Duplicate Blog2The 12 teams taking part in the first International Federation of Poker Nations Cup on the EDF Energy London Eye will be making poker history. But they’re not the first to try this intriguing form of the game. That was left to the attendees of three trial runs of duplicate poker pioneers who laid the groundwork for what’s planned to take place in London, in November.

Three special events were staged to iron out the duplicate creases with teams of players, made up of students, amateurs and professional players taking to the baize to play hundreds of hands, dealt identically on each table, testing not only the players but the game itself, fixing any teething problems that might be harder to solve while suspended hundreds of feet over the River Thames.

In the first trial, staged in the Victorian debating chamber of the Oxford Union, duplicate poker followed in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein and even Kermit the Frog, to withstand the cross examination of the nation’s brightest students. The resulting win for Scotland made them the answer to what could become one of poker’s more unusual trivia questions.

Following Oxford there was London, where an extended competition seemed to bolster the argument that duplicate poker allows skilful players to succeed. Barny Boatman, John Duthie and Neil Channing were part of the UK Federation team which went on to finish second behind a team from Imperial College. But all three pros finished best.

Then a third trial, this past Friday, the last before the Nations Cup begins on 17 November. Changes included a switch from no-limit to pot-limit, after consultation with the likes of Boatman and Channing, which encouraged more post-flop play. British pros James Akenhead and Sam Trickett, members of the UK team, had their first attempt at mastering this purist form of the game.

The result? Another win for Imperial College – a duplicate win so to speak.

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