LIVE COVERAGE OF THE NATIONS CUP DAY 2

11.30AM: WELCOME BACK TO WHAT IS A REVISED FORMAT FOR THE SECOND DAY OF THE IFP NATIONS CUP.

You might already be aware that the IFP has announced that no teams will be cut after Day One and that all 12 teams which played in yesterday’s first round will take part in a re-formatted second day.The decision was taken to ensure the fairness of the competition after technical issues gave rise to uncertainty over scoring during yesterday’s first stage in which games were played in capsules on the EDF Energy London Eye.

“Our sole concern is to ensure fairness for all of the players and because of that this was not a difficult decision,” said IFP President Anthony Holden. “Yesterday’s play clearly demonstrated the tremendous appetite players have for team duplicate poker and the chance to represent their countries.

That said it leaves plenty of poker to be played in a revised format, not to mention a thrilling finale later tonight. Here’s how the new schedule looks.

At 12 noon the six Group A teams (Spain, Germany, USA, Ireland, Denmark and Zynga) will play a shortened session of 36 hands. At 1.30pm the Group B teams (Japan, France, Australia, Holland, UK and Brazil) will do the same, with the results of both groups announced at around 3pm.

At 4pm the top three teams from each group will advance into the final session; 72 hands (shown on a one-hour delayed live stream) will determine the winning team, which will be presented with the Nations Cup trophy at around 7pm this evening.

It’s different, but the spirit of the tournament remains. Play begins at noon.

WELCOME TO THE IFP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Events NationscupAfter months of planning, logistics, and interest from around the world the waiting is finally over. For the next four days two unique events will be the focus of the poker world. It starts today with the inaugural running of the Nations Cup, and finishes on Sunday at The Table, where a first official IFP world champion of poker will be crowned.

Today, it’s all about the EDF Energy London Eye where in a few hours’ time 12 teams, made up of member federations, (actual and digital) take to the skies in the Eye’s capsules to play duplicate poker while steadily circling, with the stunning backdrop of London by night to distract them.Already the players are milling around the South Bank in London, opposite the House of Parliament, and a few feet away from County Hall, the former home to the Greater London Council and now the perfect venue for an event of equal stature. Or something like that.That all starts tonight, with lift-off scheduled for 8pm. That’s when the first of the 12 tables will be filled for a night of duplicate poker, perhaps the most unique variation of the Mind Sport. What’s duplicate poker you ask? Watch the video introduction to get up to speed.

Right now though the IFP Congress is taking place in the former Debating Chamber of the GLC (details to follow later today), before a reception begins for players, dignitaries and celebrities, here to witness what will be an historic day.

When play finally starts you’ll find live coverage of the event right here on the IFP Blog, along with pictures, videos and everything else you might think of. You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook, where you can also send us your comments.

NESSON PREDICTS BRIGHT FUTURE FOR POKER

And with the bringing down of the gavel, IFP President Anthony Holden (now re-elected for a second term of five years no less) brought the keynote speaker to the microphone – Charlie Nesson.

Nesson is to various people various things. To students of Harvard Law he is their professor; to students in the 1970s he’s the man who successfully defended Daniel Ellsberg (Google “Pentagon Papers”); while to poker players he is the man on a mission to elevate poker to the status of a Mind Sport, and as such he fits in brilliantly with the IFP.As an amateur poker player, Nesson was used to playing poker in bed, while his wife did the crossword. But, as he put it: “Black Friday got me out of bed”, energising Nesson who saw the events of this year as an assault on his liberty to use the internet.Nesson then decided to use the internet to his advantage, and as part of the Mind Sports Research Network, he now aims to create a worldwide research project to pinpoint the very nature of skill in poker, with the help of players, universities and organisations like the IFP. The results, when they are one day reach, should be worth waiting for.

Following Nesson, members of the media were presented with the key figures involved in tonight’s proceedings, including two team captains, Rolf Slotboom (Holland) and Barny Boatman (United Kingdom).

For players of their calibre, the Nations Cup stands as a new challenge, a new title to pursue and a new trophy for the mantel piece. There was no doubting the levels of national pride involved too, with Boatman and Slotboom each eyeing the Nations Cup trophy, in all its golden glory, perched on the table next to them. One things for sure, whoever wins will need a big mantel piece.

With play due to begin at 8pm we’re now a little more than an hour away from the start of the first ever Nations Cup. Players are currently being briefed on what to expect when they enter the pods, as well as the format of duplicate poker. Then it will be a short walk outside where the London Eye waits idle, one big wheel of fortune ready for the players to give it a spin.