WCP Structure - Tag Teams and Tactics

46 five player teams from 39 countries competed in online heads-up no-limit hold'em matches, knowing that just 8 teams would fly to Barcelona for the televised final heats. USA-North Carolina, Brazil, England, Iceland, Ireland, Canada-Alberta, Israel and Brazil are the teams that proved themselves the best - they have come to Spain to play the 2006 Poker World Cup. Costa Rica won the 2004 and 2005 WCP events, sadly they didn't get the chance to try for a WCP hat-trick.

Each team has five members, each comprises the two best online tournament players for each country, determined by placings in the PokerStars tournament leader board for 2005. Another two team members won places in online heads-up heats. Finally a player on each team has been selected by PokerStars, chosen as an ambassador of poker for their country; these poker professional's skills and experience will no doubt be a valuable asset to their team.

Heads up games were the starting point for many team members, now the structure of the tournament changes; each team of five must present a player to join a single table eight-handed tournament. Five heats of 8 players means everybody plays, with each player's finishing position in their heat determining the points their country receives.

This is how the points are awarded -

1st place - 15 points
2nd place - 12 points
3rd place - 9 points
4th place - 7 points
5th place - 5 points
6th place - 3 points
7th place - 2 points
8th place - 1 point

As the 5 heats are played we'll be sure to keep you up to date with the team standings, as well as live tournament updates.

When the 5 heats have been played, the 4 teams with the most points will qualify for the final game. The 4 teams with the least points will be eliminated. They'll have to watch from the sidelines, perhaps if they're lucky their team will still be playing in the football World Cup, which is shown on the casino's big screens, not far from the poker action.

From heads-up games, to 8 handed games, then the final will be a short-handed 4 player tournament. The WCP certainly tests the versatility of it's players.

In the final tournament each captain will be challenged to make strategic decisions, judging which of their team's players will play in the tag team tournament. Two substitutions are allowed in this game, the captains must change players before the end of the third level, and again before level 6 is over.

Tag team games are tough on the players, each player must be determined to increase their team's stack, and not make mistakes that will cost their team chips. There's pressure on the team captains too - they must try to choose the right players at the right time, maximizing their country's chances of success with good decision making.

And what are we playing for at the WCP? Of course there's a lot of pride at stake! When country take on country, when all involved are determined to do their best for the good of the team, yes, pride is a big part of it. But the celebration party might go even better if the winner's know their prize money will more than pay for all the champagne they can drink.

The prizes are as follows -

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)

Tonight the team captains were asked to nominate which player would play in each heat. Their decisions were presented at the same time, to ensure no team had information that could be used to gain a tactical advantage.

The heats are as follows. Player profiles and news from each team coming soon.

June 20th - Heat 1
Ireland - Daniel Bolton
Canada - Aaron Haw
Brazil - Christian Kruel
USA - Joe Harwell
Poland - Marcin Doliwa
Israel - Klemi Hagag
Iceland - Gustaf Bjornsson
England - Tony Holden

June 21st - Heat 2
Ireland - Noel Pearce
Canada - Mike Croft
Brazil - Armando Perrone
USA - Dave Smith
Poland - Andrzej Skawinski
Israel - Teddy Tuil
Iceland - Birgir Gudmundsson
England - robert fairs

June 21st - Heat 3
Ireland - Paul Redmon
Canada - Isabelle Mercier
Brazil - Hugo de Carvalho
USA - Tom McEvoy
Poland - Jacek Ladny
Israel - Boaz Lavie
Iceland - 'Thorkell Thordarson'
England - Andrew Booker

June 22nd - Heat 4
Ireland - Dawn Marshall
Canada - Trevor Diks
Brazil - Jose Arenstein
USA - Michael Elbert
Poland - Marcin Meinardi
Israel - Aliza Broude
Iceland - Halldor Sverrisson
England - John Loftus

June 23rd - Heat 5
Ireland - Niall McNamara
Canada - Christopher Comely
Brazil - Raul Oliveira
USA - Phil Myers
Poland - Philip Hilm
Israel - Martin Segal
Iceland - Brynjar Valdimarsson
England - Derek Morris

June 24th - Tag Team Final

Visit PokerStars blog tomorrow to read live updates from WCP Heat 1.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Cup of Poker