With the work of IFP gaining momentum in leaps and bounds, with new initiatives and progress being made almost on a daily basis, it’s sometimes easy to miss the landmarks worth celebrating, like that of yesterday, when the International Federation of Poker celebrated its third year anniversary, following its formation in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2009.

_MG_9762From 12 original members, IFP is now an organisation of more than 40 national federations, led by President Anthony Holden who has been instrumental in IFPs formation, as well as in creating the first IFP World Championships, played in London in 2011.So much has been achieved already but it’s what we have to look forward to that excites us most.In the coming months they’ll be a new look website. Not only that but soon you will be able to sign up for IFP membership and take advantage of a broad range of benefits aimed at dramatically enhancing your poker playing experience. Most significantly, IFP membership will allow you the chance to qualify for events, such as the 2012 The Table and the Nations Cup, played using Duplicate Poker.

Those familiar with IFPs work will know that duplicate poker, a form of the game in which players at different tables each receive the same cards, is a poker variant that dramatically reduces the element of variance in poker, leaving room for more skill.

IFP is collaborating with the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta, looking into variants of duplicate poker and exploring the notion of Duplicate Poker Ratings, something which could give members a true measure of a player’s poker skill.

In addition IFP membership will include a ranking system that will use a unique formula that will enable you to compare your progress alongside everyone family and friends, as well as other members across the world.

The IFP is also developing ideas to host duplicate poker online, incorporating the use of Artificial Intelligence, and is in the process of building state-of-the-art poker training tools for all IFP members to enjoy.

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who sent messages this weekend supporting the work of the IFP, which were gratefully received. IFPs online community grows day by day. We hope you’ll agree that after three great years there is much more to come and we look forward to having you on board as we reach our fourth birthday.


30-4-12 - Phil Hellmuth


Casino Square

Casino Square in Monaco

The main event of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final begins in Monaco today. It’s the flagship final event of the tour’s eighth season, staged in the Salle d’Etoiles at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel which features a retractable roof which, for a few minutes each day, reveals the Mediterranean blue sky, bright sunshine and horizon of one of the world’s most exclusive, not to mention expensive, coastlines.

The tour is returning to Monaco after a one year hiatus in Madrid in Season 7. There’s certainly something about Monaco that makes it a draw for poker players; it’s ludicrous wealth, stark prices and glorious weather, not to mention the history attached to the place; that of Princess Grace, the Grand Prix, and the ships, described as luxury yachts, moored in the iconic harbour.

The place suits opulence and the celebration of, well anything, which lends credence to the idea of Monaco being European poker’s spiritual home, and the ideal venue for the continent’s biggest live poker event.

Or is it?

Perhaps Monaco is too exclusive, what with astronomical rents and preference for baccarat in Casino square rather than Mind Sport. Is London’s Victoria Casino poker’s real home or maybe even Cannes, along the coast, home to the World Series of Poker Europe?

Who really knows?

Regardless, events in Monaco usually end memorably, as this week’s events should demonstrate. We’ll leave you to decide which destination you would call poker’s spiritual home.


23-4-12 - Charles Lamb


In a glimpse of what organised national poker looks like the German Poker Federation (the DPSB) staged its fourth National Heads-Up Team Championship in Hannover last weekend, bringing together qualifying teams from across the country to compete head to head for title of German champion.

Riverkings_Hof_winner_team (2)Poker in Germany has surged in the past decade, with Stud giving way to hold’em, and the internet bringing poker to millions of players. Last November Pious Heinz became the first German player to win the World Series of Poker and Team Germany took down the inaugural IFP Nations Cup in London. Events like the Heads-Up National Championship introduce more players to the international fold.Heads up poker is one of the toughest poker disciplines, with literally nowhere for a player to hide. Every hand pits you against your opponent; you can’t rely on another player at your table to do the hard work. It means the best heads-up players are focused, patient and ruthlessly aggressive.

This is doubly important in a team context, which adds another layer of potential complication; where each decision is taken in full view of your team mates, whose result depends on your actions as much as theirs. As witnessed at last year’s Nations Cup, it adds a new and complicated dimension to the game that is not easy to master.

Organised by the AllIn Hannover poker club, the competition featured 12 teams for four competing over two days. Four heads-up matches were played simultaneously between teams, for three rounds, with increased points for each win. If there’s no team winner after three heads-up rounds a decider is played, with a team requiring 41 points to win.

The tense round robin group stages were not for the faint of heart, starting at 10am (not usually an hour suited to poker players), playing through to the 3am finish (that’s more like it). The four group winners then progressed to the semi-finals on Sunday.

The standout team in the group stages was Riverkings Hof, winning both of their group matches to advance to the semi-finals, where they beat THC Mönchengladbach by a score of 58 to 23. In the other tie 89 suited München defeated Entertainment Poker Hürth, 42 points to 20.

It made for an all-Bavaria final, with both teams having competing in each of the three prior national finals. But showing the same form in the later stages as they had in their group there could only be one winner; Riverkings Hof, from a town of only 50,000 inhabitants, clear winners, 54 points to 27. In the third place playoff THC Mönchengladbach got the better of Entertainment Poker Hürth, 41 points to 21.

Congratulations to Riverkings Hof on a great victory. Here at IFP we are already looking forward to next year.