First Nation to Qualify for the Nations Cup, Will Austria also be the Last Nation Standing?

The Austrian PokerSport Association hosted the first-ever qualifying event for Match Poker, in Vienna in December 2012 which saw European nations competing to participate in the 2013 European Nations Cup held in Paphos, Cyprus!

Their most recent participation was in the 2017 Nations Cup held in Oxford, UK which saw them finish in 8th place. Now 5 years later they are back and eager to put on a much more impressive performance in Macedonia.

The Austrian team were commanding and impressive in their qualifying match, taking it right down to the wire and defeating Germany for the top spot! No doubt their neighbours Switzerland and Germany will be looking for revenge in Macedonia.

Here is the Austrian National Match Poker Team’s Squad for the 2021 Nations Cup Finals:

Name: Herbert Bieber

Age: 70

Profession: Retired

About: I have been playing poker for more than 20 years and I love this game. My favourite discipline is live MTT and I have played in several countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, England). I highly appreciate poker theory, love to analyse quizzes and invest a lot of time to increase my poker skills.

Name: Hedy Bieber

Age: 69

Profession: Retired after more than three decades in the public affairs business. Playing poker for about 8 years.

Name: Rainer Sumaric

Age: 52

Profession: Sales Director

About: Over 15 years ago, a customer asked me if I liked to play poker. I had no idea and went along to a club night. Since then, I like the game very much (most of the time) and I love the variety at a live game. Besides Texas Holdem, I really enjoy playing dealer’s choice. I appreciate very much in my current club that workshops are also offered, because by learning and playing you get better and that’s what I try to do with every game.

Name: Andreas Schwaiger

Age: 56

Profession: Employee – City of Vienna

About: A German TV show with American poker pros attracted my poker interest. After watching a few shows I setup an account to play online. Some initial success inspired me to practice step by step, failures motivated me to go on and to practice even harder. Meanwhile I’ve played poker for 15 years, especially live tournaments.

Name: Fabian Gritsch

Age: 28

Profession: Federal Employee

About: I have been playing poker for roughly 8 Years. Playing mostly live MTTs, but also a fair bit of online. I take the game pretty seriously and see it as a nice income on the side.

Name: Hartwig Hofer

Age: 36

Profession: Poker player

About: I started playing poker 15 years ago straight after watching James Bond Casino Royal. I play mostly online cash games heads-up and some MTTs on the side.


Name: Sebastian Klebert

Age: 36

Profession: Network Development Operations Manager

About: A dear friend brought me along to a game fifteen years ago and that was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with the game of poker.

I’ve been heading one of Austria’s oldest poker clubs, Pokerclub Showdown, for more than a decade now and really enjoy the different variants of the game, constantly having to solve new problems and challenges but most of all the wonderful community.


The Mongolians are Looking to Establish Themselves Among the World’s Best

Nearly a decade ago, in 2013, was when the Mongolian national team made their previous and only appearance in a Nations Cup event – participating in the 2013 Asian Nations Cup held in Sanya, China!

The last year has seen the national federation become very active with their national team doing superbly well to qualify for the 2021 Nations Cup Finals and using the momentum to launch their own national league! 12 teams participated in the inaugural season of the Match Poker league with the event being held over a weekend in December 2021 and the national champions will now participate in the IFMP Champions League Finale in the UK later this year!

Apart from working on a bigger, longer and better second season of the league, the national team is determined to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with as they make their first live Match Poker event appearance in Macedonia in May.

Here are the individuals representing Mongolia, aiming for glory:

Name: Lkhunrev Dorjbal

Age: 31

Profession: Engineer

Bio: The sport of poker always gives me energy and the opportunity to think freely. I’m interested in developing it in the future, and I hope this competition opens up a lot of opportunities for me.

Name: Baldan Lkhagva

Age: 31

Professional: Political analyst

Bio: I have been interested in this sport for many years and it is very important for me to be successful in this tournament where I can get a special feeling while playing Match Poker for my country.

Name: Nyamdari Khatanbold

Age: 33

Profession: Manager of a construction company

Bio: I am studying for my master degree as business administration at University of Finance and Economy, Mongolia. I have played online poker since 2015 and have only a few followers from my country. I give some training and coaching for people who are interested in it. I aim to contribute to the development of poker in Mongolia through my coaching, live streams and private advice based on my experience.

Name: Chinbaatar Maamuu

Age: 35

Profession: Tourism Management

Bio: Started playing poker in 2006, what I love most about it is that it’s a sport that anyone can play irrespective of age or gender.

Name: Enkhrel Ganzorig

Age: 33

Profession: Degree in advertising

Bio: I first learned about poker in 2007 and have been playing online poker since 2016. Poker is a great sport for me, both mentally and emotionally. I want to develop my interest and I want to be a professional poker player in the future.

Name: Khulan Munkhbaatar

Age: 27

Profession: Financial management

Bio: The reason I’m attracted to poker is because psychologically its so interesting as a sport. That’s why I really want to know more about poker.

Name: Bat-Erdene Erdene-Bayar

Age: 32

Profession: TV Director

Bio: Started playing poker in 2010, I have been participating in sports competitions for 5 years. I like to play with human psychology and read cards. I’m playing to improve my skills now.

Name: Battulga Janag

Age: 33

Profession: Accountant

Bio: I’ve started playing poker since 2012. Also, I’ve been running a poker course since 2017. My most interesting subjects are astronomy and philosophy. It’s like I could discuss those subjects 24/7 with anyone.

Name: Buyanjargal Bold

Age: 39

Profession: Germanistik

Bio: I started playing poker in 2005. From 2006 to 2010, I worked as a dealer in a casino. I re-started playing poker in 2013 and won the 2014 Asia-Pacific Red Dragon main event in Macao, beating 995 players. For me, poker is an intellectual sport that requires psychological combat, endurance and self-control. Having competed in many competitions and experienced joys and sorrows, I will love this sport and play it to the death.


2021 Review – A Year of Challenges and Progress

2021 saw IFMP make considerable progress after a rather quiet pandemic hit 2020. With the constantly changing situation caused by Covid, we didn’t want to be dependent on live events for Match Poker activity this year. We therefore decided to run virtual qualifiers for the 2021 Nations Cup Finals for our member nations in Asia and Europe. Being the world’s only recognised digital sport, Match Poker has the unique advantage of digital gameplay as compared to other conventional sports which are more physical in nature. We used this to our advantage and re-created the live Match Poker environment linking a video conference platform in with Match Poker gameplay, thus enabling the athletes to see and talk with each other just like they would at a live event, while playing Match Poker for their nation.
We ran a total of 10 qualifiers, which produced 5 Asian and 6 European qualifiers who will attempt to stop Ukraine from wining their 3rd World Championship in a row! 200 unique hands of Match Poker were played in each qualifier, giving us 2000 hands played by 25 participating nations. Over 200 athletes competed for their nations, testing themselves in this skill-based format with the aim of securing a spot at the finals. The qualified nations are India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Singapore from Asia, with Austria, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Macedonia and Switzerland from Europe. The virtual qualifiers allowed many nations, who have previously not been able to participate in live events, to play, compete and experience Match Poker. It has been fantastic to see our sport grow and reach so many new countries this year.
One prime example of this effect is the birth of the Mongolian National Match Poker League! 12 teams participated in the first season of the league, which took place on 11th and 12th December in Ulaanbaatar and saw 500 hands played across the 2 match days. Every team had atleast one male and one female member in their squad, across various age groups once again reinforcing that Match Poker is a fully inclusive sport. Team Pokerfriends were crowned Champions with 749.5 points, Team Shrup came 2nd with 723 points and Team Megamind was 3rd with 710 points. Trophies, medals and prize money was awarded to the top 3 finishing teams and top 3 individual players. The Mongolian NF will use this event and the content captured to approach their National Olympic Committee (NOC) and National Sports Authority (NSA) for the formal recognition of Match Poker as a sport in Mongolia and for their national federation as a national governing body of sport, linked to IFMP as the global representative.
IFMP’s observer membership of GAISF was extended for another 2 years as we continue our fight for full recognition. One of the main aims of encouraging local Match Poker activity by way of national leagues was to be able to evidence to the NOC and NSA of your nation that we are a sport, recognised globally, played digitally, and are not anything like conventional gaming or gambling. Once the authorities see it in action, being played in teams, without the presence of physical cards or chips, they will better understand what we have been trying to explain to them for so long. We are hopeful that this all will work to our advantage and we can provide the GAISF membership council with plenty of new national recognition certificates in the coming year.
We are working hard towards a packed events calendar for 2022, with a Champions League style finale event for our many national league champions, a Global University Challenge involving student Match Poker teams from universities and colleges across the globe, and of course our Continental Championships (Asia, Europe, America’s) all culminating in a Nations Cup Final at the end of the year. There have been a few nations that have expressed their desire to host an event and we are evaluating our options, and would encourage other nations who are interested to let us know at the earliest.
Finally can we take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful holiday period. Stay safe, take care of yourself and your loved ones and let’s make 2022 the year where Match Poker really takes off! Happy Holidays and wish you a fantastic New Year!

Can Ukraine make it 3 World Championships in a row?

After their debut performance and victory at the 2019 Nations Cup in Dublin, the Ukrainian national team finished 3rd in the European Championships in Kyiv only to successfully defend their World Championship and win it once again at the 2020 Nations Cup – making them the first nation to win it twice, and that too in back to back years!!!


Ukraine National Team

Olga Iermolcheva, 33 years old, professional poker player

The most successful female poker player of Ukraine. Olga proved herself great during the Nations Cup 2019, scoring the most points for our team and showing the best result throughout the tournament! Iermolcheva is always ready for new challenges and fights till the end!


Hanna Mazno, 31 years old, professional poker player

Hanna made her debut in the Ukrainian national team in 2020. And before that, she managed to become the winner of the selection event to the team, organized by PokerMatch. This player from Kharkiv managed to get ahead of almost 100 competitors and win a place in the main team of the country. Well done!


Mykhailo Kedrovskyi (captain), 49 years old, professional poker player

The most experienced player on our team, Mykhailo has already lifted the Nations Cup above his head twice, and is always ready to show his best game or help his teammates with advice and support. This Kyiv-based player has won many trophies on live series in Ukraine and feels confident in the online game as well. A true captain!


Andrii Momot – 33 years old, IT-specialist, amateur poker player

The Ukrainian sports poker champion and a two-time world match poker champion, Andriy has played important hands at both the Dublin tournament and the online cup. This Kharkiv-based player always analyzes the game meticulously and helps his team prepare for the competition as good as possible.


Mykhailo Kobylinskyi – 31 years old, professional poker player

Misha started playing poker when he was a student. Over the years, he has truly matured and is now considered one of the most persistent poker players in Ukraine. This player has proved himself in tournaments with the national team and now has a gold medal of the world champion in his collection of trophies. Way to go!


Artem Kobylynskyi – 30 years old, professional poker player

A very dangerous opponent for any player who comes to the table with him. Artyom has made it to the EPT Super Final Main Event, and he has dozens of great results in online tournaments. Artyom always tries to show his best game in the Ukrainian team and does it excellently.


Renat Bohdanov – 23 years old, professional poker player

Renat quickly got into the list of the leading poker players in Ukraine. He has already won the WSOP Europe bracelet! In May 2020, Bohdanov played for the Ukrainian team for the first time and became the World Champion along with his partners. What an incredible start of the career!

Volodymyr Drokin – 31 years old, professional poker player

Volodymyr also has two “golds” of the Nations Cup on match poker. In addition, he has won the Ukrainian sports poker championship and has repeatedly been noted for his successful performances at the World Poker series. That includes the WSOP in Las Vegas. Drokin is a real fighter!


Andriy Lyubovetskiy – 30 years old, professional poker player

Another two-time world champion as a member of the Ukrainian team. Andriy has been successfully competing at large live tournaments and online series for a long time, and his opponents at the tables fear him for a reason. Andriy tries to get the most out of any hand and does it perfectly!


Mykhailo Gutyi – 31 years old, professional poker player

The titled Ukrainian player and owner of the WSOP Europe bracelet. Mykhailo has played two tournaments for the national team — in Kyiv, where he won bronze at the European Nations Cup in 2019, and gold at the World Championship in 2020. In addition to that, he got the MVP of the Nations Cup 2020 prize. Misha is a rocket!


Ivanna Soya (Yatsiuk) – 32 years old, professional poker player

Ivanna is a debutant of the Ukrainian national team. She has earned her place in the main team thanks to her excellent results. Lately Ivanna has won many big online tournaments and has proved her worth in the live series. Now it’s time to help the team win new trophies!

IFMP Welcomes Switzerland and Canada to the Match Poker Family

We are proud to announce two newly recognised member federations – Switzerland and Canada.

Switzerland will be represented by the Swiss Poker Sport Association which has been promoting poker as a sport in Switzerland for a number of years, running a successful national league and are eager to focus their efforts towards Match Poker.

Match Poker Canada will be IFMP’s Canadian NF, run by individuals who are well-versed with sport governance, management and administration, looking to introduce Match Poker to their nation.

IFMP has previously had members from both nations but due to non-adherence with IFMP’s national federation rules and obligations, the board and congress decided to rescind recognition of those organisations. We are proud to be associated with both these newly recognised national federations and are excited for the future of Match Poker in both Canada and Switzerland.