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Mongolia Poker Players Work to Legalize the Game

Posted by Bradley, December 21, 2014

Landlocked between mainland China and Russia, Mongolia, the world’s most sparsely inhabited, independent country, is reportedly set to become a tourist destination and an open country for gaming, According to a recent media report, the Mongolian government as has been making “a lot of strategic planning for its tourism’s overall development which include amusement parks and a possible casino construction within its economic zones.”

mongolia poker

Although officially considered an illegal game, poker has been growing in popularity in Mongolia in recent years. Many talented Mongolian poker players have demonstrated their skills in tournaments staged all over Asia, with worldwide tournaments the next step to conquer.

To understand the status of Mongolia poker activities, we spoke to Bold Uundai, a colorful poker player who serves as president of the Mongolian Sport Poker United Association, a member organization of the International Federation of Poker.

Q:  How popular is the game of poker in Mongolia? Do a lot of people know how to play the game?

Bold: Poker is the most popular game of playing cards in Mongolia. From 8 years old to 80 years old, people know how to play Texas Hold’em Poker.  Omaha and NLH poker and other kinds are already popular in Mongolia.

Q: Did poker become more popular in Mongolia along with the rest of the world in the mid-2000s?

Bold: Yes, Mongolia poker play started becoming more popular along with the rest of world in 2000. But it has been illegal since 2000. Wealthy people go abroad to play poker.

Q: Is online poker legal in Mongolia? Is it popular?

Bold: It is allowed to play online poker in Mongolia.

Q: Can you tell me about the Mongolian Poker Federation? How many members does it have? What does it do?

Bold: The Mongolian Poker Federation is the only organization which is officially registered as an entity in the state registration. Also our federation is a member of International Federation of Poker. We are advised by Mr. Antony Power who is a British man.  He gives us direction how to manage poker clubs and how to organize bigger tournaments, and provides us with the confirmation that poker is a mind game.

We have over 140 members. Since poker has not been legalized yet, it is difficult to promote or campaign for poker officially in Mongolia.

In order to make poker legal and persuade government officials and authorities, we have repeatedly submitted an official letter and confirmation stating that poker is a mind game and mind sport to the Mongolian government.

As result of our efforts, the law on poker games will be reconsidered this autumn.

Q: Are there poker clubs in Mongolia?

Bold: There are over 10 small clubs in Mongolia. Due to the illegal status of poker, these clubs are also considered to be illegal clubs.  Poker games and small size tournaments are organized illegally and secretly.

Q: Are there women poker players?

Bold: There are a few women poker players, but not so many.

Q: Have any Mongolians achieved major success in poker tournaments around the world?

Bold: Yes, a few players have participated in the international tournaments staged in Asia.

 We wish Bold Uundai and the Mongolian Sport Poker United Association success in getting their government to legalize the game of poker, and we also wish Mongolian poker players huge success on the world poker scene.

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