Match Poker is a revolutionary team eSport based on the principles of Texas Hold ‘Em, designed to maximise skill and
remove the elements of luck and gambling. The governing body, the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP), is a non-profit organisation whose stated purpose is to “serve as the global governing body for Match Poker”. IFMP consists of National Federations from around the world and currently has more than 65 members across six continents.
The global launch of the IFMP and the UK Federation will take place ‘on the river’ on Tuesday 27th July at the Hidden
Garden in Henley-on-Thames, England.

IFMP President and sports marketing visionary Patrick Nally (of West Nally) is the powerhouse driving the sport, having
previously brokered some of the most influential marketing deals in the history of sports and demonstrated a propensity for technology-driven innovations that challenge the status quo.

The launch is the culmination of 7 years of match play and testing around the world. The sport has reached the highest
standards of recognition with Observer status granted by GAISF and growing community of National federations. Patrick said, “The IFMP team is delighted that after all the years of hard work to establish Match Poker as a genuine sport we can now start building global community for this exciting mind sport”.

Six teams will unite next Tuesday in a stunning riverside venue in Henley-on-Thames to compete in a friendly tournament to celebrate the launch. Teams from Hong Kong, Switzerland, Taiwan, Poland and current World Champions, Ukraine, will join the UK team.
You can watch the launch event online at from 12:30pm BST to 14:00pm BST.

Additional information:
The International Federation of Match Poker highlights:
• Formally recognised as a sport
• WADA compliant
• Observer Member of GAISF
• Mind sport in an E-Sports wrapper
• Played digitally with full transparency


Launch event sponsors
Global Sport Technologies:
The Hidden Garden Henley:
Peter Ungar Jewellery:

Please direct any media or press enquiries to Niamh Blackett: [email protected]

Social Media:
Instagram – @ifmatchpoker
Twitter – @ifpoker
Facebook –

IFMP Mourns the Loss of our Founding Father, Gary Bowman

Remembering Gary Bowman (Roman Olynch), a legend:

Gary Bowman was the founding father of IFMP (International Federation of Match Poker). He was both a visionary and a pioneer. He saw the need for sporting enthusiasts, especially those American Football (NFL) supporters (based overseas), wanting to bet, and add to the excitement of following their team. This awareness was at a time prior to the digital revolution when communication was restricted to primarily postal, telephone and later fax contact. Having initially set up a postal system, and seeing the positive response, he developed a sophisticated telephone system, taking bets in real time by telephone. In essence Gary was the first to create what became known as “The Offshore Sports Book”, started by Gary and of course copied by many.

Gary Bowman with Dmitry Lesnoy at the 2013 Asian Nations Cup in Sanya, China


IFMP Vice-President Pedro Trengrouse with Gary at the 2017 Nations Cup in Oxford

Gary started in the UK, in Manchester, where he built an impressive structure which was later moved to Mauritius. His structure was a substantial 24 hour telephone call centre providing a betting service on a global scale.

As Gary was heavily committed to his telephone structure he did not switch to a digital structure as quick as his competitors. With more and more restrictions being placed on offshore gaming he decided to sell up and look for new horizons. Gary moved to his parents’ original homeland – Ukraine, settling in the City of Lviv. He fell in love with a building and gradually purchased every apartment in the centrally located apartment block. Once securing full ownership of the whole building he created The British Club where I became the second member following the first member, Lord Tom Pendry. Pendry and Gary formed a close relationship when Tom, a past Labour Shadow Sports Minister, helped Gary with licensing matters.

Gary with IFMP President Patrick Nally in Oxford

Gary once ensconced in Lviv started to invest in other projects, including a garlic farm as well as committing himself to many important local charities. His one burning ambition however was to make Poker a recognised sport and became both the founder and the patron of the original IFP (International Federation of Poker) which later became IFMP when his vision was realised and Match Poker became officially recognised as a sport in 2017.

Without Gary‘s vision and determination the International Federation would not exist, it was his perseverance that has enabled the project to move forward, it was his personal support, especially with the hosting of the first digital European Nations Cup event held in Cyprus in 2013, that enabled the sport to proceed. Gary was one of the founding directors of the sport, he will be sorely missed by the entire Match Poker family. To honour his memory and invaluable contribution to the sport of Match Poker, a Gary Bowman Cup will become a major international event within IFMP’s annual calendar.

RIP Gary we will miss you madly.

Written by Patrick Nally, close personal friend of Gary’s and president of IFMP.

IFMP Statement on the Death of Patrick Baumann

Lausanne, 15th October 2018 – The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of GAISF president and IOC member Patrick Baumann. Mr. Baumann died suddenly during the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

IFMP President, Patrick Nally, said: “On behalf of IFMP, I extend heartfelt condolences to Mr. Baumann’s family, friends and colleagues. Patrick was more than a colleague, he was a good friend, we shared a common name which strengthened the bond between us, I have so many wonderful memories.

We and the world of international sport will sorely miss him. Patrick RIP.”

Anthony Holden steps down as IFP President

After a board meeting at the end of its highly successful European Nations Cup in Paphos, Cyprus, IFP announced that its founder President Anthony Holden was stepping down after four years distinguished service in the role. The Board also announced that it had elected as his successor Mr Patrick Nally.

Anthony Holden

Anthony Holden

Elected IFP’s first President at its founding congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, in April 2009, Mr Holden said that it had been a great honour to hold that office during IFP’s formative years which had seen it grow from the original seven founder members to almost 50, with 75 in prospect by the end of this year. The first four years also saw the development of IFP’s patent form of duplicate poker, Match Poker, and the hugely successful events at County Hall in London, in November 2011, which saw Germany crowned first winners of the Nations Cup and Raul Mestre of Spain triumph in the first individual IFP World Championship.

On stepping down as President, Holden, a distinguished journalist and author prior to taking up his IFP duties, expressed his thanks to all he had worked with over the four years and cited a desire to return to other literary projects, including memoirs.

Among Mr Holden’s 35 books are two cult classics in the poker world, Big Deal (1990) and Bigger Deal (2007), as well as an expert and widely acclaimed manual Holden on Hold’em (2008). A former PokerStars sponsored player, he won television’s first celebrity Late Night Poker in 2000 and he represented England in the 2006 World Cup of Poker.

While Holden is standing down as President he will not be leaving the IFP entirely, having been asked by the board to take up new Ambassadorial role, an appointment Holden is greatly looking forward to.

Patrick Nally

Patrick Nally

Newly elected President of the IFP Patrick Nally paid tribute to Holden.

“On behalf of the entire IFP Board I want to thank Anthony Holden and pay tribute to his four distinguished years as IFP’s founder President. Without his reputation in the poker world and his wide range of contacts we would never have been able to get IFP off to such a terrific start. We will miss him very much, but as his successor, I am delighted that Anthony will remain very much part of the IFP family as IFP’s Ambassador in the poker world at large.”

Often referred to as the “founding father of sports marketing”, Nally himself was instrumental in revolutionising major sporting events around the world, such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. He still plays a central role in numerous projects both inside and outside the sporting world, experience that he believes will ensure an exciting future for poker and the IFP as it moves into an exciting new phase.

“I’m very pleased that the board has given me the honour of serving as President of IFP. We have many exciting challenges ahead, following on from our success at the European Nations Cup in Paphos, and our revolutionary use of smartphone technology. Such innovations take poker into a new era and I look forward to even greater success in the future as we build on the achievements of the past four years.”