From September 14th to September 17th, 2023, the Herzdamen Festival took place at the Grand Casino Aš in the Czech Republic and 4 members of the German national Match Poker team were there to put their skills to the test. The guaranteed prize pool for the event was €70,000, but it was significantly exceeded, reaching nearly €108,000.

The German National Match Poker players were highly successful over the course of the series, proving their exceptional individual skills once again.


Julie Schumacher (co-organizer of the Herzdamen Festival)

  • Royal Class (€250 Buy-In): 5th place for €1,883
  • Queens Cup (€150 Buy-in): 8th place for €1,211


Kai Rieche (key national team player and a regular at the Grand Casino Aš)

  • Queens Turbo (€50 Buy-In): 1st place for €1,107
  • Dealer’s Choice NLH/PLO (€60 Buy-In): 1st place for €1,491


Daniel Eylenfeldt (Team Captain)

  • Royal Class (€250 Buy-In): 1st place for €6,727
  • Queens Cup (€150 Buy-In): 14th place for €615


Rene Schlemon (new addition to the national team)

  • Queens PKO (€90 Buy-In): 6th place for €840 including bounties.


In summary, that’s 3 tournament victories, 6 final tables, and a total prize money of nearly €14,000 for the 4 players. A fantastic result from the World Champions!


“A Chip and a Chair”

During the Royal Class tournament, with blinds at 8k/16k, Daniel Eylenfeldt went all-in preflop with KJs vs. AQo for about 20 big blinds and was left with only 7k chips afterward. However, with less than half a big blind, he started his comeback and managed to secure the tournament victory after around 13 hours of play, at 7 o’clock in the morning! eylenfeldt-siegt/

They are proud to wear a star on their jersey as a reminder of their 2011 Nations Cup victory in London, UK at the first ever World Championships! However, they are definitely not satisfied and have been chasing that elusive second world title.

The Germans have come close, putting on impressive performances in both continental and global events, but haven’t managed to emerge victorious and be crowned World Champions for a second time as yet. They finished 3rd in the 2018 Nations Cup in Dublin, behind Ukraine and Ireland. They ended the group stages in Kyiv as the leaders, but weren’t able to convert that into a podium finish. This is a big opportunity for the German National Team to now bring home their 2nd Nations Cup, 10 years after they won the inaugural championship!

It wasn’t easy for them to qualify for the finals, missing out on qualification in Q1 to Austria by only 6.5 points but securing their spot after seeing off a tough fight from Lithuania and Norway in Q6. They are well prepared and ready for the challenge of the 2021 Nations Cup Finals!

Here is how the German squad looks for their attempt at a 2nd world title:

Name: Daniel Eylenfeldt

Age: 42

Profession: Poker Coach and Professional Poker Player

Bio: Daniel has been playing poker since 2007 with a focus on online cash games. Since the 2017 Nations Cup in Oxford, he has been continually involved with match poker. He has been coaching the German national team since 2019 and is particularly looking forward to the new points system, which is being used for the first time in North Macedonia.

Name: Jan Heitmann

Age: 45

Profession: Keynote Speaker and Trainer


Bio: Jan fell in love with poker quite early (1996), when it was still very underground in Germany. During his studies at university (management), he played more regularly. Once he got his diploma in September 2003, he travelled around Europe for a year, playing poker in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Vienna, London, etc., climaxing in his first WSOP in 2004 and turning professional after that. He 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 part of Team PokerStars Germany). These days poker is still a big part of his life, but in a very different way. He uses poker as a model for decision making, holding keynote talks and trainings for managers, leaders and decision makers.

Name: Alexander Kleppe

Age: 40

Profession: IT architect and project manager

Bio: Alexander loves to play poker 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 and project manager and has played for the German Nations Cup Team since 2019. Currently, he is organizing the first German Match Poker Championship with his organization team. 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.

Name: Boris Münch


Age: 37

Profession: Bike messenger and software developer

Bio: Boris was looking to start something new and so he began to play online poker in 2017, mainly focusing on cash games. He really got caught by the game and its technical and psychological nature. What he likes the most is that there is always something new to learn. You can’t reach a point, knowing everything, just being a grandmaster with a long grey beard. It’s way too complex, in the most positive manner. The concept of Match Poker is channeling this competitive aspects. That’s why he’s a part of the wonderful Team Germany and really looking forward to play some international events.

Name: Julie Schumacher

Age: 36

Profession: Physician and mother of 2

Bio: Julie started playing poker in 2006 while living in Vienna, Austria. She played mainly live tournaments ranging from Austrian National League up to EPT. Additionally she made an apprenticeship as a card-dealer and worked at some major tournaments around Europe. She’s also part of the core-team of the HerzdamenClub, an international club for all women interested in playing poker. She became a member of the German Nation Cup Team in 2021.

Name: Kai Rieche

Age: 41

Profession: CEO

Bio: Kai started playing poker in his hometown Berlin around 20 years ago and is still playing the game. He had so many good times with this game all over the world, that in his opinion it is still the most beautiful hobby. He’s really looking forward to the world championship in North Macedonia.

Name: Mila Monroe

Age: 39

Profession: Co-Founder of the Herzdamenclub (female poker player club)+ Podcaster

Bio: Mila started playing poker as a hobby in 2007, but in 2013, after a tragic accident, that very hobby brought her back to life and helped her travel around the world in a wheelchair. On her adventures she has already played against Daniel Negreanu, Kevin Hart (actor) and Charly Carrel, for example. In 2019 she founded the HerzdamenClub along with Natalie Hof Ramos to provide a platform for women playing poker. She has been a member of the Match Poker Team since 2021.

Name: Niklas Andrews

Age: 25

Profession: Graduated psychology student

Bio: Niklas has been playing poker for about 4 years, focusing on cash games since the beginning. What he loves the most about poker is the complexity of the game. The fact that the room for improvement seems to be infinite is why he keeps falling in love with poker.

Name: Timm Albrecht

Age: 41

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

Bio: Timm has been playing poker for 14 years now, mostly online cash games but also MTTs and SnGs. He loves discussions, books, videos and quizzes about poker. Since 2019 he’s a member of the German Match Poker team and he is really happy to play at the world championships in North Macedonia.


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!

Team Germany might not have made it to the Finals during this round of qualifiers for the Nations Cup, but their strong second place finish still begs the question “How do they train for Match Poker?” Well, we are going to spill the beans with you in this article. Team Germany is sharing their secret on how they train as a team and improve their poker game together in a group.

The Germans use a platform called Poker Castle. It is an interactive tool that allows a poker coach to train more than one player at a time. So, pretty much perfect for a Match Poker team. While players are playing random or custom created hands, the coach can actually see the cards of the players. This really helps to get behind the thought process of your teammates. 

“Normally, poker is about making the decisions with the highest chip EV (with ICM adaptations in tournament poker, if necessary),” team coach Daniel Eylenfeldt explains, “In the current Match Poker scoring system, however, the overall chips do not play a role. For example, it is often more important to win many small pots than one big one. Therefore, various adjustments have to be made in order to be successful in this system. When we train with the German team via Poker Castle, we usually play the hands as in the normal cash game, but in the replay function we then consider which adaptations would have made sense in Match Poker.”

So, how does it work?

After a hand has concluded, it is discussed in the Replay. During this phase, all participants can see the cards and the coach clicks through the action while interacting with the students via Discord, Zoom or any other third party communication platform.


Poker Castle platform

Without a platform like this teams are stuck with theory sessions and/or home games. It is often difficult to get into a flow and really see why and how a player was taking as long as they did for a decision. However, using Poker Castle means that the coach can observe the hand selection and decision making of the students in real time. It also means that the coach can see the learning progress of the players across the different sessions they play. The coach can even “Like” a play, which is obviously only visible to the player who’s move was praised. Poker Castle offers a range viewer tool where the coach can go through different options for the hand selection or explore the opponents’ ranges.

Weekly Preparation Sessions

Team Germany made sure to meet for training sessions at least once a week from a couple of months before the competition date, closer to the event they even trained twice a week for 3 hours each time. That is a lot of high intensity coaching as a team and their close second place finish behind Austria in the Qualifiers proves its value.

In Poker Castle you can choose to play random hands or custom hands and while it was mainly random hands that were played during the coaching sessions, team coach Daniel Eylenfeldt often used actual hands from his own online sessions that he deemed interesting enough.

Team Germany is made up of Jan Heitmann, Timm Albrecht, Niklas Andrews, Alexander Kleppe, Kai Rieche, Stefanie Haffke, Mila Monroe, Julie Schumacher, Arash Fazeli and Daniel Eylenfeldt. During the time the team prepared for the competition, the members really learned to appreciate working with Poker Castle. Especially the fact that once you fold you can see other players cards, which is an incredible feature to learn in a group. Poker Castle is not exclusive to the German team. Any team, study or staking group is welcome to check it out and start training with it. 

They play their next qualifier on 7th August and will no doubt be putting in the hours on training and strategy in the weeks leading up to it, with the aim of sealing their spot in the Nations Cup Finals. For more information please visit