Ireland won the Nations Cup of Match Poker on Wednesday – and Ardee man Patrick Clarke played a key role in capturing the title in what was his first outing representing his country.
The six-strong Irish team lead the tournament from the very beginning, leading from round one through to round ten, extending their lead in the final rounds as Ireland beat fellow finalists Italy, Spain, the UK, India and a Digital National invitational team.
The Irish team – consisting of Clarke, captain Andy Black, Fintan Gavin, Tomas Geleziunas, Chris Dowling and Karen Muir – saw off competition from nine teams in the tournament. Mexico, Germany and Austria made up the rest of the competitors of the three day event.
Italy finished second overall, with Spain in third after the tournament held at Eynsham Hall in Oxfordshire.
Match Poker was devised and developed by the International Federation of Match Poker as a team-based mind sport where the element of chance inherent in the “random draw of cards” has been removed. There is no gambling in Match Poker and the sport is available to players of all ages and genders worldwide.
Match Poker is a team sport incorporating regular Texas Hold’em, albeit typically with a pot-limit pre-flop and no-limit post-flop structure. It conforms to the Sportaccord definition of a sport as ‘not relying on any element of luck specifically integrated into the sport.’
“The tournament reflected how far we have come in every respect,” IFMP President Patrick Nally said after the event.
“The atmosphere created by the camaraderie among players from all over the world who were happy to compete for the honour of representing the countries was simply outstanding,” he continued. “Together with the levels of skills and commitment of the players this made for an event which celebrated all that is best in sport.”
Clarke and his team got their hands on the Nations Cup trophy at an end-of-tournament dinner at Balliol College in Oxford on Wednesday evening.
After ten sessions of play, the Ardee native was listed among the top seven players at the tournament, behind team mates Black and Gavin.
Last year, Clarke finished fourth at the European Poker Tour tournament in Dublin, taking home almost €194,000 – and that came just over a year after he bagged €250,000 at the Irish Open poker tournament, having entered the competition online for just €4.
More recently, in September he won the PokerStars Megastack, a freeroll event designed to allow journalists to hobnob with special guests. Clarke beat off former footballer Michael Duberry who finished in third place while Chris Moneymaker was second took second place.
An Irish Poker Series ambassdor, he also competed at the International Poker Open Main Event in Dublin in October, finishing 17th.