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.

Open Letter to the Poker Industry from FIDPA CEO and PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske


Dear players and members of the poker industry,

As a professional poker player, I spend a large part of my year traveling internationally to compete in tournaments in many different parts of the world. During my time at the tables and away from them, I enjoy talking to players of different nationalities from many diverse walks of life. It’s one of the reasons why live tournament play never gets old for me.

One thing I have noticed is we all share a common concern, regardless of which country we are from. Players the world over have been asking why they need to learn a whole set of new rules for every different tournament location they travel to.

Wouldn’t it be much easier if we could play by one set of International Poker Rules (IP Rules)? If all major poker events were run with the same set of standardized tournament rules, accompanied by local modifications that are provided to players prior to the start of each event, I know many uncertainties and misunderstandings at the table could be avoided.

This is the foundation on which we built the Federation Internationale de Poker Association (FIDPA), an independent organization, with the primary focus on the best interests of the players. It’s why we have continued to pour time and resources into establishing FIDPA, and why we have persisted with the task of creating one set of International Poker Rules.

Las Vegas poker pro Michelle Lau and I co-authored the IP Rules back in 2007, but many others (too many to name here) have also played their part in the progress and development of these rules. Other notable organizations, including the Tournament Director’s Association (TDA), the International Federation of Poker (IFP), the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and Global Poker Tours Ltd (GPTL) have all put great energy into developing their individual sets of tournament rules and policies, with much success.

Today, FIDPA launched the 2013 IP Rules, an update to its standardized set of 81 technical rules, policies and procedures for tournament play, which (with their permission) now incorporate and reference all 54 rules of the TDA. FIDPA provides the poker industry with a base set of rules that are simple to understand, transparent to all players, and fully modifiable for management and event organizers globally.

We proudly make the IP Rules available to the industry through a downloadable PDF, and for the first time, we have also unveiled our all-new user-friendly Mobile App, which provides instant access to the IP Rules direct from your mobile phone, even when you’re at the table playing. We believe this will be an invaluable resource for the traveling poker player, making it easier than ever to check on a rule anywhere, anytime. It can’t be beaten for portability or convenience, and even better, we’ve made it ABSOLUTELY FREE.


Developing the IP Rules for us has been about building an environment of collaboration, cooperation and cohesive efforts amongst the many individuals and organizations that are doing their part to make the poker industry more professional, more credible and on the whole, much more unified internationally.

A great example of our strategic partnerships within the industry is the world-renowned Bellagio in Las Vegas, which has been using the IP Rules for the past five years. Jack McClelland and Doug Dalton attest to having had 90% fewer complaints from players since introducing the IP Rules in their poker room, one of the busiest Poker Rooms in the world, catering to players from all corners of the globe year–round, where consistency and efficiency is paramount to ensure daily operations run smoothly. These are the kind of benefits we offer to those venues who choose to use IP Rules and have been officially FIDPA Endorsed.

Yet, there is still more work to be done, and our goal at FIDPA is to get everyone on the same page. Imagine if the TDA, WSOP, IFP and the GPTL (Pokerstars land based events) were to work together to agree on one set of uniform poker tournament rules that they each committed to using consistently in every single event that they run. This united front would be an example to all major casinos, card rooms and poker leagues everywhere, and our industry would then be well on its way to achieving a reality where players and tournament staff worldwide only ever have to know one set of International Poker Rules, respectfully modified by the local gaming laws and regulations.

FIDPA has always looked for opportunities to work with its peers, and throughout our existence, we have had countless meetings and discussions with the decision-makers from the WSOP, WPA, TDA, IPAC, IFP and members of the GPTL over the last decade, and provided advice, counsel and expertise to industry event organizers, with highlights of our work as follows:

Assisting the WSOP to develop their tournament rules during the early stages of the poker boom
Supporting the I F P with their rules and goal to promote poker as a sport and a game of skill
We have included the complete set of TDA tournament rules in IP Rules (with their permission)
In addition, we are already actively working with the best people in the poker industry who agree that one set of IP Rules is needed. The principle is simple: Be FAIR and CONSISTENT for all players, staff and management globally.

Players are entitled to get the best service available at international events, and IP Rules can make that happen, which is one of the reasons they are gaining more support from many liked-minded international players, tournament directors, industry venues and poker organizations from around the globe, including:Marco Traniello, Eli Elizra, Kenny Hallaert, Juha Helppi, Robert Yong, J.J. Lui, Hector Rodriquez, Phil Ivey, Simon Trumper,Chad Brown, Vanessa Selbst, Jan Heitman, and the Mizrachi Dealer Academy, amongst others, plus a number of private clubs, and casino resorts. They have willingly gone on the record with words of support for the IP Rules, which you will find on our revamped website

I (FIDPA), also invite players of all levels to join the ranks of these professional poker-playing advocates of the IP Rules. It will cost you nothing to show your support for the 2013 International Poker Rules. If you agree that ONE set of international poker rules should be used in ALL international poker events globally, please support us on the site by leaving your own quote about why this is something you want.

Now, with the 2013 IP Rules in place, there is no need for event organizers to use local rules. The players should receive the fairest and most consistent poker rulings and experience possible – regardless of which country, venue or poker tour we happen to be playing in or traveling to next. We, the players, are the heart and soul of an industry that only exists because we continue to turn up and sit down at the poker table day after day, tournament after tournament.

Remember, we (the players) are the power for change, and I believe that we really can make a difference by asking the industry, with respect, to play by International Poker Rules.

I know that my dear friend Wendeen Eolis lobbied for smoke-free poker rooms more than 25 years ago. She stood up for what she believed in, publicly speaking out and demanding smoke-free policies to be implemented in poker. She never gave up on her mission, and we all know what eventually happened.

So, let’s work together to make this happen, for the benefit of the entire poker industry. The beauty of the IP Rules, is that they support everyone within our industry for free.

So, the biggest question is, why hasn’t this happened already? Why wouldn’t poker event organizers have already realized the advantages of using IP Rules?

Well, it should be clear that there is no room for big egos in the poker industry, but if there was, then for sure, we, as the players, know what is best and what isn’t, and we will always have the inherent right to have the biggest!

Thank you for your time and support, and we hope to receive your quote/testimonial at soon.

See you at the tables. ;)

Friendly regards

Marcel Luske – CEO FIDPA & Global Poker Support.