The International Federation of Match Poker’s (IFMP) Nations Cup Final is to go ahead despite Covid-19, with the showpiece competition to be hosted virtually.
The decision was taken by IFMP to protect players at a time when most participating nations are still facing coronavirus lockdowns.
The Nations Cup will take place on Saturday May 30th and Sunday May 31st with 14 nations competing live on a digital host platform.
While each participating player will remain safe in his/her own home, the platform will enable each member of every team to see and communicate with each of their table competitors while the session is on and with their team mates, captain, manager, analysts, etc during breaks in play, in a virtual live competitive environment.
The global nature of the event means that while some will experience early morning play, others will be participating during their evening/night time.
Match Poker was devised and developed by the International Federation of Match Poker – which holds Observer Status of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and which has over 65 members federations worldwide – as a team-based mind sport where the element of chance inherent in the “random draw of cards” has been removed.
As a result, it conforms to the GAISF definition of a sport as ‘not relying on any element of luck specifi- cally integrated into the sport.’ IFMP has successfully developed the Match Poker technology including innovative use of smartphones in game-play and administration, making Match Poker a true 21st cen- tury mind sport and an eSport.
For the Nations Cup players will be producing personal video introductions to help with the event pro- duction, and will also use their mobile phones or tablets to access the gameplay software.
Teams taking part are reigning World champions Ukraine who will be joined by European champions Spain, Asian champions India and teams from Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Belarus, Lithuania plus a Digital Nation and a President’s pick.
Patrick Nally president of IFMP said:
“All International Sports Federations are facing enormous chal- lenges due to the pandemic but we are fortunate that, with our gameplay software, we are able to play a ‘live’ event but in individual home locations. Match Poker is a sport based entirely on skill and it’s the combination of a team’s effort that will ultimately produce the winner”.
“The social relationships developed through the hosting of our Match Poker events are important to us and we are looking forward to getting back to live events as soon as practical, but we will continue to support our international competition schedule in this manner until such times as our ‘sporting family’ can be reunited”.
The Nations Cup series kicked off with the European Nations Cup in Kyiv, Ukraine where 7 Nations qualified with Spain being crowned Champions. Next was the Asian Nations Cup in Taoyuan city, Taiwan where 5 Nations qualified with India taking the trophy home. This Nations Cup event will close the series by crowning our World Match Poker Champion for 2020.
The excitement from the Dublin event lead to Kyiv, Ukraine securing the hosting of the 2019 European Nations Cup. This event would be the first in IFMP’s 2019 events calendar and would be followed by an Asian and America’s Nations Cup which would then culminate into the grand Nations Cup Finals. 13 European Nations came together in Kyiv to battle it out as the Irish defended their European Championships from the previous edition of this event held in Cyprus. All teams would play together in the group stages over the first 2 days after which they would break into a top 6 (Cup) and bottom 7 (Plate). With 7 European spots up for grabs, and scores being reset to 0 after the group stages, it was all to play for with every nation having a fighting chance at qualifying! Some debutants but many familiar faces lead to intense competition over 3 days and finally saw the Spaniards make an incredible comeback and lift the trophy! Ireland finished 2nd, Ukraine 3rd, Belarus 4th, Poland 5th and Germany 6th – all of whom secured qualification to the Nations Cup Finals. The last qualification spot was contested by Hungary, Serbia, UK, Lithuania, Denmark, Estonia and Italy with Lithuania stepping up to the occasion to be crowned winners of the ‘Plate’ and the last European nation to participate in the finals.
We then move to Mumbai, India for the 4th season of the world’s first pro Match Poker league – the MatchIPL (Indian Poker League). 9 franchises all representing different part of India were ready to dethrone the Pune Kings after their triumph in season 3. Group stages included all teams playing together for the first 6 sessions of play after which the bottom 3 teams would be eliminated and the top 6 would play 2 final sessions with 50% of their scores being carried over. The Mumbai All Stars (season 1 champions and season 3 runners-up) and Haryana Hawks (season 2 champions) established themselves as the teams to watch out for quite early on and maintained the top 2 spots through the group stages. A nail biting finish to the groups saw the Bangalore Royals make the top 6 by a single point over the Kolkata Diamonds! The final sessions saw the Haryana Hawks implement the perfect winning strategy by taking a lead in session 1 and consolidating it in session 2, leading to their 2nd National Championship in 3 seasons!
Unfortunate political and civil circumstances in Peru lead to the postponement of our Nations Cup Finals from December to the last week of February. We thank our participating nations for their support and understanding, and promise to deliver our most sensational Nations Cup event yet! 2020 will see Match Poker’s link with education and corporates strengthen as we launch University and City Leagues in various nations to complement our existing events calendar comprising of European, Asian and American Nations Cup events all culminating into our Grand Nations Cup Final at the end of the year. 2019 saw over 2,500 hands of Match Poker played by over 35 teams at IFMP events and 30 anti-doping tests successfully completed! We expect to have 50+ nations participating in these events and hope to bring Match Poker into many more territories as we continue to grow this exciting sport globally! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
The Hungarian National Match Poker team for the 2019 European Nations Cup in Kyiv is:
Bianka Breda – Hungarian R’n’B DJ and amateur poker player. She’s playing poker for fun both live and online, but don’t misjudge her. Poker is in her blood.
Marcell Réti – Sport promoter and hobby poker player. He’s a cash game expert. Live poker player. He likes Match Poker and every sport, where one must to fight for the win. The youngest man in the Hungarian team.
Team Ireland have been extremely impressive and their accolades speak for their incredible Match Poker skill:
Winners of the 2013 European Nations Cup in Cyprus
Winners of the 2017 Nations Cup in Oxford
Runners-up of the 2019 Nations Cup in Dublin
Fintan Gavin – One of the most-decorated players in Irish poker history. Sixth in the all-time money listings having finished Runner-up in the European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona Main Event in 2008, won a UKIPT title in 2011, and dozens of more ranking events in his native Ireland. While not at the tables you will find Fintan in the Commentary booth as anchor for English broadcast teams during major festivals including the W.S.O.P.E & the Irish Poker Open.
Karen Muir – She has been an integral part of the Irish Match Poker team since 2017 and helped them to their various titles! Recent M.C.O.P Amsterdam support event champion. 10+ years NLH tournament experience. Regular on the Cash game festival Circuit. Finished top 10 player in her previous 2 Match Poker events.
Roy Brindley – Roy ‘the boy’ Brindley first tournament cash stretches back to early 2002. Since then Roy has amassed €800k+ in NLH & Omaha events throughout Europe. Author of the best selling biography Life’s a Gamble, Roy has more recently adapted his skill set to poker commentary & F1 sports punditry.
Johnathen McCullagh – better known as Johny from Ireland’s capital Dublin. “I love to travel to new places and meet new people which me and my partner Giulliana have done a lot of in our 3 years together, I like animals, going to the gym, cooking and tournament poker. My background is on-line MTT’s but I have transitioned to live tournaments in the last few years.”
Giulliana Olivera – Originally from Brazil I live in Ireland with my partner Johny. I’ve been part of the live poker scene coming on 4 years and have had some success including the Partypoker Ladies title in 2017. I like to meet new people travel and shop. I also love animals. To represent Ireland as part of the Match poker team is dream come true.
Chris Dowling – €800k in tournament winnings. Regarded as the most consistence Hold’em player in Ireland over the last decade. Final tabled several International ranking events. More recently competes & makes his living from high stakes Omaha cash games.. Like Karen and Fintan, Chris has also represented the Irish national Match Poker team since 2017 and done exceptionally well.