Team Poker is once again to the fore as Alibaba’s Sports Division and Oceans Sports & Entertainment agency, ink a deal to promote the International Federation of Poker’s Match Poker.
The International Federation of Poker (IFP) are back in the news this week, and this time, they are packing a punch Mike Tyson would be proud of.
They first caught our eye in 2011 when they launched a team poker format known as Duplicate Poker. Later that year they rolled out the format with teams from all over the world competing in the London Eye as part of the first IFP Nations Cup. The Germans won just like they always do.
Two years later and the IFP were back. Duplicate Poker was renamed Match Poker, and Ireland won the first-ever European Nations Cup. Across the globe, China won the Asian Nations Cup.
Since then, the baton of team poker seems to have passed to Alexandre Dreyfus. The Frenchman taking notice of the burgeoning eSports industry to create the much lauded Global Poker League (GPL), and in the past fortnight, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) announced plans to introduce a team event into the 2016 Series for the first time in 33-years.
The IFP want that baton back.
At the turn of the year, IFP President Patrick Nally told our very own Rebecca Liggero that they had plans to get the game underneath the eyeballs of two million people by 2020. That was quite a bold statement.
The announcement that the sports division of the giant Chinese e-commerce group, Alibaba, is to link arms with Oceans Sports & Entertainment agency, to promote Match Poker in the East adds some realism to that bold statement.
Alibaba is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market cap of $173 billion, dwarfing Sheldon Adelson’s baby: Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Suddenly, Match Poker is in the hands of one of the most powerful companies in the world.
“The alliance between Oceans and Alibaba sport creates one of the most powerful forces in sports marketing anywhere in the world,” said IFP president Patrick Nally. “I am delighted that their energies, attention and resources will be focused on launching and promoting Match Poker and that they share my belief in its massive worldwide potential.”
Match Poker shares another similarity with the GPL in as much as both games are played for points and not for money substantially reducing the harm the word ‘gambling’ could do for the progression of the sport. The game is based on Texas Hold’em rules. Team members are divided into separate tables and are dealt the same hand on the different tables. After each hand is played out, the chip counts are tallied and points accrued. The team with the most points after a predetermined set of hands is declared the winner.
Click here for a peek at that interview with Patrick Nally.