The action took place yesterday on computers all over the United States and Canada, as players representing all states and provinces competed for the opportunity to take their World Cup dreams to the next level. It is an unprecedented experience to play poker on behalf of one?s region of a country, not to mention the country itself. Two players from each state and province are one step closer to achieving that goal.
A select few of the following winners will be on their way to the Bahamas for the World Cup of Poker V in January of 2009, but not before they put those poker skills to use in the divisional qualifiers next weekend. There is more work left to do, but determination is no stranger to poker players. Coveted positions on the World Cup teams don?t come easy, and everyone who earns one of those spots will know that they worked hard to get there.
Speaking of players who are looking to represent their countries on their respective teams, some of the preliminary action was documented here, and the following is the list of United States state and Canadian provincial finalists:
Alabama -- ChRisdad08 and NJerseyAL
Alaska -- chechacho and AkDenaina
Arizona -- Hummy53 and web.geek
Arkansas -- Lil Woosie and REBECCAH_56
California -- mtl2d and luv2ridehrly
Colorado -- pokerdwarf and super.man.cd
Connecticut -- its McKenzie and scobgo
Delaware -- PokerNatzi11 and Harks259
District of Columbia -- Capt. Amiry and st8_nigga
Florida -- number3232 and Pinball Doug
Georgia -- DARTHTATER and SavannahNuts
Hawaii -- Herr and bigkawik
Idaho -- diane585 and CHRISBILLY
Illinois -- carlsen1989 and Crossmaglen1
Indiana -- Pkrbroker and thawk111
Iowa -- KOpoker187 and KenLou
Kansas -- melvin471 and pokerdad124
Kentucky -- Tom Bayes and CaptSmitty1
Louisiana -- ZeirosLion and jbjns
Maine -- cw120473 and jamaicadan
Maryland -- jimimic and Donkeylip
Massachusetts -- D-warms6 and THE141
Michigan -- KidIcee and MonkeyHouse2
Minnesota -- xolivoilx and timmer1946
Mississippi -- newdogms and SandyB2008
Missouri -- PokerYouth and -=Hjtman=-
Montana -- aaa_poker_1 and marinerskidd
Nebraska -- leftwynn and BIGJACK R
Nevada -- brady #12 and Vita MD
New Hampshire -- NJDevilspker and nhmoose
New Jersey -- stealthycat and drazzysoup
New Mexico -- richiebugman and iamsnorkie
New York -- peibaby and aronowm2
North Carolina -- DAPBowler and CapeFear777
North Dakota -- IaMuNbLeSt and IamDeceived
Ohio -- Kid Rock24 and wormdaddy12
Oklahoma -- spf7 and DragonFist66
Oregon -- superdobly and Anato1iy
Pennsylvania -- MerlinTheWiz and echaney
Rhode Island -- LBChris10 and varone3737
South Carolina -- creekrunner7 and holdorfold4
South Dakota -- toddsplace and deblv3
Tennessee -- carddr01 and Pup Dalton
Texas -- daddypoooh and combatflyer
Utah -- jh75 and destroydj
Vermont -- koslammy and craftyandsly
Virginia -- allin_cul8er and scotthog
Washington -- Z Biz Owner and Natastic
West Virginia -- pokerkingqb1 and LauraKayWV
Wisconsin -- LaddFactor and AlwaysTilt13
Wyoming -- PJnPillows and Wrangler8
Alberta -- zappygreen and Sudoku Lady
British Collumbia -- delionsfio and broyd
Canadian Territories -- polarbrr and Muck Or Call
Manitoba -- wayroy and juventus777
New Brunswick -- MooseLight1 and Habswon
Newfoundland -- KHstar and dickandrita
Nova Scotia -- AK**QUEEN** and born_in53
Ontario -- Tilter and jasonw1978
Prince Edward Island -- hotshot1976 and peichamp
Quebec -- sclarke792 and miloup007
Tune in next Saturday, November 23, for more World Cup action as the divisional qualifiers for the United States, Canada, and Germany take to the felt for their chance to move to the next level of this exciting tournament series.
For more information, visit the World Cup of Poker V page.
We came to play down to the money. We got there, but the route was less predictable and featured a few more bumps than anyone had imagined. Attention is always on the chip leaders - the players most likely to shape days three and four - but today their story was one of collapse and elimination as one by one the big stacks from this afternoon had turned to dust by this evening.
Frenchman Antony Lellouche, who was protected behind a chip wall that peaked at 100,000 today, succumbed to a change in luck which, on day one, had favoured him royally, starting with a fortuitous kings against aces double up. Nothing like that luck today for Lellouche, busting from the tournament with panache but empty handed, after a last ditch clash with Andrea Benelli.
The former EPT London champion Mark Teltscher met the same fate, exiting within throwing distance of the money. Teltscher was one of eight former champions playing today, another being the Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand Grospellier who was looking good for a run on the double before he too was shuffled away by a day designed to ruin the wealthy.
That there were so many former champions in the field had the press corps cooing over the possibility of a first double winner. The list was distinguished ? Jepson, Ruthenberg, Teltscher, ElkY, Perrault, Griffin. All arrived with hope but all were rail bound, leaving the responsibly on the shoulders of two players.
The EPT Dublin champion Roland de Wolfe looks to be the boy most likely, ending the day by bagging 170,000. There remains another hope in EPT Prague winner Arnaud Mattern, who rallied late on, bursting the bubble, and finishing with 130,000. But if tomorrow is as cruel to the leaders as today there?s no counting out the Frenchman; a cautionary tale for tonight?s chip leader, the PokerStars qualifier Sergey Shcherbatskiy on 265,900.
Poised to cause havoc tomorrow are the remaining Team PokerStars Pros Dario Minieri and Isabelle Mercier. While Minieri spent much of the day being massaged to within an inch of his life, he massaged a stack that yesterday had touched the 3,000 line before lifting off to fly where the air is thin, an altitude of 211,000.
While those kinds of numbers make for sweet dreams, spare a thought for Hans Eskilsson, EPT Warsaw?s bubble boy, who leaves with nothing more than the nightmares of a white knuckle losing battle in Casinos Poland. Eskilsson had done well to have recovered from a crippling hand earlier in the day, but when making his move was unable to steer his A-9 passed the A-Q of Moises Ramos or more crucially the pocket kings of Mattern. With him gone this chapter of the EPT was closed.
Tomorrow the remaining 24 will return and start again, seeking not just a reward for survival, but a coveted final table seat. Will the possibility of a double winner remain alive by that time? And will Team PokerStars Pro Minieri remain a contender to win the EPT title he must feel he deserves? Just another day on the European Poker Tour, and all the specifics are lined up for you below.
Day two begins
Champions to your left and your right
Leading the pack
No hanging about
Back where they started
Slicing through the field
More of the same
Down to 45
Dinner break stats
Another table breaks
Crashed and burned
No one is safe
Drama in the closing stages
That?s the English taken care of. Fancy giving Hungarian another bash? Or Swedish? Perhaps now the time is right to try German or Polish? Choose any of these links to help broaden your horizons or take the easier route of a few video blogs on PokerStars.tv which includes this earlier encounter with Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier...
Watch EPT Warsaw 08: Interview with Isabelle Mercier Day 2 on PokerStars.tv
Meanwhile the full official chip count is available on the chip count page. Goodnight!
"It's probably going to be the ex-football player," whispered my Hungarian colleague Imre Kallo (whose fine work, incidentally, you can read on the Hungarian blog. Warning: consonants).
Kallo was referring to Hans Eskilsson, a former international soccer player for Sweden, who turned to the poker tables at the end of his sports career and is one cash away from becoming the Swede with the most EPT money finishes. But as the bubble approached, he was one of the short stacks and sure enough, he got it all in soon enough.
On the one hand, he will have liked the two callers giving him triple-up potential. On the other, he'd have known he was miles behind. He had A-9 against Arnaud Mattern's kings and Moises Ramos's A-Q. The board was essentially an irrelevancy since it gave no miracles to Eskilson and his day was done.
As, incidentally, is ours. The clock was ticking towards the end of level 14 as that happened and tournament officials called a halt to proceedings at the moment it ran out. We'll play tomorrow from 24 to our final table of eight.
Full chip counts are on their way, as is a full report from the day.
We're one off the bubble and we have been for a good long while. The short stacks continue to double up whenever they're all in, and it doesn't even seem to matter if they have the best hand when the chips go in.
The Bulgarian PokerStars qualifier Atanas Gueorguiev got his chips in pre-flop with A-5 but must have feared the worst when Patric Martensson, to his left, announced he was all in too. All others got out of the way, and Martensson flipped A-K. The flop brought a five and a king, which was fine for Martensson. Until another five rivered giving it to Gueorguiev.
After bluffing off a huge portion of his chips to Dario Minieri (as described below), Joao Barbosa just doubled up again with A-K versus 4-4 all in pre-flop. The board paired his king and also gave him a straight draw. It didn't hit, but it didn't need to. Top pair kings was good.
Mika Puro continues to breathe. His was an A-K versus K-10 clash with the best hand standing up. Still 26 players in level 14, where the blinds are 1,200-2,400 300 ante. The chip leaders are Sergey Shcherbatskiy (220,000), Dario Minieri (180,000) and Roland de Wolfe (140,000).
Day two is crawling towards the money, with just two players still to go before we reach the money and draw a close to the day. The dial has been turned up on the action though. First Atanas Gueorguiev doubled up against Patric Martensson, moving in with A-5, against Martenssen?s A-K. The flop brought hope to both, landing as it did 5-3-K. While the seven on the turn did no harm the five on the river struck like a heavyweight, keeping the Bulgarian alive.
Dario Minieri meanwhile continues to prove he may be in a class of his own. In a hand featuring Americo Spinozzi and Joao Barbosa, Minieri called Barbosa?s 5,500 bet on a flop of 5-T-6. Spinozzi excused himself before the five on the turn. Again Barbosa raised, 13,000 now which Minieri called to see a queen on the river. Barbosa was relentless, adding another 27,000. Now Minieri went into the tank.
?Will you show me your hand if I fold?? he asked.
?If you show me your hand I?ll show you mine? replied Barbosa.
It may have been this quick chat, or it may have been something else, but Minieri made the call ? a great call, turning over J-T for a pair good enough to beat the 4-7 of Barbosa?s busted straight draw.
Pity the big stacks. Hot on the heels of Antony Lellouche's elimination, Mark Teltscher has now taken the long walk to the rail. Two hands did it: first he had J-J against Juan Manuel Pastor's A-K and an ace flopped. Then he had A-Q against Julien Lang Van's A-K and the board ran out dry. (Side point: Kevin Macphee ruefully folded seven-deuce once those two got it all in pre-flop, then said "Give it back to me" once he saw their hands. A two flopped, which would have won.)
Patric Martensson also found himself shipping huge mountains of chips moments after he was stacking them. The Swede got himself into the chip lead earlier this afternoon, puching the 170,000 mark. But he became entangled in a huge pre-flop battle with the PokerStars qualifier Sergey Shcherbatskiy and ended up giving the tournament chip lead to the Russian.
Shcherbatskiy had aces against Martensson's A-K and he now has about 220,000 in chips.
The Team PokerStar Pro Isabelle Mercier just doubled up to a comfortable 80,000-odd, thankful to a J-9, a jack-high board and the missed flush draw of Atanas Gueorguiev.
Mercier is one of 30 left tonight, with our target of 24 players, and the money bubble, looming closer.
Two hands into this tournament Antony Lellouche got his starting stack of 10,000 in the middle with pocket kings. He ran into pocket aces, but hit a king to double up, then catapulted into a dominant chip lead throughout the rest of that day and this.
But as the noted poker writer William Shakespeare once observed: as flies to wanton boys are we to the [poker] Gods; they kill us for their sport, and Lellouche has now been swatted out of here. "I can't win a showdown so you should call," he encouraged Andrea Benelli as he slid his final 20,000 into the pot. "I've won zero today."
Benelli did as he was told, flipped A-8o against Lellouche's 4-5c. The flop brought a four but the river brought an eight and Lellouche was put out of his misery.
And it had been fairly miserable. Ever since he peaked at around 100,000, it had been freefall for Lellouche. He doubled up four players on his table, including his countryman Arnaud Mattern. Mattern had deuces, Lellouche had eights and all the money went in pre-flop. But Mattern rivered a deuce for a crippling blow, with Benelli finishing him off.
Mon dieu. Sacre bleu. Zut alors. Etc.
Better news for Dario Minieri, whose aces stood up against the PokerStars qualifier Marco Fantini. It was about a 70,000 chip pot and it was Fantini's last at this event.
No let up after the break, a stroganoff-powered blaze into level 12 which has already dispatched the required players to leave us with just five tables.
Grzegorz Mikielewicz was part of that squeeze, getting his chips in with Q-2 against the pocket sixes of Marty Smyth. A table along it was goodnight for PokerStars shooting star and EPT Barcelona winner Sebastian Ruthenberg. He was in with 6-7 only to be called by Atanas Gueorguiev with A-K who watched a loving board of T-K-5-A-K dispatch the German.
This wasn?t the full story. The end came only after a disaster hand for Ruthenberg who moments before lost the majority of his stack in a clash with Patric Martenssen; queens against the Swede?s A-K which found company on the board.
Roland de Wolfe continues his onslaught with another big pot purloined from Frenchman Ludovic Lacay. He?s in good shape; others cannot say the same thing as they go to five tables with just 39 players left.
As players chow down on the superlative buffet at the Hyatt Regency hotel -- the beef stroganoff was the pick of today's offerings -- the dealers have been counting the chips left behind. The full, official count can be found by clicking anywhere along this line.
When they return, they'll be into level 12, where the blinds are 800-1,600 with a 200 ante. The full EPT structure can be found over at the EPT website, and while we have a pause in the action, why not also swing by PokerStars.tv where there are a whole host of videos from the tournament.
Like this one, for instance, featuring Kevin Macphee, who regularly makes the trip from his native United States to play on the European Poker Tour:
Watch EPT Warsaw 08: Interiew with Kevin Macphee Day 2 on PokerStars.tv
Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri just tangled in a pot against Uffe Holm in the seat to his left. Minieri had bet 3,200 from the button before Holm re-raised to 11,600. Back on Minieri the table waited for his move. That move was to raises again, another 20,000 unceremoniously taken from his stack and dumped in the middle. Well up for a fight, Holm called. While Minieri peeked at his cards Holm put his sunglasses on and put hood up. They were ready for a flop.
Both players checked the Ts-2c-7s board for a turn card Jh. Holm made it 15,000, signalling the end of the hand for the Italian who mucked with a grin.
?I think you had 6-8? said Holm. More smiling from Minieri. ?Really??
He still has more than 70,000 as the clock shows just 45 players remaining as we approach the dinner break.