LONDON AND MUMBAI: 1st June, 2017
The International Federation of Poker has signed a ground-breaking agreement with top Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra and her entrepreneur husband Raj Kundra’s Viaan Industries Ltd to launch the Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL) which will see city-based teams compete in the world’s first professional match poker league.
The agreement is a significant breakthrough for the sport, which has been developed by the International Federation of Poker, under its president Patrick Nally, and has grown significantly worldwide since its launch in 2009. The IFP now has 60 member Federations worldwide and a long list of applicant nations.
The Match Indian Poker League, featuring teams owned by leading figures in Indian business and entertainment, will launch in September. Players will be selected for the teams based on their skill based ranking, where their performances have been assessed while playing against one of the world’s most advanced Poker ‘Bots using the Match Poker app which launches in August.
The first eight teams will represent the cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Kolkatta and Mumbai and the Match IPL will be played over a weekend to determine the most skillful Match Poker team along with the six players that will represent the Indian National team on a global stage.
Match Poker is the skill-based variant of the world’s most popular card game in which players compete for points (and not for stakes) in a team format. It combines the skills of an ultra-mind sport with current digital technology. Cards are dealt digitally and the game is played on smartphones and tablets, thereby eliminating the randomness of the cards and amplifying the skill.
The technology facilitates every element of the sport from game-play to administration of competitions and record keeping. Players win points for their team depending on the number of chips they win as they compete against opponents at their table and against their opposite numbers on other teams who have been dealt identical cards.
The International Federation of Poker (IFP) is the international governing body for the sport and was declared WADA compliant earlier this year. It is an observer member of the International Mind Sports Association and an applicant for membership of the Global Association of International Sports Federations.
“We are delighted to be working with Viaan Industries and with Shilpa and Raj who have had the vision to recognise the potential of Match Poker and the business instincts to create an exciting and entertaining, sporting framework which will attract massive interest among players, sponsors and commercial backers in one of the world’s fastest growing markets,” he said.
“The IFP has worked tirelessly for many years to develop the sport and the technology to support it and make it fit for purpose as a truly 21st century mind sport. It is a mind sport in an e-sport wrapper. Match Poker is inclusive and can be played by anybody with access to a smartphone and an Internet connection, anywhere and at any time.”
“We will be working closely with Viaan Industries to support the success of the Match Indian Poker League and are confident that it will create a model for the roll-out of other pro leagues elsewhere in the world.”
“The interest in India has been simply phenomenal and we can’t wait for the launch of the app and the build-up to the Match Indian Poker league later this year.”
Raj Kundra said:
“Viaan Industries Ltd is all about creating innovative technology and licensing deals and I am delighted to work with the International Federation of Poker on this tremendously exciting project.
Together we are going to create India’s only internationally recognized sports Match Poker league, which will create new opportunities to play, and unprecedented levels of excitement and engagement. Significantly the Match IPL will also be the platform for identifying and selecting the six players who will represent Team India at the IFP Nations Cup later this year.”