It was the day that awaited players for weeks. Those who began in freerolls took to the felt week after week to make it to the Divisional Playoffs, and this was the day that would determine if it could be chalked up to a fun experience or if they would be the team to represent their country in the live finals.
The World Cup of Poker V is not just any final table; it will be a global tournament of champions with nine teams competing for the world title. Oh yeah, and it will just happen to be played out at the Atlantis Resort on the sunny beaches of the Bahamas.
So, five teams from the United States gathered on the virtual felt today to battle it out for that opportunity: USA 1, USA 2, and state qualifiers North Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. They took their places at the tables - one team member in each of the four tournaments - at 3:00pm ET.
With only five players per tournament, none of them were destined to take very long, but the quickness with which the USA players exited was fast, fast enough to make us wonder if there was somewhere to be, and we were not notified. Wisconsin lost JBdenaro157 right off the bat from the TLB1 table, and deblv3, representing South Dakota, departed quickly from the FR2 table. Both fifth place finishes were only worth 6 points, but both teams certainly had the opportunity to make up for it.
But South Dakota took another hit when blkjck went out of the TLB2 table. With less than 1,000 chips left, he pushed it all-in in response to a raise from D1rtyR1v3r preflop. And when the board brought 7s-7h-3h-Qh-Tc, it was D1rtyR1v3r’s pocket nines that held up to the Ah-Ks of blkjck. That meant another fifth place finish for South Dakota.
It was the FR2 table that continued to play out at a very fast pace. ba-detroit was severely short-stacked and left in fourth place, as was stellaz who took third. AlwaysTilt13 and CapeFear777 began their heads-up battle that was decided in very little time. CapeFear777 tried desperately to come back from a chip deficit that he brought to heads-up action, but it wasn’t enough. AlwaysTilt13 started the last hand with a raise, but when CapeFear777 pushed it up, AlwaysTilt13 came over the top all-in with Ad-Kh, and CapeFear777 called all-in with Ah-Qc. The cards came 2c-7c-Jh-9d-8c, and CapeFear777 was out with 15 points for North Carolina, while AlwaysTilt13 took 20 points for the win to Wisconsin.
The next table to complete was TLB1. After Sowerss took fourth and xthesteinx left in third, it was up to Kenny Rap and D1rtyR1v3r. Kenny Rap came into heads-up with the lead and kept it all the way through to the win with Ac-6c over the Ad-5h of his opponent. The board brought a five and a six, so Kenny Rap took the 20-point win for USA 2.
But it was USA 1 who dominated, especially after shaundeeb claimed a victory over devinr12 on table TLB1. shaundeeb had the lead going into the final hand, something that he worked hard to accumulate after coming to the match with a deficit. shaundeeb pushed with Qh-3d, and devinr12 called all-in with Jh-8h, but the board came 4h-9s-Qs-4h-Js, and the 20 points for the victory went to shaundeeb and USA1.
Not long after the first break, the only table in Division USA left standing found a winner. As the longest running table, it has seen MR BigRed66 go out in fourth place and toddsplace take third. That left LaddFactor and J@M0K3Y! as the heads-up players, with the latter of the two at nearly a 2-1 chip lead. LaddFactor couldn’t gain much momentum and finally went in for a hopeful double-up with pocket jacks. J@M0K3Y! called with Q-T and made a straight when the board showed K-9-6-7-8. Running cards did it for J@M0K3Y!, who earned 20 points for the win.
Once the points were tallied, though it was a close race between a few teams, it was USA 1’s team that came out on top. USA 2 came in with a respectable 54 points with a first, second, third, and fourth place finish amongst its members, but Wisconsin did two points better with one first place and two second places. USA 1 ended up taking it down, though, with a total of 59 points from its two first place finishers, along with a third and fourth.
The USA 1 team consisted of shaundeeb, xthesteinx, J@M0K3Y!, and ba-detroit, and those are the four players who will be packing their shorts and sunscreen for the sunny beaches of the Bahamas in January.
And if shaundeeb’s name sounds familiar, it is. Pro player Shaun Deeb is not only a popular and skilled poker player on the tournament circuit, but he was one of the representatives who won his spot on the USA team at the 2007 World Cup. Deeb’s team went on to win the title last year, and is likely looking forward to defending the USA title in person.
With that, the Divisional Playoffs for the United States division are a wrap. More about the team members in the weeks to come, all leading up to the live finals in the Bahamas in January.
For more information about the series and the nine final teams, visit the World Cup of Poker V page.