Can the Estonians secure their first ever podium finish at the World Cup?

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.


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!

An Experienced Estonian Team is Focused on the 2021 Nations Cup Finals

Introducing the Estonian national Match Poker team, ready to participate in the 2021 Nations Cup qualifiers within Europe with the aim of securing their spot in the finals!

Carmen-Elina Vist, 31 years – Carmen is an Estonian Tournament Poker Federation board member. One of the most aggressive Estonian female poker players. Carmen is also two times poker champion of Estonia. Besides poker Carmen likes to run and play disc golf. 

Karev Tralla, 35 years – Wonderful player, characterised by his good sense of humour as well as bold actions even in the most difficult situations. Although Karev is mainly known as a showman, he is Estonia’s best poker blogger. Mostly, he joins the table to enjoy good vibes and nice attitude.

Herli Olop, 40 years – One of this decade’s most valued poker persons in Estonia, active in both the OlyBet poker room and the games portal Jokker.ee. This means that he knows poker through and through as a player (he is also a two times poker champion of Estonia) and as an organiser. Herli has been representing his nation at IFMP events since 2012. In poker, Herli values both good company and interesting game situations. At the table, he does not ask for too much attention but could always make it quite far!

 

Marko Kolk, 52 years – Mathematician who has stood out not only in poker, but also in other thinking games. For several years, nothing could be heard of this colourful old-timer… Until in 2016, he won two tournaments in one night at the Estonian championships of online poker and, naturally, also won the Player of the Year title at the championships. Marko is sneaky and a bit unusual, he is not easy to read.

Kaidar Viikman, 36 years – Kaidar is the Estonian Tournament Poker Federation board member. He has been playing poker since 2008 and is one time online poker champion if Estonia. Besides organising ETPF online and live events, Kaidar likes to run, play volleyball and watch Twitch poker streams. He is very analytical and is not afraid to make big hero calls. 

Kelly Limonova, 40 years – Entrepreneur,  who has been representing Estonian national team since 2012 when they won the European Nations Cup 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

 

Roland Luik, 33 years – Roland is a man with many talents. If he is not busy managing his projects in Estonia, Finland and Norway, he is participating in most of the major poker festivals in Tallinn. He is known for his aggressive playing style and often puts players on tough decisions. If he is not wearing headphones, Roland likes to take part in poker discussions and hand analysis. He, as all the other Estonia Team members, think that poker is a hobby where people can socialise and sometimes also make some extra money.