There are just four days to go until the start of the Partypoker.com Premier League in London. The groundbreaking format, developed by Matchroom Sport, features 12 of the world’s best players playing in a unique league for a $1 million prize pool. The event takes place at 3 Mills Studio, London between 10th – 16th February and will be first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in late March and then distributed internationally.
The field is formidable and includes Phil Hellmuth, Dave ‘The Devilfish’ Ulliott, Tony G, Andy Black, Ian Fraser, Roland De Wolfe, Vicky Coren, Juha Helppi, Eddy Scharf, Annie Duke, Marcel Luske and Alexander Kravchenko. Last year, Finland’s Juha Helppi won the title on his birthday, with Scharf finishing second and Hellmuth third.
With a system developed especially to showcase the legendary poker prowess of each player, they will play six times in the preliminary stages. The leading four players will then progress to the final table with the next four battling it out in heads-up matches for the final two seats. Each player will buy-in for $60,000, with PartyPoker.com adding $280,000 to make the pool $1 million, up from $500,000 last year. The latest news sees Tony G becoming the bookmakers’ favourite to win after PartyBets.com cut his odds from 9/1 into 6/1.
Tony said: “Premier League is something I look forward to for months. It’s the best event in poker in my book. Last year was a disaster for me and I want to prove it was a freaky event. Only winning this year will make things right for me and I want to bust Hellmuth so… so… hard to get him on a boat back to the US.”
A PartyBets.com spokesman said: “The early money has been for Tony G but it is so hard to pick a winner in a field so strong. We have also seen a lot of interest in Juha retaining his title.”
Partypoker.com PREMIER LEAGUE – odds from Partypoker.com and the opinions of Phil Hellmuth.
6/1 Tony G (AUS)
“Tony G has a heart of gold, but he is misunderstood because of his table talk. He is a very entertaining player to play with and watch on television.”
13/2 Juha Helppi (FIN)
“Helppi is a tough young gun, but he plays too many weak hands. Last year he called a raise with 8-7 off suit and beat my K-K to take me out of the Premier League final. I think that he'll try the same thing in 2008, and I'll show him the same hand.”
7/1 Devilfish (ENG)
“I'm looking forward the most to playing against the Devilfish. I respect him and his style of play very much, but I will put a stop to his super aggressive play when he is at my table!”
7/1 Phil Hellmuth (USA)
“What can I say? I come over there all the way from California for one reason: to win. Anything less than that is a failure, period.”
10/1 Roland de Wolfe (ENG)
“Last year Roland simply played way too fast, forgetting that all of us could watch his hole cards in the green room. It will be interesting to see his tactics this year.”
10/1 Ian Frazer (ENG)
“I really like Ian Frazer and he has a solid game. I like playing with him because he is a pleasant sort of fellow.”
10/1 Alexander Kravchenko (RUS)
“I don't know much about the Russian except that he performed well at the WSOP in 2007.”
10/1 Annie Duke (USA)
“What can I say about Annie? In the "Tournament of Champions" she beat me to win it whilst I finished second, and in our new reality show "Best Damn Poker Show" out Feb 6th, she screamed at me…I did scream back though!”
12/1 Marcel Luske (HOL)
“Marcel will be the most aggressive player in the Premier League by far, but that style doesn't work too well as Devilfish and Roland proved last year. Will he be able to make the right adjustments?”
12/1 Andy Black (IRE)
“Andy is dangerous when he's on and when he's on he seems to know when people are weak and when they're strong.”
15/1 Eddy Scharf (GER)
“Eddy played incredibly patiently throughout the whole Premier League and I respect that, but I'm surprised that the other players gave him any action when he did play some hands.”
15/1 Vicky Coren (ENG)
“Vicky's game has just gotten better and better over the years.”