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The Ryder Cup

Golf’s Ryder Cup took place last month, an event that pitted the best in the world from Europe and America over four days of unique competition. The European team, although underdogs at the off, were well-deserved winners. Actually, they thrashed the Americans. And to hear the Europeans talk about it, I was reminded that the golf and poker worlds are not so dissimilar.

The unique thing about the Ryder Cup is how it transforms a sport for individuals into a team sport. Players who have spent their careers competing for themselves alone are suddenly put into situations in which they have to rely on and perform for teammates rather than themselves. And with the European golfers winning four out of the last five Ryder Cups despite being outclassed on paper, these results have shown that the ability to perform as an individual does not necessarily transfer over to team play.

What if a “poker” Ryder Cup was organized? Would European team spirit be enough to overcome a perceived American advantage in individual skills? I’d like to bet on it, but first there needs to be a format created to transform poker into a team game rather than an individual one. I have an idea, using golf’s Ryder Cup as a model, whereby players compete over three days in three disciplines — Fourballs, Foursomes, and Singles. Here’s a poker equivalent of these disciplines:

In golf Fourballs, players play in groups of four, two from each team. Although each player plays his own ball, only a team’s best score counts on each hole. A poker equivalent of this would be to pit two from each team against each other in two head-up matches — playing the same cards! While Player A on one team played Player B from another team, the other …