Are you ready for the Global Poker Masters?

Eight poker nations are gearing up to do battle to crown the world’s best – and you can watch it live! Are you ready for poker’s world cup?

In the old days you’d have been hard pressed to find a televised invitational that didn’t include Phil Hellmuth and Tony G – characters were more important than the poker back then. The Global Poker Masters marches to a different beat.

The eight nations taking part have been selected by unbiased Global Poker Index results and the elite players selected through GPI’s National and Player of the Year rankings. It’s the battle of the poker giants and at the end a single country will be crowned world champions for the first time.

You can get involved too. It’s playing out across two days at EPT Malta (March 21-22) and it’s set to be a global TV event, with a live stream from the home portal of Twitch.TV. You can place bets on the action with bet365 to give it some extra spice. Who will come out on top? The no.1 ranked nation America, underdogs Ukraine or possibly Team UK? Join us as we dissect the eight teams and look forward to what’s being crowned the world cup of poker.

Team USA

  1. Dan smith
  2. Vanessa Selbst
  3. Bryn Kenney
  4. Olivier busquet
  5. Isaac haxton
  • National Rank: 1st
  • 2014 Winnings: $40,700,159
  • Team ITM finishes: 316
  • Team wins: 34

It was no surprise when Daniel Colman pulled out of Team USA, but three of the US team are ranked in the top 50 of the GPI and won the most money in 2014. However, while they might go in ranked no.1, this isn’t football where the favourites usually win.

Dan Smith has good experience in heads-up events, finishing ninth in the NBC Heads-Up Championship in 2013 and fourth in the 10k event at the 2012 EPT Barcelona. But, despite the addition of Isaac Haxton and Vanessa Selbst, this isn’t the strongest team the US could have fielded and there are much better bets to be had.

Verdict: 7/10  


Team Canada

  1. Amichai Barer
  2. Sorel Mizzi
  3. Jonathan Duhamel
  4. Andrew Chen
  5. Marc Andre Ladouceur
  • National Rank: 3rd
  • 2014 Winnings: $32,380,659
  • Team ITM finishes: 286
  • Team wins: 22

Amichai Barer, winner of the 2014 Aussie Millions, almost did it again this year – an incredible Mark Newhouse-like run saw him finish 11th. Sorel Mizzi has played at the top level for a number of years now and has made the final table of two major heads-up tourneys, which should stand him in good stead here. He has over $10m in live winnings.

2010 WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel and Andrew Chen – winner of the 2014 EPT London high-roller and a major shootout title – complete a formidable team.

Verdict: 8/10


Team UK

  1. Jack Salter
  2. Simon Deadman
  3. Oliver Price
  4. Sam Trickett
  5. Louis Salter
  • National Rank: 2nd
  • 2014 Winnings: $26,408,304
  • Team ITM finishes: 284
  • Team wins: 39

If you’re a superstitious bettor you might fancy Team UK to finish as runners-up here. The second favourites are spearheaded by Jack Salter who enjoyed two monster second place finishes last year – in the WSOP APAC Main Event and EPT Grand Final. He’s joined by Simon Deadman – the king of the second-place finish, with six last year and Sam Trickett, a poker superstar with over $20m in winnings, thanks in a large part to a runner-up finish at the 2012 Big One for One Drop. Oliver Price – the UK’s 2014 Player of the Year – won’t be known by many outside of the UK, but he’s won $1.2m and finished 3rd in EPT Deauville last year.

Verdict: 6/10


Team Germany

  1. Ole Schemion
  2. Marvin Rettenmaier 
  3. George Danzer
  4. Philipp Gruissem
  5. Christopher Frank
  • National Rank: 4th
  • 2014 Winnings: $24,733,286
  • Team ITM finishes: 243
  • Team wins: 38

There’s danger throughout the German team. Ole Schemion and Philipp Gruissem are high roller experts, with over $17m in winnings. Schemion is top of the GPI rankings and already has a seven-figure score in the bag for 2015. Before he hit the live circuit he was crushing online as wizowizo.

George Danzer is WSOP Player of the Year and Marvin Rettenmaier has close to $5m in winnings and two WPT titles. The wildcard Christopher Frank is their only unknown quantity, but they’re going to be very tough to beat and represent the value.

Verdict: 9/10


Team France

  1. Erwann Pecheux
  2. Bertrand Grospellier
  3. Sylvain Loosli
  4. Paul Tedeschi
  5. Patrick Bruel
  • National Rank: 5th
  • 2014 Winnings: $16,967,467
  • Team ITM finishes: 252
  • Team wins: 17

There was controversy in Team France when two of their players – Fabrice Soulier and Benjamin Pollak – were blocked from playing by their sponsors, Everest Poker and Betclic. It wasn’t all bad news though – it gave France the opportunity to welcome superstar Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier into their ranks as a replacement.

Erwann Pecheux cashed an incredible 29 times last year, including his career-best $82,935 at the WPT National Paris. Sylvain Loosli was a November Niner in 2013, and Paul Tedeschi and Patrick Bruel make up the team.

Verdict: 5/10


Team Russia

  1. Anatoly Filatov
  2. Vladimir Troyanovskiy
  3. Ivan Soshnikov
  4. Vitaly Lunkin
  5. Alex Bilokur
  • National Rank: 6th
  • 2014 Winnings: $1,567,886
  • Team ITM finishes: 237
  • Team wins: 22

Anatoly Filatov broke into the big time last year, with a second place at the EPT Vienna High Roller, second in a side event at the EPT Grand Final and a win in the WPT Kyrenia High Roller. Vladimir Troyanovskiy has been cashing on the live circuit since 2003 and has over $3m in live winnings. Troyanovskiy started this year off on form with a win at the EPT Deauville High Roller.

Ivan Soshnikov is another high roller winner, at the 2013 EPT Prague, and Vitaly Lunkin won the $40k WSOP event in 2009 and the Super High Roller at the 2013 EPT Barcelona. They’re a solid team.

Verdict: 6/10


Team Italy

  1. Mustapaha Kanit
  2. Andrea Dato
  3. Dario Sammartino
  4. Giuliano Bendinelli
  5. Rocco Palumbo
  • National Rank: 7th
  • 2014 Winnings: $8,753,810
  • Team ITM finishes: 246
  • Team wins: 22

We predict Italy are going to struggle. Their strongest player is Mustapaha Kanit, with lifetime earnings of $2.7m and a best cash of $492k in the 2014 PCA High Roller. He  won two side events at the 2014 Aussie Millions.

Andrea Dato came fourth in last year’s EPT Barcelona and won the WPT Venice in March 2014. Dario Sammartino is a consistent player on the live circuit with $1.2m in lifetime winnings and wildcard Rocco Palumbo won a no-limit WSOP event in 2012.

Verdict: 4/10


Team Ukraine

  1. Eugene Katchalov
  2. Oleksandr Gnatenko 
  3. Oleksii Khoroshenin
  4. Igor Yaroshevsky
  5. Alexander Dovzhenko
  • National Rank: 8th
  • 2014 Winnings: $11,335,439
  • Team ITM finishes: 250
  • Team wins: 17

Ukraine comes in as the rank outsider, with Eugene Katchalov the only marquee name. Katchalov has done it all though, with $8.47m in winnings and a best cash of $2.5m for winning the Super High Roller at the 2011 PCA. He’s also got great results in heads-up and shootouts.

Oleksii Khoroshenin is the only other player with a major title to his name. He was the first Ukranian to win an EPT title at Vienna in 2014. Alexander Dovzhenko came second in EPT Kiev in 2009. Oleksandr Gnatenko and Igor Yaroshevsky are unknown quantities, with best live cashes of $95k and $62k respectively.

Verdict: 5/10


The structure

Day 1: Playoffs

  • March 21: 12.00pm-1.30am CET
  • Watch live at Twitch.tv

The players from the eight teams are split into five eight-man SNGs, which will play under ‘Win the Button’ rules, with a 30-second shot clock. There are five rounds of SNGs in total. At the end of the day, finishing positions are calculated to come up with a team score. The eighth-placed team is eliminated from the competition and the leading team is given a bye to the semi-finals with 50k in bonus chips.

Day 2: quarter-finals

  • March 22: 12.00pm-3pm CET
  • Watch live at Twitch.tv

The remaining six teams play in a series of best-of-three heads-up matches, based on seeding.

  • 2nd plays 7th
  • 3rd plays 6th
  • 4th plays 5th

The team with the lowest combined score from the playoffs and QFs are eliminated.

Semi-finals

  • March 22: 3.30pm-8.30pm CET
  • Watch live at Twitch.tv

This plays as a six-man SNG with one player representing their nation. Stacks are determined by team scores. This will play for four hours or until heads-up.

Final

  • March 22: 9.30pm-midnight CET
  • Watch live at Twitch.tv

The ten players from the two remaining nations will play five heads-up matches using the stacks from the semi-final. The first team to win three legs is the winner.


Get involved

The Global Poker Masters is set to be the first live tournament to be streamed from the home portal of Twitch.tv, with a 20-30 second delay in five different languages. If you don’t already have a Twitch account, sign up for one today.

To make it even more of a sweat, you can bet on the event. Bet365 is the only bookie to currently offer odds but you can expect more to follow. Bet365 installed Canada as favourites at 1.66 and they’re now 5/2. Ukraine were the outsiders at an incredible 40/1 but they’re now 9/1. We think Germany were the value at 6.5/1 but are now as short as 7/2. We still think they’ll win but if you fancy a value bet you need to look at Team UK at 6/1.

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