WCP Day 5 - The Final
The Teams of Canada, USA, Israel and Poland will all have one thing on their mind today; will the casino buffet have that nice lobster again..? Sorry. I was trying to joke about this, but the truth is all the teams in Barcelona are serious about this event, about wanting to win. They're probably not that bothered about the buffet truth be told, although the lobster was very good. I spoke to a few of the eliminated teams yesterday, and none of them will be playing a Sit and Go as the final table plays. The World Cup of Poker means the world to everyone here, even though the rest of the poker community might be more interested in some silly soccer cup.
Each team has five players who have each done their best to play outstanding poker and win points for their country. Now only three of their number will take a seat at the final table. Each country's captain must select his three best players, and decide how and when to use them in an intriguing tag team tournament. The tactics involved in this game will add an interesting dimension to this event.
If you're not familiar with the tag team format I'll do my best to explain it. The captains must select three players, and substitute the starting player before the end of level 3. The new player will sit down and take over their team's chips, and can be substituted again any time before the end of level 6. Each player can be used for a maximum of 1 hour 30 minutes; so a captain could play someone for the first hour of the game, then bring them back for half an hour later in the game. Three players from each team must be used. These tactical decisions will not be easy for the captains, but it should make it an interesting game for spectators.
My only experience of Tag Team tournaments is when my boyfriend partnered PokerStars blogger Howard Swains in a game. Howard lost all the pairs chips in the very first hand he played, Howard must understand the pressures of playing for a team more than most. I'm sure he shouldn't worry, these things happen, and there's never any shame in going out playing good poker, and with the best hand. Howard had Jack Ten, I'm not sure he'd hit the flop...
I hope no one today make a mistake that costs their team, and there are some great players starting in todays final. If they play Jack Ten at all I'm sure they'll play it right.
Here's a reminder of what the teams can win today. All this prize money is provided by PokerStars. Hope they know they're paying my mini-bar bill too...
1st prize - $100,000 ($20,000 per player)
2nd - $50,000 ($10,000 per player)
3rd - $30,000 ($6,000 per player)
4th - $20,000 ($4,000 per player)
What these players are all hoping to win is the first place trophy. On admiring this Israel's captain, Martin, pointed out that he hopes they get the stand too, as this light's up the cut glass trophy. I hope so too.
This might make a nice table lamp for someone...
Here's a recap of the teams playing. I'll bring you further team news as soon as I get it.
With 3 wins in the heats for Canada player selection could be easy for Team Canada, expect winners Isabelle Mercier, Trevor Diks, and Christopher Comely to play for Canada. I don't think Canada's captain Aaron Haw will pick himself to play.
The USA had a 1st and 2nd in Heats 1 and 2, with players Joe Harwell and Dave Smith doing well for their teams. I'd expect these two to be picked for the USA. Joe Harwell possibly wins the 'most agressive player of the week' award, he's an exciting player to watch. Dave, the winner in Heat 2 is a more solid player, he won't make any mistakes. I'd be surprised if Team USA didn't pick Tom McEvoy as their third choice, it's hard to turn down the chance to field a former World Champion.
Team Poland didn't win any heats but had top 4 finishes in all games. With all players putting in impressive performances it's hard to pick who Team Poland will field today. I'd expect Philip Hilm to play, the experienced pro played well in Heat 5 yesterday, without actually needing to win the heat. It's likely Marcin Meinardi the captain will also pick himself. Jacek Ladny showed a lot of class in his heat, and was unlucky to play with Isabelle Mercier on his left and Tom McEvoy on his right, this perhaps stifled his play.
Team Israel have Teddy Tuil's experience to call upon, he dominated his heat and was unlucky to finish second. The wily Israeli must be one of the best players of this tournament. Youngster Klemi Hagag may be a surprise choice for Israel, the teenager played well and beat every player in the competition - in the freeroll tournament on the first day. I'm still not sure how he's going to get his poker table prize back to Israel. Boaz Lavie is a top online player, but we've seen little of his poker skills in this event as he was out first in Heat 3. Team Israel may hope Boaz shows us more of his skills today, but Captain Martin Segal may pick himself instead.