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January 3, 2009 4:32 PM

World Cup of Poker: Can Poland prevent an American repeat?

Team Poland has been here before. Led by Philip Hilm, Poland took down the 2006 World Cup of Poker at the live finals in Barcelona, defeating the Tom McEvoy-captained Team USA for the title. Two years later, they're back after overcoming challenges from Austria, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Turkey to capture the Europe II Divisional title and stamp their ticket to the Bahamas. Freeroll qualifiers BartekPL and morderbest will join two top finishers on the Polish Tournament Leaderboard on the island of Atlantis to see if history can indeed repeat itself.

Team Poland's Borys313 is an accomplished and prolific Omaha 8 or better cash game player who also plays a high volume of SNGs. He is, quite simply a VPP-earning machine, playing up to 24 tables at a time as he chases Supernova Elite status. Borys313 made his first deposit on PokerStars in late 2005, putting $50 into his account and grinding out a bankroll in the $0.10/$0.25 O8 ring games. By March 2008 he was regularly sitting at the $10/$20 PLO8 and the $75/$150 limit O8 tables. Perhaps fearless to a fault, Borys313 once, as legend has it, bet half his bankroll on a triple-barrel bluff in a live Omaha game. Luckily for him, his opponent tanked and folded! After enduring a number of large swings by playing at higher limits, Borys313 decided to mellow out a bit and can now be found mostly at the $5/$10 PLO8 tables or playing heads-up SNGs.


Pawel "kAmIkAdZeEe" Chimmel's TLB status earned him a spot on Team Poland. Originally from the small town of Tomaszow Lubelski, Chimmel now lives in Warsaw where he shares a flat with his girlfriend and his brother. Poker has been a huge part of his life for the last 4-5 years. With pot-limit Omaha as his game of choice, Chimmel ground his way up through the limits, going from micro-stakes to "very high stakes." He is also a seasoned live tournament player, having played in a number of EPT events along with the WSOP Main Event.


Of poker in Poland, Chimmel tells us, "The market is growing and we are expecting it to boom, especially after the success of Marcin Horecki." Horecki joined Team PokerStars Pro earlier this year.

Will it be Poland who stands in the way of an American repeat? They will if Chimmel has anything to say about it.

"The Polish team did win it couple of years ago, so the expectations are high, but we will want to show the world that it wasn't a fluke."

January 2, 2009 8:04 AM

World Cup of Poker: Kiwis prepped for finals debut

Team New Zealand had to, quite literally, top the rest of the world to win their way into the World Cup of Poker finals. Competing in the "Rest of the World" division, the Kiwis topped teams from Armenia, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, the Philippines, South Africa, and Taiwan to take the division title and move on to the live finale in the Bahamas.

This year marks the first time New Zealand has made a trip to the World Cup finals and representing the island nation are a varied bunch including a poker pro, a banker, a photographer, and an economics student.

Nick "bismillahno" Webb is a World Cup of Poker veteran, having captained Team New Zealand in 2006. Now a college graduate and an interest rate trader, Webb began playing poker while he was working as a blackjack dealer back in 2004. He discovered PokerStars a short time later and made a small deposit. Webb was one of the lucky few who would never have to reload, having parlayed those few initial dollars into a full-fledged bankroll. Concentrating on multi-table tournaments, Webb topped the New Zealand TLB in 2006 and 2007, earning him a spot on his country's World Cup team.

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Winning the World Cup of Poker would have a "major stoke factor" for Webb. "It very nice to call myself a world champion. We're a small country that tends to punch above its weight in a number of sporting areas; I'd love to carry on that tradition," he told us.

Richard "rjmgrace" Grace may hail from New Zealand, but he's currently hanging his hat in London on an extended European holiday with his wife. A top Magic: the Gathering player, Grace recently transitioned into poker and has been playing professionally for the last nine months. Grace is also the most experienced live player on Team New Zealand, having played in the World Series of Poker for the last four years.

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A huge fan of the "team" tournament format, Grace hopes that the World Cup of Poker will get more players on board with it. "It's just more exciting for everyone involved, and makes for much more interesting viewing and playing, and getting people away from the selfish nature of tournaments would be cool. Imagine a five-person team format at the WSOP with a $50k buy-in? That would be awesome!" he said.

Jordan "Jubinator" Bryant played in the New Zealand national qualifiers not expecting anything to happen, but once he found himself among the final 25 players, he finally believed that he could actually make the top 9 and move on to the next round. Indeed he did, and ended up with one of the two spots for freeroll qualifiers on Team New Zealand. Bryant recently finished his second year at Victoria University of Wellington where he is studying economics and finance. He has been playing on PokerStars for about two years, primarily $3/$6 limit hold'em and $0.25/$0.50 no-limit hold'em.

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Fellow Wellington resident Wayne "El Wayneo" Lo also qualified for the World Cup via freerolls. The 25-year old photographer has played poker for 18 months and is looking forward to picking up some tips from the Team PokerStars Pros while in the Bahamas.

"The idea of representing your own country is exciting itself, but I think the most exciting thing is playing with pros and having the opportunity to learn from the very best" Lo related.


Lo also hopes that a win by New Zealand in the World Cup will bring more Kiwis to the poker tables. "I pray that a win in the World Cup would have a Moneymaker effect and attract more New Zealanders to the game," he said.

"I'm just going to take this opportunity to relax and enjoy the Carribean all thanks to
PokerStars. The cards dictate the outcome so I will just be playing my best and (will) try not to let my teammates down."

January 1, 2009 5:45 PM

World Cup of Poker: Team Latvia celebrates maiden voyage to finals

Just a little more than four weeks ago, the Europe III Divisional Finals ended in a tie, with Team Latvia and Team Spain both putting up 43 points each. The decision would lie with a tiebreaker, a winner-take all heads-up match played by one member from each team.

It was Riga, Latvia's Partorg who was selected by his teammates to play that final match and after a marathon 152-hand match against Spain's VARICO, he claimed victory and secured Latvia's first-ever berth in the World Cup of Poker finals.

Along with Partorg, two amateurs who secured their spots on the team through hard-fought freeroll play and one of Latvia's top live tournament players will all board a plane to the Bahamas, leaving behind the frozen landscape of their home along the Baltic. Could this team of upstarts on their first trip to the finals topple World Cup veterans like the United States, Poland and Germany?

Hailing from the capital city of Riga, Partorg earned his place on the team by climbing to the top of the Latvian Tournament Leaderboard. In 2008 alone, the 34-year old won three tournaments outright on PokerStars across a variety of games including pot-limit Omaha, pot-limit Omaha 8 or better and no-limit hold'em. Among his dozens of final tables were deep finishes in a number of large-field NLHE events including the $109 Rebuy, the $22k Guaranteed, and the $32k guaranteed, all for solid four-figure scores.


Juris Sacains received a special invitation from PokerStars to represent Latvia in the World Cup of Poker. A prolific live player, Riga's Casino Olympic is practically a second home to him and he has a lengthy resume of cashes in the no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha tournaments he plays there several times a month. The 44-year old has been playing for two years but has kept his day job in the car tire business, preferring, like many Latvians, to play poker solely for enjoyment.

Like her screen name indicates, Ance "missjazz83" Laganovska has a passion for jazz and hopes that a successful finish in the World Cup of Poker could give her more financial freedom to pursue writing and performing her own songs. Like the fourth and final member of Team Latvia, BuTut?, Laganovska won her way in on a freeroll. Also apparently born with no shortage of brain cells, the 24-year old also has a master's degree in Information Technology and currently pays the bills by working as a programming engineer at an electronics factory.


Laganovska started playing online 2-3 years ago and met some fellow Latvian players who organized a regular cash game in her hometown. While she credits online poker with developing her skills, Laganovska prefers the thrill of live play and can't wait to hit the felt in the Bahamas.

"I have seen such things only on TV so I really would like to be there and be a part of it," she related excitedly.

Fellow freeroll winner BuTut? is a 21 year old player for Riga who has been playing for about two and half years.

"I'm proud of representing my country in such a big tournament!" he said.

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December 31, 2008 12:18 AM

World Cup of Poker: the British are coming!

Team Ireland landed in the finals of the World Cup of Poker IV, England did it the year before, and Scotland did it the year before that. 2009, however will see these nations gathered together under the banner of Team United Kingdom as they go for the gold in the Bahamas.

Under World Cup of Poker regulations, Team U.K. received an automatic berth in the finals and will be represented by Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren, two freeroll qualifiers, one TLB leader, and one magical mystery player whom as of press time, is still to be determined.

To those of you who follow the tournament scene on PokerStars, the name "allinstevie" should be extremely familiar. Hailing from Omagh, Northern Ireland, 26-year old Stephen Devlin is one of the U.K.'s top online players, having notched victories in the $109 NLHE freezeout, the $55 NLHE deep stacks, and the $25k guaranteed in 2008. His largest online score this year, however came when he final tabled the Sunday Warm-Up on August 31st, finishing 7th for $21,000. A huge Manchester United fan, Devlin brings a good deal of live tournament experience to the table for Team U.K., having played in a slew of EPT and WSOP events in addition to playing the PCA Main Event last year.

The thing Devlin (seen left in photo below) is most excited about in the Bahamas, though? The weather, obviously. "It's frickin' freezing here at the moment" he reports of the Irish winter.


Freeroll qualifier Sean "N!GHTMAR3" Flaherty loves nothing more than to go out with his mates, have a laugh and play some online poker. Flaherty caught the poker bug after watching a televised tournament and made his way to PokerStars, where he taught himself the game. The World Cup finals will mark Flaherty's first live tournament experience.

Also earning his way in on a freeroll is Derek "Purr of Aces" Morris. A veteran online player, Morris has twice represented Great Britain at the World Cup of Poker. The 39-year old lives in Lancashire, England and works as a bookmaker's assistant when he's not making final tables on PokerStars (he claims over 400 of them). Like his teammate Stephen Devlin, Morris brings a significant amount of live tournament experience with him, having competed in two EPT events, a WPT event, and countless tournaments on the Grosvenor U.K. Poker Tour.

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Morris with a Bahamian local he met at his last PCA

When asked about the prospect of spending a week on Atlantis, Morris said "I'm looking forward to the weather, trying the new dolphin cay, and sipping a few cocktails to be honest. My daughter is pretty devastated that the Jonas Brothers are playing in Atlantis two weeks before we arrive. Shame on you Stars!" he teased.

December 30, 2008 8:06 AM

World Cup of Poker: Team Germany returns to the finals

Joined by Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater, Team Germany made the finals of last year's World Cup of Poker, but unfortunately had to say "Auf Weidersehen" in seventh place. Now, after plowing through five teams of their fellow countrymen, Team Germany 1 is set to make a repeat appearance with Thater again as its fearless leader.

Yes, you read that right-- five teams. The German player base has grown so much that rather than compete within one of the European divisions, Germany occupies its own division like the United States and Canada. Among our four qualifiers are three amateurs and one rising young pro who will attempt to bring the crown home to the motherland.

20-year old Bastian "mados4k" Wulff is the first to admit that he got extremely lucky in the freeroll qualifying matches that earned him a spot on Team Germany. Only having learned the game recently, Wulff primarily plays freeroll MTTs on PokerStars and the World Cup finals in the Bahamas will mark his first live tournament experience.


Like Wulff, Peter "SmArTdOg1970" Schmidt is another World Cup finalist whose poker experience is largely confined to playing freerolls. The 38-year old auto mechanic from Esslingen is excited not only to play poker on the world stage but to represent Germany in the process.

"I´m very proud to play for my country and who can say in his life (that he had) the chance to win a world championship!" said Schmidt.


40-year old Georg "josha45" Geissler earned his spot on Team Germany via his TLB status for 2007. Married for 14 years and the father of three daughters, Geissler works as a marketing VP for a high-tech machinery company. He discovered PokerStars in 2006 and also plays in a live game at the Casino Wiesbaden once a week. Geissler is especially excited to travel to the Bahamas--last year he won a seat to the PCA but was unable to play due to health issues. This year, he looks forward to experiencing the warm weather and will represent Germany in the World Cup with someone special on his mind, his grandmother, who recently passed away.

"She would have (been) too excited about it as she always supported me, loved playing cards as well and taught me this when I was young," Geissler related.

Our final player is TLB qualifier Thomas Boekhoff who first caught the eye of the poker media with his impressive 14th place finish at the 2008 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, for which he took home €76,000. The 21-year old took up poker in 2006 and dropped out of school shortly thereafter to pursue a career as a poker professional. He can often be found playing up to 40 tables simultaneously.

Boekhoff admitted to us that he isn't too familiar with the island nation he's about to experience. "(I) don't know much about the Bahamas, I actually thought it was somewhere around New Zealand to be honest... just looking forward to have some nice relaxing days,' said Boekhoff.

Sun. Sand. Crystal-blue water. Fruity drinks. Awesome cash game action. That's all you need to know.

December 29, 2008 4:16 PM

World Cup of Poker: Viva Italia!

In the poker year that was 2008, Italy made a lasting impression. Luca Pagano was voted the EPT Player of the Year. Dario Minieri won his first World Series of Poker bracelet and Max Pescatori won his second. San Remo hosted their first EPT event, and though American Jason Mercier took down that title, three Italians went on to make the final table on the tour's most recent stop in Prague, where Salvatore Bonavena came away with the title, wrapped in Il Tricolore as he posed for his winner's photo.

Fittingly enough, in a year where Italy had such a significant impact on the poker world, it will represent the continent of Europe for the first time in the World Cup of Poker finals. Two freeroll qualifiers and two Tournament Leaderboard achievers will be heading down to the Bahamas to see if they can add one more title to Italy's till.

Leading the team into battle will be Team PokerStars Pro and EPT player of the year Luca Pagano. While this will be his first time at the World Cup, his live tournament experience is many years long and could serve his team exceptionally well.

Pennisi "Omaruccio" Omar is a self-described "nice boy from Sicily" who is no stranger to the gambling world. By day he works managing a firm that sells and leases slot machines and by night he feeds his online poker hobby, playing multi-table tournaments on PokerStars.

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Though he had a rough start when he first started playing in January 2006, Omar persevered and posted excellent tournament results in 2007, earning him the second spot on Italy's Tournament Leaderboard. Omar also loves to travel and is not only excited about getting to experience the Bahamas, but is especially intrigued by the World Cup format.

"What I find exciting in the Bahamas tournament is the fact that there will be a team work-- you play for your own nation and the win depends on every single member of the team. That is very different from other live tournaments," said Omar. "A World Cup win would be an indescribable emotion and a deep personal satisfaction."

Michele "mm-mh" Migliore is coy when it comes to his background, preferring to keep a low profile. A recreational player for the last decade, Migliore qualified for Team Italy via his TLB standing. Though he enjoys the online game, Migliore also comes to the table with some significant live tournament experience, having played three WSOP Main Events in addition to cashing in tournaments at the Orleans Open, the Foxwoods World Poker Finals, and the Master Classics of Poker in Amsterdam.

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Joining our TLB duo is freeroll qualifier Valeriano "BILLIKO" Bilancetti. In addition to playing online, the 32-year old often plays live in a private game at the Casino San Remo.


Rounding out the quartet is Gerardo "gvilla2" Fabrizio, whose road to the World Cup Finals began when he finished in the top nine of a 552 player freeroll qualifier. The 23-year old electrician has been playing poker for three years, but began taking the game seriously only this year when he became an active participant in poker strategy forums. Aside from playing on PokerStars, he also plays frequently in local tournaments.

What's he looking forward to the most in the Bahamas? "Doubtless the beautiful place!" he replied.


Will the names Migliori, Omar, Fabrizio, and Bilancetti be etched into Italian poker history alongside Minieri and Pagano? Stay tuned...

December 28, 2008 12:24 AM

World Cup of Poker: Team Mexico makes a repeat finals run

After facing an eighth place elimination in last year's edition of the World Cup of Poker, Team Mexico is back for a repeat appearance in the live finals and looking to proudly represent Latin America. An eclectic foursome with diverse backgrounds has qualified to play under the Mexican flag. One is a future industrial engineer. Another sells helicopters. One is an avid chess player and another is a radio announcer. Their road to the finals went through Argentina and Peru, Chile and Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, Uruguay and Venezuela before Mexico edged out Brazil to stamp their ticket to the Bahamas. 2008 has been an explosive year for poker south of the border; meet the four players who will be carrying the torch for Latin America on the island of Atlantis.

Jose Francisco Muñoz Osuna , aka "Pythomunoz" qualified to become a member of his nation's World Cup team by attaining Mexico's second-highest Tournament Leaderboard score. The 21-year old native of Mazatlan, Sinaloa still lives with his parents and is studying to become an industrial engineer. Three years ago, Pythomunoz was playing freerolls. Now he is a Supernova VIP, via a high volume of NLHE play in cash games, SNGs, and multi-table tournaments. Though he's clearly a poker success story, Pythomunoz still views poker as a hobby.


A victory in the World Cup would be far more than just a payday for Pythomunoz. "More than the money, winning the cup would be the biggest pot I have collected, I mean, it would be the reward of (dedicating) many hours and effort to the game, and also I would be so happy if I can prove that Mexico has world class poker players" he said.

Joining Pythomunoz is Team Mexico's second TLB qualifier, David "dhubermex" Huber. Originally from Texas, Huber balances dual careers as an online poker pro and a part-time radio announcer in his adopted hometown of Mexico City. Married with twin sons, Huber built his bankroll by playing a heavy volume of mid to high buy in NLHE turbo SNGs, regularly playing 16 tables at a time. He slowed his SNG pace a bit over the last year, however and began to expand his repertoire to include multi-table tournaments.

Kingeorge63.JPGJorge "Kingeorge63" Lozano (at right) qualified to represent Mexico the old-fashioned way--by grinding it out in freerolls through multiple qualifying stages. Married with one son, Lozano works as a salesman and is a huge fan of soccer and car racing. He started playing online poker about three years ago after dabbling in home games decades before, but it is another game Lozano credits when it comes to the development of his poker skills--chess, which he has played since age 7.

Antoine "AntoineMex" Barriere had to wade through a 1,200 player starting field in the Mexico National freeroll to earn his seat on the World Cup team. Now living in Mexico City where he works in international sales for Eurocopter, Barriere is a French national who has lived all over the globe, from Madrid, to Norway, to Missoula, Montana. Barriere first played poker about two years ago at a family Christmas gathering. At the time, he was still living in Paris, and he soon began venturing out to the local cardrooms to develop his skills. Now that his career has taken him to Mexico, he primarily plays on PokerStars, but enjoys the occasional trip to Las Vegas to play live tournaments and a little $1-2 no-limit.


Barriere is looking forward to his time in the Bahamas, not only to rub elbows with some of his favorite pros like Humberto Brenes and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, but to enjoy the spectacular surroundings.

"I am also very excited of the possible opportunity to swim with dolphins. And also snorkeling!" he said.

December 27, 2008 12:57 AM

World Cup of Poker: Team Nova Scotia ready to warm up

The current temperature in Halifax, Nova Scotia is somewhere around 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It is snowing, and chunks of ice drift through the ocean waters that surround the small province off Canada's eastern coast. In only a few weeks time, four lucky Nova Scotians will leave this frozen winter landscape for a sun-drenched Bahamian beach, where their poker skills will be put to the test on a global stage at the World Cup of Poker final.

Team Nova Scotia, though, didn't exactly have easy sailing as they competed against their fellow Canadians en route to the finals. A slew of poker's elite were born under the maple leaf flag including Mike "Timex" McDonald, Matt "ch0ppy" Kay, and Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu, Isabelle Mercier, and Steve Paul-Ambrose.

Negreanu will lead his Canadian team back into battle on January 6. This will be his second year on athe World Cup FInals and he will be leading a star-studded collection of players.

Negreanu with the 2007 Canadian team

Dennis "dendoggone" Hamlin qualified to play in the World Cup by being the second-highest ranked Nova Scotian on the PokerStars Tournament Leaderboard. Married with two young sons, Hamlin is a computer programmer who plays poker on the side. He learned the game by playing freerolls, ultimately winning a 7,700 player tournament to win the seed money from which he grew his bankroll. He has been playing cash games for about two years now.

Hamlin's success online has inspired a slew of questions from curious friends. "People are asking me for knowledge of how to get more involved with poker, and as always I lead them to and say 'That's the best learning tool there is.'"

Hamlin's teammate Matthew "lobstrman29" Muise woke up one day to a call from a PokerStars representative asking if he would like to play for Team Nova Scotia in the World Cup of Poker. For the father of three, it was an offer he could not refuse. Though he has played online for five years, Muise has never set foot inside a casino, his live poker experience confined to home games with friends.

"It would be so good to give Canada its first World Cup win and being from a small province like Nova Scotia it would be great to be able to make that accomplishment" said Muise.

Wanda "AK**QUEEN**" Whitlock earned a spot on Team Nova Scotia via FPP qualifiers at the National and Divisional levels. A self-described "little ole housewife and mother," Whitlock has two grown sons and has been playing on PokerStars for the past four years. Though this will be her first live tournament, she'd like to encourage other players to get out there and chase down their poker dreams.

"It's possible for anyone to be able to participate in such a prestigious tournament. All you have to do is believe" said Whitlock.

Along with freeroll qualifier born_in53, these three newcomers are out to make history for their home and native land. O Canada, indeed.

December 26, 2008 12:53 AM

World Cup of Poker: Team USA ready to defend title

What is the only thing harder than getting to the top?

Ask a top athlete, an A-list actor, a business tycoon, and yes, even a poker player this question and they'll all have the same answer.

Staying at the top.

Last year, Team USA came away from the World Cup of Poker live finals in Barcelona with the title, $100,000, and global bragging rights.

2007 World Cup Team USA: Greg Raymer, Randy Principe, Tyler Netter, Shaun Deeb & John Kenlan

This year they'll be looking for a repeat in an equally sunny seaside locale--the Atlantis Resort in the postcard-perfect Bahamas. The bar couldn't be set any higher for this American quintet, comprised of two amateurs looking for that first big score, one of the world's most recognizable poker names, and two of the online game's most successful professionals, one of whom must be feeling a strong sense of déjà vu right about now.

Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb was one of the five members of Team USA who shared in last year's World Cup of Poker crown. Arguably the most dominating multi-table tournament player on PokerStars (as well as one of the most prolific), Deeb currently sits atop the 2008 Yearly Tournament Leaderboard; this after winning the 2007 TLB and finishing 3rd in 2006. Among his mind-boggling 24 PokerStars MTT wins in 2008 were victories in WCOOP Event #25 ($320 Pot-Limit Omaha with Rebuys) for $144,112, the Wednesday Quarter Million for $46,875, and the Sunday Warm-Up for $102,642. Now 22 years of age, Deeb has also emerged as a strong presence on the live tournament circuit, playing a heavy schedule at the World Series of Poker as well as winning a number of seats in EPT events.

Shaun Deeb at World Cup of Poker IV

Also no stranger to the tournament leaderoard is Xthesteinx. A high-volume tournament player, he finished 3rd on the 2007 Yearly TLB and 69th in 2006. This online pro has wins in the $109 Rebuy, the $215 Rebuy, the Nightly Hundred Grand, and the Wednesday Hundred Fifty Grand.

The most recognizable face on Team USA will be 2004 World Series champion and Team PokerStar Pro Greg Raymer. Raymer is back for his second straight year on Team USA.

As Raymer wrote for the PokerStars Blog this week, "The prize money for this event, while not chump-change by any means, was a lot smaller than the $5 million I won for the WSOP. Yet, winning this event carried with it just as much emotion. This was so mostly because I was representing not just myself, but my country and my team."

The first of Team USA's two freeroll qualifiers is 62-year old Michigan native Bruce "ba-detroit" Armstrong. Though he played stud back in the 1970s, Armstrong picked up hold'em only two years ago. He recently retired after a 43-year career at the Ford Motor Company and now has the free time to play poker that he always wanted. In addition to playing on PokerStars, Armstrong hits up Las Vegas about four to five times per year to play tournaments.

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Bruce "ba-detroit" Armstrong

Armstrong tells us he is "glad to be part of this team, and (has) hopes of victory." But even if his team doesn't' come out on top, he's "just happy to play."

Jarred Gabin.jpgRounding out the foursome is Jarred "J@M0K3Y!"Gabin. The Los Angeles native has worked in the computer industry for the last ten years and makes his home with his fiancé and two children. Gabin learned to play poker about five years ago and due to work and family constraints, mostly plays online. A money finish in this event would mark his first-ever live tournament cash.

Gabin couldn't contain his excitement when asked about the prospect of competing live in the Bahamas.

"This whole ride has been just amazing. I have been floating on cloud nine for the last few days. I am excited that I am going to meet some PokerStars Pros and getting to play cards with any of them is a dream in itself. The fact that it is being held on a tropical island isn't such a bad thing either," he said.

We couldn't agree more.

December 11, 2008 4:13 PM

World Cup of Poker: See the finals as they happen

The world may have had to wait 24 hours to see Peter Eastgate win the World Series of Poker this year on ESPN, but when PokerStars crowns the World Cup of Poker champions, it will happen live and for the whole world to see.

PokerStars announced today that the live finals of the World Cup of Poker V will happen live on Not only that, plans to show the event with the hole card cams exposed. So, as the nine teams fight it out for the World Cup of Poker title, you will be able to see every bluff, every laydown--every card!

The live finals are scheduled to take place over one day on January 6 in the Bahamas. Live coverage of the finals will begin on January 6 and run until a champion has been determined.

Stay tuned for more information on the finals, the teams, and the players over the next few weeks.

Video blogs and interviews from the 2009 PCA

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