Don’t call it a comeback just yet, but Week 2 of the Global Poker League’s inaugural season saw the Berlin Bears recover from a disastrous Week 1 with 15 points, good enough to move them out of the Eurasian Conference basement.
The Bears were lead by their first round pick, Dominik Nitsche, who put together a much better performance in the two Six Max matches than teammate Dan Cates did in Week 1 when he finished sixth in both matches.
In the Americas Conference, the Montreal Nationals passed the New York Rounders on the combination of Xuan Liu‘s Six Max performance and the zero points earned by the Rounders in those same matches.
Those waiting for former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul to make his GPL debut will have to keep waiting. Paul’s team, the L.A. Sunset, kept Paul on the sidelines for Week 2.
Nitsche got things started in the first Six Max match of the week. The Bears star beat Mike Leah of the Paris Aviators heads-up for the win and the seven points that came with it. The match also included the debut of #1 overall pick of the Rome Emperors, Mustapha Kanit, who finished third. Bryan Huang, Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Justin Bonomo rounded out the field in the opening match.
Only the Hong Kong Stars made a change in the second match, having Dong Guo play. Nitsche managed a runner-up finish to Troyanovskiy to earn five points. Leah finished third to give the Montreal Nationals eight points on the day.
While the Bears were the story in the Eurasian Conference Six Max matches, the Americas Conference was all about the ladies. San Francisco Rush wildcard Kitty Kuo took down the opening Six Max match, beating Sao Paulo Metropolitans’ Joao Simao heads-up.
The second match went to Xuan Liu of the Nationals. She outlasted eventual runner-up Chance Kornuth to score seven points. Kuo finished fourth. Meanwhile, Kevin MacPhee earned zero points for the New York Rounders with two sixth place finishes.
With the Six Max matches out of the way, the schedule turned to Heads Up. Day 2 was all about the Eurasian Conference and each of the three matches finished 2-1. London Royals’ Sam Trickett beat Randy Lew of the Stars, Paris Aviators’ Alex Luneau beat Dario Sammartino of the Rome Emperors and in a match-up of the only two players to play every Week 2 match for their respective team, the Moscow Wolverines’ Troyanovskiy beat the Bears’ Nitsche.
The Heads Up matches give poker fans a chance to see some of the best players in the world go head-to-head with their peers. The most highly anticipated Week 2 match had New York Rounders’ Jason Mercier playing against Phil Galfond of the San Francisco Rush. Mercier swept all three matches to earn the maximum nine points for the Rounders.
In the other two matches, Pascal Lefrancois of the Aviators beat Thiago Nishijima of the Metropolitans 3-0 and L.A. Sunset heads-up specialist Olivier Busquet beat Las Vegas Moneymakers’ Jonathan Duhamel 2-1.
Week 2 MVP
Dominik Nitsche may have single-handedly rescued the Berlin Bears’ season. The team had just three points coming into Week 2, but Nitsche finished first and second in the two Six Max matches and won one of three Heads Up matches to earn a total of 15 points for the Bears.
Week 3 Schedule
Tuesday, April 19
12:00 pm ET Six Max: Eurasia Conference
1:40 pm ET Six Max: Eurasia Conference
3:30 pm ET Six Max: Americas Conference
5:10 pm ET Six Max: Americas Conference
Wednesday, April 20
12:00 pm ET Heads Up: Berlin Bears vs. Hong Kong Stars
2:30 pm ET Heads Up: London Royals vs. Paris Aviators
5:00 pm ET Heads Up: Rome Emperors vs. Moscow Wolverines
Thursday, April 21
1:00 pm ET Heads Up: Sao Paulo Metropolitans vs. Las Vegas Moneymakers
3:30 pm ET Heads Up: L.A. Sunset vs. San Francisco Rush vs. New York Rounders
6:00 pm ET Heads Up: New York Rounders vs. Montreal Nationals
All matches are streamed live on Twitch.tv/GPL.