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The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) Asian Nations Cup commenced on November 5 at the Hotel Le Midi in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Featuring 9 Asian nations, this is the second leg of the IFMP Nations Cup, which comprises of a total of three such stops. A total of 15 teams from all three stops will advance to the World Championship to be hosted in Lima, Peru starting from December 2.
Among the 9 teams featuring in the Asian Nations Cup is our very own Team India. Seven Indian challengers, namely Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Krina Gala, Prateek Mishra, Rishab Jain, Tanmay Bagga and Tarun Mundkar, led by Team Captain Gaurav Gala have already started their campaign to bring home the Asian Nations Cup trophy and book their seats in the World Championship.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of Match Poker, the game requires individual members from the team to be seated at separate tables. Each player receives their cards digitally and begins with equal chips. Each table gets dealt identical cards, with teams being awarded points after every hand based on the combined chip counts of their team members. After a pre-determined number of hands have been played, the day’s play is concluded, and the highest-scoring team wins. This is perhaps the most innovative way of “sportifying” the game of poker and magnifying the mind’s sport skill factor while removing variance.
Meet Team India
Captain: Gaurav Gala
A renowned name in the domestic circuit, Gaurav Gala burst onto the live poker scene when he took down the ₹15K Bounty at the 2016 DPT August edition for ₹4.95 Lakhs. Over the years, he has established himself as a PLO specialist. Gala has picked up multiple scores in the international circuit that include deep runs in the WPT Barcelona Event #6 – €1,100 PLO (8th for €3,000 – ₹2.34 Lakhs) and The Big Wrap PLO €550 Warmup PLO (42nd for €1,326 – ₹1.03 Lakhs). He most recently final tabled the ₹20K PLO event at the Baazi Poker Tour (BPT) comeback series, where he finished ninth for ₹75,400.
Gala had also captained Team Pune Kings in the third season of the Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL) that took place in October last year. His team comprising of PokerGuru Ambassador Shuchi Chamaria, online pros Rubin Labroo and Akshay Nasa, alongside Tanmay Bagga and Akash Shekhar with Team Manager Amar Katharani, went on to win the trophy along with a jaw-dropping ₹1.35 Crores cash prize.
Gala even went on to lead Team India in the IFMP Nations Cup that took place in Ireland from March 22 this year. The team’s run ended in fifth place, while Team Ukraine walked away as the champions. Olga Iermolcheva from Team Ukraine won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ honor.
Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal
Another well-known name, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, is considered one of the stalwarts of the Indian poker industry. Owner of the Match IPL team Jaipur Jewels, he had notably won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award in the inaugural season. Agarwal played a significant role in getting Team India pole position on Day 1 in the Nations Cup yesterday.
An online phenom, Rishab Jain, is known for his expertise in both cash games and tournaments. He had also represented India in the 2019 PPPoker World Championship (PPWC) Teams Event, along with Pulkit Totla and Kalyan Chakravarthy, earlier this year. He was also part of the Kolkata Creators Team in Season 1 of GPL India.
Tanmay Bagga was a part of the Match IPL winning team, Pune Kings, from Season 3. He had accompanied Gaurav Gala as part of Team India to Boyne Hill House in Meath near Dublin for the IFMP Nations Cup in March 2019. Bagga was among the standout performers at the event and placed third in the individual player rankings even though Team India took fifth place overall.
The other three players representing Team India – Krina Gala, Prateek Mishra, and Tarun Mundkar are relatively lesser-known players, with Mishar having gained some recognition through his online exploits.
While the norm for team selection entails that the winning team from Match IPL represents India in the Nations Cup, this has not been the case this time. Following the conclusion of Season 3, no further seasons have been hosted by the Match IPL. Winners of Season 3 represented India in the Nations Cup held in Ireland earlier this year.
There have been many questions raised on the selection process followed by the Federation for chosing Team India members for the Asian Nations Cup. The official response of the Indian Match Hold’em Sport Confederation on the issue, as posted on social media, has been, “The team that wins Match IPL goes on to represent the country at the next international event, which was in March earlier this year and represented by the Pune Kings. A few changes have been made after the federation and captain discussed the team selection to give us the best shot at a much improved performance and hopefully securing qualification to the Nations Cup Finals in Peru.”
Season 4 of Match IPL is scheduled to run from November 13 to 14.
Team India Headlines Day 1 of the Asian Nations Cup
A total of 9 teams are participating in the ongoing Asian Nations Cup:
Though not a lot of information was made available regarding the proceedings of Day 1, Team India emerged as the table topper at the end of the day’s play with 287 points. Team Korea (274 points) and Team Australia (262.5 points) rounded out the top three finishers.
Team India’s Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal is presently leading the individual rankings, followed by ‘TINFUTRANJANO’ from Team Philippines and ‘DrRaymondKutFuChow’ from Team Hong Kong.
Team Standings At The End of Day 1
The Asian Nations Cup will continue till November 8, four more sessions of play slated to be held today (November 6) and tomorrow (November 7). The closing ceremony and awards function will take place on November 7 and the teams will depart for the respective homelands by 12 PM on November 8.
Content & Images Courtesy: Indian Match Hold’em Sport Confederation
Edited on 06.11.2019 at 07:30 PM as per information received from IFMP.
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