The world’s first professional Match Poker league, the Match Indian Poker League (MatchIPL), which was created in 2017 and run successfully for 4 seasons is now planning its 5th season to be held early in 2023. The league was jointly created by the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) and Viaan Industries. The complete ownership and management of the league and all relevant IP has now been transferred over to the federation and its commercial partner West Nally Pvt Ltd. The league will continue to be sanctioned by the Indian national federation, the Match Holdem Sports Confederation, and the winning team will go on to represent the Indian national team at global Match Poker events.
The IFMP is working on its calendar of events which will include an Asian Championship in Hong Kong and the World Championship in Zurich. Team India will be defending its Asian Nations Cup title after their victory in Taiwan in 2019. Additionally, a new event is also being introduced by IFMP based on the establishment and success of various national Match Poker leagues across its member nations. This event is being called the ‘Champions League’ and will involve the top teams from the various leagues taking place around the world. The next season of MatchIPL will take place early in 2023 and will be competed by a minimum of 6 teams. The winning team will become the national team while the runners up will represent the Indian league at the Global Champions League event.
Season 1 was competed by 7 teams, namely – Ahmedabad Hearts, Bangalore Royals, Delhi Aces, Goa Kings, Jaipur Jewels, Kolkata Diamonds and Mumbai All Stars. Harman Baweja’s Mumbai All Stars emerged victorious and went on to represent Team India at the Nations Cup in Oxford where they competed against the likes of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, Italy, UK and Digital. Prize money in season one was 2.5 cr paid as follows:
10 teams competed in season two, which was held in Kolkata after the success of the inaugural season held in Mumbai. The new teams were the Goa Lions, Haryana Hawks and UP Indians. Goa Kings from season one rebranded to become the Pune Kings from the second season. The Haryana Hawks were crowned Champions and went to Bangkok to compete in the Asian Championship as part of the Bangkok Sports Festival recognised by GAISF and the IOC. Prize money in season two was 1 cr paid as follows:
Season three saw each team run qualifiers with MTV (broadcast partner), as part of a MTV player hunt where one spot per squad was reserved for a ‘MTV Player’. 9 teams competed in this event which involved exciting Bollywood performances and recognition awards given to Harbajan Singh and R Madhavan by Shilpa Shetty. The Pune Kings became national champions after a thrilling finish in the final session of play, leading to their participation in the 2019 Nations Cup in Dublin and Asian Championships in Taipei where India finished in first place! Prize money in season three was 3.4 Crore paid as follows:
The most recent edition of the league also had 9 teams competing for the title and bragging rights. Being crowned champions for the 2nd time was the Haryana Hawks, who put on a hugely impressive performance to emerge victorious. They have since competed in the 2021 Nations Cup virtual qualifiers where they topped their group and then went on to play in the 2021 Nations Cup Finals held in Gevgelija, Macedonia this May. Prize money in season four was 1.7 cr paid as:
Totally, 8.6 Crore has been paid out in prize money over the 4 seasons of the league with every team achieving at least one podium finish – proving the competitiveness and high skill levels of all participating teams. MTV has been the broadcast partner of the league, providing national TV coverage along with its OTT platform Voot also showcasing this new sport. Stay tuned for all relevant updates and information on the next season, how to qualify to compete in the league and even potentially represent the national team!
Match Poker is a team sport where the luck element in conventional poker via the ‘random draw of cards’ has been removed. Far from being another poker ‘variation’ to sit alongside Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Stud etc. it is in fact a revolutionary approach for how any of these variations can be structured into meaningful and sporting competition through a more skill based format.
Match Poker was devised by the International Federation of Match Poker to reduce the element of luck inherent in traditional forms of poker, ensuring that it is a contest based on players’ skill and conforms to the accepted definition of a sport. The International Federation of Match Poker holds Observer Status of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), is a signatory to the WADA Code and has over 65 members federations worldwide.
It is on the ladder to Olympic recognition and is currently the world’s only recognised digital sport. Match Poker was created as a team-based mind sport where the element of chance inherent in the ‘random draw of cards’ has been removed. As a result, it conforms to the widely accepted GAISF definition of a sport as ‘not relying on any element of luck specifically integrated into the sport.’ IFMP has successfully developed the Match Poker technology including innovative use of smartphones in gameplay and administration, making Match Poker a true 21st century mind sport and an e-sport.
and no-limit post-flop structure.
seat 1 (each from a different team) has identical cards. The same is true for every other seat. This allows the
best players and the best teams to be identified.
reset their stacks and the next hand begins.
electronically enabling real-time automated scoring, animated replay and detailed analysis.
An individual gameplay offering called Match Poker Online has also been developed and launched a few months ago. It is available to download in both the Google play store and the App store. This offering allows an individual to simply sign up and start playing Match Poker, generating and improving their official ranking based on their performances.
With a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communication, Mrinal Gujare currently is cruising through an exciting genre of writing and editing at Gutshot Magazine. Apart from being an Editor, Mrinal is an avid reader and a former contemporary dancer. She is also perennially hungry for intriguing scoops from across the globe. No holds barred is the rule Mrinal follows in life.
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