World Cup final: all the action

United States win the World Cup of Poker

11.45pm: Romania eliminated in second place
The heads up battle took on a more aggressive complexion after Cristian Tardea entered the fray. But those who live by the sword can die by it, and so it proved. Tardea tried a bluff re-raise all in pre-flop, holding J-8. But Shaun Deeb had found a genuine hand - A-Q - and called the bet. The flop brought 4-K-10, eliminating the jack as an out for Romania, but the A on the turn brought a straight draw for the Europeans. However, the miracle queen failed to materialise on the end and that was that. USA are champions.

11.35pm: Substitution Romania
Cristian Tardea replaces Cristian Rajala.

11.30pm: Double up for Romania
All the chips find their way into the middle pre-flop and Shaun Deeb, of the United States, tells his team-mates: "I've got to win a race." He shows 6-6 and Cristian Rajala shows K-10. But it's the Romanian who wins when a ten flops to double up to about 32,000.

11.10pm: USA has a three-to-one chip lead over Romania in the heads-up encounter. But Romania has a new supporter. Talking about his own elimination at the hands of Shaun Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, of Team Canada, said: "It was a risky situation for the US. But they found a way to catch cards, as they have all week. Of course, I'm now rooting for Romania - changing my shirt to a blue one!"

10.50pm: Iceland eliminated in third place
Shaun Deeb has come in for the United States and is a one-man wrecking machine. He's now sent Iceland to the rail, re-raising Andri Bjorgvin's pre-flop bet from the big blind. Bjorgvin, Iceland's captain, made a good call: he showed A-9 and was up against Deeb's Q-J. "This is your hand Tyler," Deeb said, talking to his captain and referring to the hand earlier in the evening when Tyler Netter outdrew Romania to cling on in the match. And lo and behold, the Q-J did it again: a queen flopped and the A-9 never caught up. Down to two, and the United States has a massive chip lead.

10.45pm: Three-handed chip count:

Iceland (Andri Bjorgvin) - 16,400
Romania (Cristian Rajala) - 26,400
USA (Shaun Deeb) - 52,800

10.40pm: Canada eliminated in fourth place
Huge moment in this World Cup, with the elimination of Canada - and their star player, Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu came in at the end of the last level and played two hands, the second of which was a pair of sevens on the button after Shaun Deeb, of the United States, had raised. Negreanu moved in over the top for another 7,000 and Deeb made the call. Deeb tabled K-J for overcards and he won the race when the king came on the turn. We're down to three players, and superstar Negreanu is a goner.

Daniel busted - and Team Canada out in 4th place

10.10pm: We've just had word that there will be two substitutions at the end of this level. Andri Bjorgvin will be coming in for Iceland, while Daniel Negreanu will be taking charge of Canada's short stack. The levels will be 500-1,000 by that point.

10.05pm: We've now played 100 hands of this final table, and while we still have four teams, some are considerably more happy than others.

Chip counts:

Romania - 27,600
USA - 44,600
Canada - 13,300
Iceland - 12,000

9.55pm: There are some interesting sub-plots going on round the World Cup final table, with the more experienced players (read: Greg Raymer) able to exploit them. Team Canada has not unveiled its star player yet; Daniel Negreanu has been watching from the rail. And Michael Watson, who currently wears the red shirt around the table, is in an unenviable position. If he makes a huge play and gets eliminated, he'll know he's denied Negreanu the chance to shine for his country. That's ensured that he's played a very tight game since joining the fray a level ago. And Greg Raymer is happily hoovering up the spare chips.

9.45pm Substitution for Romania at the end of level five. Cristian Rajala Mihai is in for Cristian Dragomir, who played a blinder in his three levels, despite enduring a nasty beat as he tried to eliminate the United States team.

9.35pm: The table balance is definitely shifting towards the end where Teams USA and Romania currently sit. Current chip counts:

Romania - 32,800
USA - 36,000
Canada - 16,800
Iceland - 13,500

9.30pm: The Fossilman is back in Barcelona, and the lizard-eye shades have slithered to the table as well. Greg Raymer, Team USA's star player, is mixing it up, staring down both Michael Watson, of Canada, and Cristian Dragomir, of Romania, for small pots. The first he picked up without a showdown, the second was assisted by two pair.

9.10pm: It's all kicked off now after that huge suck-out for the United States. First things first: there have been substitutions. Greg Raymer is in for the United States, while Michael Watson and Halldor Sverrisson, both heat winner for Canada and Iceland, respectively, are also introduced. Cristian Dragomir stays where he is for Romania.

Halldor Sverrisson

And straight away there are fireworks. Halldor and Cristian get involved in a raising battle pre-flop and Halldor stops it with a flat call. The flop comes king high, rainbow, and both players check. The turn is the Ah. Halldor leads out for 7,500 and Cristian moves all in. Halldor thinks and think and thinks and then folds. He's down to about 11,000 now, while Romania are back up to 36,000.

8.55pm: Major hand here in Barcelona, and it's gone in favour of the United States. All the chips went in pre-flop between Romania and the United States and the Romanians were delighted to see Tyler Netter, of the US, turn over Q-J. Cristian Dragomir had him dominated with K-Qs. The flop brought no real help: 9c-5s-2d and Greg Raymer, who hasn't yet played in this final, was among all the American supporters peering nervously from the rail. The 8s on the turn brought some additional outs: any non-spade jack or 10 would do it. And sure enough, the 10c rivered to give a lucky escape to the United States.

Randy Principe's uncle Charlie looks pensive on the rails

8.50pm: Approximate chip counts:

Romania: 34,000
USA: 13,000
Canada: 23,600
Iceland: 29,000

8.45pm: They're beating up on the USA here, with Cristian Dragomir, of Romania, the latest to take a pot from Tyler Netter. Dragomir raised pre-flop and Netter called on the button. Magnus, of Iceland, came along from the big blind. The flop came 2h-Qh-Kc and Magnus and Cristian checked, allowing Tyler to put in a bet of 2,100. Magnus got out of the way, but Cristian did quite the opposite, re-raising another 6,000, which was approximately half of the USA's chips. Tyler passed.

Tyler Netter: up against it

8.30pm: After a short break, the same four players return to finish this level. And it's cagey stuff: we've hardly seen a flop, much less a turn card, with Tyler Netter, of USA, and Magnus Johannesson, of Iceland, still the two most involved. Magnus just re-raised Tyler's button raise from the big blind and took another pre-flop pot.

8.00pm: The final hand of the level just resulted in another few chips floating towards Magnus Johannesson's stack. And again Tyler Netter shipped them. It was a battle of the blinds, with the Team USA captain betting out on a flop of 10-J-8. Magnus called, and they both checked the second ten on the turn. The river was Kh and Magnus bet 2,000. Tyler was forced to pass.

Canada Team Captain Jody Thompson
& Iceland's Magnus Johannesson

7.50pm: Just checked in with Team USA to see what they made of their captain's lay down moments ago. Both Greg Raymer and Shaun Deeb seemed to think that Tyler had aces or better, maybe even bottom set, in which case they think it was a good pass. They put the Iceland player on two pair, at least, and possibly the straight. "But if he laid down middle or top set, we're not behind it," added Fossilman. Check out the broadcast HERE to see if you agree with Netter's play. (There's a half-hour delay on the live action.)

USA Team Captain Tyler Netter

7.45pm: Sure enough, we have seen fireworks in this level. Tyler Netter, of the United States, just made what seemed to be an anguished laydown when Magnus Johannesson, of Iceland, moved all in for more than 20,000. The flop was innocuous-seeming -- 2-3-7 and the turn a 5 -- and the Team USA captain obviously had a decision to make, eventually opting to pass. Then, there was more pre-flop action between Iceland and Romania, with Iceland's aggression also picking up some valuable chips.

Approximate counts:

Romania: 28,000
USA: 19,000
Canada: 26,000
Iceland: 25,500

7.35pm: These should be an intriguing couple of levels. Jody Thompson is team captain for Canada but bust early in his heat in an aces versus kings confrontation. Tyler Netter, captain of the American team, was outstanding in his heat as his team faced possible elimination. Magnus Johannesson finished second in the final heat, to the whirlwind that was Nuno Coelho, of the now-departed Portugal, while Cristian Dragomir is essentially making his debut: he played heat five for Romania, when his country had already qualified.

Cristian Dragomir, Romania's celebrity player

7.30pm: We've just reached the end of the second level, allowing team captains to make their first substitutions. And all four of them have taken their option. The new table line up is:

Cristian Dragomir, Romania
Tyler Netter, USA
Jody Thompson, Canada
Magnus Johannesson, Iceland

Level 3 players

7.15pm: As is so often the case in hold 'em, the aggressor is proving to be the winner here at the World Cup final. And in most cases so far, the aggressor has been Ed Byrne, of Canada. He's prepared to exercise his right arm, sliding in more bets than any other player and, consequently, he's picking up the chips.

Ed Byrne

7.00pm: We're still avoiding any major confrontations, although we have now entered the second level. A few moments ago was a typical hand: folded round to Einar Sveinsson (Iceland) in the small blind, he raises it to 460. Razvan Bengulescu (Romania) calls in the big blind and bets 400 on the ace high flop after Einar checks. That's enough -- Einar folds -- and Razvan shows an ace.

Einar Sveinsson

6.45pm: As the players around the table continue to trade pots of no more than 300 chips, their team-mates in the stands are discussing tactics - and they're giving nothing away to the press. "Who are you working for?" asked a cirsumspect Daniel Negreanu after I asked for Team Canada's strategy. And after bluffing my way into his confidence, he revealed: "Well, we're undecided how we're going to play in the later stages. We've got a specialist here in short-stack play. We've got another one who likes a deep stack. I might go in to finish it off, but I might play earlier too." So, in short, we're none the wiser. Although Jody Thompson, team Canada captain, did just lubricate his team with a round of beers, so they might loosen up very soon.

6.30pm: The following players will be contesting the first two levels of the World Cup final:

Einar Sveinsson, Iceland
Ed Byrne, Canada
Randy Principe, USA
Razvan Bengulescu, Romania

Randy Principe

Razvan Bengulescu

As expected, the early skirmishes have been kept to a minimum. Small-pot poker is the way to go in the opening exchanges.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in