As the Global Poker League prepared for the second week of its first season action, there was one component still missing. LA Sunset manager Maria Ho had still not revealed her wild card players.
This humble author predicted that Ho might have a celebrity of some sort lined up, and the GPL was waiting to make a big announcement, and that did happen on Monday. Ho announced that she would play in one of the spots, and actor Aaron Paul would fill out the team.
With all of the players selected, the GPL was fully prepared for Week 2.
Week 1 was filled with all of the excitement of the new league, as well as improvements that continued throughout the week. To review everything that happened and find out how the Hong Kong Stars and New York Rounders emerged as the first initial leaders of the GPL, check out our Week 1 recap.
This week didn’t have as many glitches, with the exception of some Internet troubles for players logging in from various locations around the world. Those were resolved easily enough with a pause in the action, while commentators Griffin Benger and Sam Grafton began to find their groove. Laura Cornelius and Eric Danis maintained their steady rapport in the GPL studio, and the week moved along as if the spending Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with the Global Poker League players online is the new norm.
Let’s get to the action.
Day 4 (April 12): Aviators and Nationals Top Conferences
Lineup: Two six-max Eurasia tournaments, two six-max Americas tournaments.
Dominik Nitsche of the Berlin Bears was on his game during both Eurasia games, winning the first one and taking second place in the second one. The Moscow Wolverines’ Vladimir Troyanovskiy won the second game after busting in fifth place in the first. Mustapha Kanit was the first draft pick for any team in the GPL but didn’t fare so well in these games, finishing third and fourth. Mike Leah of the Paris Aviators, however, accumulated points with a second and third finishes. Justin Bonomo of the London Royals was the first to bust in the first game and took fifth in the second, while the Hong Kong Stars saw Bryan Huang exit in fourth place and Dong Guo in sixth place in their respective games.
The Paris Aviators took the Eurasia lead with 24 points when those games were complete.
The first women to take seats in the GPL ruled the day for the Americas. Kitty Kuo of the San Francisco Rush won the first game and fourth in the second, while Xuan Liu of the Montreal Nationals took fifth place followed by a victory. Both were on the web cams as well, which the viewing audience enjoyed. The LA Sunset put in Fedor Holz for the first game, and he finished third, and Chance Kornuth took second in the second game. On the other side of the coin, Kevin MacPhee of the New York Rounders was the first to bust in both games.
The Montreal Nationals were on top of the Americas Conference at the end of the day with 20 points.
Day 5 (April 13): No Sweeps in Eurasian Heads-Up Matches
Lineup: Three heads-up matches, three games per match for Eurasian teams.
The first match of the day put Randy “Nanonoko” Lew back in for the second week in a row for the Hong Kong Stars, and Sam Trickett stepped up for the London Royals. Trickett started with a big chip deficit but went on to dominate, ultimately taking the win after a long tank from Lew with two pair, which lost to the trips of Trickett. Lew did win the second game, but Trickett launched a comeback in the third for six total points for the day.
Match 2 brought two new players into action with Alex Luneau representing the Paris Aviators and Dario Sammartino taking a seat for the Rome Emperors. The latter started strong and won the first game in only four hands, the fastest in GPL history thus far. Sammartino then led out the second game with a big lead until Luneau doubled several times to climb back and take a win. The same scenario played out in the third game, but the two battled back and forth quite intensely until the final hand, when A-4 against A-4 had Sammartino at risk. Luneau’s clubs found a flush on the river, though, to take another win for Paris.
The third match for Wednesday put Nitsche of the Bears and Troyanovskiy of the Wolverines into action, both of them wanting more after facing off in the 6-max events the prior day. The Russian took the first match, but Nitsche came out swinging in the second one and captured a win. The two took their time on the third game, going back and forth for the longest match of the GPL yet. Ultimately, though, Troyanovskiy ended with all of the chips and six points.
Day 6 (April 14): Rounders, Rush, and Mets Win for Americas
Lineup: Three heads-up matches, three games per match for Americas teams.
Match 1 introduced Thiago Nishijima for the Sao Paulo Mets and wild card Pascal Lefrancois for the Montreal Nationals. Lefrancois didn’t take long to capture the first game, and the two battled through a tough second game, exchanging the lead several times before Lefrancois doubled several times and into the winner’s circle. Nishijima played a hard third game but could never seem to get the best of Lefrancois or hold on to any lead. Lefrancois ultimately swept the trio of games for nine total points.
The second match was a popular one with poker fans, as Jason Mercier started for the New York Rounders and Phil Galfond stood up for the San Francisco Rush. Both top online poker players provided a strategy clinic on the webcams as they played. It all started with Mercier dominating, and though Galfond took a small lead at one point, Mercier came back for the win. Mercier took the second one as well, that time turning a flush against the rivered straight of Galfond. Finally, Galfond put up a solid fight in order to prevent the sweep, but Mercier was too strong and captured three out of three wins for all of the available points.
Match 3 put Jonathan Duhamel into his first heads-up action for the Las Vegas Moneymakers against Olivier Busquet of the LA Sunset. Busquet played last week and won two of the three games he played against Darren Elias, and he started this day’s action off with a win as well, keeping pretty strict control over the game. The second game featured a 98K-chip pot that ended in a chop, keeping Duhamel alive. Duhamel dominated and got Busquet to commit with pocket aces on a J-8-6 board. Duhamel had 5-2 of spades for a flush draw, which got there on the turn to give Duhamel the win. Busquet was down in the third game but mounted a comeback that took him all the way to being able to cripple Duhamel with K-Q over A-3. Duhamel had less than a big blind and exited a few hands later, giving Busquet another two-out-of-three match.
Week 2 Final Standings
- Paris Aviators: 30 points
- Hong Kong Stars: 23 points
- London Royals: 19 points
- Moscow Wolverines: 19 points
- Berlin Bears: 18 points
- Rome Emperors: 16 points
- Montreal Nationals: 29 points
- New York Rounders: 25 points
- LA Sunset: 23 points
- Las Vegas Moneymakers: 20 points
- San Francisco Rush: 14 points
- Sao Paulo Metropolitans: 13 points