World Cup of Poker VI: Now on to the final

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Keeping in line with the World Cup of Poker's tradition of unpredictability, day 1b of WCP VI went down to the wire this afternoon when Finland, who started sixth today, moved to the top of the points chart and became the closest rival to Team Croatia, who have already secured top stack at tomorrow's final.

It happened even before the team captains, Mauricio Zeman of Chile and Jani Vilmunen of Finland, completed their last heads-up. Team Canada, led by Darus Suharto, had beaten Jan Heitmann's Team Germany 3-2, securing 110 points in total (yesterday's and today's score combined).

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Fantastic Finns

Finland needed four wins over Chile to top that and got them, Mika Korpela winning their fourth game to seal it. Then captain Vilmunen won his to make it an impressive, if irrelevant, clean sweep, picking up the 15 bonus points to finish the day on 132.

The day started in a hurry, or at least it did after delays caused by the flag procession. With 15 minute levels there's no time to hang about, but five games had already been played to a conclusion within the first half hour.

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Quickest of the bunch was the Norway v Italy clash. Vicenzo Bevilacqua took the first game in minutes before Bjorn Horden made it all square. Valeria Bucciarelli took the third for Italy then Geir Plassen brought things back to even ahead of the big guns' arrival - Team PokerStars Pros Johnny Lodden and Luca Pagano. Pagano got a little luck at the end but his delighted team mates couldn't really have cared less. Pagano had just led his team to a fifth place finish, out of last place at the start. Despite the loss Norway still finished ahead of the Italians on points and settle for fourth.

Three of the four matches would go to the wire. The Canada v Germany tie was one of them, with wins for Ole Carstens and Rasmus Ludke for Germany, Wade Ackerman and Michael Dietrich for Canada, before the captains took their seats. Jan Heitmann tried but ran into some Canadian luck when his chips were in the middle. The points went to Canada who finished second, while Team Germany finished in seventh.

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Railing Canadians

The Chinese Taipei team had the United States to contend with all day. Lau Wan Hsan was delirious when she won the opener against Andy Schultz. Then Vanessa Rousso restored order with an impressive win against fellow Team Pro Raymond Wu. Sal Buccieri put the United States in front before Wen-Hao Pan made it 2-2. It was left to Tseng Wei Mind to take the lion's share for Taipei, beating Chris Burmeister in the all important decider. Third place for Taipei, sixth for the United States.

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Tactical Americans

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Railing Taipei-ians

Finland closed off the day, their overall victory coming more than an hour after other teams had arranged departed for strategy meetings and dinner reservations.

So what does all this mean? Well, the order of finishing today dictates how many chips each team start with tomorrow. That figure is in the brackets alongside:

The final standings:

1st - Croatia (100,000 starting stack, 20,000 per player)
2nd - Finland (90,000, 18,000 per player)
3rd - Canada (80,000, 16,000 per player)
4th - Chinese Taipei (70,000, 14,000 per player)
5th - Norway (60,000, 12,000)
6th - Italy (50,000, 10,000 per player)
7th - USA (40,000, 8,000 per player)
8th - Germany (30,000, 6,000 per player)
9th - Chile (20,000, 4,000 per player)

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "how does the final table work?" Well, I'm glad you asked I think I've got it worked out.

The final is a tag-team event with a roster submitted by each team captain prior to the noon start. Every 20 minutes a new team member takes over (levels will be 30 minutes long) bringing with them their share of their team's starting stack (for instance each Finnish player will bring 18,000). If a player loses their stack before a player switch, the next player steps in and plays through. Substitutions are allowed but only after four levels of play. Teams also have a 60-second "Time Out" option, where they can leave the table to discuss tactics in a specially segregated area. Teams can play this at any time - even during a hand. See, brilliant and nuts at the same time.

Up for grabs will be a share of a $290,000 prize pool. Everyone gets something, but it's a share of the first prize of $100,000 that players will want most.

The final starts tomorrow at noon. Get some rest. It will be terrific all the way but may need a clear head. Our thanks to the photography of Joe Giron. You can find his pictures and the action from today at the links below.

Intro
Heads up

Till tomorrow.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in World Cup of Poker