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!

Match Poker reaches Iceland!

Icelandic Match Poker Team 2021

Daníel Pétur Axelsson

Age: 42

Profession: trainer, taxi driver, poker player

Playing poker for about 15 years almost exclusively tournaments. Icelandic champion in online PLO and online NLH in 2020. Want to test my skills in this format where luck has been taken out of the equation.


Egill Thorsteinsson

Age: 29

Profession: Shipping manager / poker player

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.


Einar Th. Einarsson

Age: 48

Profession: Technical Director/Software Engineer.

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.


Gardar Geir Hauksson

Age: 31

Profession: Salmon fishing guide, poker player

Started in small home games at 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.


Gunnar Árnason


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 include Icelandic PLO champion in 2019 and 4th in 2020, runner-up in NLH Icelandic championship in 2020.


Halldór Már Sverrisson

Age: 49

Profession: Real-estate broker.

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


Inga “Poko” Gudbjartsdóttir

Age: 40

Profession: Business consultant

I have been playing poker on and off since 2006 and also worked as a poker dealer from 2011, alongside working on a BS degree in Business Administration at the University of Iceland. I enjoy playing NLH, PLO and PLO Hi/Lo and have played poker on four continents: Europe, America, Asia and Africa. I enjoy competitive sports and have represented Iceland in snooker and 10-ball pool. I am proud and excited to represent Iceland in Match Poker. Notable results include 1st NLH Bulgarian champion, Bulgarian Open, Varna, Bulgaria 2006, 18th NLH Icelandic Championship 2019 and 14th NLH Icelandic Championship 2020.


Kristjana Gudjónsdóttir (Jana)

Age: 36

Profession: Student

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 include Icelandic online champion 2015, 40th EPT Esterellas Barcelona 2015, 72th EPT Esterellas Barcelona 2014.


Magnús Valur Bödvarsson

Age: 37 

Profession: Head Groundsman at KR football club and referee for Icelandic FA.

Playing poker since 2006, mostly tournaments. Match Poker is a fun game and tests the skills of players and it’s an honour to be a member of the national team. 4th in Icelandic poker championship 2019, 96th Barcelona cup 2014, multiple wins in Icelandic online poker series.


Saevar Ingi Saevarsson

Age: 39

Profession: Truck driver, bus driver and tour guide.

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