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GPL 3 Stars Week 7: The Thrill of Mizzi-ry, the Agony of Retreat
Well, that was a fun one.
The penultimate week of the first stage of GPL Season 1 went by in a flash.
The vibe was great and more loosey goosey than we've seen before with a new character in the mix, a new twist on heads-up and the folks in the studio getting into the spirit.
We also saw the first topless competitor, a couple of major upsets and some important moves on the overall leaderboards.
Whose star shone the brightest? Here are our (as always up for debate) picks.
1) Felipe “Vamos” Ramos - Sao Paulo Mets
To be the man, as they say, you have to beat the man. Even if it's just for a week.
With GPI crushers Darren Elias and Byron Kaverman the marquee picks of the Sao Paulo Mets it's been nice to see the less heralded Felipe “Mojave” Ramos step up for his team in their wake.
Earning 24 points all by himself in 6-Max Ramos has become a steady go-to guy for Manager Andre Akkari and, more often than not, delivered.
After an unexpected struggle in the 6-Max this week it looked like Ramos was in for a bad week as he was set to face LA Sunset force majeure, Olivier Busquet, heads-up.
Clearly not as comfortable in the format as Busquet Ramos still didn't quit, trying unpredictable lines and anything he could to throw a wrench in the works for someone he considers a legend of the game.
The result was a surprising 2-1 win. But what really made Ramos' performance worthy of the #1 star this week was his humble and gentlemanly post-match interview.
Showing tremendous respect for Busquet and celebrating the chance to match wits with a legend, Ramos oozed love for the game and showed he’s a guy to root for in the league.
Without knowing too much about him beforehand, his performance this week turned us into long-term fans. We’ll be tuning in to watch Ramos a lot.
2) Sorel Mizzi – Berlin Bears
What a way to make a first impression. It took six weeks for Sorel Mizzi to make his debut in the GPL but he made an immediate impact.
At first that impact was a bad one, as he didn’t show up on time for the first 6-max match and sat out hand after hand in the first few levels.
As it turned out, a classic 'poker player series of unfortunate events' conspired against him but once he was on and settled into the flow he quickly turned that first impression around.
His game was sharp, his commentary was engaging and his personality left a mark. The nipple rubs were a nice added touch.
While his results in the 6-Max were OK it was his sweep of Paris Aviator Davidi Kitai in the heads-up that really changed the course of the week.
Scoring 13 points on his own (despite a 1-point penalty for lateness) Mizzi jumped the Bears back up into playoff contention and held the Aviators back from climbing even higher.
3) Guo Dong/Wayne Zhang - Hong Kong Stars
Yep. Still a cop-out to name two players to the same star but in this case it was the collective efforts of the two Hong Kong Stars that made a big impact this week.
First, Dong more than redeemed himself from his early 6-Max struggles and bagged two 2nd-place finishes and 10 points. If not for an empty time bank and some laggy internet, he might have had 12 since he sadly auto-folded QQ heads-up.
Zhang then stepped in for the heads-up against the ultra tough Andrey Pateychuk and nearly claimed a sweep after winning the first two matches.
After a distracted performance while in a side event at the EPT Grand Final two weeks ago, Zhang showed what a bit more focus can do.
The 16 overall points were huge for the Stars as it closed the gap on the Aviators and surprisingly static Moscow Wolverines and kept them ahead of the surging Bears.
It's important to remember just how essential the Chinese market is to the success of the GPL so an engaged, thriving Hong Kong franchise is a big deal. Kudos to those guys for righting the ship.
Must-Watch Match of the Week
Hard to pick just one so we'll go with Ramos' upset of Busquet and Mizzi's sweep of Kitai. Sammartino and Kurganov chatting it up was also fun.
Chris Moorman showed why he's a true online poker boss with an impressive win in 6-Max. The rock solid Alex Luneau also stood out. Scott Ball scored a huge 8 points for the Las Vegas Moneymakers. Fedor Holz, as always, put points on the board for LA. Jonathan Jaffe coming back to beat the previously undefeated Pascal Lefrancois was also impressive. Mike "Timex" McDonald is so good and so dialed in with his SNG game he could be the first star every week but as the second pick in the draft big numbers are expected. Dario Sammartino and Igor Kurganov's bro down was a nice look into the relationship between two high-stakes friends and cohorts. Jason Wheeler and Jake Cody both represented their squads well. Olivier Busquet's shirtless performance from the beach in Jamaica gets instant classic status.
Can we agree there's nothing less sporty than eating on camera while you're playing virtual cards? Unless it's water or an energy bar as you're running in place while you play, save the snacking for the breaks.
|Hong Kong Stars||74||41||33||12|
|New York Rounders||81||42||39||16|
|Sao Paulo Mets||70||46||24||10|
|Las Vegas Moneymakers||63||39||24||9|
|San Francisco Rush||61||37||24||11|
Player Performance Index
|Olivier Busquet (LA Sunset)||36||17||779||7.5|
|Anatoly Filatov (Moscow Wolverines)||33||10||490||12|
|Fedor Holz (LA Sunset)||31||10||504||5.5|
|Felipe Mojave (Sao Paulo Mets)||30||9||592||7.5|
|Alexandre Luneau (Paris Aviators)||24||7||412||7.5|
|Mike McDonald (Montreal Nationals)||24||6||368||6|
|Tyler Kenney (New York Rounders)||24||6||490||6|
|Randy Lew (Hong Kong Stars)||24||15||678||1.5|
|Mike Leah (Paris Aviators)||22||7||345||5.5|
|Anton Wigg (San Francisco Rush)||19||7||306||2.5|
|Pascal Lefrançois (Montreal Nationals)||18||9||359||4.5|
|Jason Lavallee (Montreal Nationals)||18||8||405||3|
|Scott Ball (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||18||7||425||1.5|
|Jeff Gross (Berlin Bears)||17||5||211||6.5|
|Liv Boeree (London Royals)||17||4||297||5|
|Jason Wheeler (New York Rounders)||16||5||187||5.5|
|Sam Trickett (London Royals)||16||5||277||5.5|
|Max Pescatori (Rome Emperors)||16||6||330||2.5|
|Jonathan Little (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||16||8||356||1|
|Weiyi Zhang (Hong Kong Stars)||16||8||344||1|
|Justin Bonomo (London Royals)||16||8||321||1|
|Martin Jacobson (Montreal Nationals)||15||5||203||4.5|
|Dominik Nitsche (Berlin Bears)||15||5||331||4.5|
|Tom Marchese (New York Rounders)||15||11||489||-4.5|
|Jason Mercier (New York Rounders)||14||5||194||3.5|
|Vladimir Troyanovskiy (Moscow Wolverines)||14||5||285||3.5|
|Igor Kurganov (London Royals)||14||10||293||-2.5|
|Anthony Zinno (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||13||5||269||2.5|
|Sorel Mizzi (Berlin Bears)||13||5||284||2.5|
|Andrey Pateychuk (Moscow Wolverines)||13||5||335||2.5|
|Chris Moorman (London Royals)||13||5||333||-2|
|Bryn Kenney (New York Rounders)||12||6||187||3|
|George Danzer (Paris Aviators)||12||6||178||3|
|Kitty Kuo (San Francisco Rush)||12||5||305||1.5|
|Thiago Nishijima (Sao Paulo Mets)||12||9||333||-1.5|
|Sergey Lebedev (Moscow Wolverines)||12||9||341||-1.5|
|Mustapha Kanit (Rome Emperors)||12||6||303||-1.5|
|Tony Gregg (San Francisco Rush)||11||6||308||-7|
|Raiden Kan (Hong Kong Stars)||10||2||239||4|
|Dong Guo (Hong Kong Stars)||10||3||215||1|
|João Bauer (Sao Paulo Mets)||10||5||209||-0.5|
|Davidi Kitai (Paris Aviators)||10||5||331||-0.5|
|Celina Lin (Hong Kong Stars)||10||4||263||-2|
|Igor Yaroshevsky (Moscow Wolverines)||10||4||233||-2|
|Bertrand Grospellier (Paris Aviators)||9||6||376||0|
|Dario Sammartino (Rome Emperors)||9||6||146||0|
|Jonathan Jaffe (San Francisco Rush)||9||9||311||-4.5|
|Xuan Liu (Montreal Nationals)||8||2||106||2|
|Jake Cody (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||8||5||180||-2.5|
|Darren Elias (Sao Paulo Mets)||8||8||383||-7|
|Todd Brunson (Rome Emperors)||8||7||273||-8.5|
|Chance Kornuth (LA Sunset)||7||3||147||-2|
|Walter Treccarichi (Rome Emperors)||7||4||259||-5|
|Daniel Cates (Berlin Bears)||7||10||472||-14|
|Faraz Jaka (San Francisco Rush)||6||3||115||1.5|
|Joao Pires Simao (Sao Paulo Mets)||6||2||152||0|
|Timothy Adams (Rome Emperors)||6||6||233||-3|
|Bill Perkins (Berlin Bears)||6||5||229||-4.5|
|Brian Rast (Berlin Bears)||6||5||190||-4.5|
|Dzmitry Urbanovich (Moscow Wolverines)||5||2||158||-1|
|Byron Kaverman (Sao Paulo Mets)||4||2||113||-2|
|Eugene Katchalov (LA Sunset)||4||4||144||-3.5|
|Chris Moneymaker (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||4||4||197||-3.5|
|Bryan Huang (Hong Kong Stars)||4||3||152||-5|
|Marc-Andre Ladouceur (Montreal Nationals)||4||5||219||-6.5|
|Phil Galfond (San Francisco Rush)||4||5||210||-6.5|
|Jonathan Duhamel (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||4||6||189||-9.5|
|Vanessa Selbst (London Royals)||3||3||74||-1.5|
|Maria Ho (LA Sunset)||1||1||36||-2|
|Fabrice Soulier (Paris Aviators)||1||4||207||-11|
|Kevin MacPhee (New York Rounders)||0||2||13||-6|
*The performance index measures how a player performs compared to his expected value. For example: on average a player will win 3 points in a 6-max tourney. If (s)he finishes first, (s)he’ll earn 7 points, 4 above the expected value, meaning a performance index rating of +4 for this tourney. If a player finishes last, (s)he’ll get 0 points, which corresponds to a performance index of -3.
Performance by Country & Gender