WCP Players - Heat 1

Here's an introduction to the players who'll play today in our first game of WCP 2006. Five of the eight players starting today are team captains, all hoping to get their team's off to a good start in the tournament.

Team Ireland - Daniel Bolton

Ireland's Captain is a semi-pro poker player, although the phrase 'part-time bum' was mentioned in affectionate ribbing from his team mates. Daniel accepted this job description with good grace and a smile. He's brought along his World Cup lion team mascot, re-named 'K-Dog' in honour of his friend. This friend told him to say he'd 'learned everything he knew about the game from him.' Hmmm... Daniel himself seems like a modest type, but he won 8 out of 8 of the qualifying games for Team Ireland. He's the only player with an unbeaten record in the WCP tournament. But will Daniel claim 15 points for Ireland today to continue that impressive run?

Daniel and K-Dog

Team Canada - Aaron Haw

Another captain decides to play in Heat 1. When asked why he selected himself he suggested it was because no one else in the team wanted to go first! This Edmonton based player, claims he has nparticularar tactic for the game, he's going to, 'wing it'. But this online poker pro has an impressive record in PokerStars tournaments, where he plays as 'HooBangin'. If he wins this with his 'wing it' philosophy Team Canada will be flying high in the WCP rankings.

Team Brazil - Christian Kruel

Brazil's captain, is a highly esteemed player in Brazil, where he's done much to promote the game in his country, through his website www.clubedopoker.com As he chatted with him and his team mates at the bar, he and team mate 'Raul Oliveira' had a little argument. 'You're the best player in Brazil!' 'No, you are!'

The Brazilian's do appear to be very confident, pointing out that they have a strong experienced team. They didn't dispute my remark that their chances might be as good as favourite's Brazil in the soccer World Cup. Christian claimed he was going to go for a win - he knows no other way to play.

Team USA - Joe Harwell

USA Team Captain, Joe, has run his own real estate business since leaving college. Joe's only been playing 4 years but has plenty of live tournament experience, playing 3 events of last years WSOP. Joe is one of the top US players in PokerStars TLB rankings, rated the 4th best US player for 2005, and 6th placed in the world. He describes his game as, 'Tight aggressive, but sometimes more loose' and bemoans the fact that as chipleader at a WSOP event he lost with AA to Phil Helmuth's 10 8 and never recovered his position. If he gets dealt AA in the WCP will he win this time around?

Joe with girlfriend Meredith

Team Poland - Marcin Doliwa

Marcin, is a software tester by profession, and has little live experience as he was once a dealer at his local casino, and is banned from playing now for 9 years.

Marcin's dog

He said his friends used to mock him for being a tight player, but now his game has changed a lot. He claims the Polish team have an advantage in this tournament, as they know each other and player together a lot. Team spirit is strong in Team Poland, will that help them to win WCP 2006?

Team Israel - Klemi Hagag

Team Israel's FPP qualifier is just 18 and a half, and took up poker when he saw Greg Raymer's WSOP performance on TV. He's from Holon, near Tel Aviv, and will be joining the army in 3 months time. I wonder if he'll have a story to tell his new friends? Klemi was the proud winner of the freeroll last night, he won a poker table. Wonder how he's going to get that back to Israel?

Klemi proud after last night's win

Team Iceland - Gustaf Bjornsson

Iceland's celebrity player Gustaf, wanted to finish in the top 3 in this heat, having decided the tournament structure meant taking a risk for the higher points was the best strategy. He's only played poker for 2 years, and been an online poker pro for the last year. He claims he chose this profession because, 'the pay is good.' Will Iceland win first prize and $20,000 each in this game?

Team England - Anthony Holden

London based journalist and respected author of poker classic, 'Big Deal' is the inspiration to many a poker dreamer. Long before the days of teenage online pros and poker TV explaining hand rankings a dozen tmes a night, Tony decided to quit his day job to play cards. And if you want to know what happened next, you'll have to read his book... If you don't have a copy just ask a few of your poker buddies and you'll find one, it's as essential to any decent poker library as 'Super System' or 'Theory of..' and a much easier read than Sklansky or Brunson as they never went into details about tactics in last longer bets when the stakes are a bottle of Bollinger.

Now Tony is penning a sequel, which has to be called, 'Bigger Deal', of course, and he's playing a lot of good poker in the process. There'll be plenty for him to write about as he recently won a WSOP seat in a PokerStars media tournament; but I wonder what he will have to write about the WCP and his England team?

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Cup of Poker