World Cup of Poker: New Zealand Sails into the World Cup of Poker V Finals

Four Sit and Go tables, ten nations, one team trip to the land of sun and sand to play poker and national bragging rights for $100,000 ($20,000 per winning team member). The "Rest of the World" division brought together Armenia, China, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, and Taiwan to complete for a team spot at the nine seat World Cup of Poker V final table in the Bahamas. Since the World Cup is taking place along side of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the chance to rub elbows and chips with poker’s elite will also be there for the lucky team that advanced today.

The format sits the Tournament Leaderboard Champs of each nation at the TLB1 or TLB2 table. Also, the overall national TLB champ became the captain of his respective team; a fifth player will be added to the team by PokerStars in the near future.


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Above was the start of the “big dogs” table as the TLB1 table consisted of PokerStars’ Tournament heavyweights. Andy McLEOD representing Team Australia stood out as he has collected his first World Championship of Online Poker bracelet a few months ago for a $98,280 score (final table write up here), along with several other high cashes. bismillahno was back for New Zealand trying to qualify again after not making it last year.

Starting with the TLB1 it was all about Andy McLEOD. The Aussie simply ran over his tables with aggression and ended up eliminating the last three competitors Pokerofwind (Korea), bismillahno (New Zealand), and danielfun (China) in consecutive hands to take down the 20 points for the PokerRoos and start them off racing for those Bahamas seats.

Australia 20 points
China 15 points
New Zealand 11 points
Korea 8 points
Lebanon 6 points
Japan 4 points
Armenia 3 points
Taiwan 2 points
Phillippines 1 point
South Africa 0 points

The gap between Australia and the “Rest of the World” got even larger when Australian teammate BOILIN WATER took a similar route to victory on his FR2 (freeroll) table. BOILIN WATER got hot after starting off his table by eliminating Jubinator (New Zealand) and gumasta (Philippines) in ninth and tenth place respectively. Then, finished a relatively short heads up session with putiko248 (Japan) to give the PokerRoos a huge lead in the team standings with two first places in the four tournament team score round.

Here are the standings after the FR2 completed (two more to go):

Australia 40 points
Japan 19 points
Korea 19 points
China 18 points
New Zealand 12 points
Lebanon 12 points
Armenia 11 points
Taiwan 6 points
South Africa 2 points
Philippines 1 points

Australia had a huge advantage as the FR1 and TLB2 tables wound down to the final three, but the other teams had a shot. Both Australia representatives had busted out of the two tables and scored a single point between the two leaving the door open for Japan, Korea, China, and New Zealand to capitalize on moving up. At the FR1 table islamei (Japan), bmumali (Philippines), and El Wayneo (New Zealand) would battle three handed all the way up to the 200/400 ante 50 blinds. It would be islamei claiming the 20 points for Japan as he defeated El Wayneo heads up when his pocket sevens dodged the nut flush draw of El Wayneo on a board of 8s-2s-As-Tc-Td.

After the FR1 table broke up the teams all gained on the front running Aussies with Japan nearly over taking them:

Australia 40 points
Japan 39 points
New Zealand 27 points
Korea 21 points
Armenia 19 points
China 19 points
Lebanon 16 points
Philippines 12 points
Taiwan 9 points
South Africa 8 points

Unfortunately for the PokerRoos, Stev0L_ only managed to score a single point on the TLB2 table to end the scoring of Australia at 41 points. Japan would need at least a seventh place finish to overtake them…

… and did with golteb taking exactly seventh thus boosting Team Japan’s total to 42 to lead the competition. That also meant that Team Korea was now shut out regardless of Dutchschult’s finish as they could only score a total of 41 points. But, the third place New Zealand team was very much alive with rjmgrace as a second place finish would tie them with Japan.

After rjmgrace took down Charmer1973 (Philippines) in third place it assured the Kiwis at a least tie-breaking sudden death spot with Japan. Luckily for Team New Zealand, rjmgrace wasn’t satisfied with a tie as he took his 2:1 chip lead into heads up play against Dutchschult and turned those chips into a plane ticket for four to the Bahamas. AQo versus A4o would be the deciding hand when rjmgrace flopped trip queens with his AQo leaving Dutchschult gasping for a miracle runner-runner quads that did not appear on the turn and river.

With the outright win, rjmgrace will be joining bismillahno, El Wayneo, and Jubinator in the Bahamas to represent the Rest of the World team in the fifth edition of the PokerStars World Cup. Ready up those visas and passports guys as PokerStars will be sending flight information soon!

Here’s the final point tally:

New Zealand 47 points
Japan 42 points
Australia 41 points
Korea 36 points
China 27 points
Philippines 23 points
Lebanon 22 points
Armenia 19 points
South Africa 12 points
Taiwan 11 points

David Aydt
@PokerStars in World Cup of Poker