WCP Day 2

Heats 2 and 3 of the World Cup of Poker will be played today, I'll be reporting on these tournaments for you here at PokerStars blog. It's going to be a busy day, there's likely to be around ten hours of poker played at the Casino de Barcelona later. The tourist districts of Barcelona are a short Metro ride away from our hotel and the casino, but I'm not going to have chance to take that ride today. Sorry, no pictures of me at the beach in my bikini! I haven't even seen the beach yet, but Barcelona is famous for it's architecture, there's much to admire in the residential streets near the casino which are decorated with many fine sculptures. I'm sure the WCP teams would agree with me, that beaches and tourist things are all well and good, but this visit to Spain is all about the poker. I know I wouldn't miss a minute of this exciting tournament. Who needs beaches!?


A Barcelona poker face. I think he's bluffing...


Which reminds me of a recent visit to a beach with poker friends, someone soon suggested a game. A pack of cards were found and we used pebbles on the beach as chips. I bet and someone said, 'all-in'. I looked at his stack of pebbles, asked for a pebble count. He considered his pile of pebbles stacked high on the pebbly beach. This enterprising poker friend then claimed every pebble on the beach as his stack. This took some counting. He had me covered, I folded. Well, would you play Ace Jack to an all-in 20 million pebble re-raise?

Sorry, back to the WCP... Today's tournament will be played with proper chips, and won't be held on the beach. Heat 3 looks like it could be an interesting game, with Isabelle Mercier for Canada and Tom McEvoy for the USA.

I hope the poker goes well for Isabelle, because it's been an unlucky visit to Barcelona for her so far. On her first day she lost her player bag containing her team colours, and also lost her way back to the hotel after a night out team mates. But now is all well again. Her bag has now been found, but PokerStars put an emergency seamstress on standby, ready to embroider her name on a team mate's top, and adjust it to fit her slight frame. Well Pokerstars certainly wouldn't want Isabelle Mercier to play topless...


Isabelle lost her top. So did this guy...


The mixture of celebrity players, noted online players, and less experienced FPP qualifiers, seems to have created a camaraderie within each team. Each team has developed a unique character. Team Brazil are assured, relaxed, confident. Team England are always willing to share a joke, like a laugh and a drink or two. Team Israel appear thoughtful and ever serious. Team Ireland are a touch eccentric, with big hearts and plenty of energy...

However the teams approach this competition, they all have one thing on their minds. They don't speak of it, but you can see it in the pre-game nerves, in the bluster of team banter, in the way they avoid obvious friendship with the other teams - they all want to win this. It's what they're all here for.

Tony Holden pointed out to me, that despite his decades of poker experience, this is a very different kind game from the ones he's used to. He found playing for a team quite different to playing for himself. I asked Teddy Tuil about this too, and he agreed. I thought my mouse might expire from exhaustion as I scrolled though an online list of "Sugar" Teddy's tournament wins, but even highly experienced players must feel pressure like never before in these games. It's different. No one's playing for themselves. No one can't just shrug off a bad performance and simply move onto the next game. Every player cares to do well for their team, and might also consider that there's a bigger 'team' back home watching their progress. To play for your country means you can make many people proud or many disappointed. 16 players today will be thinking that as they look at their cards and count their chips.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Cup of Poker