Match Poker: Lau Heng Seng leads team Singapore to victory in Bangkok

Unorthodox poker seems to be an increasingly common occurrence in Asia, with Triton’s announcement of upcoming short deck poker tournaments being followed by the results of  the Match Poker’s Asian Pairs Challenge which took place in Bangkok, Thailand on April 19th. The festival saw Singapore win the competition. 

MAtch Poker bangkopk awards
Match Poker’s Asian Pairs Challenge

The game format was ‘pure skill’ meaning that all players had the chance to play identical hands at different points through the game. This meant that luck played no part, as the winner would be decided by who fared the best from the way they played out the same situations in the game. To add a further twist, the players were not playing against each, but a powerful artificial intelligence program instead. This tournament is seen as an important way to present poker as a skill-based game.

The tournament involved teams of two players from different Asian countries squaring off against DeepStack, one of the most advanced artificial poker intelligence program in the world.

Team Singapore triumphs

Team Singapore
Team Singapore

After two days of play, Singapore’s Lau Heng Seng and Daniel Chan emerged as the winners of the team event, with the players finishing 1st and 2nd on the final standings, to also win the individual accolades. Chinese Taipei finished 2nd in the team rankings.

“Many congratulations to Singapore whose pair were worthy winners after two fascinating days,” said IFMP President Patrick Nally. “As part of the Thai Sports Festival the players and the competition got a fantastic response from local people and attracted significant interest.” “Match poker is already well-established in India, where there is a successful pro league, and we aim to build on the traction we have achieved to build our presence throughout Asia.”


1st – Singapore
2nd – Chinese Taipei
3rd – Israel
4th – Indonesia
5th -China
6th – India
7th – Philippines
8th – Japan
9th – Cambodia
10th – Thailand

The individual player top 5 (each winning a coveted DeepStack diamond):

1st – Lau Heng Seng – Singapore – 47.43%
2nd – Daniel Chua – Singapore – 46.47%
3rd – Philip King Chung Wang – Chinese Taipei – 45.08%
4th – Roei Shalev – Israel – 44.32%
5th – Ly Sovan Makara – Cambodia – 44.19%

This event was hosted by The International Federation of Match Poker, an organisation which now has 67 member federations in countries across the globe. World championship matches are held each year, with a growing number of fans now following this new form of poker. Aside from being interesting in its own right, match poker has ambitions to be recognised and accepted in parts of the world who are typically anti-gambling. The sport is also signed up to the World Anti-Doping Code used by sports involved in the Olympic games, which could hint at the future of match poker if its growth continues.

Article by Craig Bradshaw