After a day of play that saw different squads sit atop the leaderboard, Team USA used a late rush to capture the first-place slot during Saturday’s Day 1 of the Global Poker Masters. On the other side of the equation, Team UK couldn’t bring anything together throughout the action on Saturday and will not be back for Day 2 of the event.
The first test for the eight teams involved in the Global Poker Masters – representing the United States, Russia, Canada, France, Italy, Ukraine, Germany and the U. K. – was to play five heats of eight handed Sit and Goes. Points would be earned by the top four finishers in each heat, with 9000 for first, 5000 for second, 2000 for third and 1000 for a fourth place finish. The atmosphere was electric as the players sat down for a day of poker while representing their country.
After the first round of play, Team Italy and Team Russia were the clear winners in racking up 20,000 and 19,000 points, respectively, to take the top two slots. Team Germany was right behind them, however, in totaling 17,000 while Teams USA and Canada struggled with only 9000. The team with the most work, however, was Team Ukraine, who only managed to put together one fourth place finish from Oleksandr Gnatenko to garner 1000 points.
Italy continued to play well through the second round of action, but Germany caught fire to take over the lead. Using a victory from Vanessa Selbst, Team USA was able to maintain their fourth place slot while Team Russia dropped down to the third place slot. The bottom of the ladder – with elimination of the eighth place team the unfortunate reality of the tournaments – saw Team UK and Team Ukraine struggling to get anything going with 9000 and 3000 points, respectively.
Germany and Italy would continue to joust for the top slop – and the automatic bye to the semifinals – as the Heat 3 competition concluded. Using a win from Christopher Frank, the German squad was able to hold off Team Italy and maintain a minimal 3000 chip lead. Battling it out for third place were three teams, Canada, Russia and the United States, while Ukraine was still trying to dig out of the last place slot on the totem pole.
As the Heat 4 action began, the players – who had been rather jovial during the first three heats of action – now seemed to get a bit more serious about the proceedings. One of the top Italian players, Giuliano Bendinelli, continued his outstanding play through the day by eliminating both Germany’s George Danzer and the U. S.’s Dan Smith when his pocket Aces stood strong over Danzer’s pocket Jacks and Smith’s Big Slick. He would eventually fall to Gnatenko in their heat, but the 5000 points Bendinelli earned gave him a total of 28,000 of Italy’s points.
Alas, the fourth round would be Team UK”s downfall. As the final heat prepared to start, Team UK was in the basement with their 23,000 points and needed to at the minimum pass Team Ukraine (36,000) to stay out of the elimination spot. While there were some eyes cast at Team UK’s struggles, the top of the table saw Team Germany trying to hold off a fast-charging Team USA as only 1000 points separated them heading to the final heat.
As the final heat played out, it became apparent that Team UK was going to be the eliminated squad. Sam Trickett busted early at his table and he was soon followed by Simon Deadman. Needing to earn some big points with victories, Team UK’s final hope for earning points, brothers Louis and Jack Salter, couldn’t come through in the clutch. Louis headed to the exits after his pocket Aces were outrun by Team Canada’s Marc-Andre Ladouceur’s pocket fours when a four flopped and, when Jack couldn’t muster an attack either, Team UK was eliminated early in Heat 5.
This left Team Germany and Team USA to battle it out for the top slot. Team USA got some help when Smith was able to knock off Team Italy’s Andrea Dato and Team Russia’s Vitaly Lunkin when, holding pocket Aces after his opponents were all in ahead of him, Smith made the call and won his table with the double knockout. Smith’s victory, along with Bryn Kenney’s fourth place finish and Olivier Busquet’s third, push Team USA to the overall victory for Day 1 of the Global Poker Masters.
1. Team USA, 68,000
2. Team Germany, 67,000
3. Team Italy, 62,000
4. Team Russia, 60,000
5. Team France, 52,000
6. Team Ukraine, 50,000
7. Team Canada, 43,000
8. Team United Kingdom, 23,000*
(* – eliminated from tournament)
As Day 2 begins, Team USA will have the pleasure of watching the opening action as their victory earns them a bye into the semifinal round. The lineup will see these contests take place, which will determine the three teams that will move on to the semi-finals:
Team Germany vs. Team Canada
Team Italy vs. Team Ukraine
Team Russia vs. Team France
By the end of the night, we will know who takes down the crown of the inaugural champion of the Global Poker Masters.
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