An Australian-led development team are at the forefront of a new poker app set to revolutionise the way people both learn and play the game at an elite level.
Whilst the concept of Duplicate Poker, or Match Poker as it is officially known, has been around since 2011, it was not until around 18 months ago that members of the International Federation of Match Poker (IFMP) decided to expand upon the concept and make it readily available to the masses.
Melbourne businessman and philanthropist Julius Colman, who has registered over US$1.1 million in tournament earnings, skippered the green-and-gold to a runner-up finish in this year’s IMPF Nations Cup back in May – the first to ever have been hosted as a fully virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to PokerMedia Australia via Zoom as he proudly showed off his silverware, Colman outlined how his personal connection to and passion for Match Poker runs deep, particularly given an opportunity to create a brighter future for the industry.
“There’s a fair number of people who are completely taken with the idea that poker is nothing like what it seems,” said Colman. “It’s not seedy, it’s not gambling … yes, it may have those connotations, but it’s also a massive intellectual pursuit.”
Indeed, the teachings of Harvard law professor Charles Nesson, who is considered the “father of Match Poker”, resonates clearly with Colman – himself a former lawyer – and makes up much of his personal philosophy both on and off the felt.
“Almost everything you do in poker involves you looking at situations and then deciding what you should do next, and quite often you’re relying on imperfect information, but you make the decision and you go ahead with it anyhow,” he said.
“In business and in law, you’re doing that all the time: trading up one potential path for another and [assessing] the risks. I don’t think you can be successful in life unless you start doing those sorts of things properly and that’s what I see in poker.”
Colman is now heading up MATCHPOKER Online, assembling a team of developers and like-minded individuals from around Australia and across the globe, including Robert Huxley, Daniel Levy and Alex Cherney, who are working on an app-based version of the game that can be played by everyone.
Unlike conventional poker, Match Poker is a multi-table No Limit Hold’em tournament format where all competitors play a set number of identical hands and community cards through mobile devices. At the end of each hand, the starting chip stacks are reset and a new hand is dealt.
With all the action electronically recorded, it allows for players to have their individual play ranked and compared in real time. In turn, this significantly reduces the variance, or element of chance, that is inherent in the traditional game.
Finally, given that all IMPF-sanctioned events are free to enter, the gambling aspect is eliminated and therefore results are determined based on skill alone.
The importance of keeping in line with the IMPF’s ethos has been fundamental during the entire design process: “The [legal] concerns that we’ve had in the past [with some countries] have been completely resolved,” explained Colman.
“It’s been vital that all the issues we’ve come across have been dealt with head on, so that the game can be played by anybody, anywhere.”
The MATCHPOKER Online app is being promoted not only as an avenue for recreational and professional players to represent their state and nation at future IMPF championship events, but also a way to completely revolutionise the way in which poker coaching is delivered.
Amongst some of the app’s educational and training features that will be made available over time are a comprehensive hand reviewer, which will be able to provide full analysis of each hand played from start to finish.
There will also be a range of learning tools and puzzles, including the ability to play hands from key moments in poker history to see how your play stacks up against the pros.
“What we’re able to offer is something that no other poker site in the world has done before,” said Colman.
“With the click of a button, we’ll be able to show you not only how you played your hand there and then, but compare it with the top 10% of players in the world who have played exactly the same hand, in the same position, with the same flop, turn and river. It’s extraordinary!”
The MATCHPOKER Online app is about to commence an Open Beta testing phase in late September. To find out more about the app, or to register as a Beta tester, visit https://matchpoker.com/beta or follow MATCHPOKER Online on social media.