2019 Year End Review

2019 has been a breakthrough year for Match Poker! It began with a slightly delayed 2018 Nations Cup held in Dublin, Ireland at the beautiful Boyne Hill House as the home nation were looking to defend their World Championship after being victorious at the 2017 Nations Cup in Oxford. Debutants Ukraine arrived with a large contingent and got their strategy spot on, beating the Irish and Germans who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively to clinch the Match Poker World Championship on their first attempt! This event also marked the first time Match Poker athletes were subject to WADA tests during competition – which has now become a norm at all IFMP events. Match Poker is a sport and we must function like any other sport, ensuring clean competition and adhering to global sporting rules & regulations set by the IOC & GAISF.

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.

Next was the Asian Championships, held in Taoyuan, Taiwan after the Taiwanese also made their debut at the Dublin event. This event saw 9 Asian nations compete for continental glory as 5 qualification spots were up for grabs for the World Finals. Similar structure to the European event, all 9 teams play together in the group stages through 2 entire days after which they break into the top 4 (Cup) and bottom 5 (Plate). Top 4 automatically qualify but only the winner of the Plate joins them at the finals. Team India took an early lead and managed to ride some ups and downs to finish the group stages on top of the leaderboard with Australia and Singapore in 2nd and 3rd. The fight for 4th went right down to the wire and the home team Taiwan finally managed to get past the Israelis by just one point! A slight change in format saw the Cup play out 4-handed and the Plate 5-handed – with teams needing to adapt their playing styles and strategies constantly. A big push from the Indians secured the Asian Championship for them in the last 3 hands, away from the home team who lead for most of the final sessions! It was always two-horse race in the Plate as Israel and Korea kept putting the pressure on each other for the top spot with the Koreans breaking away and taking a lead in the last session of play to secure their qualification and win the Plate!

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!

A Truly Nail-Biting Asian Nations Cup!

Asian Nations Cup Round Up

The 2019 Asian Nations Cup was hosted in Taoyuan city, Taiwan and saw 9 highly skilled Asian nations participating, namely Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Israel, India, Japan, Philippines and Korea!

The previous Asian Championships were held in Sanya, China in 2013 and it was great to see some familiar faces in Taiwan. Match Poker debutants included Hong Kong, Philippines and Korea while Australia, Singapore, India, Israel and Japan had all participated in the 2013 Asian Nations Cup which was won by China. Excitement was building as 5 spots on the Road to Peru would be up for grabs from the 9 participating teams. These 5 qualifiers would join Ukraine, 6 European qualifiers, Peru and a few other select American teams for the Nations Cup Finals.

The event kicked off with a grand opening ceremony where the local minister of sport was in attendance and formally opened the event, toasting to its success with a glass of champagne along with all the participating teams captains. After a quick round of team introductions, dinner and a strategy session we jumped right into a formal player briefing held by IFMP’s Match Officials Joe Barnard and Varun Goenka.

The fan zone was packed with eager Match Poker athletes and as the first session of play kicked off, so did the screens with all card information provided face up ensuring complete transparency! 50 hands were played on day one and the leaderboard showed Team India in the lead with Korea, Australia, Israel and Taiwan taking up the remaining ‘Peru spots’ but it was way too early to make any predictions.

After a long night of review, analysis and strategy, the teams arrived ready for day 2 which would see them play 5 sessions of 50 hands each to make up a total of 300 hands in the group stages before breaking into a top 4 fight for the Nations Cup and the other 5 battling for the Nations Plate and the final Peru spot! The Koreans made a big push in the 2 morning sessions, topping the leaderboard ahead of India at the halfway point of the group stages (150 hands) by a whopping 59 points! Taiwan, Australia and Israel still held the other 3 of the top 5 spots.

The next 50 hands saw India reclaim the top spot but we also saw Team Singapore finally flex their Match Poker skills and begin climbing up the leaderboard to 5th as Israel dropped down to 6th. The last 100 hands in the group stages were coming up and there was bound to be a lot of fluctuations in the standings as teams were looking to try different strategies with the hope of breaking into the top 4 to solidify their spot in the World Championships.

Singapore was determined to continue their ascent up the leaderboard and they sat 2nd after 250 hands had been played! Just 15 points stood between Australia, Taiwan, Korea and Israel in 3rd to 6th with India sitting 30+ points clear at the top. The final group stage session was underway and the fan zone was buzzing with nervousness as the fight for the top 4 was extremely close!

Every hand being played was watched with hawk eyes as Taiwan, Israel and Australia were fighting for two qualification spots. A huge roar erupted from the fan zone as the leaderboard updated with scores from the 300th hand, marking the end of the group stages and along with that confirming Taiwan’s spot in the top 4 by just one point over Israel!!!

Dejected Israeli faces were seen leaving the room as celebrations began among the home team’s large contingent. Team India stood proud with their flag in front of the leaderboard and posed for photos as the winners of the group stages with Singapore in 2nd and Australia in 3rd. Israel and Korea were particularly disappointed at not making the top 4 but they still had a shot at the 5th Peru spot via the Nations Plate competition. The day ended with a trip to the nearby night market as the athletes socialised with one another outside of the event venue while enjoying local delicacies.

The final day saw the creation of two separate tournaments – the Cup and the Plate, along with being the day Asian Match Poker athletes would be tested by WADA for any performance enhancing substances. The Asian Nations Cup would be competed by the top 4 qualified teams of India, Singapore, Australia and Taiwan, who played in a 4×4 format for 5 sessions of 60 hands each to determine the new Asian Match Poker Champions!

In the Asian Nations Plate the remaining 5 teams played in a 5×5 format for 5 sessions of 50 hands each to determine who the last team to join the top 4 in Peru will be, and be awarded with the Asian Nations Plate trophy. Scores were reset to 0 and play kicked off for both competitions. Quite early it was evident that the Plate would be competed by Korea and Israel mainly as the 2 teams were neck and neck at the end of the first session.

The Cup saw home team Taiwan take a 25+ point lead after session 1! Session 2 ended with Australia closing the gap on Taiwan in the Cup and Korea extending their advantage in the Plate.

The final 2 sessions of play were in the dark as the leaderboards were switched off and final scores would be announced at the closing ceremony and awards function later that night. India made up a lot of ground in session 3 to close the gap to within 6.5 points of Taiwan with one session to go in the Cup while the Plate saw Israel now top the leaderboard but by a mere 3.5 points from Korea!

Tensions were high and strategy was the need of the hour with teams huddling together and planning their collective approach for the final session of the event. An incredible finish to what was a fantastic event lead to the closing ceremony and as our local host David Tai thanked the teams for being a part of the 2019 Asian Nations Cup, the final scores were being handed to IFMP president Patrick Nally to announce to the athletes and fans.

Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong finished 5th, 4th and 3rd in the Plate with Korea finally securing their Peru spot over the Israelis by a comfortable 61 points! Korea’s Lim Yohwan was also awarded player of the tournament as they came up to collect their award. Now time for the Asian Nations Cup standings – in 4th place with 730 points was Singapore, in 3rd place with 750 points was Australia who’s captain Julius Colman graciously accepted medals and thanked the hosts for an extremely enjoyable event.

It was now between India and Taiwan for the top spot and you could cut the tension in the room with a knife as everyone waited for the final announcement with bated breath. As Patrick Nally said, ‘The new Asian Nations Cup Champions are… INDIA’ the outpour of jubilation and excitement from the Indian contingent was absolutely incredible to see.

The players were ecstatic and couldn’t control their emotions as they began jumping around and hugging one another celebrating this monumental achievement! Team Taiwan graciously came up and received their silver medals while congratulating the Indians on their victory. The 5 qualified nations will now work hard and prepare themselves for the global challenge that lies ahead in the form of the Nations Cup Finals where their skills will be tested against top nations from Europe, North and South America!

Hong Kong make their Match Poker Debut in Taiwan at the 2019 Asian Nations Cup!

Team Hong Kong, being represented by the Match Poker Hong Kong Sports Federation (Operated by Hong Kong Game Club, HKGC), to participate the 2019 Asian Nations Cup in Taoyuan city, Taiwan will be comprised of:

Ricky Wai Ki Cheung – also known as the God Father of Poker in HK by TV media. Ricky is pioneer of Poker in Hong Kong and the founder of Hong Kong Game Club (HKGC) which has been promoting Poker and hosting poker tournaments in HK for 12 years since 2007. He is also the owner of 2 legal poker clubs, Club Pudong and Monte Carlo Whiskey Club, in Hong Kong for 9 years. HKGC partnered with All Japan Poker Championship (AJPC) since 2018, hosting AJPC x HKGC KO Bounty tournaments 2-3 times a year in Paradise City Incheon, Korea. Ricky signed with Asia Poker League(APL) as the Ambassador for 2019 & 2020. HKGC  signed with Hong Kong TV Station(TVB)  to produce 2 Seasons of  “Celebrities Poker Show”, the only legal Poker Organization in HK approved by the Communication Authority of HK.   A cash game player for 16 years. Started to play live tournaments  around Asia since 2018, have won 3 trophies and 25 ITMs.

Kathy Kam Tong Yang – have 2 years experience in live poker tournaments in Asia, she played in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. She is also a cash game player in Hong Kong for 2 years and Ambassador of Celebrities Poker Show of TVB.  She was the champion of AJPC Incheon 2018 No Limit Hold’em and has 16 ITMs in 2018. She is one of the female rising stars in Hong Kong.

Ying Kwong Mok – is a successful entrepreneur,  with over 20 businesses in Hong Kong. He is also a high stakes cash game player with 10 years of experience in No Limit Hold’em. He played live tournaments for leisure in different counties: Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Las Vegas.

Dr. Raymond Kut Fu Chow – is a high stakes cash game player in Hong Kong for 15 years. His best record is winning USD$2,000,000 in one night. His longest cash game session is 72 hours. He also travels around the world for live tournaments, countries include the Philippines, Korea, Australia,  England, Germany, Spain, and Las Vegas, USA. 

Ki Wong – is a high stakes cash game player in Hong Kong and Macau, with over 11 years of experience. He is also a regular supporter of the Aussie Millions.

Karson Ka Shing Mak  is a active cash game and tournament player in Hong Kong HKGC for 3 years. Started to play live tournaments in Asia since 2017. He is the champion of AJPC Taiwan 2019 No Limit Turbo.

Jackie Cheuk Kit Chu – is an Amateur poker player started playing in cash game 10 years ago, and he also participated in many overseas tournaments since 2015. Always bring a “Magician Doggie”with him as a lucky charm in tournaments.

Chau Yeung Yip – also known as Jack. He is a private equity investment banker in Hong Kong. He starts playing poker for 8 years since he has graduated from university. He always goes to HKGC’s Club Pudong for live tournaments. He is also a regular high stakes cash game player.

Asian Nations Cup 2019 hosts, Taiwan are aiming for the Continental Championship!

Wei Cheng Yin, Coach – Wei Cheng Yin is known as Bonsai. Professional Poker player for 3 years. Co-founded the Taiwanese coaching group “Taiwan Rounders” along with teammates Jack and Bubuii.

Tzu Chieh Lo, Coach – Tzu Chieh Lo known as “Bubuii” has been playing poker for 10 years and is regarded as one of the top online SNG/tournament players in Taiwan. He co-founded Taiwanese coaching group “Taiwan Rounders” along with teammates Jack Wu and Bonsai. He has numerous live tournaments wins throughout Asia and consistent online win-rate in both cash games and tournaments.

En Ching Wu, Coach – En Ching Wu known as Jack Wu, playing poker for seven years from he study master in NTU. In March 2016, Wu got his first big win during the ACOP Platinum Series Main Event where he earned more than USD$33,000. He made his biggest cash to date when he found himself victorious in the APPT 10 MPC HKD$20,000 No Limit Holdem Event taking home over USD$100,000. With Wu’s 2016 amazing performance, it was but natural that he was named Asia Player of the Year (APOY). Wu open his first live course in May 2017. Then, he established Taiwan Rounders in 2018 with his teammates Bubuii and Bonsai which is the biggest poker coaching site in Taiwan. He also serve as Taiwan Bear star wild card in GPL China. Wu is ambassador for Asian Poker League in 2019 & 2020.

Hsing Hsiung Tai, Captain – Hsing Hsiung Tai known as David where every poker players recognize him as he promotes poker sport in Taiwan since 2014. David started his poker career 4 years ago and enjoy travels for poker tournaments, he also play an important role to the development of poker sport and founded the biggest poker association in Taiwan – CTP Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association. CTP currently running 7 poker clubs throughout Taiwan and the biggest room located in Taipei city which can fit 27 poker tournament’s table. David is really honoured and excited to be the host for the upcoming IFMP Asian Nations Cup in Taoyuan, Taipei and he is looking forward to bring you a great event and wish all nation teams enjoy the hospitality. Welcome to Taiwan!

Po Chun Wen, Vice Captain – Po Chun Wen is known as Ross. The deputy team leader of Chinese Taipei. Working at CTP club as executive tournament director. He deeply loves poker from the first time he has played since 2008. And now, he is the one of who promotes poker as a sport competition in Taiwan and encourage to build CTP club to be the best poker room in Asia.

Philip King Chung Wang, Team Consultant – Philip Wang has been playing poker in the live circuit for over 11 years, and is currently the senior consultant for CTP Club, the largest poker club in Taiwan. Philip holds the world record for the number of ITMs in 2018, and is currently the country’s Top 10 GPI-ranked player. Philip is also the national team member representing Taiwan in last year’s IFMP Asian Nation’s Pair Challenge, and has helped his team win a Silver Medal with his teammate Bonsai.

Zong Chi He – Zong Chi He aka “Art” that’s all his friends called him. Art Started playing poker since 2008 and currently holds several champions titles in his check list in this year. As a team member of Team Chinese Taipei, he had attended the IFMP Match Poker Nations Cup in Dublin, Ireland and the schedule had fully inspired him during that time. With the Asian Nations Cup coming to his home ground in Taoyuan, Taiwan, he is hoping to perform well in the match and take down the Championship.

Chi Jen Chen – Chi Jen Chen, better known as CJ, started to play poker online as an amateur over 10 years ago, while taking care of his newborn baby in many sleepless nights. CJ loves poker and spends most of his time from busy schedule of work and family. CJ holds an MBA degree from NYU and is a father of 2 boys and a girl. He is also the co-founder and CEO of a financial trading software company. CJ recently won the APL Main Even Championship in Taipei among other numerous winnings in other tournaments.

Yu Chung Chang – CHANG YU CHUNG known as Nevan and been playing poker since 3 years ago. He had been representing the CS National Team Taiwan from the age of 14 to 20 and been in the e-commerce industry for 6 years after retiring from the national team. In the year of 2016, a poker trip at Seoul Korea had changed his life till now, he is passionate and in love with poker, Nevan will spend 10 hours a day studying poker skills and strategies. He is now a full time professional poker player in MTT and cash game, also co-operating with Natural 8 on live broadcast of poker sessions.

Chen Yi Liu – Chen Yi Liu known as Serina Liu, holds an electronic engineering master degree from NTU and is currently working as an engineer in the largest IC design company in Taiwan. Serina has been playing poker for 2 years and has already won numerous live tournaments in her pocket. She was also a GGNetwork ambassador back in 2018. Such accomplishments has put her on the list as one of the upcoming rising female stars among the poker circuit in Taiwan.

Yi Chun Cheng – Cheng Yi Chun better known as Wade, has been playing poker for 6 years, Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker club operator in Hsinchu, promotes poker to the public everyday all the time and doesn’t care about winning or losing, just having fun.

The Aussies are heading to Taiwan!

Introducing Team Australia that will participate at the 2019 Asian Nations Cup in Taiwan:

Jarryd Godena
After an interest in watching poker on TV, I started out learning online poker at the smallest stakes.  I enjoyed the challenge of playing all forms of poker including online and live, tournaments and cash games, Holdem, Omaha and the mixed games.  Outside of poker I enjoy sports and traveling.
Chris Wookey 
I have been obsessed with poker since Joe Hachem won the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Primarily a live cash game grinder, I do play the occasional tournament.  Career highlights include cashing in the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event. Poker is my passion, particularly the mental warfare and strategic elements.
Julius Colman
I love poker as a mind sport. I love its competitiveness, its risk, its assessment of odds. I love that it is a metaphor for life where, to succeed, you need to make decisions doing the best you can with information that is often imperfect.
Ashley Warner
Ashley is a 31yo poker player from Perth, with poker highlights including 2nd at ANZPT Melbourne in 2012 and numerous final tables at Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth over the last 8 years.
Heidi May
High stakes cash game player, won the 2017 WSOP ladies bracelet in 2017, enjoys volunteering for animal sanctuaries and fostering dogs when not playing poker. 
Tanja Vujanovic
Tanja has been crushing the online and live felt since 2009 and is one of the only female poker players in Australia to hold a triple crown title. On the live felt Tanja is best known for playing high stakes cash with a notable win in the 2016 Perth Poker champs main event.