World Cup of Poker: U.S. & Canada Among National Team Finals Completed

WCP logo.JPGIt has been a busy few days for those competing in the national team finals today. Though it may have started with a freeroll and a good time, those who persevered and made it through to today's tournaments worked hard enough for today's opportunity. And each of those players took to the felt for another tough round today, each tournament boasting of 18 players.

But today's national team finals were a big step in this winding World Cup of Poker staircase. Placing first or second in today's tournament qualified those two players to go on to the Divisional Playoffs next Sunday, which is set to determine the nine teams who will travel to the Bahamas in January of 2009 to compete for the world title.

At 10:00am ET, several tournaments got underway - Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Peru, and Uruguay. More than an hour into the action, only Israel had reached its final table of nine players. Though shlomit1 from Tel-Aviv was in the lead with just over 5,000 in chips, none of the other players were extremely short-stacked, and the table remained nine-handed for quite awhile.

As those five countries battled it out, the United States, Canada, and Guatemala tables began rolling at 11:00am ET. The latter was taking its time reaching the final table, but as the second hour of play began, Canada reached its final nine players as the spots on the national team came into view.

Screen shot - Canada final table - 11.30.08.JPG

The chip lead was exchanged numerous times, and without a runaway leader, it was still anyone's game.

Meanwhile, the United States found its final table when two of the shorter stacks tangled. DBoo1951 had only 780 chips left going into the hand and pushed all-in with pocket eights. MR BigRed 66 had enough chips to cover and moved all-in to isolate with pocket queens. It worked, and the two saw the flop come 7s-Qh-9d, which gave MR BigRed 66 an even bigger lead in the hand. The turn and river came 2h and 3d, respectively, and it was all over for DBoo1951 on the final table bubble. The final nine then gathered on one table that looked like this:

Screen shot - US Final table - 11.30.08.JPG

It was ba-detroit and wanagi wi who had the massive stacks at the table, and with a quick exit from short-stacked Dosson08, lamBP was the next to go after a valiant effort with very few chips. By the time moontastic was eliminated in seventh place, ba-detroit had taken a significant lead with over 12,000 in chips. wanagi wi still held on to second place with nearly 8,000, while the rest of the players did their best to climb.

Over at the first tables to start the day, Uruguay was the last one running, with CROSA COLL, magallin16 and estefano17 in a tight race to eliminate one more player and establish the two who would represent Uruguay in the finals. But the other four had been decided as follows:

Argentina - Nikks_07 and poro14
Brazil - arielbh and kinhomd
Israel - cutio and EMINEM_T
Peru - ficofico75 and MARWEST

The Uruguay players traded chips back and forth during three-handed action, as estefano17 doubled, then magallin16 doubled, CROSA COLL took a massive pot from magallin16, and so forth. Not one of them was willing to stop fighting for the coveted spot on the Uruguay national team, so it continued until estefano17 finally crippled magallin16. magallin16 did take that ultra-short stack of less then 300 chips into a double-up situation but was crushed on the next hand by CROSA COLL. When the smoke cleared, the two finalists were:

Uruguay - estefano17 and CROSA COLL

Back at the U.S. and Canada tables, both were five-handed as the two-hour mark approached. The big news at the United States table was that former second-in-chips player wanagi wi had taken a fall and suddenly took up residence as the short stack. Those last chips finally went into the pot with Jc-7h from the big blind, and ba-detroit and stellaz checked as the 7c-Ah-As came on the river. The 5h on the turn prompted a bet from ba-detroit and fold from stellaz. ba-detroit showed Ac-2h for the flopped set, and the 4s solidified the result as wanagi wi was eliminated in fifth.

The U.S. table played on as stellaz was knocked out in fourth, and with one more to go before the two finalists were named, it was MR BigRed 66 at risk with the least amount of chips. With a pair of eights, MR BigRed 66 pushed all-in, and J@M0K3Y! called with Ad-Js. The board came Th-9h-Jc-5h-Kd, and the pair of jacks won it. MR BigRed 66 was the bubble player, and the final result of the table was:

United States - J@M0K3Y! and ba-detroit

The Canadians finally got to three-handed action with the eliminations of JENN1973 in fifth and barneyyenrab in fourth. Going into the final three, boodaluver had some work to do with less than 3,000 in chips and tried to get something going with the ultimate hand - pocket aces. boodaluver played it slow by making a simple raise preflop, which was called by the other two players. After the 4d-7h-Jc flop, boodaluver pushed his last 1,643 all-in, and SEWB was the only caller. SEWB showed 6d-3d for the straight draw, and the turn and river of Ad and Td gave him the runner-runner flush. boodaluver lost with trip aces and took third place, making way for the results to be announced:

Canada - SEWB and johncrack

Still playing in its third hour was the Guatemala table and in its second hour was Venezuela. Newly begun tournaments were running for Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. Eventually, the following results could be noted:

Guatemala - tortumen and ratsed
Venezuela - RCSGOLD and pokerfrank76

Mexico took less than two hours to determine its winners, and not long after, the rest of the running tournaments were completed with the following victors:

Mexico - AntoineMex and Kingeorge63
Chile - wuaren2 and capdevila
Columbia - diegovergara and migelco
Costa Rica - TIJO and armandotje95

With hours before the start of the New Zealand final table, a little longer for the Australians, and more than a few hours for China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, and Taiwan, this blog post will wrap up. The final results from these tournaments and a complete national team finals summary will be posted tomorrow. Between now and then, visit the World Cup of Poker V page for more information about the series.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in World Cup of Poker