Asian Champions, Team India, are now aiming to become World Champions!

Team India has consistently impressed in Match Poker events and is fully focused on the World Championship. Winning the first Asian qualifier last year, finishing 4th in the 2020 Virtual Nations Cup, being crowned Asian Champions in 2019 in Taipei, and launching the world’s first pro Match Poker league have all been feathers in India’s cap but now the national team is looking for its first ever podium finish at a World Cup!

Here is the squad for the Indian team’s participation in North Macedonia at the 2021 Nations Cup Finals:


Name: Jagdeep Singh (C)

Age: 37

Profession: Poker Player

Bio: Has been part of the winning team in the national team in 3 out of the 4 completed seasons, captaining the team in two of them. Previously represented India at the 2017 Nations Cup in Oxford, where he won the ‘Deepstack Diamond’ for being the best performing player against the AI poker player ‘Deepstack’, then in Bangkok at the 2018 Asian Nations Pairs Challenge and most recently at the 2021 Nations Cup virtual qualifiers. He is excited to lead the national team in Gevgelija and is looking to grab this opportunity with both hands, while aiming to atleast bring home a podium finish for his country.


Name: Sajal Gupta

Age: 28

Profession: Self employed

Bio: I’ve been playing poker for more than 5 years, I have played all formats – MTT, Hold’em and PLO cash. Very interested to play a new format in Match Poker and make my debut for the national team.

Name: Pratibha Arya

Age: 28

Profession: Poker Player

Bio: Pratibha has been playing Match Poker since the launch of the Indian national league in 2017, being on the winning team in 3 out of the 4 seasons! She won ‘player of the season’ for her individual performance in season 2, and has been a consistently impressive player throughout. Pratibha will be making her 4th appearance for the national team in Macedonia and only has the world title on her mind!


Name: Amit Varma

Age: 48

Profession: Writer and Podcaster

Bio: Amit Varma is a writer and podcaster based in Mumbai. He has been a journalist for over two decades, and won the Bastiat prize for Journalism twice. He hosts the popular longform podcast, The Seen and the Unseen. He is retired from playing poker professionally, but was tempted to try Match Poker because of his love of optimising for new formats.


Name: Gaurav Kalra

Age: 40

Profession: Tech geek

Bio: An integral part of the dominant Haryana Hawks in the Indian national league, Gaurav has really embraced the uniqueness of the Match Poker concept and its team element. ‘Match Poker is making Texas Hold’em Poker a team sport with strategy spanning across a team rather than an individual, a very exciting concept.’


Name: Mukul Chadda

Age: 48

Profession: Actor

Bio: Mukul Chadda began his working career in Investment Banking at the erstwhile Lehman Brothers in New York, writing research reports on US Agency Debt securities. His current vocation is as an actor in Mumbai, best known for playing the lead role of Jagdeep Chaddha (the Michael Scott/David Brent equivalent) in the Indian edition of international show The Office. He also does Film, Stage & Improv, and Storytelling.

Somewhere between these two careers, he combined his investment & acting skills to focus seriously on poker, playing it semi-professionally for a few years. In 2011, he won the IPS (Indian Poker Series) Player of the Year title for his consistent finishes in their tournaments in Goa.


Name: Loveleen Singh

Age: 31

Profession: Poker Player

Bio: Loveleen will be making his Team India debut at the 2021 World Championships in Macedonia. He has been representing the Delhi Aces in the Indian national league and proven himself over the past 2 seasons. He will be looking to cement his spot in the national team and make his debut a very memorable one.


Macedonia to Host the Nations Cup Finals in May

 

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 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 Launches into Corporate India

19th January 2021, Mumbai, India: The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) and its official Indian member federation, Match Poker India, have entered into an agreement with Saran Sports to launch Match Poker into corporates in India. Since 1996, Saran Sports has always believed in introducing new concepts for the benefit of their corporate clients. […]