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GPL 3-Stars Week 1: Cates, Kitai, Nanonoko Put on a Show
The first week of the Global Poker League is in the books and what a week it was.
No one was really sure exactly what to expect but so far we’ve seen some of the best poker players in the world compete in an entertaining format with thousands of people watching live via Twitch.
It’s a brave new world for poker.
There were some highlight moments too and we’re going to break down a few of the biggest plays and players from the first week of action.
No. 1 Star: Dan “jungleman12” Cates
You knew this one was coming.
While Dan “jungleman” Cates didn’t actually win his three-match heads-up against Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier he put on one hell of a show.
You might expect a high-stakes legend like Cates to phone it in when he’s playing for no money but that’s the complete opposite of how Cates played.
The Jungleman let a series of profanities fly as Grospellier managed to frustrate him and get lucky on a few hands.
A sarcastic Cates was chirping ElkY for nearly the entire match and it was entertaining to say the least.
It was also incredible getting to see one of poker’s greatest minds in action. Despite the fact ElkY eventually won the match 2-1 it was clear Cates probably would have won out in the long term. Still a nice early showing from ElkY as well.
If the GPL leads to more matches like this it’s going to be a huge hit.
Check out a replay of the Cates vs. ElkY match below:
No. 2 Star: Davidi Kitai
The underrated Davidi Kitai crushed the first week of the GPL.
Kitai not only won the first Eurasian GPL 6-Max match but recorded a hand people will likely be talking about for ages.
The hand took place during heads-up play against high roller Igor Kurganov. Kitai held 10-8 to Kurganov’s A-8. Both players flopped top-pair but somehow Kitai managed to get away from it.
After winning the match and adding seven points, Kitai would go on to add another three points in the second 6-Max heat of the day.
The Paris Aviators flew to the top of the standings on that first day thanks to the strong 10-point effort from Kitai.
The rest of the GPL probably won’t be underestimating Kitai after this week.
No. 3 Star: Randy “Nanonoko” Lew
The GPL heads-up bracket featured a murderer’s row of HU experts this week with Olivier Busquet, Daniel Cates and more.
Only one player managed to accomplish the fabled 3-0 flawless victory, however, and that was former video game pro Randy “Nanonoko” Lew.
Lew smashed Sergey Lebedev three games to nil. Of course there was some variance involved and Lebedev likely didn’t deserve to get shut out. The Moscow Wolverines star got unlucky on more than one occasion.
Still props to Lew for putting together the first ever flawless run in GPL heads-up play. His performance helped propel the Hong Stars to the very top of the overall leaderboard.
GPL Leaderboard Week 1
1. Hong Kong Stars - 18 points
2. Paris Aviators - 16 points
3. London Royals - 12 points
4. Rome Emperors - 9 points
5. Moscow Wolverines - 5 points
6. Berlin Bears - 3 points
1. New York Rounders - 16 points
2. Las Vegas Moneymakers - 13 points
3. Montreal Nationals - 12 points
4. Los Angeles Sunset - 9 points
5. Sao Paulo Metropolitans - 7 points
6. San Fransisco Rush - 6 points
Despite talking a smidgen too much, Griffin Benger and Sam Grafton were very strong in the commentary booth for the first week ever. The Hong Kong Stars. The Stars were probably the most underrated team in the entire league and somehow hold first place after the first week. Awesome showing. Anthony Zinno posted back-to-back runner-up finishes in the 6-max bracket, which validated the high pick Chris Moneymaker used to snag him for the LV Moneymakers. Tom Marchese's 4-minute tank. Who knew Marchese was such a showman?
That misdeal. It’s clear the GPL software still has a few bugs because it actually displayed sixth card after the river during the Martin Jacobson vs. Anton Wigg HU match. Tough goings for the Berlin Bears. Everyone assumed with players like Dan Cates, Sorel Mizzi and Brian Rast the Bears were destined to crush. Three points for the first week is disastrous. Still no wildcard pick for the LA Sunset. What’s going on Maria Ho?