The game is on.
Poker’s ‘unofficial’ World Championship has begun in Las Vegas with three Day 1 flights now in the books.
At 7,221 players the field is the 3rd-biggest in WSOP history and the prize pool set at an eye-popping $67m.
Just over 1,000 players will be paid with the 2017 winner pocketing $8.15m – unless, of course, that player qualified via 888poker.
$10m Top Up, 8 Teams Battle for Glory
Among the players battling for that top prize?
888poker’s elite 3-player 8 Teams made up of a team captain, wingman and qualifier from 888poker.
The five teams represent Brazil, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the UK with the captains and wingmen there to carry and support the amateur qualifiers.
To be eligible for one of the spots on the teams you had to make your way through the 888poker steps system and claim a Main Event prize package.
Five players completed that challenge and joined their illustrious team leaders in taking on the game’s most prized tournament.
If any of the qualifiers finds an unlikely run all the way to the championship 888 will add enough money to give the winner a full $10 million payout.
That’s a boost of almost $2 million!
Who are the 8-Teams? Check the lineups below. Follow the 8-Teams and the WSOP Main Event on PokerListings.com. Alongside, get your own 888poker account and you can get your chance to prove yourself in future live events.
Captain – Bruno “Foster” Politano; WSOP November Nine 2014, Live earnings $1.4 million, National money list: 5th
Wingman – Denilson; former world class football player, temporarily the most expensive player in the world
Qualifier – Joao Sousa; steps satellite winner, 10 live cashes in four different countries, live earnings $75,250
Chances: This is a decent team with a captain who’s already been at the biggest table of the poker world. However, a lack of average experience among the team members will make it difficult for them to go very deep.
Captain – Parker Talbot; Twitch celebrity, live earnings $250k, National money list: 310th
Wingman – Griffin Benger; WSOP November Nine 2016, live earnings $3.9 million, National rank 17th
Qualifier – Timothy Cavalin; $160 steps satellite winner, plays because living in Barbados can be boring; no official cashes, but a main event winner in St. Maartens
Chances – If you have a November Nine player from last year, and he’s only the wingman, and you are the second most successful nation at the WSOP, that means you have a strong team on your hand. Unfortunately in modern poker, nobody makes it to the final table twice in a row. Ask Mark Newhouse.
Captain – Dominik Nitsche; three bracelets, live earnings $6.6 million, national rank 10th
Wingman – Mario Basler; former player of the German national football team and Bayern Munich
Qualifier – Sebastian Bachmann; $30 steps satellite winner, live earnings $568
Chances – Dominik Nitsche is obviously a good bet in any poker tournament, but both his wingman and qualifier lack any sort of experience. He’ll be the one to look out for.
Captain – Sofia Lövgren; cash game specialist; live earnings $300k, national rank 117th
Wingman – Martin Jacobson; WSOP Main Event champion 2014, live earnings $16 million, national rank 1st
Qualifier – Anton Bertilsson; EPT runner up, live earnings $1.3 million, national rank 23rd
Chances – By far the strongest team in the competition and a favourite in the last longer bet. The captain is the lowest ranking player in the team and a cash game specialist, the wingman a world champion, and the qualifier has over a million of tournament winnings.
Captain – Chris Moorman; live earnings $5 million, online earnings $14 million, WSOPE runner-up
Wingman – William Kassouf; Irish Open finalist, took the term ‘speech play’ to a completely new level at last year’s WSOP
Qualifier – Ky Maciejewski – Freeroll satellite winner, no entries for any live cashes
Chances – With Chris Moorman at the helm and Will Kassouf beside him, we’re bound to see a lot of the UK team. They’re strong enough to pull Maciejewski with them deep into the event.