Team Israel is Ready for its Nations Cup Debut in Macedonia!

Their last live event participation was in November 2019 at the Asian Nations Cup held in Taipei, Taiwan where they competed for the continental championships against India, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Korea and Japan.

All 9 teams began playing together and after 2 days of play were divided into the top 4 and bottom 5. The top 4 playing for the title of Asian Nations Cup Champions having already secured their qualification for the Nations Cup Finals. The bottom 5 were playing for the Nations Plate and the final qualification spot for the World Championships. Korea and Israel battled hard and kept swapping the top 2 positions throughout the day, leading to an intense and highly competitive finish.

It was the Koreans who eventually secured the final qualification spot and won the Plate, leading to a disappointed Israeli team who gave it their all but came up just short. They were determined to qualify for the Nations Cup Finals and managed to do so in the last Asian qualifier, just getting past the Philippines by only 1.5 points!!! Now Team Israel have their opportunity to compete for the Match Poker World Cup in Macedonia!

This is what the Israeli National Team looks like:

Name: Stas ‘Stasia42’ Tishkevich

Age: 36 year old from Hod-Hasharon

Profession: Entrepreneur

Bio: Team Israel Coach and substitute player. Professional poker player, poker coach, co-founder of the Israeli Poker Union, the Israeli Poker Academy, and PokerFighter training app.




Name: Shimon Yaffe

Age: 53 years old from Tel-Aviv

Profession: Pilot

Bio: Team Israel Manager and substitute player. Secretary general of the Israeli Poker Union and director of international poker tournaments.


Name: Eyal Pearl

Age: 54 years old from Ramat Hasharon

Profession: Owner of a residential marketing company

Bio: Ironman and Ultra-Man (swimming, cycling, running), and the owner of the Ultra-Man Challenge competition in Israel. A poker enthusiast for over 15 years, feels great honour to represent Israel globally.

Name: Ziv Leinwand

Age: 50 years old from Tel Aviv

Profession: Senior manager in the high-tech industry and entrepreneur

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em since 2010 and an avid supporter of the campaign to regulate the game of poker in Israel.

Name: Ifat Levy

Age: 47 years old from Gadera

Profession: Completed military service with the rank of lieutenant colonel as a logistics officer 4 years ago

Bio: Worked as a history and citizenship teacher, and currently does reserve service at the Home Front Command’s headquarters to amputate Corona’s adhesive chains. Loves playing poker tournaments.

Name: Shachar Zvang

Age: 46 years old from Ganei Tikva

Profession: Works as an analyst in the high-tech industry

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em for about 15 years and studied the game in depth at the Poker Academy. Excited to represent Israel and promote the sports poker format.

Name: Omri Elmaleh

Age: 35 years old from Ashdod

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em over 17 years, mostly tournaments. Dreaming of specialising in the game and taking part in the world championships.

Name: Ronen Val

Age: 56 years old from Yavne

Profession: Citizenship teacher in high school and 10th grade centre

Bio: Plays Texas Hold’em for over 7 years. Happy to promote the campaign to regulate the game of poker in Israel.

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!

Stas and his Poker Fighters are ready to represent Israel!


The Israeli National Poker Team:

#42 Stas Tishkevich

35 years old lives in Hod Hasharon with his wife and 2 children. Team coach/player. Stas is a professional poker player and entrepreneur. He plays both Cash & MTTs and his best results to date include a 7th place finish at SCOOP Main Event 2013 for 90,877$, and a deep run in the WSOP Main Event 2020 where he finished 20th for 34,116$. He is a co-founder of the Israeli Poker Academy, a co-founder of the Poker-Fighter Training App, and the chairman of the Israeli Poker Union.


#89 Ifat Levy

47 years old, lives in Gedera. Married with 5 children, retired from IDF 3 years ago and now works as a history and citizenship teacher. Started playing Hold’em a few years ago but only after graduating the Israeli Poker Academy she discovered poker tournaments and fell in love with them.

#666 Eyal Pearl

Lives in Ramat Hasharon. Started playing poker 7 years ago. Loves the game, feels a great honour in representing Israel. As an Ultra-man finisher, he believes that both at the ultra-man challenge and at poker, patience is essential in order to succeed.


#8 Shachar Zvang

Lives in Ganne Tiqva with his amazing wife and 3 boys. Plays NLH for 15 years, mostly with friends. In the last 2 years he studied in the Israeli Poker Academy and started to think like a pro poker player. He’s thrilled to represent Israel in the Match Poker championship.



#19 Shimon Yaffe 

52 years old, lives in Tel Aviv. CEO of the Israeli Poker Union. Tournament Director of the Israeli Poker Championship company.


#17 Omri Elmaleh 

Lives in Ashdod. 34 years old. Playing Texas Hold’em for about 17 years, mostly tournaments, dreaming big.


#73 Ziv Leinwand

49 years old from Tel Aviv. Plays Texas Hold’em since 2010, mostly cash. A passionate advocate for poker regulation & legalisation, Ziv is hi-tech executive and entrepreneur.



#10 Ronen Val

Lives in Yavne. Plays Hold’em for 6 years. Graduated at the Israeli poker academy. Happy to be a part of team Israel and promoting the game in Israel.