EXCLUSIVE: Team Australia joins line-up for IFP Nations Cup

In a PMA exclusive, we can reveal that an Australian team will feature in the first Nations Cup event conducted under the auspices of the International Federation of Poker (IFP). The Nations Cup is the precursor to the first official World Championship of Poker to be staged later this year.

Hosted by the IFP, along with its partners MSP and Dentsu, “The Table” will be the highlight of the IFP World Championship of Poker, part of four days of poker beginning on the iconic London Eye on the banks of the river Thames before moving to County Hall.

Promoting poker as a “mind sport”, the IFP has introduced an innovative variant of team poker called Duplicate Poker, which will be used to determine the winner of the 2011 Nations Cup, starting November 17.

Duplicate Poker removes the element of luck and conforms more to a truly sporting occasion. Rather than competing against those at their table, it pitches players against opponents dealt exactly the same cards in exactly the same position on neighbouring tables. With all players in a particular seat given the same allocation of cards the only determining factor in the result of the tournament is how skilfully each player uses them.

Duplicate Poker will be played alongside other mind sports contested during the London Mind Sports Festival, showcasing just how far the poker has evolved from the out-dated notion that it is purely a gambling game. From around the world 72 players will make up 12 national teams with the isolation of the London Eye pods ensuring that no information can be shared between tables. The London skyline will provide a striking backdrop for this innovative contest.

Following the Nations Cup will be the IFP World Championship of Poker, starting on November 19, a short walk away at London’s County Hall. To be known as “The Table”, the IFP World Championship will feature 130 of the world’s best players, competing in regular Texas Hold’em for the title of IFP World Champion.

This year The Table will be by invitation only – filmed for various prominent television channels around the world – bringing together the very best of in the game, with the top nine players competing at The Table for a share of the $USD 500,000 prize pool, with $USD 250,000 awarded to the competition’s first ever champion.

Next year’s Championship will be open to all players from around the world. Until then, The Table should prove to be one of the most memorable poker events of the year, as well as the most memorable Mind Sports event ever staged.

Mind Sports Partners is a new venture created by Patrick Nally and Dentsu. Nally, the managing director of Mind Sports Partners, is the British entrepreneur widely regarded as the father of modern sports marketing, who drew up the blueprint for the marketing programmes of the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games.

Over three decades, the marketing concepts he originated have generated billions of dollars for major sports bodies. Mind Sports Partners stated that its mission is to “create and enhance commercial and social value across the range of mind sports” represented by its clients.

“Mind sports are played by over one billion people worldwide and that number is set to rise exponentially with the spread of digital media which will enable new competitions, leagues and federations to be established,” Nally said.

“They are real sports which demand many of the characteristics and qualities of physical sports including self-discipline, competition, training, stamina and fair-play. Mind sports also share universal values with other sports and with the Olympic Movement. If physical activity is a fundamental necessity for human beings, the same can be said for mental activity which is an indispensible complement.”

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