World Cup of Poker VI: One of a kind event ready to begin

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There comes a time each year at the PCA when a pre-selected blogger has to face reality, find a quiet corner and read through the rules and regulations for the latest incarnation of the world Cup of Poker. I'll be honest with you, it's no easy read. But after a few Advil and some time scribbling crayon on the back of a laptop, I think we have it. It may be intricate, but the prize is too much to pass on. For today this great event begins its sixth year. The teams are here, the defending champion Germans are here, for what is the most unique of tournaments. Find yourself a flag, adopt a country if "your boys" didn't make it this far, because it's time to get partisan.

Current holders - Germany

Back to those rules...

Some say the original World Cup of Poker rules were dug up by archaeologists, others that it was beamed down to earth from a distant point in the universe. However they were put together they make the World Cup a fast paced action tournament, a true original - the two-seater Ferrari 250 GT California to the main event's Cadillac Eldorado.

Today is the first of three days of play, culminating with the final table on Wednesday. Before that the teams will embark on a series of Sit N-Go's, nine teams, five players on each, playing for points based on finishing position. They'll be three of those events today played, as you'd expect, under PokerStars tournament rules:

1. Nine player full table Sit N-Go's (Five total)
2. Six player shorthanded Sit N Go's (Six total)
3. Four player super shorthanded Sit N Go's (Nine total)

When the day is done points will rank the teams in order. The country with the highest points total will receive a "Bye" to the final table while the teams ranked 2nd through 9th will face off in the live heads-up preliminary events on day 1b tomorrow. Those matches will award more points (and for brevity's sake we'll get to those later) and will determine starting stacks at the final - a tag team extravaganza - 20 minute shifts, substitutions, a stack per player, time outs and other quirks that add a touch of the Kandinsky to this great event.

So without further ado let's introduce the teams:

Canada - Darus Suharto (captain)
Steve Deschesnes, Michael Dietrich, Wade Ackerman, Kevin Burrill.

Chile - Mauricio Zeman (captain)
Mauricio Ibarra Araya, Rodolfo Awad, Shaun Sheffield, Nicolas Campos Leal.

Croatia - Denis Kelemen (captain)
Denis Obadic, Marko Puskadija, Andrija Vujic, Alessandro Grazia.

Finland - Jani Vilmunen (captain)
Tommi Juhani Saarinen, Kirsi Korpi, Mika Korpela, Antti Märijärvi.

Germany - Jan Heitmann (captain)
Rasmus Lüdke, Frank Boehrens, Sascha Cornils, Ole Carstens.

Italy - Luca Pagano (captain)
Valeria Bucciarelli, Vincenzo Bevilacqua, Giovanni Mancuso, Alessandro Sciolti.

Norway - Johnny Lodden (captain)
Bjørn Andre Hovden, Christian Stokkeland, Jan-Idar Lerbrekk, Geir Ståle Plassen.

Chinese Tai Pei - Raymond Wu
Tseng Wei Ming, Tsu-Chi Wang, Lai Wan Shyun, Wen-Aho Pan.

United States - Vanessa Rousso (captain)
Chris Burmeister, Andrew Schultz, Ryan Alan Templin, Salvatore Buccieri.

As an Englishman, with raw experience of watching World Cups, my money's on the Germans. You can never bet against Italian flair and unpredictability though, and Vanessa Rousso, skippering the American team today, is fresh off a win in the Ladies Event last night.

So first up are the five nine-handed sit n-go's, a player from each nation at each table. Each gets 3,000 starting chips and fifteen minute levels. Expect unrestrained patriotism, ruthlessness and some good natured rivalry all the way.

Good luck to everyone and let the mayhem begin.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in World Cup of Poker