For the past few weeks, soccer fans around Europe have been glued to their television sets, watching the fortunes of their side go up, down and sometimes up again in pursuit of one of the games’ most sought after trophies.

The 16 teams that started Euro 2012 earned their place in the championship after a two year qualifying period. This rigorous process ensures that the Championship, staged jointly in Poland and Ukraine, showcases the very best of European football talent in new state-of-the-art stadia.In this regard it has been a total success. The likes of Spain and Italy have at dazzled in their passage to the semi-finals, as have the dependable Germany and flair-filled Portugal. For the worldwide audience this has been soccer at its most compelling.National teams benefit from a natural fan base, uniting the hard core supporters with the occasional viewers who long gave up on understanding the offside rule. They replace passion with national pride and the spirit of competition, rejoicing when their nation does well, shrugging off any despondency when they fail.

IFP believes that poker could become a similar spectacle, drawing in support from pro poker players, amateurs and casual fans alike, even if they do not completely understand position or c-betting. All can be brought together by a shared appreciation for the talents of world class competitors.

The IFP Nations Cup strives to fill a gap in the poker world; a national team championship bringing together the best players from various qualifying countries to compete alongside each other.

Using an innovative format known as Match Poker (formerly Duplicate Poker), in which players at different tables are dealt identical hands in corresponding seats, the Nations Cup reduces the element of chance while increasing the demands on skill necessary to succeed. In Match Poker you must win and lose in the most profitable manner.

As the inaugural Nations Cup demonstrated in November, it makes for an absorbing and dynamic poker event, with the capacity to watch how several players play the same hand proving to be an educational tool without parallel.

This year IFP will be staging the second IFP Nations Cup, in London, made up of teams of players who have themselves survived an arduous qualification process. This event will once more demonstrate how the best players utilise talent and skill at the highest level to succeed and become Nations Cup champions.

Last year that was Team Germany, a team as gifted and organised as their counterparts on the football field. Will they be able to defend their title this November in London? Details of the line-up of this years’ event will be coming soon on the IFP website.


The 2011 Duplicate Poker Nations Cup final took place on November 18, of the original 12 teams only 6 remained. Brazil, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and the world’s first digital nation Zynga battled it out to be crowned the most skillful nation.

Infographic Nations Cup 07122011 Facebook


With the individual results from the Nations Cup now published on the IFP Blog, there’s been plenty of time to pore through the fine detail, inviting closer scrutiny of each team’s performance.

Duplicate poker offers a treasure trove of information for poker players, a breed already obsessed with detailed analysis of every possible hand played in every possible situation. It keeps the game strong and in a state of permanent evolution, and the duplicate form only adds to that, with further details of every hand played – every decision made – stored on computer for even deeper analysis.Konstantin BuecherlFor now the results show the dominance of the champions Team Germany. Of six preliminary tables and six during the final stages, Germany won five of them, scoring a maximum of six points per table. From that team Konstantin Buecherl (pictured in black) scored a perfect 12, winning both his heats to make him the highest scoring player in the Nations Cup.

Others scoring well included:

11 points: Leo Margets (Spain), Clement Thumy (France), Geoff Kinnune (Zynga), Raul Paez (Spain).

10 points: Rolf Slotboom (Netherlands), John Paul Pasqualini (France), Moritz Kranich (Germany), Roger Ellis (Zynga).

The effect of Team Zynga wasn’t underestimated, with several professional players suggesting that it affected the way they played. Did that make it easier for the amateurs of Zynga? Geoff Kinnune and Roger Ellis would disagree, both of whom won at least one contest.

Liv BoereeIf you were on one of the teams eliminated in the first stages there was some consolation in at least earning maximum points. Of the six teams that didn’t progress from the first stage three players won their seat to claim some pride: Liv Boeree (UK) (pictured, right), Vanessa Selbst (USA) and Jackie Glazier (Australia).

One last word on hypothetical performances combined from the first and final stages. Had that been the case France would be the Nations Cup champions with 52 points, one more than Germany on 51.

Just for fun.


A week ago players from 12 National Teams were preparing to face each other in a unique event in London’s County Hall.

As outside tourists wandered along the banks of the River Thames inside some of the world’s best poker players engaged in duplicate poker, competing not against the players at their table, but the players at other team in the same seat.Now the official results have now been confirmed, showing who won seat-by-seat. Remember the results below are not divided by table, but by seat, with the players each receiving the same hand.

Let the discussion begin…


(Germany 27 points, Team Zynga 25, Spain 24, Denmark 17, Ireland 17, United States 16)

Seat 1
1st – Moritz Kranich (6 points)
2nd – Gus Hansen (5)
3rd – Donnacha O’Dea (4)
4th – Juan Maceiras (3)
5th – Ricky Greer (2)
6th – Isaac Haxton (1)

Seat 2
1st – Roger Ellis (6 points)
2nd – Tomeu Gomila (5)
3rd – Marty Smith (4)
4th – Tobias Reinkemeier (3)
5th – Simon Ravnsbaek (2)
6th – Jennifer Leigh (1)

Seat 3
1st – Vanessa Selbst (6 points)
2nd – Leo Margets (5)
3rd – Hans Martin Vogl (4)
4th – Eoghan O’Dea (3)
5th – Margaret Hailey (2)
6th – Mads Wissing (1)

Seat 4
1st – Konstantin Buecherl (6 points)
2nd – Brian Turnbull (5)
3rd – Lars Bonding (4)
4th – Raul Mestre (3)
5th – Cat O’Neill (2)
6th – Antonio Esfandiari (1)

Seat 5
1st – Raul Paez (6 points)
2nd – Geoffrey Kinnune (5)
3rd – Pernille Ravn (4)
4th – Matt Matross (3)
5th – Sebastian Ruthenberg (2)
6th – Andy Black (1)

Seat 6
1st – Sandra Naujoks (6 points)
2nd – Roei Shalev (5)
3rd – Barry Greenstein (4)
4th – Padraig Parkinson (3)
5th – Oscar Blanco (2)
6th – Mads Andersen (1)


(France 30 points, Netherlands 23, Brazil 22, Australia 21, United Kingdom 17, Japan 13)

Seat 1
1st – Rolf Slotboom (6 points)
2nd – Nicolas Levi (5)
3rd – Daniela Zapiello (4)
4th – Kiyomi Tagawa (3)
5th – Mike Guttmann (2)
6th – Jake Cody (1)

Seat 2
1st – Caio Pimenta (6 points)
2nd – Fabrice Soulier (5)
3rd – Marsha Waggoner (4)
4th – Takuo Serita (3)
5th – Fatima Moreira de Melo (2)
6th – JP Kelly (1)

Seat 3
1st – Jackie Glazier (6 points)
2nd – Jean Paul Pasqualini (5)
3rd – Alex Gomes (4)
4th – Rob Hollink (3)
5th – James Akenhead (2)
6th – Tsuneaki Takeda (1)

Seat 4
1st – Hugo Lemaire (6 points)
2nd – Mel Judah (5)
3rd – Sam Holden (4)
4th – Felipe Ramos (3)
5th – Noah Boeken (2)
6th – Gen Watanabe (1)

Seat 5
1st – Liv Boeree (6 points)
2nd – Marcel Luske (5)
3rd – Takuya Suzuki (4)
4th – Lucille Cailly (3)
5th – Tony G (2)
6th – Christian Kruel (1)

Seat 6
1st – Clement Thumy (6 points)
2nd – Jorryt van Hoof (5)
3rd – Andre Akkari (4)
4th – Sam Trickett (3)
5th – Leo Boxell (2)
6th – Kinichi Nakata (1)


Seat 1
1st – Lucille Cailly (6 points)
2nd – Oscar Blanco (5)
3rd – Margaret Hailey (4)
4th – Noah Boeken (3)
5th – Andre Akkari (2)
6th – Hans Martin Vogl (1)

Seat 2
1st – Konstantin Buecherl (6 points)
2nd – Clement Thumy (5)
3rd – Daniela Zapiello (4)
4th – Brian Turnbull (3)
5th – Marcel Luske (2)
6th – Juan Maceiras (1)

Seat 3
1st – Geoff Kinnune (6 points)
2nd – Sebastian Ruthenberg (5)
3rd – Jorryt van Hoof (4)
4th – Caio Pimenta (3)
5th – Nicolas Levi (2)
6th – Tomeu Gomila (1)

Seat 4
1st – Leo Margets (6 points)
2nd – Alex Gomes (5)
3rd – Rolf Slotboom (4)
4th – Fabrice Soulier (3)
5th – Sandra Naujoks (2)
6th – Roei Shalev (1)

Seat 5
1st – Thiago Nashijima (6 points)
2nd – Jean Paul Pasqualini (5)
3rd – Moritz Kranich (4)
4th – Fatima Moreira de Melo (3)
5th – Ricky Greer (2)
6th – Raul Mestre (1)

Seat 6
1st – Tobias Reinkemeier (6 points)
2nd – Raul Paez (5)
3rd – Roger Ellis (4)
4th – Rob Hollink (3)
5th – Felipe Ramos (2)
6th – Hugo Lemaire (1)


1st – Germany (24 points)
2nd – Brazil (22 points, 6,350 chips)
3rd – France (22 points, 4,620 chips)
4th – Zynga (20 points)
5th – Netherlands (19 points)
6th – Spain (19 points)


So what is the Nations Cup? We’re glad you asked…

The first thing to know about the Nations Cup is that it is a team event, played by 12 teams, made up of International Federation of Poker member nations, with each Federation President tasked with recruiting a team of six (with one reserve) to travel to London later this month.

London Eye MedThe second thing to know about the Nations Cup is that it will be played in the capsules of the EDF Energy London Eye, on the banks of the River Thames, with a backdrop of iconic sights such as The Houses of Parliament and St Pauls Cathedral.

The Third, and most important thing to know about the Nations Cup, is that it is played using Duplicate Poker.

Anyone familiar with Duplicate Bridge will understand the concept of Duplicate Poker which involves each table of players receiving the same hand as that dealt at every other table.

Duplicate poker therefore pitches players against each opponent dealt identical cards in several games played simultaneously. Players score points based on how they exploit their hand to win (or limit losses), and are then compared to opponents being dealt the same cards at other tables. It’s a perfect way to remove the vagaries of luck and instead assess how skilful a player really is.

As Duplicate Poker ambassador, and author, Jim McManus puts it:

“By draining as much luck from the game as possible, Duplicate Poker comes close to guaranteeing that the best players will win in the short run as well as the long run.”

The Nations Cup should prove how accurate that really is.