Pokersamband Islands, the official Icelandic member federation of the International Federation of Match Poker, got their first taste of Match Poker during the virtual European qualifiers held last year.

Iceland has been a member of the IFMP since many years – March 2010 to be precise and we are very happy to see the national team make it to the Match Poker World Championships!

The qualifiers saw the Icelandic team compete against Norway, Italy, Macedonia, Croatia and Estonia, all of whom they managed to beat leading to their confirmed spot in the 2021 Nations Cup Finals. They will once again face Italy and Macedonia in the finals, along with other qualified nations from Asia and Europe. A real test of their individuals skill, collective team strategy, mental and physical stamina will on display in Gevgelija next month.

This is how Team Iceland will be lining up for the 2021 Nations Cup Finals…


Name: Már Wardum
Age: 45
Profession: Supply chain management and process engineer.
About: I taught myself to play poker from a book I got at age 11 and was fascinated about the game. Later on I started playing seriously around 2001. I have two final table finishes in the Icelandic championship, 3rd place in 2019 and 4th place in 2022 as well as winning the Icelandic PLO championship in 2017. I really like the concept of Match Poker because it eliminates the luck factor from the game and that’s where the skill comes in.

Name: Sævar Ingi Sævarsson
Age: 39
Profession: Truck driver, bus driver and tour guide.

About: Playing poker for about 14 years. Want to test my skills in this format of poker and I’m proud to represent Iceland in Match Poker. Runner-up in the Icelandic championship in 2018 and Icelandic champion in online poker 2019.

Name: Egill Þorsteinsson
Age: 29
Profession: Shipping manager and poker player.

About: I have been playing poker for 9 years. In the beginning mostly cash games but for the last few years I have also been playing tournaments. Icelandic PLO champion in 2020 and runner-up in the Icelandic championship in 2019.

Name: Gunnar Árnason
Age: 41
Profession: Warehouse manager, poker player.

I have been playing poker on and off for the past 20 years. Last 4-5 years I have been focusing more and more on poker and training. I have specially been focusing on tournaments so Match Poker should be an interesting addition to that.

Notable results: Icelandic PLO champion in 2019 and 4th in 2020. Runner-up in NLH Icelandic championship in 2020.

Name: Kristjana Guðjónsdóttir
Age: 36
Profession: Student

About: Playing poker since 2010. I find Match Poker an exciting concept as it relies on skill and the luck factor has been minimised.

Notable results: Icelandic online champion 2015. 40th EPT Esterellas Barcelona 2015. 72th EPT Esterellas Barcelona 2014.

Name: Einar Þór Einarsson
Age: 48
Profession: Technical Director and software engineer.

About: Playing poker for 20 years, almost exclusively tournaments. As an old competitive Bridge player, Match Poker sounds like a perfect blend of the two games to me.

Name: Halldór Már Sverrisson
Age: 49
Profession: Real-estate broker

About: I have been playing poker regularly since 1990 and bridge with breaks from 1990. I think that is a good combination for Match Poker. Icelandic PLO champion in 2018, few final tables in the Icelandic championship.



Name: Gardar Geir Hauksson
Age: 31
Profession: Salmon fishing guide, poker player.

About: Started in small home games 15 years old, played professionally since 18. Very competitive and love the team format. Proud to represent Iceland in Match Poker.

Live: Notts Cup champion (#8) UKIPT 5, Icelandic high-roller champion 2015.

Online: Sunday 750k FTP winner, Sunday Warm up runner up, Double Deuce runner-up.

Their last live event participation was in November 2019 at the Asian Nations Cup held in Taipei, Taiwan where they competed for the continental championships against India, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Korea and Japan.

All 9 teams began playing together and after 2 days of play were divided into the top 4 and bottom 5. The top 4 playing for the title of Asian Nations Cup Champions having already secured their qualification for the Nations Cup Finals. The bottom 5 were playing for the Nations Plate and the final qualification spot for the World Championships. Korea and Israel battled hard and kept swapping the top 2 positions throughout the day, leading to an intense and highly competitive finish.

It was the Koreans who eventually secured the final qualification spot and won the Plate, leading to a disappointed Israeli team who gave it their all but came up just short. They were determined to qualify for the Nations Cup Finals and managed to do so in the last Asian qualifier, just getting past the Philippines by only 1.5 points!!! Now Team Israel have their opportunity to compete for the Match Poker World Cup in Macedonia!

This is what the Israeli National Team looks like:

Name: Stas ‘Stasia42’ Tishkevich

Age: 36 year old from Hod-Hasharon

Profession: Entrepreneur

Bio: Team Israel Coach and substitute player. Professional poker player, poker coach, co-founder of the Israeli Poker Union, the Israeli Poker Academy, and PokerFighter training app.




Name: Shimon Yaffe

Age: 53 years old from Tel-Aviv

Profession: Pilot

Bio: Team Israel Manager and substitute player. Secretary general of the Israeli Poker Union and director of international poker tournaments.


Name: Eyal Pearl

Age: 54 years old from Ramat Hasharon

Profession: Owner of a residential marketing company

Bio: Ironman and Ultra-Man (swimming, cycling, running), and the owner of the Ultra-Man Challenge competition in Israel. A poker enthusiast for over 15 years, feels great honour to represent Israel globally.

Name: Ziv Leinwand

Age: 50 years old from Tel Aviv

Profession: Senior manager in the high-tech industry and entrepreneur

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em since 2010 and an avid supporter of the campaign to regulate the game of poker in Israel.

Name: Ifat Levy

Age: 47 years old from Gadera

Profession: Completed military service with the rank of lieutenant colonel as a logistics officer 4 years ago

Bio: Worked as a history and citizenship teacher, and currently does reserve service at the Home Front Command’s headquarters to amputate Corona’s adhesive chains. Loves playing poker tournaments.

Name: Shachar Zvang

Age: 46 years old from Ganei Tikva

Profession: Works as an analyst in the high-tech industry

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em for about 15 years and studied the game in depth at the Poker Academy. Excited to represent Israel and promote the sports poker format.

Name: Omri Elmaleh

Age: 35 years old from Ashdod

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em over 17 years, mostly tournaments. Dreaming of specialising in the game and taking part in the world championships.

Name: Ronen Val

Age: 56 years old from Yavne

Profession: Citizenship teacher in high school and 10th grade centre

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em for over 7 years. Happy to promote the campaign to regulate the game of poker in Israel.


IFMP’s first live event since the Asian Nations Cup held in Taipei, Taiwan in November 2019 and we could not be more excited to bring our qualified nations together and competing for the Match Poker World Championship!

We hosted a series of virtual qualifiers throughout 2021, where Asian and European national teams participated from a central venue to secure their qualification for the 2021 Nations Cup Finals.

Over 25 national teams participated in 11 individual qualifying events over 4 months, leading to the following list of qualified teams:

  • India
  • Mongolia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Singapore
  • Israel
  • Iceland
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Macedonia
  • Italy

These nations will be joined by the current Nations Cup Champions, for 2019 and 2020, Team Ukraine who will be looking to defend their title for the second time after successfully doing so for the first time in the 2020 Virtual Nations Cup.



The beautiful town of Gevgelija will be our host city in Macedonia with the Apollonia Hotel being our venue.

The 2021 Nations Cup will kick off on 23rd May and run till the 27th, incorporating an exciting elimination structure playing down to a final 6 teams for the final session of play.

3 full days of play will ensure both physical and mental stamina are tested along with Match Poker skill and strategy, producing a truly deserving World Champion.

The IFMP team will be visiting Gevgelija on 18 & 19 April for a pre-event press conference with the Mayor of the town and a site visit with the local organising committee.

It has been very encouraging to see the growth of Match Poker in Macedonia, with the first season of the national league being run very successfully and producing a national champion, the Vardar Sharks, to go on to represent the league in the Global Champions League later this year.

Match Poker’s formal sporting recognition by GAISF has been extremely important in helping its national acceptance as a mind sport and game of skill within our member nations.

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!

On the 10th anniversary of their existence, the Macedonian national Match Poker team managed to qualify for the Nations Cup Finals. They played the first qualifications for the European Championship back in 2012 in Vienna, when in the competition of 14 countries they placed 7th, which saw them just miss out on qualifying.

Since then the sport of Match Poker has gone through a lot of growth & development until finally in 2017, after the Congress in London, it was officially accepted by GAISF (Global Association of International Sports Federations) as a recognised sport governed by the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) based in Lausanne, where the Macedonian Poker Federation has been a full member since registration in the Central Register of the Republic of Macedonia in 2011.

Preparations for these qualifiers lasted several months, beginning last spring, the cycle of competitions began in June, and finally with the victory in the qualifier they are going to be competing for their first time at a Nations Cup Finals.

Austria, Germany, Iceland and Switzerland were successful in the earlier qualifiers, and for the remaining 2 places in the European zone 9 national teams were in contention: Poland, Norway, Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, the United Kingdom and Macedonia.

Macedonia was drawn with Cyprus, Lithuania and Estonia in 4×4 format for the final spot!

The love for the country and the desire for ranking was huge among the selected athletes. The great self-confidence of Tomas Spaseski, who said the day before the qualifier: “Not to believe, we will certainly place ourselves” brought optimism to others.

Thomas always plays for the team and when he was offered the captain’s armband as the oldest in the team, he selflessly left it for Aleksandar Trajkovski who has the most appearances and is the only player in the team who played for Macedonia in the first qualifiers in Vienna 2012. At the end of the qualifier, statistics showed that Thomas Spaseski was the most effective player in the tournament.

Sofija Dzadzeva did not hide her pride and happiness to play for her Macedonia and with great confidence she believed in victory knowing the quality of her teammates.

‘We do not have much to write about the possibilities of the captain Aleksandar Trajkovski, simply without him this ranking among the best 18 in the world would have been impossible.’ says NF president Michael V. Pop-Gonoff.

Petar Filipov is an experienced player who was not in the best shape this year, but when it was most needed, he performed the task entrusted to him to win Macedonia their qualification.

Andreja Andreevski is the Alpha and Omega in the national team, disciplined, consistent and solid for the last 5-6 years. Just as skiing has a downhill, slalom, giant slalom, etc. so poker has more variants, unlike other players, “Match Poker” is his specialty. When it was most needed and the result was uncertain in the last session, he performed exceptionally, topping the individual rankings and securing very important points for a Macedonian victory!

It will be ungrateful to not mention the other national team members who played in this series of qualifications: Katarina Tasevski from Skopje, Aleksandar Naumoski from Kicevo, Spase Klenkovski from Struga, Metodi Aleksov from Stip, Gorjan Peshev from Skopje, Goce Blazeski from Makedonski Brod, Martin from Vinica, Aleksandar Zuberovski from Bitola and Simon Trendafilov from Delchevo.

Gevgelija Miki Jovanov and Stipe Zharko could not be made available to the national team due to work obligations, just like one of their best players in recent years Toni Zengovski who was absent for justified reasons.

Filip Filipovski gave up at the end of the preparations in May for understandable reasons.

Thanks also to the players who were abroad, had a desire, and were not able to physically attend, but still were good online sparring partners for the national team players: Mariana Josifovska (Cyprus), Bojan Vlakevski (Germany), Dejan Andonov (Switzerland) , Ivana Velickovic (Malta), as well as the home team: Velika Dimitrovska, Ivan Panev, Koki Atanasov, Dimitar Mechev, Naum Taneski, Ice Boceski, Dejan Burmuzoski, Viktor Nasteski and Stefan Strkov.


The Macedonian NF thanks Zlatan Milivojevic and Hotel Europa for their support, Dimitar Badev, Pance Krstev, Petko Tanov, Stojan Trajcev, and Toni Kondevski from Australia who have been supporting and following their work for years.

Former Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia in Vienna – Mr. Gjorgi Filipov, a great fan of poker, is their honorary member and supporter. Thanks also to the Macedonian Olympic Committee and the legend of Real Madrid, Mr. Bogoevski! Of course, a big thank you to their partners Apollonia Hotel & Casino Gevgelija and Casino Pintija Skopje who provided excellent conditions for their selection!

Many greetings and thanks to the members of the founding board of the organization Mr. Bojan Avramoski and Mr. Trajce Pop-Gonov.