The First Match Poker World Champions, Germany, are ready for 2021

Introducing the German national Match Poker squad for the upcoming European qualifiers, leading up to the Nations Cup Finals 2021.

Name: Daniel Eylenfeldt

Age: 41

Profession: Poker Coach / Professional Poker Player

Bio: I’ve been playing poker regularly since 2007. I think it’s great that even though it’s been around for so long, it’s still possible to improve your poker game. During my poker coaching in particular, I find it very rewarding to watch my students continuously improve.

Name: Jan Heitmann

Age: 44

Profession: Keynote Speaker and Trainer

Started playing: 1996

Bio: I fell in love with poker quite early, when it was still very underground in Germany. During my studies at university (management), I played more regularly. Once I got my diploma in September 2003, I travelled around Europe for a year, playing poker in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Vienna, London, etc., culminating in my first WSOP in 2004 and turned professional after that. I had quite a long and successful career, spanning 15 years, including doing lots of promotional work for poker in Germany (as a commentator, trainer for celebrities and a part of Team PokerStars Germany). These days poker is still a big part of my life, but in a very different way. I use poker as a model for decision making, holding keynote talks and trainings for managers, leaders and decision makers.

Name: Timm Albrecht

Age: 40

Profession: Business, Life and Poker Coach and a Professional Poker Player

Bio: I play poker since 13 years, mostly online cash games but also MTTs and SnGs. I love discussions, books, videos and quizzes about poker and want to travel playing all over the world.

Name: Kai Rieche

Age: 40

Profession: CEO

Bio: Started around 20 years ago in my hometown of Berlin and still playing the game. Had so many good times with this game around the world, so it is in my opinion still the most beautiful hobby. I hope we can play live soon again, so long let’s do it online. Looking forward to the first qualification round.

Name: Niklas Andrews

Age: 24

Profession: Psychology student

Bio: I’ve been playing poker for about 3 years, focusing on cash games since the beginning. What I love the most about poker is the complexity of the game. The fact that the room for improvement seems to be endless is why I keep falling in love with poker.

Name: Stefanie Haffke

Age: 35

Profession: Civil Engineer

Bio: I have about 4 years of experience in playing poker as a mind sport. Mostly live, what I definitely prefer. As an engineer I love solving puzzles. That combined with playing a game, poker is my absolute favourite.

Name: Arash Fazeli

Age: 39

Profession: IT Specialist / electronics technician

Bio: I have been playing poker since 2003. I’m a poker coach and passionate tournament player. Heads-up is my favourite discipline. I love Poker… You grow with your decisions and keep developing. The mixture of strategic thinking and tactical action, taking incomplete information into account, is what makes this game so fascinating.

Name: Alexander Kleppe

Age: 39

Profession: IT architect and project manager

Bio: Alexander is 39 years old and loves to play poker – has been for over 20 years, especially online cash games and tournaments, as well as the German Heads-up live championship. He works as an IT architect & project manager and plays for the German Nations Cup Team since 2019. Alex loves the idea of poker as a mind sport along with the international challenges with players from different nations and wants to see Match Poker advancing to the next level of recognition.

Israeli Championship of Online Poker 2020

After a successful appearance at the 2019 Asian Nations Cup where Team Israel finished in 5th place and was 1 point behind Taiwan who finished 4th and qualified for the Nations Cup Finals, preparation for the upcoming Nations Cup 2021 are underway!

Israeli Poker Players Federation (IFMP Israel) has almost fully assembled its new Israeli Poker Team. Most of the Israeli Team members were chosen based on their results at the Israeli Online Poker League which ran for 52 tourneys during 2020.

The last members will be chosen based on ICOOP 2020 – Israeli Championship of Online Poker.

The first ever national online poker championship is being played in a virtual manner while Israel deals with Covid-19 like the rest of the world. Participation is available only for National Federation members who hold a 2020 Poker Player Card.

The entry fee is 250 NIS (~75$) and the prizes vary from packages to Israeli Poker Championship (IPC) played live in Bulgaria, the animated digital course “Pre-Flop Poker Secrets” by the Israeli Poker Academy, and poker equipment by “Lion Card”.

The championship has 4 semi-final stages in a satellite structure where 10% of the players in each semi-final qualify to the Final Stage. Each semi-final is played with 10,000 chips stack and 10 minutes blind levels.

So far at the first 3 semi-finals there was a total of 191 players and it is expected that a total of ~250 entries will be recorded.

The Final Stage will be held on Saturday 12th December and will be played with a 10,000 chip stack and 15 minutes blind levels.

We wish all the best for the Israeli poker sportsmen & women, and cross fingers for a historic qualification to the Match Poker Nations Cup Finals in 2021! – by Stas Tishkevich, Chairman of IFMP Israel.

The 11th Sports Poker Championship of Lithuania

As the world deals with everything that has been thrown at it this year it’s nice to see IFMP’s Lithuanian national federation host it’s 11th Sports Poker Championship!
This event is taking place at Du Karaliai (Two Kings) – the first and biggest sports poker club in Lithuania, located in Vilnius.
The championship will last 4 days – from Thursday to Sunday, containing 3 starting days 1A, 1B, 1C, 2nd day and final day.
The 4 day event will consist of the main event in No-Limit Texas Holdem and side events in Pot-Limit Omaha.
The main event is a very deep freeze-out (levels up from 40 to 60 minutes, 30000 starting stack).
The main partner of LSPF (Lithuanian Sports Poker Federation) is Olybet, which, of course, gives the main prize – buy-in to the biggest poker tournament in Baltics – The Kings of Tallinn main event (1100EUR buy-in).
Every player also collects rating points towards top 10 of the year within the federation structure.

Nations Cup World Championship Roundup

The weekend of 30th and 31st May 2020 was a monumental occasion that saw IFMP conduct its flagship event in a virtual manner, responding to the global pandemic we all currently find ourselves in.

12 nations geared up for this world championship event, in a unique format since everyone was playing from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Following on from the European and Asian continental championships last year in Kyiv and Taipei respectively, we saw our 12 participants emerge. Current Nations Cup holders Ukraine, European Nations Cup winners Spain, Asian Nations Cup winners India were all joined by Germany, Ireland, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.

While trying to replicate the live format as much as possible, and adding a social element, IFMP partnered with Cisco to use their Webex video conferencing platform for the Nations Cup. Every player was online on Webex, connected to each of their table opponents, while simultaneously playing Match Poker on their smartphone, tablet or PC. Each team was provided with their own private meeting room where they could conduct their team meetings and discuss strategy between sessions. PokerNews came onboard as the official media partner of the event, providing regular updates to the global poker community throughout the event. For the first time, all tables were also streamed to Twitch, on a 30-minute delay, where all fans could follow the cards-up action while watching the Webex meetings between the players too!

6 sessions of 50 hands were played with all 12 teams participating after which the bottom 6 teams were eliminated and the top 6 qualified for the final. Defending champions Ukraine showed their skill by rising to the top after 100 hands and maintaining that position throughout the group stages. They were accompanied by Singapore, Australia and India to make up the top 4. The battle for the last 2 qualifying spots really went down to the wire as there was very little to choose between the next 5 teams in the standings – just 20 points between them going into the last session of the group stages! The final session of the group stages was played completely in the dark, with the tension clearly building as IFMP president Patrick Nally got ready to announce which teams had qualified to the finals – a virtual gathering of all participants via a Webex conference! The reactions from Taiwan and Lithuania were priceless as Patrick announced it would be these 2 nations going into the final alongside Ukraine, Singapore, Australia and India.

A tough decision after many internal reviews and discussions led to the disqualification of the Singaporean team for the use of additional information to gain an unfair advantage. This led to the final session of 100 hands being played by the 5 remaining teams, completely in the dark once again. It was here that the players in Team Ukraine really asserted themselves and pulled away, scoring average or better in hands an incredible 80% of the final. This compares with 59% for Australia, 58% for Lithuania, 52% for Taiwan and 47% for India. It was also noted that Team Ukraine finished in last place in just 4 of the final’s 100 hands!!! A special mention must also go to the individual performances of Mykhailo Gutyi of Ukraine and Mantas Urbonas of Lithuania who played exceptionally well – both amassing well over 100,000 chips more than their average opponent with the same cards. The final standings saw Ukraine retain the Nations Cup, Australia in 2nd place with Lithuania climbing two spots from the start of the final to finish in 3rd overall! A fantastic event which brought the Match Poker community together at a time when very few sports have the ability to continue – we truly are ALL IN TOGETHER!


Team Singapore Disqualification

This year’s IFMP Nations Cup World Championships of Match Poker was contested in most extraordinary circumstances, given the inability for all teams, players, analysts and officiators to convene at the same physical location. It was therefore understood that the integrity and sporting aspects of Match Poker could only be upheld by a total commitment from all teams and all participants to play according to the strict guidelines sent to all nations. The tremendous efforts and preparations made by all IFMP National Federation members ahead of the event was truly remarkable, with the shared mission of persevering against adversity and presenting our sport to the world via coordinated mobile gameplay software and video- conferencing.

All nations took part in test sessions prior to the championships and were informed of the rules of competition. Particular notice was given to all players regarding the temptation to gain an unfair advantage by accessing data on hands in advance.

IFMP is proud of the fact that Match Poker is so transparent. Given the digital nature of the sport, all action is recorded and time-stamped. Additionally, at the World Championships, gameplay was observed in real-time throughout, as well as live-streamed with all cards up (on a 30-minute delayed basis). IFMP was extremely grateful for the self-policing of the competition guidelines and for all the specific hand information teams shared for review. Throughout the entire first 6 sessions of the Nations Cup World Championship there was only one such review that escalated to a player being interviewed and cautioned.

Ahead of the final, all team captains were again assembled and notified about IFMP’s invigilation processes and warned of the potential penalties for infractions. Following the first 75 hands of the final, IFMP received multiple requests for review and the competition was therefore delayed while an official investigation took place. The player who had been previously cautioned was again called in for an interview. Sadly, the outcome of the investigation into hand histories and video concluded that Team Singapore had contravened the rules of Match Poker and gained an unfair advantage in the final. The severity of this and implication for the other finalists left IFMP no option but to exclude the entire team and restart the final with the remaining 5 nations. IFMP has now made all hand histories from the event publicly available here:

Despite this regrettable incident, IFMP is extremely grateful to all other participating nations for their conduct, understanding and patience throughout the weekend, which enabled a remarkable contest to take place.