The Mumbai All Stars team has been crowned the winner of the first poker league championship in India, Match Indian Poker League (Match IPL). The winning team will head to Oxford in England to represent India during next month’s Poker Nations Cup.
Match IPL, a regulated sports poker tournament, was organized in an association between businessman Raj Kundra and Bollywood celebrity Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s Viaan Industries Ltd. and the International Federation of Poker (IFP), the governing body of Poker. The statement from Match IPL referenced that the tournament is "approved and backed by both, the IFP and its Indian Federation".
In the Match IPL, players of a team compete for points and not money. The teams compete with each other on a computer app with registered players trying to get as many points to trump the other. The team with the highest points at the end of the stipulated rounds is declared the winner. The players were selected based on their skill based ranking and performances as assessed against a Poker Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot, Albi using the Match Poker app.
The 2-day tournament, beginning November 17, saw 200 hands being played in eight sessions. By the end of day 1, Team Mumbai All Stars stood took the top spot in the standings. Day 2 saw neck-to-neck battle among the teams but in the end, it was Mumbai All Stars who claimed the first place trophy to take home 1.25 crore in prize money. Another 1.25 crore was distributed among Jaipur Jewels who finished second and third-placed Ahmedabad Hearts.
A total of eight city-based teams were part of the first-ever poker league championship in India. The teams represented eight cities namely – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur, Pune and Goa. Pune Knights suffered an early exit with a breach of contract. Aditya Agarwal picked up the award for Player of the Series.