Team Germany Wins World Cup of Poker V

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By Jennifer Newell The fifth installment of the PokerStars World Cup of Poker took its live final championship to the Bahamas, where the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure played out in a nearby ballroom of the Atlantis Resort & Casino. After the first four years in Barcelona, players seemed to be pleased to play for international fame and pride at a luxury resort in the sunny Bahamas setting. The World Cup of Poker began as a freeroll months before online at PokerStars, and the playoffs continued into November of 2008 until the teams were in place. Players from all corners of the world took part in the hopes of representing their respective countries in the prestigious event, not to mention taking advantage of the all-expenses paid trips to the Caribbean. And when it was all said and done, the following countries were set to participate along with assigned team captains in the form of Team PokerStars pro players: USA - Shaun Deeb, Benjamin Zamani, Jarred Gabin, Bruce Armstrong, Captain Greg Raymer Canada - Blair Maltby, Dennis Hamlyn, Wanda Whitlock, Tammy Bailey, Captain Daniel Negreanu Great Britain - Steven Devlin, Laurence Houghton, Derek Morris, Sean Joseph Flaherty, Captain Vicky Coren Poland - Jerzy Slaby, Pawel Chmiel, Patryk Slusarek, Leszek Krawcynski, Captain, Marcin Horecki Latvia - Vjaceslavs Ivanovs, Juris Saicans, Ance Laganovska, Dmitirjs Kurchins, Captain Krisjanis Jurdzs Mexico - David Harold Huber, Jose Francisco Munoz Osuna, Antoine Barriere, Jorge Lozano, Captain Juan Carlos Alvarado Italy - Michele Migliore, Pennisi Omar, Valeriano Bilancetti, Villa Gerardo Fabrizio, Captain Luca Pagano New Zealand - Nicholas Webb, Richard Grace, Wayne Lo, Jordan Bryant, Captain Lee Nelson Germany - Georg Geissler, Bastian Wulff, Peter Schmidt, Malte Strothmann, Captain Jan Heitmann All of the team players and spectators took to the Imperial Ballroom on Tuesday, January 6th to play a long day and attempt to win the $100,000 first prize. EPTLive was there to broadcast all of the action, and it got underway with the preliminary round, wherein five one-table tournaments would play - each with a different member of the nine countries - for points based on their finishes. That would determine the number of chips each team would take to the finals. When the prelims were over, the points translated into starting chip stacks for each team as follows: 1st place - Great Britain (45 points) - 50K starting stack 2nd place - USA (37 points) - 45K starting stack 3rd place - Mexico (37 points) - 41K starting stack 4th place - Poland (35 points) - 37K starting stack 5th place - Italy (31 points) - 34K starting stack 6th place - Germany (30 points) - 31K starting stack 7th place - New Zealand (26 points) - 29K starting stack 8th place - Latvia (22 points) - 27K starting stack 9th place - Canada (12 points) - 25K starting stack Total chip stacks were divided by five to give each player on the team the same number of chips. Proceeding into the final rounds, players would switch seats at every level change, passing along their chips to the takeover player. As teams lost all of their chips during the rapidly escalating blind structure of the evening, they would be eliminated from the competition. With some pomp and circumstance, including flags draped over their shoulders, the players entered the room for the final rounds, and play got underway shortly thereafter. Team Canada got off to a rough start, losing a player in the very first round, then losing more chips in the third round to go to dinner break in somewhat of a desperate situation. Upon returning from mealtime, the team took on a different strategy and put Negreanu back in the game out of order. Negreanu did what he could by moving all-in with K-Q, but Lee Nelson of New Zealand called with A-K, and with a king on the flop and nothing else of interest on the board, Canada was the first team to leave the tournament. Negreanu and teammates won $5,000 for the effort and would be splitting that prize money among the team members. Next to go was Mexico, when a slow start led to JC Alvarado pushing with the popular K-Q for his team’s tournament life. Britain’s Steve Devlin called with pocket sixes, and when a six came on the flop for the set, Team Mexico was collectively sent to the rail in eighth place with their $5,000 prize. Latvia took a fall from near the top of the leaderboard when Britain and Germany both doubled through. Finally, the Latvian team pushed with 10-9 offsuit and found that it was up against the A-Q of the United States. Nothing came on the board to save Latvia, and the team was ousted in seventh place, which was worth $10,000 for its members. Poland wasn’t much luckier, when the short-stacked team moved all-in with T-6 against Germany’s A-Q. Poland didn’t improve and took a sixth place finish with $10,000. The British team had an up-and-down tournament, navigating across the leaderboard from level to level. But when the United States doubled through, the Brits felt the need to do something drastic. They were able to double through New Zealand, but when Great Britain moved all-in with A-6 of hearts against the Kiwis, the Brits were gone in fifth place with the $10,000 allotted for that finish. Team USA also fluctuated throughout much of the evening’s rounds, but when New Zealand doubled through the United States, it had to move. Led at that point by Shaun Deeb, pocket nines went in for the USA, but nemesis New Zealand came in with A-8 and hit two eights on the flop. The World Cup of Poker IV champions of the United States were forced out in fourth place this time, but they received $30,000 to ease the pain. Three-handed action took a little time to work through, as New Zealand sat with the lead until Germany took the reigns at the table. After Italy doubled through Germany, the latter did the same to the former, and then Germany doubled through New Zealand. With Italy in last place, Team Captain Luca Pagano pushed with 8-5 offsuit out of desperation, but Germany called with the better 8-7 hand. Italy couldn’t improve and was ousted in third place with a $50,000 prize for its group members. In the wee hours of the morning and nearly 16 hours into the day’s action, New Zealand and Germany set up to battle it out for the win. On the first hand, Germany made its all-in move with qh 8c, but New Zealand called all-in with qc 9c. It seemed that New Zealand clearly had the upper hand until the flop hit ah ad 7h. But the 8h on the turn stopped the German team members in their track, laying their hopes at that point on making that four-flush. With a bit of drama, it happened, and the 9h came on the river. The flush sent New Zealand out in second place, and the team members received $70,000 for that distinction. It was Team Germany, led by Jan Heitmann, that emerged as the winning team in the World Cup of Poker V. The team was awarded a trophy and $100,000 for the performance. Heitmann was quoted by PokerStars as saying, “This has been a great experience, a really great tournament. Our team played fantastic. We got lucky a bit but overall we played very good poker.” With Germany having been an emerging force in the tournament poker world in recent years, especially in 2008, the World Cup victory clearly adds to the country’s reputation of generating some of the best poker players - live and online - to be found. (Thanks to PokerStars Blog for detailed tournament information.)