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The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) Nation’s Cup is arguably one of the most action-driven and ‘sportified’ global platforms among all the poker leagues in the sport. With the COVID-19 caused hiatus for live stops, the Nation`s Cup, too, had to be held online to meet the dates that were announced. Using CISCO`s Webex digital platform to conduct the proceedings, the IFMP Nation’s Cup World Championship played out over the weekend on May 30 & 31, with 120 players from 12 countries coming together to battle it out for the prestigious title!
In the end, it was the reigning champions Ukraine who went two for two by defending the title. Ukraine had debuted in the competition last year, where they dethroned reigning champions Ireland to claim the top spot with 1,837 points. Repeating much of that dominating form, the team took an early lead and held on to it to win the title with 1,369 points.
IFMP congratulated the team on their remarkable victory!
— International Federation of Match Poker (@IFPoker) May 31, 2020
There was a sizable virtual rail rooting for Team India. Captained by Gaurav Gala and comprising of eight other team members, namely, Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Krina Gala, Zubin Panthaki, Vidur Singhal, Anujkumar Kodam and Kalyan Chakravarthy, Day 1 saw wild swings in the team standings. India was placed fourth at the end of Day 1, a position it retained going into the finals. As it turned out, the team eventually finished in fourth place with 1,270 points.
Team Australia collected 1,320 points for a second-place finish, with Team Lithuania placing third with 1,281.5 points.
IFMP tweeted the official results.
Final team standings after at the end of the Nations Cup! Fantastic performance by Team Ukraine, Australia and Lithuania! pic.twitter.com/FIY1vIslE7
— International Federation of Match Poker (@IFPoker) May 31, 2020
The Indian arm of the IFMP congratulated the Indian team for its commendable performance.
It's been a challenging & highly competitive #MatchPoker Nations Cup, with #TeamIndia finishing in 4th place! We are extremely proud of every member of our team for doing their best, fighting till the very end and representing our nation with pride & honour. #AllInTogether pic.twitter.com/MMMHl6NTmx
— Indian Fed. Poker (@IndianFedPoker) June 1, 2020
IFMP Nation’s Cup
The Nation’s Cup is the marquee event on Match Poker’s annual calendar. Alongside defending champions Team Ukraine, the competition was attended by the European champion`s Spain, Singapore, Australia, Belarus, Lithuania, Ireland, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Poland, and Asian champion`s India. In all, there were 120 poker players from 12 counties who participated in the Nation`s Cup.
IFMP had confirmed on April 17 that the competition would be moved online to a digital platform due to the COVID-19 health pandemic. Test sessions were conducted with every team to ensure that things go smoothly during the tournament.
Team India’s Performance
Team India created history last year in November when it won the IFMP Asian Nation’s Cup for the first time. The winning team comprised of Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Prateek Mishra, Krina Gala, and Taran Mundkar and was captained by Gaurav Gala.
The team’s composition was changed for the finale, and while ‘Bitti’ was making an appearance in the contest for the third time, Mishra and Mundkar were replaced by Zubin Panthaki, Vidur Singhal, Anujkumar Kodam and Kalyan Chakravarthy, making for a total of nine players who represented the country in the Nation`s Cup.
Day 1 began at 1.30 pm (IST) on May 30. The 12 teams played a total of four sessions, each session consisting of 50 hands.
While Team Taiwan closed out Session 1 on the top, by the end of Session 2, Ukraine had catapulted to the top, with Singapore and Australia in hot pursuit.
Team India was in sixth place after Session 1 but pushed back to the ninth spot after Session 2. The team rallied up to fourth place by the end of Session 3, a position it maintained through Session 4.
With Day 1 in the books, it was Team Ukraine in the lead with 1,412.5 points, followed by Singapore (1,386.5 points), Australia (1,349 points), and India (1,337points).
IFMP tweeted the end of Day 1 results.
— International Federation of Match Poker (@IFPoker) May 30, 2020
The teams played two more sessions of 50 hands each, completing a total of 300 hands before the draw for the finals took place.
At the end of Session 1 on Day 2, Team Ukraine had maintained its lead with 1,736.5 points, but Australia (1,709 points) had improved to push Singapore to the third position. India (1,659.5 points) stayed put in fourth place.
Team Singapore recovered fast and closed out Session 2 on the top with 2,074 points, with Ukraine, Australia, and India all close behind each other.
With 300 hands completed, the top six teams made it to the IFMP Nation’s Cup finals!
WOW what a last session and incredible effort by all 12 teams! Here are the standings after the group stages – many Congratulations to the top 6 who qualify to the finals. 2 more sessions to crown our Nations Cup Champion! #AllInTogether pic.twitter.com/enp4sZqo2o
— International Federation of Match Poker (@IFPoker) May 31, 2020
The finals comprised of two sessions of 75 hands each.
Leading the final six teams into the final session of the IFMP Nation’s Cup was Team Singapore (1,037 points), followed by the teams from Ukraine and Australia. India managed to make it to the finals with 1,005 points, while Taiwan and Lithuania were the last two on the points tally.
Denying Australia the win, Team Ukraine once again took on the winner’s mantel with a staggering 1,369 points. It also remained a reasonable distance ahead of Team Australia that finished second with 1,320 points, and Team Lithuania (1,281.5 points) that took third place. Team India led by Gala finished in fourth place with 1,270 points.
Incidentally, this is the third time Team India has participated in the IFMP Nation’s Cup. The first Indian team to represent the country at this contest was in 2017, where the Harman Baweja-led Mumbai All Stars finished fifth at the competition. Team India led by Gala finished had finished fifth at last year in this contest.
The International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) via a press release shared with us today confirmed that its scheduled Nations Cup Final will be moving ahead as planned but will be held online because of the COVID- 19 crisis.
The Nations Cup will be hosted on May 30 and 31, with 14 competing nations taking part in the competition through IFMP’s digital host platform. The participating teams include defending World Champions Ukraine, European Champions Spain, Asian Champions India, along with Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Korea, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Belarus, Lithuania. Joining this list will be a Digital Nation and a pick by IFMP President Patrick Nally.
Players will be able to access the gameplay software on their mobile phones or tablets.
The COVID-19 global crisis has affected 210 countries worldwide, with at least 2,184,566 confirmed positive cases so far and a death toll touching 146,897. The pandemic has brought all live poker operations to a standstill, forcing poker brands to either cancel or postpone their scheduled live stops.
Following in the footsteps of other global brands like the WSOP, WPT, and Irish Poker Open, IFMP has also opted for the digital route.
Moving the Nations Cup online should be relatively easy for the IFMP to pull off considering how even the live matches are held on smart devices. As for the other elements that make the competition a team sport, the IFMP digital platform will allow players to see and communicate with their table competitors during the session, clarified the press release. The platform will also allow players to interact with teammates and the captain to strategize during the breaks.
For production purposes, all players will be shooting personal video introductions. Since players from around the world will be competing in the event at once, some countries will be playing the sessions in the mornings and some at night.
The current season of the Nations Cup had kicked off with Europe’s Nations Cup in Ukraine, where Spain was crowned the champion. The Asian Nations Cup was hosted in Taiwan, where 5 nations had qualified and Team India, captained by Gaurav Gala and consisting of, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Prateek Mishra, Krina Gala, and Taran Mundkar won the cup. The upcoming Nations Cup will crown the World Match Poker Champion for 2020.
Nally’s official statement in the press release read, “All International Sports Federations are facing enormous challenges due to the pandemic but we are fortunate that, with our gameplay software, we are able to play a ‘live’ event but in individual home locations. Match Poker is a sport based entirely on skill and it’s the combination of a team’s effort that will ultimately produce the winner.”
“The social relationships developed through the hosting of our Match Poker events are important to us and we are looking forward to getting back to live events as soon as practical, but we will continue to support our international competition schedule in this manner until such times as our’ sporting family’ can be reunited” he added.
November 7 was a landmark day for Indian poker as the team representing the nation at the 2019 International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) Asian Nations Cup lambasted the competition to become the latest Asian Nations Cup champions!
Comprising of Tanmay Bagga, Rishab Jain, Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Prateek Mishra, Krina Gala, and Taran Mundkar and captained by Gaurav Gala, the Indian team was “in it to win it.” From Day 1 and all through to Day 3, the team came out on top every single day! Topping the leaderboard at the end of Day 2 had ensured Team India a seat at the World Championship. The only goal after that was bringing the Asian Cup home – and Team India accomplished that in style!
Despite starting off on the back foot, the team was able to get back into the game and gave it their best shot when it mattered the most. The first session saw Bagga, Agarwal, and Jain playing from the Indian brigade. The session did not go as planned as the team placed third. Strong performances by Team Australia and Taiwan meant that India remained stuck in the third spot in the second session as well. Just before the third session, Agarwal was substituted with Mishra. The team picked up some momentum and moved a spot to second place. The final two sessions were played in the dark, and that’s when Team India brought their A-game to the table. Ultimately, it was a comfortable win for the team that displayed excellent teamwork and strategic planning.
In fact, Prateek Mishra was one of the most significant contributors to India’s ultimate victory and finished in eighth place on the individual rankings with 75,521 chips.
Talking about Team India’s victory at the 2019 Asian Nations Cup, President of the Indian Federation, Varun Goenka, said, ““This is a dream come true, and I’m still struggling to wrap my head around what this incredible team has achieved. All credit goes to the players and captain Gaurav Gala for doing something absolutely monumental for poker in India. They are all superstars – this is a day we will all remember and cherish forever. They have made history and are now fully focused to doing their best and representing India with pride at the Nations Cup Final in Peru next month. I couldn’t be more proud.”
While the top four teams – India, Taiwan, Australia, and Singapore – were competing for the Asian Nations Cup, the bottom five teams – Korea, Israel, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan – were fighting to book the final berth on the “Road to Peru.” While Team Israel did put up a tough fight, it was Team Korea who shined through and will be joining the top four teams in Lima for the World Championship next month.
Korea’s Lim Yohwan was awarded the “Player of the Tournament’ title.
Team India Champions the 2019 IFMP Asian Nations Cup
The top four teams, namely India, Singapore, Australia, and Taiwan, played five sessions of 60 hands each.
Team Standings After 1st session
Host nation Team Taiwan was off to a flying start in the first session of play and sky-rocketed to the top of the table. Team Singapore was placed second, and Team India was in the third spot. Team Australia brought up the rear guard in fourth place.
Team Standings After 2nd session
Team Australia sailed through to the top, with Team Taiwan just 15 points behind in second place. Team India was still stuck in third place, while Team Singapore had fallen down two spots to fourth place.
Team Standings After 3rd Session
The third session of play saw Team Australia juggernaut to the top, with Team India also improving their standing to second place. Team Taiwan fell to the third spot, and Singapore stayed steady in fourth place.
Team Standings After 4th session
Till session three, the scores were visible for all teams and players to see, but from the fourth session onwards, the teams played in the dark, which meant that they were not aware of their progress.
During the fourth session, Team India pulled through and finally whisked away the top seat from Team Australia, pushing the latter down to the fourth place. Team Taiwan jumped up a spot to settle in second place, while Team Singapore bettered its position to third place.
PokerGuru caught up with one of the star performers of the Indian squad – Aditya “Bitti” Agarwal. He gave us a brief recap of how the day went for the team, along with explaining the team strategy.
“We had a “horses for courses’ strategy, so we gave all players a fit role according to their strengths, and they performed it to perfection. The day started on a negative note as we got caught in negative variance of the game, but that didn’t shake things up for us, and slowly and steadily, we picked up pace following our strategy.”
Talking about the crucial moment that propelled Team India to the lead, Agarwal narrated, “The crucial moment was in the fourth session where all the players dominated their entire table in synergy, and we got a huge jump to cover for what we had lost in the first two sessions. The final session, we just had to cruise to take down the Asian Cup.”
Final Team Standings
Continuing with their trailblazing run, Team India towered over their rivals at the end of the day with 763.5 points. Host nation Taiwan gave India a tough fight, but ultimately ended their day in second place with 756.5 points. Team Australia (750 points) and Team Singapore (730 points) rounded out the last two spots.
It was indeed a magical moment when Team India was announced as the latest Asian Nations Cup winners! The excitement of the team was palpable, and the same was captured beautifully on camera.
Team Korea Books the Final Berth to Peru
The bottom five teams from Day 2 participated in the Plate Final to determine the fifth qualifier for the World Championship.
Team Standings in Asian Nations Plate Finals After 50 Hands
Team Israel started the day on a strong note. After 50 hands, Israel and Taiwan were head-to-head with half a point separating the two teams. Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan were the bottom three teams.
Team Standings in Asian Nations Plate Finals After 100 Hands
Fifty more hands were played, and Team Israel successfully managed to extend their lead. Team Korea and Team Philippines held on to the second and third spots, respectively. Team Japan managed to improve its standing and moved into fourth place, while Team Hong Kong dropped to fifth place.
The details regarding the remaining Asian Nations Plate Finals were unavailable. However, it was Team Korea who came out on top and secured their seat at the upcoming World Championship.
Player of the Tournament
Team Korea’s Lim Yohwan was awarded the “Player of the Tournament’ honor. He had dominated the individual rankings for a majority of Day 2. While his rankings for Day 3 have not been made available, he still performed spectacularly to win the coveted award.
India’s Prateek Mishra was one of the best performers from the team and finished eighth in the individual rankings with 75,521 chips.
The Indian contingent, along with Teams Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, and Korea, have a crucial time ahead of them as they prepare for the World Championship next month in Peru.
Content & Images Courtesy: IFMatchPoker/Indian Match Hold ’em ’em Sport Confederation
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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