World Cup of Poker: State & Provincial Finals Decided Today

WCP logo.JPGHome town pride is the theme. Technically, it would be home state or home province pride, but the idea is the same. People take pride in the part of their country that they are able to represent, and this stage of the World Cup of Poker allowed poker players to do just that.

The U.S. state and Canada provincial finals of the World Cup of Poker V were in progress at multiple tables on PokerStars today, as players who qualified for these rounds of play were attempting to win their seats in the divisional playoffs next weekend. To represent one's home state or province in the divisional tournament - and ultimately at the World Cup of Poker in January - was the goal of the day. With so much pride on the line, not to mention a swanky trip to the Bahamas and a chance to play against the best poker players in the world at the World Cup championship event, today's qualifying tournaments were serious business.

Beginning at 2:00pm ET, 25 American states and 6 Canadian provinces kicked off their qualifiers, all with 18 players per tournament with the lone exception of the U.S. District of Columbia with 12 players. Alabama was the most cautious of them all, only seeing five players eliminated within the first hour of play. While other states and provinces had moved on to their final tables, Alabama players were taking it slow and steady, looking to outlast qualifiers that had not even yet begun. Tables running from the start were:

U.S. - Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia

Canada - Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec

At 3:00pm ET, 13 more U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces jumped into the mix, just as several of the first sets of tournaments were getting down to the wire.

U.S. - Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin

Canada - Manitoba and Saskatchewan

It was the shortest table, District of Columbia, that coincidentally found itself the first to be near the end. x_jjgrand_x held on to the short stack at the table, not giving up hope. Knowing that third place was worth nothing but the experience, he battled against the two larger stacks for the better part of a half hour.

Screen shot - DC final three - 11.16.08.JPG

At the same time, South Carolina and Vermont both played down to three-handed action, and it was a battle to see which table would produce the first two qualifiers for the divisional playoffs. In the end, both of them beat District of Columbia to the punch. Vermont was the first qualifying round to finish, first getting to heads-up play when craftyandsly eliminated lbanks25 in third place, securing the first two spots in the division qualifiers for craftyandsly and koslammy, the latter of whom took first place in the tournament. Within moments, it was the South Carolina table that saw the elimination of plastoy in third place to give seats to holdorfold4 and creekrunner7 in next weekend's round. Kentucky and Ohio also ended their play quickly, with Kentucky sending Tom Bayes and CaptSmitty1 to the next round, and Ohio giving the nod to Kid Rock24 and wormdaddy12.

In the hotly contested District of Columbia match, xx_jjgrand_xx finally succumbed to the pressure and was eliminated in third place, giving the two final seats to Capt. Amiry and st8_nigga. Meanwhile, the Delaware match-up was decided for PokerNatzi11 and Hars259, and Tennessee ended with carddr01 and Pup Dalton heading to the divisional qualifier.

Canada had far fewer qualifiers running today, and those tables seemed to be playing more cautiously, in general, than those based in the U.S., but there were two that sped up after the first hour. Quebec was the first province to find its two qualifiers in miloup007 and sclarke792, though the heads-up battle between the two finalists went toward the end of Level 8 until sclarke792 finally took the top spot. Meanwhile, Ontario came to a decision with Tilter and jasonw1978 taking their places in the next round, and Prince Edward Island was settled with peichamp and hotshot1976 moving on.

As the ongoing tables took a brief five-minute break to regroup and strategize, 7 more states and 2 provinces got underway. No rest for those following the action!

U.S. - Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming

Canada - Alberta and Canadian Territories

Of the tables that began at 2pm ET, Maine was the slowest going after more than two hours. With most other tables having been completed or reduced to two or three players, Maine sat with six for quite some time. BigPappaTC held a dominating chip lead, finally reaching the 10,000 chip mark while leaving the rest of the pack between 2,000 and 4,000. None of those shorter stacks were ready to give up easily, having worked so hard over the past two hours for the chance to move on in the World Cup of Poker.

Screen shot - Main final table - 11.16.08.JPG

The two finalists in the Maine match wasn't decided until nearly three hours into play, as Level 11 was well underway. Play got interesting as BigPappaTC lost the massive chip lead over a series of smallish pots, most of which went to cw120473. As the new chip leader took over the table, BigPappaTC became the short stack but was able to double through his nemesis when his Q-10 found a straight on the turn to beat the K-Q of cw120473. The three-way battle continued until BigPappaTC went all-in again, this time with Ah-7h and the best hand against the Jh-8s of cw120473. The board waited until the river to decide with 9c-5d-Kh-Tc-Js, which knocked BigPappaTC out of the game. cw120473 and jamaicadan became the two players who would live to compete again.

The second round of starting tournaments, well into their second hour of play, began to see some results. South Dakota was the first to produce two finalists - toddsplace and deblv3 - to represent S.D. in the divisionals, and Illinois followed suit with the declaration of carlsen1989 and Crossmaglen1 as its top two finishers. The Canadian provinces were on more of a slow train, eh, as none of the four running tables had been reduced to even four or five players at that point.

At 5:00pm ET, more American states and the last of the Canadian provinces jumped into the fray.

U.S. - California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington

Canada - British Columbia

Washington and Nevada got off to the most cautious of starts, not seeing one single player eliminated in the first 30 minutes of play. The Canadian qualifiers that had been running for nearly two and a half hours finally dwindled their fields to find the names of the finalists; for Saskatchewan, it was squirrly0 and SASKUNTER, and Manitoba would be represented by wayroy and juventus777. And as the Alberta and Canadian Territories tables edged closer to those coveted winner spots, British Columbia, the last of the Canadian tournaments to have started, reached its final table.

Screen shot - British Columbia final table - 11.16.08.JPG

Minnesota finally reached its heads-up match between xolivoilx and timmer1946, while Utah finished its business in near-record time; in little more than an hour and a half, jh75 and destroydj were victorious and would move on to next week's tournament. And as 6:00pm ET approached, the Alaskan players began to take their seats at their virtual tables to play for their chanceto play again. Hawaii was the last of the state finals to start, scheduled for 7:00pm ET.

U.S. - Alaska and Hawaii

A full report of the state and provisional finals of the fifth installment of the World Cup will be provided tomorrow when all finalists for the divisional rounds have been determined. In the meantime, check out all of the details of the World Cup of Poker V and come back tomorrow for the names of those who are still in contention for the January championship in the Bahamas.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in World Cup of Poker