Marcel Luske has had a remarkable career with tournament cashes all over the world. He turned pro ten years ago and within two years became the #1 ranked player in Europe.

Hello to everyone involved in the poker industry – I estimate that’s about 500 million poker- related places, people, services, staff, dealers, floor staff, Tournament Directors, event organizers, casinos, and not only the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), but other bodies such as the IFP, GPTL, PPA, WPA etc.

Now, there is more to the game of poker that we need to consider for it to be taken seriously. Take for example, ‘the players’, who I like to point out, bankroll the entire industry. Believe it or not, we, the players, are the bread and butter that supports the business of poker, whether you’re a player, a casino operator, or organization that is out there making a living from the game that we all love.

Finally, people are starting to understand that the players within the poker industry are not just an accessory, but fundamentally essential to its longevity and growth.

I’m happy to see that this is being recognized, and that as a result, the players’ rights have become a prominent issue, recently sparking a very public debate between the TDA’s Linda Johnson and poker professional Daniel Negreanu about the TDA change to the “last card off the deck” rule. (Read the story here: negreanu-and-linda-johnson-debate-recent-rule-changes-15856.htm )

From my perspective, as a player and as CEO of the Federation Internationale de Poker Association, it is not about who is right or wrong, but more about a question of why this is suddenly such a big issue? Forgive me for saying so, but perhaps this is more about ego, than actually getting to the root of the problem? We have Negreanu on one side, presenting himself as an advocate for all players, and Linda Johnson on the other, trying to hold the fort and protect the TDA’s position.

While I agree that it is always better to have more and better layers of protection, these poker organizations – and that includes the TDA – should always consult the players about changes to rules, and not just implement a Tournament Director rule just because it serves the interests of the Tournament Directors themselves.

As players, we are the ones ‘in the field’ dealing with the consequences of tournament rules, and rulings as they are handed down, so we should be asked what we think about a proposed change before it is written in concrete. Our feedback should be discussed, considered, and accepted if it makes the game fairer and more consistent for the players.

The heated discussion that has been fuelled this week about this particular rule is just a sample of many discrepancies that could be avoided, but I think it is great to see healthy discussion about the topic of tournament rules and any changes that are being made to them.

Perhaps it will help people to understand the importance of having one set of international poker rules in place for all, that can be modified to comply with any country’s local gaming laws before an event starts. This will ensure all players are well aware of the rules they must abide by well before they sit down to start playing a tournament. It also means they will be better protected by fair and consistent rulings.

In this way, the integrity of the game would be maintained, gaining credibility and respect

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amongst both the players and poker organizers, including management and Tournament Directors; then we would be in a position to honor both these two groups that are arguing now, such as Johnson and Negreanu.

I realize it’s easy to stand on the sideline and make demands. Taking action and doing things involves taking a risk of being criticized. But, if it comes from the heart, and it is to support the poker industry, surely it’s worth it. FIDPA ( has never hesitated to get involved, and we made a point of asking many players their opinions before drafting the International Poker Rules (IP Rules); we included the TDA, and we previously consulted all other organizers, even sharing advice and expertise. (For further background on the IP Rules, FIDPA and their work within the industry, read more here.)

FIDPA has never been afraid to make mistakes, but we continue to work towards bettering the game and eliminating the common mistakes that are being made and repeated, and ultimately to narrow the grey areas within tournament rules that all players are aware of.

We recently released the 2013 IP Rules and made them available at no charge to the industry. We also launched an all-new Mobile App, for easy access to the IP Rules from your mobile browser. Both players and tournament staff can check on a rule on the spot (even mid-tournament when it’s most needed) from anywhere, anytime direct from their mobile phone. (Read the full launch press release here.)

So, it seems strange to me to see that there is such a big fuss about this one rule. Every year there is such a big dispute about some simple updates to the TDA rules. This really doesn’t ever need to happen when there is a comprehensive international set of tournament poker rules already available that will make the poker world a better place, if they were only being adopted uniformly by all major casinos and poker venues worldwide for the benefit of all players.

Personally, I have great respect for Daniel and Linda, but this debate is not just about them. It has wider parameters and implications, and I think you’ll agree if you take the time to compare FIDPA’s 81 technical rules, policies and procedures with those of the TDA (54 in total, prior to the recent TDA Summit). I think you will quickly see why I find it laughable that they are only discussing this one rule.

At, we’ve made it easy for you to compare the IP Rules to the TDA’s rules, which you will find conveniently placed below each corresponding IP Rule.

We have also added a section on the site where you can ‘Leave your Quote’ about supporting the use of one set of standardized international poker rules, including the capability to send us a photo of yourself, which we’ll add alongside your quote. We appreciate your time and effort in doing this, no matter if you’re a high profile player or simply a recreational player. Every player’s voice counts and is part of the global poker landscape.

Thanks for the continued support. Friendly regards,

Marcel Luske CEO – FIDPA