2015 World Cup of Poker opens with big action

The opening weekend of the 2015 World Cup Poker saw some very interesting matchups, and some shock results to boot. Like last year the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and all the Scandinavian countries failed to make it out of the starting gates, while the Kiwi's and the Kazakhs showed their pedigree by getting out of the group stages in the first game.

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Group A (Asia Pacific)
Vietnam was the first team through with "mrbang77" topping the Saturday Group A game. Great to see a nation with only a single entrant gets to the knockout stages; a real fairytale. Let's hope that he doesn't go out with a bang in the next round. As if that wasn't enough "IsBongoComin" threaded his way through the final stages of the Sunday Group A game eventually emerging victorious and seeing New Zealand take the second spot.

Group B (Central Asia)
The two Group B matches were 'over before they were over' with the final shootout on Saturday night being between two Kazakhstan players, with "ASM1991" taking the top spot and over 67,000 chips for his trouble. The Russian Federation registered in numbers on Sunday to undo this upset, dominating the game early with "porfiri315" securing the runner up spot in the end.

Groups C, D, E, F (Europe and Africa)
Group C was hotly contested, with "Dombar7" taking the Saturday game for France and "bobox1988" crushing it for Ukraine the following day (despite some valiant efforts by a plucky few Austrians). Group D had a couple of mini-upsets in both games, with "makrarom" taking honours for Slovenia on Saturday (one of only six Slovenians playing) and "strateger909" doing the same on Sunday for Switzerland on Sunday (one of only four Swiss players).

Group E was a little more by-the-numbers, with Germany coming through a huge field via "doc.frank01" to top the group, putting the current cup holders Spain under pressure to deliver on Sunday. And deliver they did, thanks to "gangsterPaU".

We nearly saw a big upset in Group F with a plucky Montenegro player making it all the way to heads up, but "All Star620" eventually prevailed and took home the 44,820 chips and the group winners' spot for Hungary. That left a more open field on Sunday where "LMshaker" quickly secured the runner-up spot for Portugal.

Groups G and H (Americas)
Saturday's Group G match saw almost four hundred players duke it out for over three hours, with Argentina showing they can deliver in poker like they do in soccer, thanks to "genessys". The Sunday game was also hard-fought, with an epic and lengthy heads-up battle eventually falling to "pichucal" from Mexico, defeating a very strong player from Canada.

The Group H games were also competitive, with the United States proving there is strength in numbers and dominating the Saturday match, despite strong late shows from three Brazilian players in the closing stages. The Brazilians licked their wounds and rallied on Sunday, a "DinDin14" came through to keep the dream alive.

The Round of 16
We have some cracking matches lined up for next Sunday, with the two Americas games (US v Mexico and Brazil v Argentina) sure to be hard fought. There are no easy games in the Europe and Africa groups, with most countries sure to be well represented.

However for me the story to watch will be to see if "mrbang77" can round up some of his countrymen to fend off what is sure to be a massive contingent of Russian players in the opening Round-of-16 game at 04:00 ET.

Good luck to all the teams playing next weekend.

The Draw and Schedule for the World Cup of Poker

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David Lyons
@PokerStars in World Cup of Poker