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  1. [CAPTION=100%]The GPL schedule includes the finals in London this November.[/CAPTION] The Global Poker League is one of the most ambitious poker initiatives launched this year. With the inaugural season kicking off in less than a week, organizers announced the full schedule of events, which includes 15 game weeks, 400+ hours of live streamed content and a two-day final held at The SSE Arena in London at Wembley. Poker fans will enjoy six months of battles between the league’s 12 teams, with the first live matches taking place on Tuesday, April 5. The season wraps up with a playoff event in North America and culminates with the GPL Finals on November 22-23. The league hopes to capture the attention of some of the world’s 100 million poker fans by streaming events live on Twitch and on GPL.TV. "While there is a huge existing fan base for poker, it is largely fragmented because of the isolated nature of existing poker initiatives," said GPL founder Alex Dreyfus. "GPL has an aggressive vision to build new storylines and narratives to engage poker fans with the poker stars playing in the league." Season one will unfold in the following four phases: GPL Regular Season: (April 5-September 22) Matches will be held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as to not compete with the big weekend games. The contests will be accompanied by an eSports style broadcast, with competitive online matches played out on GPL’s game platform. GPL Summer Series: (June 6-July 8) This phase includes 33 days of heads-up contests filmed live at GPL’s Las Vegas studio. GPL Playoffs: (TBD) The league plays down to four places before heading to the finals. GPL Finals: (November 22-23) The first ever GPL Finals play out live at the SSE Arena in Wembley. The GPL chose Wembley as its final destination due to London’s international flavor and gaming-friendly setting. "London gives us the opportunity to build a fully immersive, interactive experience for the GPL Finals thanks to its regulated online sports betting environment," Dreyfus said. "We are going to connect fans with one another as well as the GPL players at a leading entertainment venue. The experience is more than just 'sit and watch' – it's full engagement." Poker presenter and London Royals manager Liv Boeree was equally excited about the location of the finals. "The SSE Arena has so many great memories for me with all the gigs I’ve seen there, so I’m absolutely chuffed that poker is the first eSports spectator event that will be hosted at this awesome venue," she said. Dreyfus created the league after noticing what he believed was a decline in poker entertainment, while at the same time watching the dynamic eSports industry explode. By "shaking up" the game with innovations like The Cube, a soundproof glass box where players will face off in front of a live audience, Dreyfus believes that the game can experience a new surge of popularity. Tickets for GPL events go on sale in May, with exact dates announced in the near future. You can see the full schedule of events here.
  2. [caption width="640"] Anatoly Filatov hopes the Russian fighting spirit will lead the Moscow Wolverines to GPL success[/caption] If you believe American pop culture, the Russians are always the bad guys. In Rocky IV, Ivan Drago was meant to destroy Rocky Balboa. In Rambo, Colonel Podovsky was the one torturing John Rambo. In the WWF, Nikolai Volkoff wouldn’t begin his matches until he sang the Soviet national anthem. Granted, those are all throwbacks to the Cold War, but you get the point. As the Global Poker League makes its way through its first season Anatoly Filatov is hoping to be anything but a bad guy. Still, the 28-year-old Moscow Wolverines team manager went into the inaugural draft and with a really short list of players he was targeting. “I mostly concentrated on Russian and (Commonwealth of Independent States) players because they were more clear for me. Some of them are my friends and I know what to expect from them,” said Filatov. “My strategy was to find flexible people who can work in the team and adapt to different circumstances.” To that end Filatov filled his four spots with three Russian players and another with strong ties to the former Soviet Union. With his first pick, eighth overall, Filatov took one of the hottest players in poker today, Dzmitry Urbanovich. The 20-year old poker pro, who was born in Belarus but now lives in Poland, won European Poker Tour Player of the Year last season and last month took down the EPT Dublin Main Event for the third biggest score of his career. From there, Filatov went full Russian and had more than a few heads turning as he filled out his roster. In the second round he chose Vladimir Troyanovskiy, fresh off of his fifth place finish in the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event. With over $4,000,000 in lifetime earnings, Troyanovskiy is a successful tournament player. Filatov selected Andrey Pateychuk and Sergey Lebedev in the third and fourth round respectively. Pateychuk already has EPT and World Poker Tour titles to his credit and is the ninth highest ranked online player in Russia. When Filatov selected Lebedev with his final pick, those watching the live stream were left with one question. “Uhh, who?” Lebedev has made final tables in Europe, Asia and North America but hasn’t broken through with a live win just yet. He’s banked over $1.2 million in tournament earnings with a quarter of that coming in the last four months. While the general public might not be overly familiar with his roster, Filatov is quite happy to have built his team around players from his part of the world. “I must admit that it played a huge role for me, because we need to communicate well and have the common mentality. That`s why I prefer to choose mostly Russian-speaking or European players,” said Filatov, who also took into consideration the enthusiasm the players showed for the GPL concept. Enthusiasm is what got Filatov interested in the GPL in the first place. Not his mind you, but that of GPL founder Alex Dreyfus. “Some time ago Alex called me and described the concept. We talked a lot about the ideas that they have to promote and how these events will develop poker as a sport,” said Filatov. “His vision of this project, enthusiasm inspired me to lead the Moscow team and I didn`t doubt that I wanted to be involved in it.” Even though the Cold War is long over, Filatov is happy to some Russian history when it comes to his team name and logo. “I like the red color of the logo because its associates with 'Red Machine' – the USSR hockey team and Red Square," said Filatov. "And the the logo shows Russian character and fighting spirit.”
  3. [caption width="640"] Andre Akkari represents Brazil in the GPL - but that doesn't mean he's only drafting his fellow countrymen.[/caption] Andre Akkari is a very proud Brazilian. He bleeds gold and green. So when the Global Poker League came calling for him to be the manager of the only Brazilian team – the Sao Paulo Metropolitans - in their inaugural season, Akkari was more than happy to answer. “I loved the idea since the first moment and I was looking for a way to be involved on this,” said Akkari. It was almost a year ago that Akkari first got wind of the GPL. Founder Alex Dreyfus was in Monaco for the European Poker Tour Grand Final and was gauging interest of players. Now, Akkari, who ranks third on Brazil’s all-time earnings list, is readying himself for the first season and knows the key to a great team starts with the GPL Draft this Thursday. “The draft is a really big moment. I have a lot of pressure in Brazil, so it will probably be impossible for me to please everyone,” said Akkari. “I am focused on drafting the best I can, whether I have Brazilians or not. I want the Sao Paolo Mets to be the first GPL champions.” The Brazilian poker scene is full of great tournament players and Akkari could easily draft just for nationalistic pride, but before he looks at passports, Akkari has some other requirements for what he’s looking for to make up his initial roster. “First of all I am looking for a great heads-up player. I have to think about the way that we are going to compete and a great heads-up player is really important,” said Akkari. “Then I am looking for a great six-max player. There are a lot of players that can take this position.” Filling his roster with skilled players is important, but thanks to the unique GPL team concept, Akkari recognizes he’ll need to make sure he’s got people willing to do more than just be a great individual player. “I want to try to get great players, but also get some great people. We will be a team, we will have to create relationships, talk strategies every day, share the energy and the game plan,” said Akkari. “It’s not easy to build it, but I think I can do that.” Since the list of 203 draft eligible players was released last week, Akkari has been in contact with some of them to see if they’d be interested in joining the Metropolitans. Spending a good chunk of his calendar year playing tournaments around the world, Akkari has been using recent trips, including EPT Dublin, to get some valuable face time with potential teammates. “Some people might be surprised because they don’t know a lot of Latin American players and maybe if I draft one or two of them, they will think that it’s because of where they’re from, but its not,” said Akkari. “We have some amazing players, online players, heads-up players, but obviously the names at the top of the Global Poker Index are the most valuable players right now.” While he’s been busy doing his draft homework, Akkari can’t get over the fact that he gets to be a part of something of new and represent his native Brazil in the process. In his mind, the GPL is set to take the game of poker to an entirely new level. “I truly believe that poker is a mind sport. After several years, we brought this concept to the Brazilian community and GPL is completely related with this spirit, the energy of the competition,” said Akkari. That energy and passion for poker is something that Akkari thinks will be an advantage for the Sao Paulo squad no matter who is on the team. “I am a genuine 'Paulista,' so it’s a blessing to be representing the city. The Brazilians are so excited for the draft and to support the SP Mets,” said Akkari. “And everybody that plays poker knows that when the Brazilians supporters are involved, it's trouble time for our opponents.” Akkari picks sixth overall on Thursday.
  4. [caption width="640"] Mustapha Kanit was the first player selected in the Global Poker League draft[/caption] Mustapha Kanit is one helluva poker player. As of Thursday afternoon, he’s also the answer to a future trivia question. Who was the first player selected to play in the Global Poker League? Kanit went first overall to the Rome Emperors on Thursday as the GPL held their inaugural draft at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. Kanit was one of 48 players chosen by the 12 GPL team managers on Thursday. The second overall pick went to the Montreal Nationals, managed by Marc-Andre Ladouceur. While most observers expected the Nationals to draft fellow French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel, Ladouceur took a different approach and instead chose Mike McDonald. Other players chosen in the first round include Jason Mercier, Phil Galfond and Fedor Holz. Mercier was one of few draftees in attendance and was quick to thank his new manager, Bryn Kenney, and the GPL. “Being a professional poker player is a great honor and we need to be great ambassadors to the game and this is a great opportunity for all of us,” said Mercier. Complete First Round Selections Rome Emperors: Mustapha Kanit Montreal Nationals: Mike McDonald New York Rounders: Jason Mercier San Francisco Rush: Phil Galfond Las Vegas Moneymakers: Anthony Zinno Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Darren Elias London Royals: Igor Kurganov Moscow Wolverines: Dzmitry Urbanovich L.A. Sunset: Fedor Holz Berlin Bears: Brian Rast Paris Aviators: Bertrand Grospellier Hong Kong Stars: Weiyi Zhang The second round began with Hong Kong Stars manager Celina Lin drafting Hong Kong pro Raiden Kan. All four of Lin’s picks were players with strong ties to the Chinese or Hong Kong poker community. While managers were encouraged to draft players with connections to their city, Lin was the only manager to do so. The London Royals drafted Vanessa Selbst 18th overall and 2014 WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson went 23rd overall to the Nationals. The Emperors closed the round by drafting another Italian, Dario Sammartino. Complete Second Round Selections Hong Kong Stars: Raiden Kan Paris Aviators: Davidi Kitai Berlin Bears: Sorel Mizzi L.A. Sunset: Olivier Busquet Moscow Wolverines: Vladimir Troyanovskiy London Royals: Vanessa Selbst Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Byron Kaverman Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jonathan Duhamel San Francisco Rush: Anthony Gregg New York Rounders: Thomas Marchese Montreal Nationals: Martin Jacobson Rome Emperors: Dario Sammartino After drafting Italian pros with his first two picks, Pescatori went a different direction with the first pick of the third round. Pescatori added Canadian pro Timothy Adams to his roster. Rounders manager Bryn Kenney was able to add one of his good friends to his team with the 27th overall pick, Kevin MacPhee. Online poker’s all-time leading money winner, Chris Moorman, also heard his name called in the third round. London Royals manager Liv Boeree drafted Moorman 31st overall. Complete Third Round Selections Rome Emperors: Timothy Adams Montreal Nationals: Pascal Lafrancois New York Rounders: Kevin MacPhee San Francisco Rush: Kitty Kuo Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jake Cody Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Thiago Nishijima London Royals: Chris Moorman Moscow Wolverines: Andrey Pateychuk L.A. Sunset: Eugene Katchalov Berlin Bears: Dominik Nitsche Paris Aviators: George Danzer Hong Kong Stars: Dong Guo The fourth and final round started with a quick change in the formalities. Managers were originally told they could defer their fourth pick and instead be given an extra Wildcard selection to use in Season 1. After a meeting with all managers, it was determined that all teams would draft a fourth player to fill out their initial roster. After Lin finished her team by drafting Bryan Huang, the Paris Aviators took Canadian Mike Leah and the Berlin Bears drafted Jeff Gross. Other big names added to teams in the fourth round include Chance Kornuth, Justin Bonomo, Joao Pires Simao and Jonathan Little. Complete Fourth Round Selections Hong Kong Stars: Bryan Huang Paris Aviators: Mike Leah Berlin Bears: Jeff Gross L.A. Sunset: Chance Kornuth Moscow Wolverines: Sergey Lebedev London Royals: Justin Bonomo Sao Paulo Metropolitans: Joao Pires Simao Las Vegas Moneymakers: Jonathan Little San Francisco Rush: Anton Wigg New York Rounders: Jason Wheeler Montreal Nationals: Xuan Liu Rome Emperors: Walter Treccarichi
  5. [caption width="640"] Liv Boeree is one of three female managers in the 12-team Global Poker League[/caption] A common, almost regular topic of conversation in poker circles is women and their role in poker. That discussion in a whole is for a different day, but three female players will be playing a big role this year, as they manage their respective Global Poker League teams. While Maria Ho heads the Los Angeles team and Celina Lin represents Hong Kong, perhaps the most well-known female pro in the game leads one of the European entries. England’s Liv Boeree readies herself for the challenge of a lifetime in leading the London Royals into the first season of the GPL. Throughout her life and career, the Team PokerStars Pro hasn’t seemed to meet a challenge she can’t overcome. Boeree earned a First Class Honors degree in Physics from the University of Manchester and over the last few years has been one of the highest ranked female players in the world according to the GPI rankings system. It’s the above success that makes Boeree the perfect candidate to not only manage a team in the GPL, but also to be one of the faces of the league, a league that she is excited to be a part of. “It’s a huge honor to be asked to be part of the Global Poker League,” Boeree said, adding that what excites her most is the “sheer scale of the operation that Alex is trying to achieve.” The Alex she mentions is Alex Dreyfus, the man behind the GPL. While she admits that she, Alex, and the entire poker community are “kind of jumping into the unknown,” she remains confident with the team behind the first season of the GPL. Boeree added, “(Alex is) unbelievably determined to create a format that appeals to the mass e-sports audience and beyond.” Many managers share the same sentiment and with the GPL operating on a worldwide scale, the sky really is the limit. If there is anyone who knows something about worldwide projects, it’s Boeree. She’s one of the co-founders of Raising for Effective Giving, or REG Charity, an organization that encourages poker players to donate percentages of their winnings to effective charities. Those altruism efforts span the entire globe and while the two aren’t directly related, Boeree hopes that her involvement in, and the “taking off of,” the GPL can bring more publicity to her and REG’s global efforts. Closer to home, Boeree, who admits she's "not particularly nationalistic,” is excited to carry the torch for the UK’s lone GPL team. She admits that the only time she gets patriotic is during sporting events. With the GPL’s main goal being to “sportify” poker, we could see a more patriotic than usual Boeree at the helm of the London Royals through the first season of the league. That first season starts with Thursday’s GPL Draft, where Boeree and the Royals will select 7th out of the 12-team league. When asked about that draft and her strategy, she admits that there definitely was a strategy, although she wouldn’t divulge much more information than that. This is also her first time being a part of a draft, something that has forced her to “consult with other players who have much more experience.” Draft experience aside, Boeree knows how important her participation in the GPL is to the growth of the game for women in poker. "It’s great that a quarter of the managers are female and I’m chuffed to be one of them," she says, while agreeing that women’s involvement in poker is slowly growing. She knows the importance that female representation, not only in the managers of the league, but the draft as well, plays in the landscape of poker and hopes that that representation can "balance out the ratio even more" as time goes on. What that community does know is that with one of poker’s most recognizable players and ambassadors leading the London Royals into the draft, they’ll certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
  6. [caption width="640"] Dominik Nitsche dominated Week 2 action of the Global Poker League. (PokerStars photo)[/caption] 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. Day 1 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. Day 2 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. Day 3 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. Standings 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.
  7. [caption width="640"] The Montreal Nationals broke the 100-point barrier this week thanks to a record setting performance by Jason Lavallee.[/caption] In the final week before the Global Poker League heads to Las Vegas for the ‘Summer Series’, there were teams moving in both Conferences with the Montreal Nationals becoming the first team to hit triple digits in points thanks to an outstanding performance from Jason Lavallee. EURASIA CONFERENCE The London Royals continued their march in the Eurasia Conference, picking up 18 points thanks to Liv Boeree’s win in the first Six Max match and Igor Kurganov’s second place in the second. This was Boeree’s third Six Max win, the most of any player in the GPL. It was an interesting set of Eurasia Heads Up matches, with first place playing second, third place playing fourth and fifth place playing sixth. The Royals were further boosted by Sam Trickett’s 2-1 win over Moscow Wolverines Vladimir Troyanovskiy, a result which moved them above the Wolverines in the Conference. At the end of Week 6 the Royals were 14 points behind the Wolverines, but have since outscored Moscow 29-10 to lead the conference by five points. There was also movement for the Hong Kong Stars thanks to two strong performances from Raiden Kan who finished second and third in the two Six Max matches, and is now the only player to have never finished outside of the top three in any match. Those results propelled the Stars past the Paris Aviators in the standings. It wasn’t all bad for the Paris team though. Mike Leah’s victory in the Six Max was wiped out as Randy Lew swept Bertrand Grospellier in the heads-up match. At the bottom of the Eurasia conference things continue to look bleak for the Rome Emperors, who fell even further behind to the Berlin Bears owing in part to Sorel Mizzi’s win over Timothy Adams on Wednesday. The Emperors are now nine points behind the Bears, and a seemingly insurmountable 23 points behind the Paris Aviators in fourth. AMERICAS CONFERENCE There was no change at the top of the Americas Conference, as the Montreal Nationals became the first team to break the 100 point barrier. Martin Jacobson finished first and third in his two Six Max matches. He now has two wins along with a second place and a third place finish in his four Six Max matches It was a good week for the LA Sunset. They moved up to second place in the Americas Conference thanks to a first and third place from Fedor Holz in the Six Max, and Olivier Busquet’s Heads Up win over New York Rounders ‘Tom Marchese. Holz (42 points) and Busquet (41 points) have been the two standout performers in the GPL so far, with the pair of them combinind for over 90% of their team’s points. https://twitter.com/olivierbusquet/status/735980865197641728?lang=en-gb The Sao Paulo Mets enjoyed a solid week, with Joao Bauer winning all 12 of his team’s points to move within five points of third place heading into the Summer Series. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the conference the Las Vegas Moneymakers and the San Francisco Rush had disappointing weeks. The Moneymakers could only manage two points this week from Jonathan Little’s fourth place finish in on Six Match, as Anthony Zinno was swept by Lavallee in the Heads Up round. In doing so, Lavallee set two records; he became the second player after Randy Lew to win two sweeps and is now unbeaten in Heads Up matches since the second game of his Week 4 match against Scott Ball, winning seven straight games. WEEK 8 MVP It was a tough choice for this week's MVP but in the end it has to go to Jason Lavallee. Martin Jacobson gets an honorable mention for his consistent Six Max form, but Lavallee not only secured a sweep (his second in a row), but pushed the Montreal Nationals past the100 point barrier. COMING UP The Six Max online portion of events now take a back seat to the Summer Series which starts June 6. Play will be live from the GPL's new Las Vegas studio where teams will play inter-conference matches for this first time. These Heads Up matches will see the likes of Olivier Busquet and Randy Lew (the current best heads-up players in their conference) do battle over a month of competition.
  8. [caption width="640"] Randy Lew earned a full nine points for the Hong Kong Stars this week.[/caption] It was a week of sweeps in Heat II of the cross conference Global Poker League Summer Series from the Cube in Las Vegas. Players are seemingly getting used to the feel of playing in the venue, and fans are warming to the concept of standing play inside of the Cube. Las Vegas Moneymakers (Jonathan Little) defeat Paris Aviators (Mike Leah) 2-1 In the first of a double header of matches in the second week of cross conference competition, Jonathan Little was hoping to overtake the San Francisco Rush at the bottom of the Americas Conference. After a failed hero call by Mike Leah with pocket eights against Little’s kings, Leah lost the opening match, but stormed back to win the second when he rivered a straight, with the same card giving Little two pair. There was a fast start to the third game, with the Las Vegas Moneymakers eventually securing the win. Montreal Nationals (Marc-Andre Ladouceur) defeat Moscow Wolverines (Igor Yaroshevsky) 2-1 The second match saw the leaders of the Americas Conference taking on the Moscow Wolverines. Marc-Andre Ladouceur was looking to reestablish their lead at the top of the conference, after the Las Vegas Moneymakers closed the gap in the earlier game. Despite Igor Yaroshevsky winning the opening game, Ladouceur rallied to win the second two, and maintain their position atop the Americas conference. Sao Paulo Metropolitans (Thiago Nishijima) defeat London Royals (Justin Bonomo) 3-0 Justin Bonomo finished second for a WSOP bracelet earlier in the week and was looking to put that ghost to rest here in this match. However, it was not to be, with Thiago Nishijima putting in an outstanding performance, winning all three matches, including house over house in the second, to close the gap to second place LA Sunset. The Royals failed to take advantage of the Wolverines’ defeat the previous day. Hong Kong Stars (Randy Lew) defeat New York Rounders (Jason Wheeler) 3-0 Randy Lew’s performance last week in the Cube was disastrous, as he was swept by 2014 WSOP Main Event Champion Martin Jacobson. This week he rebounded though to sweet Jason Wheeler 3-0. The first match was over within two hands, and this sweep was the first win by a Eurasian Conference side in the Summer Series so far. The Hong Kong Stars drew level with the London Royals in their conference with this result. LA Sunset (Fedor Holz) defeat Berlin Bears (Sorel Mizzi) 3-0 Fedor Holz was up against the Berlin Bears’ Sorel Mizzi, no stranger to fighting one-on-one with another player after his MMA antics earlier this year. It was Holz’s aggression which held sway in this match, outperforming Mizzi in each match until he emerged as a 3-0 winner. The LA Sunset cut the gap to first by three points in the Americas conference. Rome Emperors (Timothy Adams) defeat San Francisco Rush (Phil Galfond) 2-1 The final match of the week saw the Rome Emperors take on the San Francisco Rush. Both teams are struggling in their respective conferences, and it was a real battle for both players. Timothy Adams won both the first and second games of this match, and Phil Galfond was lucky to avoid a sweep as he took at least three points from this match by winning the third match. The Rome Emperors closed the gap to the Berlin Bears at the bottom of their conference to two points, as the San Francisco Rush were overtaken by the Las Vegas Moneymakers in theirs. MVP Randy Lew’s performance last week was below the standard of which the GPL audience has grown accustomed to, and this week he showed why he should still be considered one of the top players in the league, by dispatching Jason Wheeler 3-0. The Week Ahead The Eurasian Teams will be trying to improve on the 2/12 record they have from the cross conference matches so far. There will be a top meets top clash between the Montreal Nationals and the London Royals to see who will come out on top there. Meanwhile LA Sunset will look to keep the pressure on the Nationals as they face off against struggling Rome Emperors. Week 3 Summer Series Schedule Moscow Wolverines vs. Las Vegas Moneymakers Sau Paulo Metropolitans vs. Hong Kong Stars (double-header) New York Rounders vs. Berlin Bears LA Sunset vs. Rome Emperors San Francisco Rush vs. Paris Aviators
  9. Following months of buildup and nearly eight months of play, the first Global Poker League champion was crowned Thursday night inside The Cube in Las Vegas. In a best-of-11 heads up format, the Montreal Nationals overcame a furious rally by the Berlin Bears to take down the trophy along with the $100,000 team prize. Led by manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur, the Nationals, who had the best regular season record, came into the match as a slight betting favorite over the Bears. Ladouceur elected to sit the match out and started Mike McDonald, Pascal Lefrancois, and Jason Lavallee. The Bears countered with a trio comprised of Sorel Mizzi, Bill Perkins, and Brian Rast. The first match of the 11 would be the longest one of them all as Mizzi and McDonald traded blows for nearly an hour. McDonald held the early lead but it was Mizzi who would come away as the victor of the match after 61 hands to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Despite being in an early hole, the Nationals fought back and won three straight matches to surge ahead. Lefrancois, who went 3-1 in the finals, took down the initial victory as he held off Perkins to tie up the series. Lavallee came in after Lefrancois and kept the momentum going as he dealt Rast his first loss in six career matches inside The Cube. McDonald completed the mini-sweep as he defeated Perkins to avenge his earlier loss against Mizzi. The Nationals may have held the early lead, but the Bears would not give up easily in their hunt for GPL supremacy. Next up was a rematch of Rast versus Lavallee. Rast took down a few sizable pots early on against Lavallee and the Canadian was not able to recover before Rast closed out the match. After Lefrancois bested Mizzi to put the Nationals up 4-2, a lot was riding on the shoulders of Perkins heading into his match against McDonald. A win by McDonald would give the Nationals a nearly insurmountable lead with Lavallee on deck to close the series out. In his final match of the series, Perkins stood tall against the challenge in front of him and pulled the Bears within a single match. Rast and Lavallee squared off next for the third time in the series and it was Lavallee taking the rubber match between the two to put the Nationals only a single victory away from closing the Bears out. Lefrancois stepped in next against Mizzi and for the first time in three matches in the series, Lefrancois would leave The Cube with a loss as Mizzi bested him to stave off elimination. Mizzi stayed in The Cube to face off against McDonald with the Bears down 5-4 and needing another victory to stay alive. Mizzi surged ahead early against McDonald and never looked back on his way to a consecutive win to pull the series even. Everything was on the line in the final match between Lefrancois and Rast. The Bears had staged a fierce rally to force the 11th match but would not see their efforts pay out in full. Lefrancois finished his GPL finals on a high note as he took down Rast in 43 hands to claim victory for his team. Below is a table of all individual matches held in the GPL final with the winners of each match emboldened. Berlin BearsMontreal Nationals Sorel MizziMike McDonald Bill PerkinsPascal Lefrancois Brian RastJason Lavallee Bill PerkinsMike McDonald Brian RastJason Lavallee Sorel MizziPascal Lefrancois Bill PerkinsMike McDonald Brian RastJason Lavallee Sorel MizziPascal Lefrancois Sorel MizziMike McDonald Brian RastPascal Lefrancois

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