The recently established non-profit organisation, Deaf Poker Australia, in association with the Australian Poker League is set to hold the first Australian Deaf Poker Championships in August 2009.
Founder of DPA Sokong Kim hopes to raise enough money from sponsorship endorsements to offer free entry for all interested participants, with all funds raised to go directly into the prize pool less tournament expenses.
Though the idea of a poker tournament featuring deaf and hearing impaired participants is new here in Australia, deaf poker leagues have already been well established in the United States and Europe, including championship events held annually in the Venetian in Las Vegas and The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Though limited to communication through sign language, tournament directors and dealers have found it relatively easy to adapt and casinos are supportive of the deaf community becoming involved in poker.
For most tournaments entry is open to deaf and hearing impaired players, also allowing entry to and assistance by hearing players who act as interpreters. However for U.S. National Deaf Poker Tour (www.nationaldeafpokertour.com) Main Events, entrants must sign a sworn statement declaring that their hearing loss is at least 55 db.
Deaf poker is not just limited to tournaments – there are also numerous websites, blogs and videos on YouTube, showing highlights of home games, major tournaments and offering invaluable poker advice to players, as well as the odd bad beat story, communicated entirely in sign language.
“Our long term goal is to help and support deaf and hearing impaired poker players to play in mainstream tournaments in the same way that Full Tilt supports their players,” Kim says.
The Australian Deaf Poker Championships tournament structure, costs and venue will be announced as numbers are confirmed.
A website, www.ausdeafpoker.com is currently under construction; however players can register their interest by sending an email to the DPA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in assisting deaf poker players, you can find information on learning Auslan and sign language at www.auslan.org.au.
For general information on deafness and hearing impairment, follow the link relative to your state.
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