The 2013 World Series of Poker Caesars Cup took place on Wednesday at the WSOP Asia-Pacific in Melbourne, Australia. Defending champion Team Americas was pitted against Team Europe and Team Asia-Pacific in the third edition of the unique team event. In 2011, Team Americas evened the score against the Europeans during the WSOP Europe in Cannes, France. This year, the two teams competed for the cup again, and it was Team Europe back in the winner's circle after besting America 2-1 in the final.
The three teams were comprised of five players each (although Joe Hachem added a sixth player). Here's how the squads stacked up:
|Team APAC||Team Europe||Team Americas|
|Joe Hachem*||Sam Trickett*||Phil Ivey*|
|Jeff Lisandro||Marvin Rettenmaier||Daniel Negreanu|
|Jackie Glazier||Phil Gruissem||Antonio Esfandiari|
|Andrew Hinrichsen||Dominik Nitsche||Phil Hellmuth|
|Shane Warne||Sam Holden||Greg Merson|
As the reigning champ, Team Americas received a bye in the first round, meaning team Europe would face off against Team Asia-Pacific to determine who would advance to the finals. The format required the teams to compete in a best-of-three series. The first two matches were team play, where each side picked two players to share a stack and play hands together against their opponents. Then, after the team matches were completed, a one-on-one match would determine the winner, if needed.
The event kicked off with Philip Gruissem and Marvin Rettenmaier taking on Joe Hachem and Richard Yong. After falling behind (and calling their only allotted timeout) on the very first hand, the Europeans fought back and won the match when their flopped a flush against the after all the chips went in preflop.
Team Asia-Pacific won the second match to even it at one apiece. Jackie Glazier and legendary cricketer Shane Warne defeated Sam Holden and Sam Trickett. On the final hand, Glazier raised her button to 13,000, and Holden pushed all in for 55,000. Glazier snap-called and tabled aces, which were well out in front of Holden's pocket fives. The bigger pair held up through the board, and the teams prepared to send out their final player for the rubber match.
It was one-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche against five-time WSOP champ Jeff Lisandro, and the young gun managed to take it down with the help of some lucky cards. Nitsche ran extremely well to close it out, first doubling with the against Lisandro's . Then, on the final hand, Nitsche moved all in with the , and Lisandro called with the . The flop gave Nitsche a gutshot straight draw, and he picked up a flush draw on the turn. The river was the , and it took Nitsche and the rest of the team a second to realize that they'd made a backdoor flush to clinch the match and advance to the final.
Team Americas sent out Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari for the first match because the they needed to jet off to their restart in the Main Event. At the other side of the team representing Team Europe were Trickett and Nitsche. The two sides battled back and forth for a while, and eventually the rapid blind increase left both teams with around 10 big blinds. On the final hand, Nitsche moved in from the button with the , and Negreanu slowly peeled pocket sevens and eagerly made the call. A flip would essentially decide the winner of the match, and the board gave the Europeans the win with a pair of eights.
In the second match, Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth squared off with Rettenmaier and Gruissem. It was a relatively easy match for the Americans; after doubling up with aces against sixes, they secured the win on the next hand when their held up against the . A queen arrived on the flop, and that was all the Phils needed to send the championship into a heads-up duel between Greg Merson and Europe's Sam Holden.
The match pitted a pair of former WSOP Main Event finalists against one another, but Merson was unable to equal his result from last October's run in Vegas. In the key hand of the match, Merson was flipping with the against Holden's pocket tens, but Holden rivered a full house to take complete control. Merson was all in on the next hand with the against pocket eights, and once again Holden's hand finished best, securing the victory for Team Europe.
Europe has now won two Caesars Cups, the first coming in 2009 at WSOP Europe. Details of the next Caesars Cup have not been announced, so it will be interesting to see if it takes place in the U.S. for the first time.
The inaugural WSOP APAC is slowly coming to a close, but not before champions are crowned in the Main Event and $50,000 High Roller over the next two days. Stay tuned to PokerNews.com for full recaps from both events!