WCP Players - Heat 2
Here's who's playing in Heat 2 of the WCP. There's a lot of inexperienced player's in this heat. You'd expect Israel's Teddy Tuil to be favourite, but this is poker and anything can happen. Did I tell you about that 989 to 1 shot against me..? Sorry.
Team Ireland - Noel Pearce
Noel is a computer guy from Cork. He took up poker four years ago after seeing the poker documentary, 'Million Dollar Deal.' There's not a million dollar's at stake today, but here is Noel playing on TV himself.
Team Canada - Mike Croft
FPP qualifier Mike is a 26 year old Mechanical Engineer from Calgary. He's been playing online for just a year, but has played home game poker for a decade before that. Michael is marrying his fiancee in August, and he's hoping she'll send me photos of their two dogs, Apollo and Banff. Team Poland had a dog picture yesterday, hey, I want to see everybody's dogs! Mike says he doesn't feel any pressure, but felt more nervous watching his team mate play yesterday. I'm sure his relaxed attitude will stand him in good stead today.
Team Brazil - Armando Perrone
Brazil's TLB qualifier is 'quaribravo' on PokerStars. He was Brazil's captain in last year's WCP, which he feels is useful experience for this heat. An engineer by trade, Armando is married with 3 children and lives in Sao Paulo. He's never played in a casino before, but does have live experience. His biggest previous win was $4000 in an online tournament. He's hoping to keep Brazil at the top of the WCP standings, and take home $100,000 for Team Brazil at the final.
Team USA - Dave Smith
The USA Team FPP qualifier is a physician who works in a pediatric intensive care department. He has 4 children, and he's here with his wife, Cynthia. It seems it was quite a task for him to organise things so he could play. He commented that he's very grateful to his colleagues back home, and his children's grandparents for helping him get to play the WCP. He's played poker for just 2 years, and as I spoke to him he said, "And now here I am sitting next to Tom McEvoy, pretending to know this game!" We'll find out how much Dave knows soon. Before the game he told me he wasn't at all nervous, "just revved up."
Team Poland - Andrzej Skawinski
Andrzej is 'skaand' on PokerStars, and qualified as the player with the second highest TLB points for his country. He's a student pharmacist, and I met him before the tournament at the bar, where it's apparent his studies have taught him a glass of wine has poker nerves minimizing chemicals. He has little live tournament experience as he lives in a small town with no casino, but he plays when he visits friends in Warsaw. He claims his best game is heads up, so be prepared for a win if Team Poland make the last 2 of Heat 2.
Team Israel - Teddy Tuil
Team Israel's celebrity player is a tough tournament competitor with many years of poker experience. 'Sugar' Teddy was runner up to John Duthie's in the 'Poker Million' in 2000, winning 'just' the £100,000 2nd prize, not the cool £1,000,000. Now John Duthie as TV producer of the WCP will likely call hands as Teddy plays. A quote from 'Sugar' Teddy when asked what he could change in the poker world. He said: "That Poker be considered a sport like any other sport." I hope the WCP is helping to make that wish come true.
Teddy Tuil ready to play for Team Israel
Team Iceland - Birgir Gudmundsson
Iceland's Birgir is a 28 year old IT student from Reykjavík, now based in Denmark for his studies. He's been playing poker online for nearly 2 years, but has no live experience before this trip, and says his biggest win before this was a modest $50. A keen golfer, he plays on the Iclandic Tour and has a handicap of 3.5. He has an 8 year old son, and he and his partner Arna are expecting another baby soon.
Team England - Robert Fairs
Robert is a 20 year old politics student from Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Although he's only played poker live twice before he has another kind of live playing experience with his band 'The Deirdres'. UK readers may want to look out for an appearance by Rob's band on TV old-stuff show, 'Antiques Roadshow'. Apparently, the band has nothing to do with old-stuff, but they asked, and, "Michael Aspel said yes." Rob's poker strategy is to not look at his cards, claiming, "That just gets in the way. It confuses me."
Robert Fairs, wearing Deirdre's glasses