When Lithuania were announced as the winners of the ‘Plate’ at the 2019 European Nations Cup in Kyiv, an elated NF president Skirmantas Tomkevicius proudly said with a big smile ‘Lithuanian will always find the toughest path to achieve our goal, but we will get there in the end. It’s the Lithuanian way!’

It looks like he was right as Lithuania qualified as the final team in the line up for the 2021 World Championships in Gevgelija! A squad that has participated in multiple Match Poker events together, with their best performance coming in the 2020 Virtual Nations Cup where they finished in 3rd place overall behind Ukraine and Australia. Dainius Ulke was awarded with ‘Player of the Tournament’ in Kyiv and he will be looking to replicate his performance and help his national team finish on the podium.

The Lithuanian National Team for the 2021 World Cup is as follows:

Name: Lukas Kviecinskas

Profession: CEO of poker room “Poker Garden” in Lithuania

Age: 27

Bio: I played my first poker game just after my 18th birthday. And since then, day after day, tournament after tournament it became a big part of my life. I am so humbled and proud to be a champion of Lithuania in 2020 and the winner of multiple other tournaments.

Name: Dainius Ulkè

Age: 46

Profession: IT specialist

Bio: I started playing poker in 2007. Now that’s my hobby. I like the live game, I like the reaction of the players in different situations, I like to interact at the table. Proud to be representing the national team again.

Name: Arūnas Blauzdžiūnas

Age: 46

Profession: Reserve Officer

Bio: I started playing poker 12 years ago. It has become a daily hobby for me to relax after work. Playing live is the funnest interaction, and I love the sporting tension in a poker game.

Name: Erikas Zukas

Age: 30

Bio: He is the youngest member of our national team, eager to learn and understand other players – once Erikas has won tournament without even looking at his own cards!

Name: Mantas Urbonas

Age: 34

Bio: Poker professional from Panevėžys, now resides in Vilnius. Mantas is also a football team ‘Top Kicker’s’ owner and manager. He started to play poker 10 years ago, and his best achievement is 4th place of Battle of Malta winning 120000 EUR. Ranks 31st in Lithuania by live earnings.

Name: Diana Dvelienė

Age: 45

Bio: She lives in Kaunas and together with her husband, who is also a poker player in the federation, they run their own plants growing business. Does not play often in any live tournaments, but if she does, finishes ITM.

Name: Skirmantas Tomkevičius

Age: 45

Bio: The president of the recognised national federation for poker in Lithuania, Lietuvos Sportinio Pokerio Federacija (LSPF). I will be playing just in case its needed. He is the team manager and is working closely with the Polish national federation on their combined national Match Poker leagues!


Ukraine was one of the original founding members of the IFMP, represented by the late Mr. Gary Bowman who was a key individual in the creation of the international and national federation, a major believer and supporter of poker as a mind sport and strategic game of skill.

The national team, represented by the Ukraine Sport Poker Federation (USPF), first participated in a global Match Poker event in March 2019 in Dublin at the Nations Cup, and managed to dethrone the Irish as World Champions! The 2019 European Championships were then hosted in Kyiv and saw 13 national teams compete for the continental honours and to qualify for the World Cup. However due to Covid, the 2020 Nations Cup Finals were held in a virtual format, with the qualified nations competing from the safety and comfort of their own homes by being linked up through a video conference platform.

This didn’t change much for the Ukrainians and they proved their skills once again, successfully defending the World Championship and becoming the first 2-time Nations Cup holders. We know of their strength, resolve and fighting spirit as a nation, and this is exactly what they will bring with them to Macedonia as they look to once again emerge victorious. IFMP and the global Match Poker family stands with Ukraine as they continue to defend their nation.

The Ukrainian National Team for the 2021 Nations Cup Finals:

Name: Igor Kotyk

Age: 33

Bio: Igor Kotyk is a relatively young player, but he won the first main event at UPT in Ukraine back in 2012. In the prize-winning athlete’s victory not only online, in the SCOOP series, but also in live tournaments in Vegas. In the online segment, he is well known not only as an MTT athlete, but also a high-stakes cash player.

Name: Ivanna Yatsiuk

Age: 33

Bio: Ivanna is a debutant of the Ukrainian national team and a professional poker player. 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!

Name: Vasyl Zabrodskyy

Age: 56

Bio: Journalist and an amateur poker player, Vasil is the most experienced player of the Ukrainian national team and one of Ukraine’s most titled poker players. Zabrodsky’s collection includes three EPT championships, victories in other prestigious poker series and prizes in Ukrainian sports poker championships. This will be his debut performance at the Nations Cup as part of the Ukrainian national team.

Name: Volodymyr Drokin

Age: 32

Bio: A professional poker player, Volodymyr also has two gold medals of the Match Poker Nations Cup having been an integral part of the Ukrainian national team in both 2019 and 2020. In addition, he has won the Ukrainian sports poker championship and has repeatedly been noted for his successful performances at the World Series of Poker in Vegas. Drokin is a real fighter and helps his team prepare for the competition as thoroughly as possible, with the aim to defend their championship.

Name: Hanna Mazno

Age: 32

Bio: A 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, organised 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 and congratulations to Hanna!

Name: Artem Kobylynskyi

Age: 31

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

Name: Oleksandr Petryk

Age: 32

Bio: A regular on the national poker circuit, Oleksandr will be making his national team debut at the 2021 Nations Cup Finals in Macedonia.

Name: Sergey Efimenko

Bio: President of the Ukrainian Sports Poker Federation and manager of the national Match Poker team. He has been a key figure in the growth of poker as a mind sport in Ukraine, creating a strong national structure and being recognised by the Sports Ministry. He also arranged for the national team to be awarded with their trophy and medals at the Olympic House in Kyiv by the Minister of Sport, after the 2020 Nations Cup victory.

The Macedonian team is eager to impress on home soil, after battling hard through the qualifiers last year they have their sights set on the World Cup!

A strong and experienced team of men and women, having recently concluded the first season of the national Match Poker league, the host national team cannot wait to show off their skills at the biggest stage of all. They did seal their spot through the qualifiers last year but since becoming the host for this event they receive automatic qualification. A great honour for the country and it will certainly put them on the global Match Poker map!

Read all about the Macedonian National Team here:

Name: Elena Bojkova

Age: 37

Bio: Mother of a 12 year old girl, has been playing poker for 14 years. Won the Macedonian national league with Vardar Sharks. She makes her debut with the Macedonian national team at the Match Poker World Cup! Working as Administration and Office Manager for IT company Intelligent network solutions.

Name: Katarina Tasevski

Age: 38

Bio: Female player of the year 2020 and a mother of 2 daughters. Playing poker for the last 16 years, at the beginning with friends, usually on Saturdays. Works as business development for German company HR services. Very excited to be in the Macedonian national team selection and has the full support of her husband.

Name: Sofija Dzadzeva Aksakal

Age: 40

Bio: Happily married in Alanya, Turkey. Finished university “History of art with archeology”, also a film producer and piano player. She fell in love with the game of poker 15 years ago. At the beginning only for fun, but later on professionally at some stage too. She was twice crowned as the best female player of the year in Macedonia. Very proud to be wearing the Macedonian jersey. Her husband was also one of the best Turkish chess and bridge players, so have great understanding and support for Sofia’s passion!

Name: Petar Filipov

Age: 45

Bio: Professional poker and backgammon player for almost 20 years. Won the Macedonian Match Poker Championship with the Vardar Sharks. Very experienced player. Won many local and regional poker tournaments. Mainly a cash game player.

Name: Toni Zengovski

Age: 38

Bio: Arguably Toni is one of the best Macedonian players. Poker pro for several years, twice player of the year (2019 & 2020) and winner of many tournaments. Currently second placed in Macedonian poker rankings. He will make his debut for Macedonian Match Poker selection on home soil and expected to be great boost for the national team.

Name: Metodi Aleksov

Age: 47

Bio: Captain of Match Poker team Bregalnica Lions in the Macedonian National League, they just missed out on the title and finished in second place behind champions Vardar Sharks. Working full time at national broadcaster AlfaTV as program manager. He has been playing poker since 2010, mainly online.

Name: Andreja Andreevski

Age: 44

Bio: Director of technique at KANAL 5 TV and is a key player of the national Match Poker team. Playing poker for 15 years and in love with the game. Most capped player of last qualifications. His speciality is Match Poker. Captain of the national league champions “Vardar Sharks” and the best player of the Macedonian Match Poker League.

Name: Tomas Spaseski

Age: 55

Bio: He is the captain of the national team, businessman, once player of the year and the most inspiring player of the team. Tomas was MVP of the last qualifications and the locomotive of the Macedonian Match Poker squad.

Name: Aleksandar Zuberovski

Age: 42

Bio: Poker pro very well known in the online poker world as Re8uz. Twice Macedonian player of the year. Many final tables and winner of a couple of SCOOP tournaments. Expert in pattern recognition and long-term investments.

Name: Aleksandar Trajkovski

Age: 42

Bio: A poker pro for the last 10 years and 3 times Macedonian player of the year. At the moment he ranks No.1 in Macedonia. Last December played the final table at WSOP Europe. The only one left from the team which played IFMP European Qualification in Vienna in 2012. Looking forward to the World Cup!


Making their first ever appearance at a live Match Poker event, the Kazakhstan national team could not be more excited to get to Macedonia and it couldn’t come at a bigger stage!

They were determined to qualify to the World Championships and managed to seal their spot in the last Asian qualifier, after revamping their team midway through the qualification season! There was a change in captain and Gulbanu took over as the team’s leader, guiding them to their Nations Cup debut! They are very proud to be representing their nation at a global stage, and aiming to make their performance one to remember.

Here is their squad for the 2021 Match Poker World Championships:

Name: Yedige Bekbassar

Age: 32

Bio: Hello, I am from Almaty, Kazakhstan. My profession is an economist. Poker and football are my hobbies.

Name: Rinat Tulepbergenov

Age: 36

Bio: Hi everyone! I’m from Almaty, Kazakhstan. I have a greenhouse. Poker is my hobby. I like this game!

Name: Aigerim Dairabayeva

Age: 35

Bio: I’m an economist by education. I was born and live in Almaty. I met poker 12 years ago. I work as a dealer in a local casino, in my spare time I play Chinese poker (pineapple).


Name: Aidos Bissariyev

Age: 36

Bio: Hi, I’m a lawyer by education. I was born and grew up in the city of Kyzylorda, at the moment l live in Almaty. I got acquainted with poker in 2014, l play it every day!


Name: Darkhan Rakhymzhanov

Bio: Hello, I have my own business, I’m engaged to the construction of the swimming pools and fountains, also I sell the equipment for the pools. Poker is my favourite hobby, I have been playing since 2010. I played many poker tournaments in Razvadov (Czech Republic), in Sochi, in Macau (China). It’s a pleasure for me to go to Macedonia and represent the Kazakhstan national team.

Name: Bauyrzhan Shaukenov

Age: 34

Bio: Hi, I work as an architect and commercial director of a manufacturing and trading company. I’ve been playing poker since I was 18. I am glad that we are flying to represent Kazakhstan, our team is ready to beat everyone. I love poker because it’s like life.

Name: Abenov Zhenis Makhsutovich

Age: 36

Bio: I am a crypto investor. I started playing poker in 2007 and was one of the first Kazakhstan poker players. I’ve won many official tournaments in Kazakhstan including latest Central Asia Championships, King Of Poker Championship and Tournament of the Champions. With more than 20 trophies in live tournaments, the thing I like most in this game is the competitive spirit and fast changing pace of the game in tournaments. After poker became illegal in Kazakhstan, I started my online poker career which has continues to this time. In my spare time, I like to do research and invest in prospective new upcoming projects in crypto. Married and a happy father of 3 children.

Name: Gulbanu Sapabekova

Bio: I am an economist by profession. I’ve been playing poker since 2011. I am the first woman to win a tournament in Portugal – Vilamoura. I also have wins at various tournaments and a lot of final tables on my account. At the moment I do not play as often as before, but I hope to improve my game in the future and achieve good results. It is a great honour for me to participate in such a prestigious tournament. Our team will try to show their best side. Thanks for the invitation and good luck to us!


The Estonian team has been a regular at IFMP events since 2012, and consistently impressed but haven’t made a podium finish as yet – something they are looking to change in Macedonia!

After the host nation received automatic qualification to the event, the Estonians were invited since they finished just behind Macedonia in the last European qualifier. A bunch of experienced Match Poker players, the Estonian national team has always been very enthusiastic to participate in any IFMP event. Kelly and Carmen are joined by some new faces making their live event debut this time, and no doubt will prove to be tough competition for the other participating nations!#

The Estonian National Match Poker Squad for the 2021 Nations Cup is as follows:

Name: Alari Raid

Bio: Alari is an entrepreneur, who’s passion is poker. He mainly participates in online events but has also won several live events.
One of Alari ambitions is to promote poker so he is organizing poker events among other things. His famous poker face and ability to read opponents makes Alari unexpectedly dangerous poker player.

Name: Marius Morel

Bio: Recreational player who enjoys long romantic walks on the beach, capable of winning 2 Estonian championships in 24 hours, 3-betting out of position. Allergic to limping, don’t bluff him, he never folds.

Name: Argo Garamaga

Bio: Argo is an Estonian poker player who has been playing poker for 10 years with some impressive results in his bag. For the past 5 years he has also been working with different teams that stream poker events around Europe. Poker has always been a major part of his life and he really loves the game and its social side of that. Argo is always positive and friendly!

Name: Veiko Aava

Bio: One of Estonia’s best known poker players who has won 5X Estonian championship titles. Veiko’s main virtues are his vast experience and the ability to read his opponents.


Name: Carmen-Elina Vist

Bio: Carmen-Elina is a second term Estonian Tournament Poker Federation board member who helps to shape Estonian poker landscape by organising different events from private to national championships. She is one of the most aggressive players with whom mostly people are scared to play in the same table. In her 10 year poker career she achieved among other things two Estonian champion titles and been voted several years in a row as the best female poker player of the year.

Name: Kelly Limonova

Bio: Entrepreneur, who has been representing Estonian national team since 2012 when they won the European Nations Cup Qualifying event in Vienna. Kelly is an uncomfortable opponent to all of her competitors. She actively plays poker also today and
her tirelessness, patriotism and sociability make this woman one of the pillars of the Estonian national team.

Name: Toivo Ojasoo

Bio: Toivo has 3 Estonian poker championship titles – one in Omaha, one in Holdem and one in Team challenge which means that he is a great team player who is always ready to jump through fire for his team. Fellow players characterise him as a man, who is nice and friendly in life but becomes the devil at the poker table.

Name: Danel Kunman

Bio: He has 15 years of experience in live and online poker. He holds many tournament champion titles, also very important – he has the title of Estonian Champion. He is super calm so it makes it extremely irritating trying to get any read out of him. He is a construction businessman and poker is long lasting hobby.