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!

Philippines are Eager to Impress after their 2019 Asian Nations Cup Debut

Team Captain of Team Philippines – Hermie Philipson Chua

He is 47 years old and and works in financing.

‘Poker runs in my blood, been playing since 2007 when I won as the first APPT online qualifier out of 5,000 players. Played the 2010 WSOP main event but busted out on day 1. Jointly organised the Poker Players Association of the Philippines and became its first President in 2011, lucky enough to survive 15 years of playing and enjoying each moment of it.

 

Member of Team Philippines – Lloyd Chua

He is 47 years old and and works in financing.

‘I started playing poker when it was first introduced here in the Philippines at ClubV and immediately fell in love with the game!’

 

 

Member of Team Philippines – Myra M. Adriano

She is 52 years old and works as a Manager, Site Acquisition and Management, for Globe Telecom Inc.

Myra is happily married with 3 children and currently works as a senior manager for a telecommunications company. She has been playing poker since 2005, both live and online. She has participated in various poker circuits and has also won some MTTs. She loves the challenge of playing against the best in the game and outwitting the poker pros. She looks forward to winning her next major tourney.

 

Member of Team Philippines – Lou Pacia

He is 58 years old and is an entrepreneur.

He started playing poker 50 years ago with his father! ‘Poker is the best’.

 

Member of Team Philippines – J Marco Aventajado

He is 45 years old and is a Professor, Entrepreneur and Gaming Consultant.

One of the trailblazers of Texas Hold’em poker in Manila in 2004. Tournament Director for WPT Philippines (2006) and WPT Manila (2016). Owned and operated several poker rooms in and around the Philippines.

 

Member of Team Philippines – Dexter A. Brillo

He is a 48 year old Customs Broker.

‘I started playing poker 15 years ago. At first, it was just a game that I played, until I found interest in poker and it eventually turned into a hobby. I love the complexity of the game and how it is determined by skill and not only through luck.

 

Member of Team Philippines – Romeo ‘Don’ Lerit Jr

He is a 44 year old businessman and is the President of Legalas Group of Companies.

Known in the poker scene as ‘Mr Blind All In’, Don is one of the more energetic players, his game is fun and loud with more than 10 years of experience.

 

Member of Team Philippines – Paul John G. Velasco

A 50 year old businessman, Paul John Velasco is an entrepreneur and founder of Tea Options Official, it currently has 4 stores inside and outside the metro. Before entering the world of business, poker was his first love. He is a consistent poker player who focuses more on cash games.

 

Member of Team Philippines – Anselmo Ferdinand B Adriano

A 55 year old lawyer, Ansel started playing poker in 2005, joining small live tournaments purely out of curiosity, fun and meeting new people. Since then, he has played in some major tourneys both locally and abroad, and participated in live and online events.