What is The International Federation of Match Poker?

The IFMP is the governing body of sports poker, promoting poker and its Match Poker™ variation as a skill game and a mind sport.”

Founded in 2009 in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Federation of Match Poker has spent over a decade building, changing and evolving poker into “a mind-sport of strategic skill”. The result is Match Poker, a variation on Texas Hold ‘Em that so significantly reduces the influence of chance that this form of poker has been recognised, by the major global governing sports body, the GAISF, as a sport – a mind sport.

Poker, in all its forms, is a highly competitive game involving skill, cunning, insight, risk-taking and outwitting your opponent.

And whilst the money in poker attracts some, most players see, in poker, a competitive and intellectual pursuit. It is these people that the IFMP is campaigning for with Match Poker.

The IFMP is focused on the growth, development and perpetuation of the sport of poker throughout the globe. In this way, IFMP is to Match Poker what the ICC (International Cricket Council) is to cricket, or what the International Hockey Federation is to hockey.

The IFMP collaborates with other members of the International Mind Sports Federation (contract bridge, chess, draughts, Go, Xiangqi and Mah Jong), the International eSport Federation, and SportAccord, all of which now recognise Match Poker as a sport.

We discuss the specifics of ‘Match Poker’ in other articles, but the focus here is to shine the light on the IFMP and its endeavours to create a form of poker that will allow its players to become prestigious, world-recognised mind athletes.

The IFMP is, in every respect, the governing body of this sport, by way of:

  • Being a not-for-profit entity;
  • Working in partnership with WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and;
  • Registration in Lausanne, Switzerland (home of the Olympic movement);
  • Being approved by the Global Association of International Sporting Federations (GAISF), an entity that works closely with the International Olympic Committee.

IFMP now holds an ‘Observer Status’ membership with the GAISF. Other unique sports and games in this category include dodgeball, rafting, rugby league, table soccer and jump rope.


Since 2011, the IFMP has been running international competitions of Match Poker (formerly known as ‘Duplicate Poker’). Because authorities have accepted Match Poker as ‘non-gambling’, events are not restricted to licensed casinos – they can be played anywhere.

The IFMP Nations Cup 2011, played on the London Eye with the Thames below and Westminster Abbey behind (credit MatchPoker.sport)

The 2019 Nations Cup Final, comprising the best teams from the European and Asian championships, was originally bound for Peru, however civil unrest in Peru followed by COVID-19 forced the hands of organisers to make arrangements for this event to be hosted online for the first time in history.

Earlier this year, over the course of two days, over 100 players from 12 nations fought it out on a specially-made digital platform, with Ukraine ultimately taking first place – for the second year in a row. Australia and Lithuania brought home silver and bronze, while India and Taiwan followed respectively in fourth and fifth positions.

The slogan for the event, “All In Together”, beautifully encapsulated the vision of everyone involved; that the Nations Cup is about more than just winning – it’s about the coming together of all nations as they strive to make Match Poker a widely recognised international sport, even through times of hardship.


Year Competition Location Winner
2011 Nations Cup London, England Germany
2013 European Nations Cup Paphos, Cyprus Ireland
2013 Asian Nations Cup Sanya, China China
2017 Sicilian Match Poker Championship Capo Mulini, Sicily Syracuse
2017 Nations Cup Oxford, England Ireland
2018 Asian Nations Pairs Challenge
(heads-up format)
Bangkok, Thailand Singapore
2019 Nations Cup (2018 – Delayed) Dublin, Ireland Ukraine
2019 European Nations Cup Kiev, Ukraine Spain
2019 Asian Nations Cup Taoyuan, Taiwan India
2020 Nations Cup (2019 – Delayed) Virtual (in lieu of Lima, Peru) Ukraine

Throughout the last decade, there has been a proliferation in the number of Match Poker federations, with over 60 member nations across six continents that now recognise the IFMP as the authoritative body of the sport.

A small collection of IFMPs member nations are above. “At the heart of IFMP are its member nations. IFMP consists of National Poker Associations and Federations from around the world with each member federation holding a seat on the Congress of IFMP.” (Credit MatchPokerFed.org).


The IFMP have their sights set on encompassing the entire world, increasing the number of officially sanctioned IFMP events. Potentially, Match Poker could one day be considered as an Olympic event, provided that further opportunities to participate are made available to more nations…

… and that’s where we come in.

Match Poker Online is a crucial step in achieving the IFMP’s ultimate goal. By bringing the sport to everyone around the world in the palms of their hands, poker can finally claim the mantle it has always rightfully deserved as a wonderfully competitive game requiring great effort, finesse and skill.

If this sounds like a movement you want to get behind, be sure to sign up to the open beta at https://matchpoker.com/beta and be amongst the first to play this revolutionary new game as soon as it launches!