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Poker News | World Poker News

Romania and Canada Sit Atop Day 1 of PokerStars World Cup of Poker

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In the fourth edition of the innovative World Cup of Poker from PokerStars , Romania used a 2nd place and a 3rd place finish to take an early lead after Heat 2 of the opening round. Their 21 points was one better than Daniel Negreanu's Canadian team at 20 points, with the United States in 7th place with 8 points after Greg Raymer's 4th place finish. Poker fans from around the world can watch the action real-time by heading to the PokerStars Webcast.

The World Cup of Poker held in Barcelona pits five-member teams representing eight nations: Canada, Mexico, the United States, Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, and Romania. Teams and team members qualified in August in one of three ways. Two players qualified via free rolls, the top two players on the PokerStars Tournament Leader Board for 2006 qualified automatically, and PokerStars selected the fifth member from a list of nominees. Playoffs were held to determine the final nations to be represented.

The scoring for each of five SNG's in Round 1 went as follows:

1st Place: 15 points
2nd Place: 12 points
3rd Place: 9 points
4th Place: 7 points
5th Place: 5 points
6th Place: 3 points
7th Place: 2 points
8th Place: 1 point

Teams are battling for $250,000 in prize money, with the 1st place team splitting $100,000. In addition, each heat winner receives $2,500 with $2,500 going to the other four members of the team. 2nd place receives $3,000 and 3rd place divvies up $2,000.

Heat 1 had immediate excitement with Greg "Fossilman" Raymer representing the United States. Team members became vocal railbirds, and Daniel Negreanu cheered on Michael Watson for Canada. Michael had his father next to Negreanu, a third member of the Canadian team. Watson was a one-man wrecking crew, taking out Raymer with an all-in call holding A-2 vs. Raymer's K-5. The SNG played like a Turbo-SNG as blinds escalated quickly. Watson quickly knocked out Jorge Marques of Portugal, A-K ahead of A-7 throughout. A-2 stayed a winner for Watson as he caught an ace on the river to best Romanian Team Captain Razvan Bengulescu.

The final finish of Heat 1:

1 - Michael Watson (Canada) - 15 points, plus $5,000
2 - Razvan Bengulescu (Romania) - 12 points, plus $3,000
3 - Jorge Marques (Portugal) - 9 points, plus $2,000
4 - Greg Raymer (USA) - 7 points
5 - Patrick Kubert (Germany) - 5 points
6 - Antonio Childakis (Mexico) - 3 points
7 - Derek Murray (Ireland) - 2 points
8 - Friorik Jorgensson (Iceland) - 1 points

Heat 2 had a different dynamic as a couple of aggressive players finally attacked the extremely tight table. Poker in a team environment can impact players much like golfers become tight at the Ryder's Cup. John Kenlan from the US showed signs of aggression, but he met his demise when his A-Q ran into Ireland's Joe Connolly's A-K. Kenlan was out in 7th, and eventually Iceland's Halldor Sverrisson took matters into his own hands. He began raising in late position regularly, moving from 6th to 1st in chips. Romania's Florin Constantin then moved all-in several times, after a break, to take down blinds and stay alive. It was these three who battled for the top prize, with Sverrisson the villain to knock out Constantin in 3rd and then finally Connolly in 2nd.

Heat 2 Results:

1 - Halldor Sverrisson - Iceland - 15 points, plus $5,000
2 - Joe Connolly - Ireland - 12 points, plus $3,000
3 - Florin Constantin - Romania - 9 points, plus $2,000
4 - Sasa Kojcinovic - Germany - 7 points
5 - Otto Byrne - Canada - 5 points
6 - Jonathan Stoker - Mexico - 3 points
7 - John Kenlan USA - - 2 points
8 - Joao Nunes - Portugal - 1 point

After two heats, the standings are as follows:

Romania - 21 points
Canada - 20 points
Iceland - 16 points
Ireland - 14 points
Germany - 12 points
Portugal - 10 points
USA - 8 points
Mexico - 6 points

Daniel Negreanu leads off for Team Canada in Heat 3, poised to keep their strong run going. Tune into the webcast to see if Team USA can mount a comeback as well as where the results will settle after the first round.

*Photos courtesy of PokerStars *

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