Can the Experienced Lithuanian Team Secure a Podium Finish in Gevgelija?

When Lithuania were announced as the winners of the ‘Plate’ at the 2019 European Nations Cup in Kyiv, an elated NF president Skirmantas Tomkevicius proudly said with a big smile ‘Lithuanian will always find the toughest path to achieve our goal, but we will get there in the end. It’s the Lithuanian way!’


It looks like he was right as Lithuania qualified as the final team in the line up for the 2021 World Championships in Gevgelija! A squad that has participated in multiple Match Poker events together, with their best performance coming in the 2020 Virtual Nations Cup where they finished in 3rd place overall behind Ukraine and Australia. Dainius Ulke was awarded with ‘Player of the Tournament’ in Kyiv and he will be looking to replicate his performance and help his national team finish on the podium.

The Lithuanian National Team for the 2021 World Cup is as follows:


Name: Lukas Kviecinskas

Profession: CEO of poker room “Poker Garden” in Lithuania

Age: 27

Bio: I played my first poker game just after my 18th birthday. And since then, day after day, tournament after tournament it became a big part of my life. I am so humbled and proud to be a champion of Lithuania in 2020 and the winner of multiple other tournaments.


Name: Dainius Ulkè

Age: 46

Profession: IT specialist

Bio: I started playing poker in 2007. Now that’s my hobby. I like the live game, I like the reaction of the players in different situations, I like to interact at the table. Proud to be representing the national team again.


Name: Arūnas Blauzdžiūnas

Age: 46

Profession: Reserve Officer

Bio: I started playing poker 12 years ago. It has become a daily hobby for me to relax after work. Playing live is the funnest interaction, and I love the sporting tension in a poker game.


Name: Erikas Zukas

Age: 30

Bio: He is the youngest member of our national team, eager to learn and understand other players – once Erikas has won tournament without even looking at his own cards!


Name: Mantas Urbonas

Age: 34

Bio: Poker professional from Panevėžys, now resides in Vilnius. Mantas is also a football team ‘Top Kicker’s’ owner and manager. He started to play poker 10 years ago, and his best achievement is 4th place of Battle of Malta winning 120000 EUR. Ranks 31st in Lithuania by live earnings.


Name: Diana Dvelienė

Age: 45

Bio: She lives in Kaunas and together with her husband, who is also a poker player in the federation, they run their own plants growing business. Does not play often in any live tournaments, but if she does, finishes ITM.


Name: Skirmantas Tomkevičius

Age: 45

Bio: The president of the recognised national federation for poker in Lithuania, Lietuvos Sportinio Pokerio Federacija (LSPF). I will be playing just in case its needed. He is the team manager and is working closely with the Polish national federation on their combined national Match Poker leagues!


 

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!

The Lithuanians want to improve on their Bronze medal finish in 2020!

Team Lithuania have had a bit of a roller coaster ride in IFMP events so far!

2019 European Nations Cup in Kyiv saw them miss out on the top 6 (which would have secured their Nations Cup spot) but they managed to do it the hard way by winning their place after a tough battle with the bottom 7 teams to win the Nations Plate and a spot in the finals.

2020 Nations Cup Finals, which had to be held virtually, was contested by 12 qualified nations from Asia and Europe. Lithuania battled hard and made sure they weren’t completely out of it at any point of the event. Finally they had an incredible session and managed to finish in 3rd place overall, winning bronze medals and certificates for their efforts!

They have stuck to the same team, with one addition in Paulius Vaitiekunas.

Paulius Vaitiekūnas

Paulius Vaitiekūnas – Professional poker player, 27 years old. Started playing at the age of 14 with friends and fell in love with the psychological aspect of the game, grinds High Stakes spin & go tournaments while studying in the UK. Sunday Million winner, WSOPC winner, 100s Spin & Go Jackpot Winner. Currently playing mid/high stakes MTTs and oversees Spin stable.

Skirmantas

Skirmantas Tomkevičius – the president of National federation of Poker of Lithuania. I will be playing just in case its needed.

Erikas

Erikas Zukas – He is the youngest member of our national team, eager to learn and understand other players – once Erikas has won tournament without even looking at his own cards!

Arunas

Arūnas Valentavičius – he was born on 1975/09/25. Retired solder of Lithuanian army. Plays only in federation tournaments.

Dainius

Dainius Ulkė – he was born in Biržai, but since early days lives in Vilnius, works in IT sector since 1994. One of the most stable players in federation.

Mantas

Mantas Urbonas – poker professional from Panevėžys, now resides in Vilnius. Mantas also a football’s team Top Kicker’s owner and manager. He started to play poker 10 years ago, and his best achievement is 4th place of Battle of Malta winning 120000 EUR. Ranks 31st in Lithuania by live earnings. Mantas was born on 1987/06/22.

Laimis

Laimutis Kalvelis – He was born on 1970/06/26. He is pretty successful in federation tournaments, has won two of them since 2012. Works as a CEO in company taking care of houses in the city. Was born and lives in Vilnius.

Diana

Diana Dvelienė – she was born on 1976/11/09 in Kaunas. She lives there and together with her husband, who is also a poker player in the federation, they run their own plants growing business. Does not play often in any live tournaments, but if she does, finishes ITM.

 

Edvinas Šulskis – non playing team member, he will be an analyst for the Lithuanian team.

The 11th Sports Poker Championship of Lithuania

As the world deals with everything that has been thrown at it this year it’s nice to see IFMP’s Lithuanian national federation host it’s 11th Sports Poker Championship!
This event is taking place at Du Karaliai (Two Kings) – the first and biggest sports poker club in Lithuania, located in Vilnius.
The championship will last 4 days – from Thursday to Sunday, containing 3 starting days 1A, 1B, 1C, 2nd day and final day.
The 4 day event will consist of the main event in No-Limit Texas Holdem and side events in Pot-Limit Omaha.
The main event is a very deep freeze-out (levels up from 40 to 60 minutes, 30000 starting stack).
The main partner of LSPF (Lithuanian Sports Poker Federation) is Olybet, which, of course, gives the main prize – buy-in to the biggest poker tournament in Baltics – The Kings of Tallinn main event (1100EUR buy-in).
Every player also collects rating points towards top 10 of the year within the federation structure.

Team Lithuania is ready for the European Nations Cup in Kyiv, Ukraine!

The Lithuanian National Match Poker Team, represented by Sportinio pokerio klubas “Du Karaliai”, comprises of:

Skirmantas Tomkevičius – the President of National Federation of Poker of Lithuania.


Mantas Urbonas

Poker professional from Panevėžys, now resides in Vilnius. Mantas is also the owner and manager of the football team Top Kicker’s. He started playing poker 10 years ago, and his best achievement is last year’s 4th place at Battle of Malta winning 120,000 EUR. Ranks 31st in Lithuania by live earnings. Mantas was born on 1987/06/22 and he is the youngest member of the team.


Erikas Zukas

He is the youngest member of the national team, eager to learn and understand other players – once Erikas has won a tournament without even looking at his own cards!


Laimutis Kalvelis

He was born on 1970/06/26. He is pretty successful in federation tournaments and has won two of them since 2012. Works as a CEO in a company taking care of houses in the city. Was born and lives in Vilnius.


Diana Dvelienė

She was born 1976/11/09 in Kaunas. She lives there and together with her husband, who is also a poker player in the federation, runs their own plants growing business. Does not play often in any live tournaments, but if she does, finishes in the money.


Arūnas Valentavičius

He was born on 1975/09/25 and is a retired solder of the Lithuanian army. Plays only in federation tournaments.


Dainius Ulkė

He was born in Biržai, but since early days lives in Vilnius, works in IT sector since 1994. One of the most stable players in the federation.


Qualification structure was the following

Top 6 players of each year from 2013-2018 of the national federation’s annual rankings were able to play in the qualification tournaments to get into the national team. Three tournaments were held (6-max, Turbo, Deep Freeze-out) to determine 6 or 7 winners. Two tournaments were won by Mindaugas Jonuškis and one by Mantas Urbonas. The tournaments took two days to complete and the national team was created.