PartyPoker is proud to announce that the third annual PartyPoker Poker Nations Cup will take place in Cardiff, Wales, between the 7th – 10th April. The team event features line-ups from Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Holland and the United States. The winning team will scoop $100,000 in this unique tournament that sees players pursuing personal and team glory, along with the honour of representing their home nation.
The tournament sees one PartyPoker.com VIP qualifier on each team playing alongside five world class poker professionals from the same participating nations. Each player pays a buy-in of $5,000 making a total prize pool of $280,000 ($100,000 added by PartyPoker). Over six heats, each player will compete once to score points for their team, and individual match winners scoop $20,000 for themselves for their efforts. All six teams will then compete in a "tag" final where each team captain’s judgement is vital, as it is up to them to make tactical substitutions and strategic "time outs." The size of the team chip stacks for the tag final depend on the points gained by the players in the six heats. The triumphant nation will be the last with a player standing.
Defending champions Sweden will be again captained by Bo Sehlstedt and feature William Thorsson, Johan Storakers, Mats Rahm and last year’s hero Anders Henriksson. Joining them is an online qualifier with serious form in Johan Ocklind, who locked horns with the likes of Patrik Antonius, Tony G and Ilari Sahamies at the Scandinavian Poker Masters cash game last year. He got to sit down with $50,000 in the shark pool and handled himself admirably after qualifying online at PartyPoker.com.
The British team is captained by Roland de Wolfe and features reigning Poker Million champion Joe Beevers, 2008 Irish Open champion Neil Channing, format specialist Ian Frazer and the inimitable Surinder Sunar. Joining them is qualifier Francis Durbin. Captain for the past two years, Dave "The Devilfish" Ulliott is unavailable as he is in the United States. Ireland make a welcome return to the competition and are captained by legend Padraig Parkinson, joined by fellow Irish poker giant Donnacha O’Dea, 2007 Irish Open winner Marty Smith, WSOP bracelet holder Ciaran O’Leary and 2007 PartyPoker European Open champion Liam Flood. Darren O’Brien joins the team as the qualifier.
Team USA is captained by Robert Williamson III and will feature $12 million 2006 WSOP Main Event winner Jamie Gold, the one and only Freddy Deeb, the iconic Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson and Chad Brown . With there being no qualifier from the USA, captain Robert Williamson III has drafted in television host Montel Williams to make his European poker debut. Williams may be better known as a chat show host but he was the leading the WSOP Main Event for a period in 2007.
"I am thrilled and honoured that I have been invited to be a part of Team USA for the Poker Nations Cup. My teammates are extraordinary as I have played against many of them in the past year and now look forward to teaming up with them in our quest to defeat poker pros from around the globe," said Williams.
The German team is captained by Michael Keiner and the former plastic surgeon has moulded together a very strong team. Andreas Krause, one of the top European players last year is a key figure in the line-up as is Benjamin Kang, inaugural PartyPoker German Open winner Sebastian Ruthenberg and WSOP Europe bracelet winner Thomas "Buzzer" Bihl. Thomas Potzal is the qualifier joining this glittering role call of top pros. The Dutch team is captained by Marcel Luske and features Thierry Van der Berg, Eric Van der Berg and Daan Ruiter with Quirijn Van Der Peet the qualifier. Marcel still has one selection to make.
Last year Sweden triumphed over the USA in a rollercoaster tag-final, while the year before there was glory for Great Britain. PartyBets.com make Sweden 3/1 favourites to win again with the USA second favourites at 7/2, Great Britain at 9/2, Ireland at 5/1, Germany at 6/1 and Holland the outsiders at 13/2.
A PartyPoker spokesman said: "The array of talent on display for the 2008 PartyPoker Poker Nations Cup is brilliant. Sweden have to be favourites to retain their title as their line-up of pros is unchanged and are used to the format and they are arguably strengthened by their online qualifier representative. That said, the USA will take some stopping with the likes of Gold, Ferguson Deeb and Brown on board while Great Britain boasts so many form players in their team. Ireland is a bit of a wildcard but there is little doubt that they have strength in depth in their side while Germany appear much stronger than previous years. The Dutch side led by Marcel have to be seen as the underdogs – the names don’t jump out as much at you as they do with the other line-ups."
"Montel Williams is a wonderful addition to the event and we’re delighted that he’ll be making his first appearance on the European poker circuit in Cardiff. At least we know that if there are any internal disputes amongst the team we have a man well capable of stepping in to arbitrate! Team USA wasn’t the happiest family last year so maybe he’s the right man for the job!"
The 2007 event was dramatic from start to finish. Defending champions Great Britain featuring Dave, "The Devilfish" Ulliott, Ram Vaswani and Joe Beevers steamrollered the field for the first few days and were runaway favourites to win going into the final. The short stack was Team USA who had been on the receiving end of a terrible run. Captained by Robert Williamson III, the line-up featured Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, Clonie Gowen, Kevin O’Donnell and Hollywood actress Jennifer Tilly. The stars and stripes had taking a mauling all week until Williamson III won the heat the night before the final to give them a small chance. The USA cruised from short stack to big stack in the final mainly thanks to a marathon session from Antonio Esfandiari. After a big Clonie Gowen double-up it seemed that nobody would stop the USA. All this time the Swedish team were middle of the field, like they had been all week, keeping out of trouble.
First out in the final was Germany, captained by Michael Keiner, in less than an hour. Next to go was Denmark, captained by Theo Jorgensen, and then Holland, led by Marcel Luske. It was when it was three handed between Great Britain, Sweden and the USA that Sehlstedt brought on his super substitute Anders Henriksson. Devilfish tried to talk the Swedish star into oblivion but Anders just sat calmly sucked it all in and added to his stack. Eventually Williamson busted Devilfish and became huge favourite to win only to have the spirit from inside him extracted by the quiet Swede who overturned a huge deficit to take the cup back to Stockholm.