One of a Kind Match IPL Announced; Grand Finale on Oct 15 With ₹3 Crore in Prizes
August 11, 2017, 15:34:52
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India is all set to witness a one of a kind premier league for poker, that too with a massive ₹3 crores in prize money. Match IPL is the country’s latest poker initiative jointly promoted by leading entrepreneurs Raj Kundra and Bollywood celebrity Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s - Viaan Industries Limited and the International Federation of Poker (IFP). 

Kundra certainly could not keep away from the IPL – now instead of cricket he has hopped over to Poker. The British businessman Kundra was found guilty of betting and match fixing in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches by a Supreme Court appointed committee in January 2015 and was banned for life from participating in any cricket related activity. He owned the Rajasthan Royals team, which too got banned after the scandal.

Kundra had also planned to launch his online poker website but abandoned the plans last December amidst allegations of false representations that several celebrities like Shane Warne, Harman Baweja, Shahid Kapoor and Minissha Lamba were endorsing his poker site.

Switzerland based IFP is the international governing body of poker, promoting poker and its Match Poker variation as a skill game and a mind sport.

Match IPL will be the second poker league to be launched in India after the Amit Burman and Adda52 promoted Poker Sports League (PSL).

International Federation of Poker President Patrick Nally in an official press release said, “The launch of the Match Indian Poker League represents a massive step for our sport which has grown rapidly around the world since its launch in 2009. Over the years India has led the way in the development of exciting sports league concepts and we are excited that the expertise built-up in other sports has helped shape the Match Indian Poker League which is based on a proven self-sustaining model.”

“Match Poker is truly inclusive and, we believe, has a particular relevance to young people as it teaches and tests mathematics, risk-assessment and probability along with a range of life skills. We see the launch of the Match India Poker League as a breakthrough moment for the sport and expect similar leagues to be formed in other countries worldwide in the months ahead,” he added.

Nally tweeted about launch as well –

Raj Kundra shared his excitement on his new venture with PokerGuru,“I'm so excited to launch Match IPL, the world’s first pro Match Poker League, here in India! This globally accepted format truly allows poker skills and ability to shine through while eliminating luck from the game. The event will be exclusively available to watch on MTV. The added incentive of MIPL's winning team representing India at the IFP Nations Cup in December is a major differentiating factor for us and reinforces we're all about sport in its purest form - playing for your country.”

Bollywood actor Shipa Shetty Kundra too expressed her confidence, “I am happy to be launching MIPL through our listed company Viaan Industries. Poker is growing in popularity in India and MIPL will become a platform for such players to showcase their talent.”

Match IPL has announced a total prize money of ₹3 crores with ₹1.5 crores to be won by the winning team, ₹1 crore to the runners up and ₹50 lakhs to be awarded to the team that finishes third.

IFP announced that the winning team would also be representing India in the Poker League of Nations.

The eight city based teams would be competing against each other in Match Poker- a specially devised format of poker by IFP in an event to be organized on 14th and 15th October, 2017 in Mumbai.

Match Poker was devised 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.

Match Poker was conceived as part of the IFP’s campaign to gain recognition of poker as a ‘mind sport’ by demonstrating to governments and sporting authorities around the world a new sporting format where it could fairly be said that reliance upon luck was removed.

Authorities accepted Match Poker as “non-gambling” and hence the events are no longer restricted to gaming-licensed casino environments and can be staged in any venue.

Today the 50+ member nations of the IFP use the format for all of their international team competitions.

We spoke with Match IPL’s Varun Goenka who explained the concept to us –“Okay so we are working on tentative dates of 14th and 15th of October. The finale will be in Mumbai itself. Due to the type of poker that we are going to host and with the level of recognition we have globally and the fact that it is not gambling and there is no buy-in but a prize money like any other sport. You're not going to physically play cards as well. We have a good deal with MTV who are our broadcasting partner. We are not confined to just gaming venues, in fact, we don't want to get associated with gaming and gambling venues at all. We don't have to be confined to a casino in Goa for example.”

On the set-up for the league, Goyal clarified, “We are mostly looking at Playboy club in Mumbai as the venue for the event, we already have received a very good deal from them. It will serve as a good venue for players and visitors alike. We have a special spectator area as well and we will have a very good technical set up there with LED screens put up in places for easy visibility.

Goyal also revealed how the teams will be selected. “Regarding player auction, we are not introducing the auction process till season three. The way we are encouraging team owners to select their players is that we have introduced the match poker app.  We have a tie-up with the University of Alberta which has developed an artificial intelligence poker player. Albi is one of the best A.I computer Bots in the world. We have plugged that into our system so when you sign up you can actually play with the official rated bot. You will play heads-up against the A.I and collect points to generate your official national ranking. The more you play the more level you reach, so for example, first you play for the bronze then you become silver, then you play for the gold. Gold is the most aspirational level to be at.”

If you are a gold member that proves that you have proved your skill over a long period of time in poker. For the first two years, selection will be on invitational basis only. Team owners must have a few players in their mind would you want to pick in the team and there will be players will be selected through the national ranking system from the app as well. The Indian Federation of poker will be helping the team owners in the process of selecting players. We will actually run offline match poker events promoting the game in their territories. So we will have live event in Mumbai or Pune or other cities and we will have players come play on the match poker app and the best performers will be selected. The teams will be revealed probably by the end of September.”

The launch of the new poker league was announced in a grand opening ceremony at ITC Maratha Hotel in Mumbai recently.


How to Play?

In a first of a kind format for the country, the players will play Match Poker against Albi, one of the world’s most advanced poker playing Artificial Intelligence (A.I) bot.

Match Poker is a team sport incorporating regular Texas Hold’em (albeit typically with a pot-limit pre-flop and no-limit post-flop structure).

Teams will be split onto different tables with one player from each team in each of the different seat positions.

All players start each hand with an equal number of chips and receive their cards on a digital device. The same cards will be dealt at all tables (hole cards and community cards). This means that every player in each seat on every table will be dealt identical cards.

Each team’s combined chips will be compared after every hand and points allocated accordingly. The stacks will get reset and the next hand will begin.

All action is recorded electronically enabling real-time automated scoring, animated replay and detailed analysis. After a pre-determined number of hands, the team with the most points wins.


Meet the Match IPL Team Owners

Viaan Industries had earlier announced that the franchisees would be signing a 10-year agreement to purchase the teams and would be paying ₹50 lakhs as franchisee fees for the first year.

The eight city based teams are Ahmedabad Hearts, Jaipur Jewels, Pune Knights, Kolkata Diamonds, Bangalore Royals, Goa Kings, Delhi Aces and Mumbai All Stars.

Some of the notable owners of the teams include actor Harman Baweja, professional poker player Aditya ‘Bitti’ Agarwal, Park Street Privilege Club owner Shammi Karira, Sachiin Joshi, promoters of Radico Khaitan and Living Liquidz.

Ahmedabad Hearts – Franchise owner – Yatin Gupta, restaurateur, entrepreneur.

Bangalore Royals – Franchise owner – Gaurav Kapur – banker, and real estate expert.

Delhi Aces – Franchise owners – Abhishek Khaitan – entrepreneur and owner of Radico Khaitan Ltd; Rajnish Gupta – businessman; Shantanu Dalmia – Casewell Drilling; Ankur Sachdeva – alcoholic beverage industry expert.

Jaipur Jewels – Franchise owners – Aditya Agarwal pro poker player and Praveen Agarwal banker.

Pune Knights – Franchise owner - Amit Bhardwaj – blockchain and cryptocurrency expert and author.

Kolkata Diamonds – Franchise owner – Sunny Karira – Park Street Privilege Club owner.

Goa Kings – Franchise owners – Sachiin Joshi - Chairman of Viking Ventures & Manesh Moksha Sani - Founders of Living Liquid and Sunil & Jeetu Ajbano – entrepreneurs.

Mumbai All Stars – Franchise owners – Harman Baweja – Bollywood actor, producer, and entrepreneur and Muizz Khan – businessman.

Related Articles:

1. Raj Kundra Joins Hands With IFP, Announces Match Indian Poker League in September

2. Curtains For Raj Kundra’s Poker Site?

3. Raj Kundra & Shilpa Shetty Kundra Promoted Company Launches Online Poker Site

4. India Gets ‘Poker Sports League’; INR 3.3 Crores in Prize Money

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