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!

Team Singapore are Going for Gold

Team Singapore will be lead by a female, becoming the 2nd nation to have a woman captain after Belarus. A strong squad with a mix of experience and youth, the Singaporeans will be eager to show their skills once again and make a run at the World Championship! Here is their squad:

 

Team Captain – Lisa Tan Meiling

Profession – In Tech Industry

Bio – Fell in love with the game since my university days, and been firmly in love with the game since. It’s been a thrilling and empowering ride being a female player in this game, and I encourage more females to try Match Poker!

 

Team Coach – Phua Tzai Wei

Profession – Cryptocurrency investor

Bio – I started playing poker in 2013 back in my college toilet/library. There are many transferrable skills to life itself, skills I have equipped myself with over the years have helped me in many ways in real life and games which rewards hard work and effort, where performance/results mostly correlated with effort and hard work one puts in.

 

 

Team Manager – Ivan Tan

Retired 

Bio – I started playing in 2000. I enjoy the social aspect of the game, and that it is a skill game which requires a lot of self-discipline in order to excel. 

 

Team Player – Lee Jia En Bernice

Student 

Bio – I started playing poker in 2017. I love meeting new people and love the thrill of poker

Team Player – Kevin Quek

Retired Hedge Fund manager

Bio – Picked up poker in 2004 when I was working in Wall Street, New York City. Got to play more when I was working in HK as Macau was just a 1 hour hop away. I would typically play for 20-25 hours straight on the weekends. Love the game as it has many similar characteristics to trading, where a mix of probabilities, psychology, bankroll management and patience comes into play!

 

Team Player – Foo Jie Long 

Profession – Banking

Bio – Started playing poker since university days where I started off playing cash games and slowly transitioned to tournament. Love how poker is multifaceted and like life there’s always a chance to win no matter the cards you are dealt!

Team Vice Captain – Zefirelli Noordin

Profession – Dogecoin Investor

Bio – Loved the game since school days. Played on and off, loves the competition and social aspect of the game.

 

Team Player – Lin Ruizi

Profession – Lawyer

Bio – I first learnt how to play poker shortly after A levels and before the start of my national service, and was very drawn to the strategic aspect of it as I was then a competitive Magic: The Gathering player, amongst various strategy games. Further, although the money wasn’t the main aspect of it for me, it was nice to have a hobby that potentially paid, as opposed to just continually outlaying money! 

 

Team Player – Keith Joel Seah Jia Qiang

Profession – Entrepreneur

Bio – I started playing at the age of 21 and I love the money aspect of it.

 

Team Player – Desmond Oh

Profession – Public Servant

Bio – I love card games since I was young, and enjoy grinding online (Former PokerStars Supernova). As a mind sports lover, I like the competitive nature of the game.