After the build up, the early rounds and the long battle that made up the final, not to mention the countless contests to determine who would fly to the Bahamas to represent their country, the new World Cup of Poker champions have been crowned. Germany, led by PokerStars Shooting Star Jan Heitmann, emerged victorious tonight after a 16 hour day in the poker saddle.
After a day of heady competition, a changing leader board and shovels full of good-natured banter, Germany overcame a determined Italian team led by the Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano who finsihed third, and the New Zealanders led by Lee Nelson in second to win the fifth renewal of the event. After a long day the end came after just one hand of heads-up play; Heitmann's Q-8 ultimately over-taking New Zealand's Q-9 to make a flush on the river.
"This has been a great experience, a really great tournament" said Heitmann during the trophy presentation. "Our team played fantastic. We got lucky a bit but overall we played very good poker."
Heitmann and his team collected $100,000 for first place, part of a $290,000 freeroll prize pool added entirely by PokerStars.
The final featured each of the nine teams that qualified for this battle in the Bahamas over many weeks of competition online. Teams came to the final with chip stacks determined by the performance of all their players in five single-table tournaments, and Great Britain, led by the Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren, held the lead at the end of the preliminary rounds.
Their final table journey was full of swings. They were hit by ill fortune and then able to mount comebacks, albeit with an even bigger slice of luck. Eventually Team GB finished fifth. It was a similar story for Team USA, aside from their slightly better fourth place finish.
The defending champions, whose line up featured two of last year's victorious outfit - team captain Greg Raymer and internet tournament grandee Shaun Deeb - were frequently pegged back by bad beats when it seemed as though the momentum was flowing in their favour. This roller-coaster kept the packed bleachers in the Bahamas gripped throughout the hours, and they were joined by a worldwide audience watching on EPTLive's unparalleled internet coverage, featuring every hand - including hole cards.
Testament to the competitive nature of this most unique of team poker events was the careful staying power of each team, with several hours passing before the first elimination. There was also the tense mixture of not wanting to let team mates down.
Poker is essentially an individualist pursuit. The sudden change in mentality towards a team approach baffled some, Vicky Coren particularly who folded a hand she admitted she would have moved all in behind had it been her money alone.
"It's unnatural to be concerned for other people's welfare," she said. But she was all too aware, like others around her, that a single mistake would cost not just her but the whole team.
That said the World Cup of Poker lived up to its reputation of being one of the most fun events to play and watch, underpinned by a camaraderie that kept all the participants glued to the action until the end.
No team was beyond tasting success. Germany were ultimately victorious but all teams were in contention, even the ninth place Canadian team, led by Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, could rightfully blame bad luck (notably jacks) for their demise.
Either way the result was another great World Cup of Poker. Congratulations to all the teams involved, and to Germany for a great achievement.
Watch WCP V: Team Germany wins the WCP V. on PokerStars.tv
Here's a look at the final results
1st - Germany - $100,000
Jan Heitmann (Captain), Georg Geissler, Malte Strothmann, Bastian Wulff, Peter Schmidt.
2nd - New Zealand - $70,000
Lee Nelson (Captain), Nicholas Webb, Richard Grace, Wayne Lo, Jordan Bryant.
3rd - Italy - $50,000
Luca Pagano (Captain), Michele Migliore, Pennisi Omar, Valeriano Bilancetti, Fabrizio Villa.
4th - USA - $30,000
Greg Raymer (Captain), Shaun Deeb, Benjamin Zamani, Jarred Gabin, Bruce Armstrong.
5th - Great Britain - $10,000
Vicky Coren (Captain), Steven Devlin, Laurence Houghton, Derek Morris, Karl Mahrenholz.
6th - Poland - $10,000
Marcin Horecki (Captain), Jerzy Slaby, Pawel Chmiel, Patryk Slusarek, Leszek Krawcynski.
7th - Latvia - $5,000
Krisjanis Jurdzs (Captain), Vjaceslavs Ivanovs, Juris Saicans, Ance Laganovska, Dmitrijs Kurchins.
8th - Mexico - $5,000
JC Alvarado (Captain), David Huber, José Francisco Muñoz Osuna, Antoine Barriere, Jorge Lozano.
9th - Canada - $5,000
Daniel Negreanu (Captain), Blair Maltby, Dennis Hamlyn, Wanda Whitlock, Tammy Bailey.
For a fine comb account of the day you can check back through any of the links below, which as well as details of key moments also explain one of the most heroic tournament structures known to man...
That it for another year on the World Cup of Poker, one of the many side features at this year's PCA. Tomorrow marks the start of the $25,000 High Roller event that should pitch togther some of the world's best players in this unique setting.
Play starts at 12 noon ET. See you then.