Congratulations to Team Italy, Winner of the Global Poker Masters World Cup!
In a spectacular turn of events, the first-ever edition of the Global Poker Masters World Cup has been won by Team Italy, consisting of Mustapha Kanit, Rocco Palumbo, Dario Sammartino, Andrea Dato, and Giuliano Bendinelli.
Team Italy started the finals with a big chip lead and managed to close out the deal against Team Russia, consisting of Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Vitaly Lunkin, Anatoly Filatov, Alex Bilokur, and Ivan Soshnikov.
The second and final day of the Global Poker Masters started with seven nations after Team UK had been knocked out in the playoff round on Day 1. One team, Team USA, had a bye in the quarter finals, as they accumulated the most points in the playoff round on Day 1, and with that they won 50,000 bonus chips heading into the six-max semifinals.
The other six teams came out swinging in the heads-up quarter-finals. Each team played three deep-stacked heads-up matches with every victory being worth 17,000 chips for the semifinals.
The team with the lowest amount of points after the heads-up battle would get knocked out, and right from the start Team Canada and Team France were the ones in trouble. Andrew Chen was the first player to get short and he busted against Ole Schemion. Not too long after that, Jonathan Duhamel busted against George Danzer, and all the pressure was on Marc-Andre Ladouceur.
Ladouceur had to win his match against Marvin Rettenmaier to stay alive, but on top of that Sylvain Loosli had to lose his match against Vladimir Troyanovskiy for Team Canada to advance. Team France was close to advancing, but in the end Ladouceur won his match and so did Troyanovskiy, beating Loosli. Team France, with Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Patrick Bruel, Paul Tedeschi, Erwann Pecheux, and the aforementioned Loosli, lost all its matches and was knocked out.
Going into the semifinals, Team USA had the lead with 118,000 in chips, and Team Russia trailed in second place with 111,000. Team Germany (101,000), Team Ukraine (84,000), Team Italy (79,000), and Team Canada (60,000) rounded out the pack.
During the six-max semifinals, each team had to seat one player at the featured table. At the completion of each level, each team would have the option to change players. Team USA started with a slight chip lead, and it chose to rotate between Dan Smith and Isaac Haxton.
After nine hands, Team Russia took the chip lead, but a huge bluff from Haxton against Team Ukraine put Team USA back in front. Haxton bluffed Igor Yaroshevksy off a pair of kings on the river, and not too long after that Eugene Katchalov's team hit the rail. Oleksander Gnatenko, one of the most animated characters of the Global Poker Masters, was knocked out when his flopped set of sevens got crushed on the river by Smith's set of kings. That gave Team USA a huge lead.
Team Canada was the next team to get knocked out when Ami Barer ran ace-king into Smith's pocket sevens. Smith won the coin flip, and Team USA had almost half the chips in play at this point.
Then, in back-to-back hands, Team Germany lost two all-in pots against Team Italy. Ole Schemion lost with pocket nines to Giuliano Bendinelli's ace-queen, followed by king-queen against nines again. Team Germany finished in fourth place, and Team Italy was now in second place.
With Ivan Soshnikov at the helm, Team Russia managed to even the score between the three remaining countries in Hand #51. Soshnikov woke up with pocket kings and he got Haxton to shove all in on the flop over his continuation bet. Haxton had flopped top pair with queen-nine and neither the turn nor river helped him.
Two hands later, Team USA lost its once enormous chip lead to Team Italy, and the unthinkable happened a few hands later. On Hand #62, Smith three-bet Dario Sammartino's raise from 4,500 to 16,000 with pocket sevens, only to find out that the Italian had pocket aces a few raises later.
Sammartino four-bet to 38,000 and Smith called for his time bank. This hand happened immediately after Smith had switched with Haxton, and the latter had stepped outside for just a minute to get some fresh air. Smith had no teammates to discuss the hand with, and with time running out he moved all in. Sammartino snap-called with the strongest starting hand in poker, and five cards later Team USA left the building in third place.
Due to Team Italy knocking out Team USA, the Italians started with a big chip advantage over Team Russia. Team Italy had 404,900 chips going into the final against Team Russia's 148,100. The final consisted of five heads-up matches, as all players of both teams were called back into action.
In the final round, the Russians were filled with confidence, but their chip deficit turned out to be too much. The Italians closed the Global Poker Masters out in style as they did not lose a single heads-up match. Anatoly Filatov lost versus Palumbo followed by Bilokur's bust out against Sammartino. At the same time, Troyanovskiy busted to Kanit, and Italy was crowned Global Poker Masters champion.
Here are the final standings of the Global Poker Masters World Cup:
With that, the first installment of the Global Poker Masters has come to a close. Despite its conclusion, action will still go on from Malta with the European Poker Tour festival. You can follow all PokerNews Live Reporting coverage by clicking here.