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Poker in India has come a long way in terms of gaining popularity and acceptance as a mind sport and part of the success story has been scripted by poker leagues! At the forefront of these endeavors have been Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s Viaan Industries that teamed up with Switzerland-based International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) in 2017 to launch the Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL).
Three seasons of Match IPL have played out since 2017 and the latest i.e. Season 3 was won by Team Pune Kings. The winning team will now represent India at the IFMP Nations Cup 2019 that is slated to be held in Ireland.
Offering online poker aficionados an opportunity to qualify for a place in the Team India squad travelling for the IFMP Nationals Cup 2019, Kundra’s latest online poker venture PokerRaj has come out with a series of Nations Cup Tournament qualifiers that will be held every Sunday at 9:30 over the next two months.
Online qualifiers for IFMP Nation’s Cup are well underway at PokerRaj and the first qualifier tournament was hosted on November 11. Here onwards every Sunday, right till January 6, 2019, one Nations Cup qualifier tournament will be held every week on PokerRaj.com.
Each of these qualifiers have a modest buy-in of ₹990 with a prize pool guarantee of ₹1 Lakh. In addition to the prize money, the top finisher at each qualifier will win a seat into the Nations Cup Finale, scheduled for January 13.
While each of the qualifiers will allow re-entries, the Finale i.e. Nations Cup Finale, scheduled for January 13 will be a freezeout tournament. Nine winners from each Sunday qualifier will converge for the Finale and the winner will book his seat as a member of Team India and get an all-expense paid trip to Ireland to play at the IFMP Nations Cup 2019.
Match Poker, a team-based version of the poker has rapidly gained popularity in India through the poker league Match IPL that has proved an excellent platform for Indian poker pros to showcase their skills on both the domestic and international stage.
The inaugural Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL) was hosted at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai from November 17-18, 2017. The season closed out with a bang where the Harman Baweja-owned Mumbai All Stars won top honors and ₹1.25 Crores in prize money. The team represented India at the IFMP Nations Cup 2017 that was hosted from December 4-7 at the Eynsham Hall, Oxfordshire in UK. Team Ireland lifted the Nations Cup while Team India placed fifth at the event.
In Season two that was hosted in Kolkata on March 31, 2018, the number of participating teams increased to 10 and debutant team, Haryana Hawks won Match IPL Season 2 and bagged ₹40 Lakhs.
This year, the third season of Match IPL season was hosted from October 23-24 in Mumbai and topping the charts was Team Pune Kings, comprising of accomplished players including First Lady of Indian Poker Shuchi Chamaria, online pros Rubin Labroo and Akshay Nasa, Tanmay Bagga, Akash Shekhar alongside Team Captain Gaurav Gala and Team Manager Amar Katharani. The winning team won the season for ₹1.35 Crores.
Notably, in October 2017, IFMP was awarded ‘observer’ status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and accepted into the Olympic Family.
Adding to the attractions, PokerRaj has announced that players can also get a free ticket to the Nations Cup tournament (qualifiers) by depositing ₹3,000 using the code’ NATION’ on the site. The minimum deposit is ₹3,000.
However, PokerRaj has cautioned that though winning the Nations Cup tournament will get the winner a berth in the squad, the same does not guarantee a place in the six-member Team India squad.
Additionally, players who have won a Nations Cup qualifier can participate in multiple qualifiers, but each player will receive only one ticket to the Finale.
In the event that the winner of a Nations Cup qualifier has already received a ticket to the Finale, the runner-up of the qualifier will be credited the Finale ticket.
Additionally, ₹2,000 will be deducted from prize money won by the Finale winner and he/she needs to have a valid passport, while travel arrangements would be subject to Visa approvals.
The Nations Cup tournament qualifiers are a great way for Indian players to put on the Team India jersey and represent the country at the IFMP Nations Cup 2019.
For more details on the IFMP Nations Cup qualifiers, click the link given here.