Global Poker Masters takes center stage
At some point a 'brainchild' has to grow up, and so it goes with the Global Poker Masters.
After a short period of uncharacteristically tranquil adolescence, during which preparations were finalized, the GPM will kick off at the Portomaso Casino today, next to the Hilton Hotel in St Julian's, Malta. What it will involve has been well publicized, but the two days of World Cup of Poker should prove something of a thriller, and you can watch in its entirety live on Twitch.
It has all the ingredients to be a memorable event. It has the venue, the location, but more importantly an A-list line up of internationally acclaimed players, joining forces in national teams of five to bring a bit of national pride and patriotic fervour to the tournament floor.
It's the vision of Alex Dreyfus, the man behind the Global Poker Index, who hosts the inaugural championship. There should be a few surprises along the way, not least a unique tournament format and a 30-second shot clock that should ensure drama from start to finish.
Here's how the GPM will work.
Two days, 40 elite players, 8 countries, 1 winner
First teams will first take part in the play off stage--several rounds of matches pitching countries against each other. Teams compete in 25 eight-handed sit & gos, split into five rounds. Five games will run at the same time with a different line up for each round, and they'll be evenly balanced to ensure there are no unfair advantages.
Each player is guaranteed to play one round at the feature table and against every player from each one of the seven opposing teams. At the conclusion of Phase 1 finishing positions for each player over the five rounds are calculated and added up by team. The last place country will be immediately eliminated, while the team leading the competition will receive a 'bye' into Phase 3.
(For a full run down of how the event works check out the GPM homepage)
Here's how those teams will line up:
Team USA: Isaac Haxton, Olivier Busquet, Vanessa Selbst, Dan Smith and Bryn Kenney
Team UK: Louis Salter, Jack Salter, Simon Deadman, Oliver Price and Sam Trickett
Team Canada: Marc Ladouceur, Sorel Mizzi, Andrew Chen, Jonathan Duhamel and Ami Barer
Team Germany: Christopher Frank, Ole Schemion, Marvin Rettenmeier, George Danzer and Philipp Gruissem
Team Russia: Alex Bilokur, Anatoly Filatov, Vladimir Troyanovsky, Ivan Soshnikov and Vitaly Lunkin
Team France: Patrick Bruel, Erwann Pecheux, Bertand "ElkY" Grospellier, Sylvain Loosli and Paul Tedeschi
Team Ukraine: Alex Dovzhenko, Eugene Katchalov, Olekandr Gnatenko, Oleksii Khoroshenin and Igor Yaroshevsky
Team Italy: Rocco Palumbo, Dario Sammartino, Mustapha Kanit, Andrea Dato and Giuliano Bendinelli
That's how it will look at the start, and we'll have a full round up of results on Sunday as the final stages (a combination of heads-up and 6-max games) play to a conclusion alongside the EPT Malta Main Event opening day. By some point on Sunday night we should have a first Global Poker Masters winner. We should probably expect the waving of flags.
For now, pick your country and log in to Twitch, where you can watch all the action from start to finish.
Good luck to all the players taking part, and may the best team win.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.