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GPL 3 Stars Week 8: Dangerous Minds, Infinity Pools, Fists of Fury
The Global Poker League turns the page to its live Summer Series in Las Vegas shortly but not before a final week of online action set the table.
At stake this week: Some significant points needed to solidify Conference playoff rankings as we enter into the unknown territory of cross-conference play.
In the case of those teams at the bottom of the table it was also an important week to keep the lead pack from getting too far ahead in the standings.
Some had more luck staying in range than others.
Our 3 Stars this week clearly reflect who delivered the points their teams needed to secure their spots in the pecking order.
1) Jason Lavallee - Montreal Nationals
One of the great things about the GPL is that with hole cards exposed and your face/voice on webcam for all to see/hear, there's no hiding the holes in your game.
With cards down you can rely on mystery to suggest your game is a bit more advanced than it is but when the cards are on their backs and Griffin and Sam are dissecting your every move, there's no slack.
As the first weeks of the GPL have played out we've seen a few players separate themselves from the pack - at least in these specific formats - with the complexity and depth of their poker understanding.
Few, if any, have done it better than Lavallee. And there are few things more impressive in poker than someone who knows where he is in virtually every hand and, even if a play ends up backfiring, knows exactly why.
The Montreal National wildcard pick has put his name up there with the best in the League - Busquet, Galfond, Timex, Kurganov, Marchese, Bonomo - at outlining and executing almost perfect play.
With a 3-0 sweep of Anthony Zinno this week and now 7 straight game wins in heads-up play, Lavallee's point scoring is on par with his talent. His dry wit on cam doesn't hurt, either.
2) Martin Jacobson - Montreal Nationals
When your team earns 19 of 23 points available it's safe to say you've had a pretty good week.
The 2014 WSOP Main Event champ clearly has his 6-max SNG game dialled and pretty effortlessly piled up 10 of those points on his own.
What we liked most, though, was the normally stoic and silent Swede on cam showed a bit more of his personality in his post-match winner's interview.
Asked by host Laura Cornelius about the much-discussed "human dummy" in the background Jacobson, a known MMA aficionado, did a little demonstration of his skills for the viewers.
And damn ... he can really hit. Hard.
As we've said before it'll be personality and narrative that will make the GPL thrive and seeing Jacobson cut loose a bit was a nice moment.
3) Fedor Holz - LA Sunset
Randy Lew, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov, Mike Leah, Raiden Kan, Olivier Busquet, Joao Bauer ... there were a few ways we could go with the 3rd Star this week with lots of solid performances.
You can't ignore the shirtless German whiz kid with the wispy goatee who played from an infinity pool in Costa Rica, though.
Featuring Holz on cam during the 6-Max matches was a great choice and the fact he was playing from a baller house in Costa Rica made it all the better.
Monte Carlo. Jamaica. Texas. London. Wherever that awesome balcony Bill Perkins was playing from is. Phil Galfond's house.
Part of the appeal of the poker lifestyle is the flexibility and the travel poker pros get to indulge in and to see it on display is always a treat.
Sure, Holz picked up another 10 points for his team, but giving a glimpse of the spoils of being a poker crusher at such a young age added a bit of magic, too.
Must-Watch Matches of the Week
Busquet-Marchese was a drawn-out tete-a-tete of high-level meta game from two poker geniuses; Lavallee-Zinno was a blitzkrieg illustrating just how much math and ranges crush live feel in this format.
Randy "nanonoko" Lew sweeping ElkY was obviously huge for the Hong Kong Stars but Raiden Kan's stealthy 8 points in 6-max was also critical in bumping the Stars up the playoff ladder. Liv Boeree winning her third 6-Max match so far was also impressive and the 1-2 punch with Igor is deadly for London. Sam Trickett's steady play adds another layer of depth to their killer first-place lineup. Olivier Busquet's joy for the game and commitment to the GPL is refreshing and his heads-up commentary is mind-blowing. The fact he's going directly from a heads-up match to a $300k buy-in event this weekend speaks volumes. Likewise for Mike Leah, who played through the flu, and Vladimir Troyanovskiy, who also put it on the line for points after crushing the SCOOP. Sorel Mizzi is single-handedly keeping the Berlin bears in the playoff picture is a joy to watch on cam. So is Bill Perkins. Joao Bauer's play is quickly becoming essential for Sao Paulo. Roland Boothby's turn filling in for Sam Grafton was great, even if he's super posh and goes to the theater.
We love when GriffGraf go off on some weird tengents but Benger talking about personal debts and calling a famous poker debtor a POS was a bit much. There was also a lot of silence on the webcams this week, which is fine, but it might be time to pre-plan more for the cam in 6-Max and rotate through players. Or maybe an online vote to pick? The lack of women in the league is also starting to show with another dude-heavy dose this week.
|Hong Kong Stars||91||49||42||15|
|New York Rounders||87||45||42||17|
|Sao Paulo Mets||82||52||30||12|
|San Francisco Rush||69||42||27||12|
|Las Vegas Moneymakers||65||41||24||9|
Player Performance Index
|Olivier Busquet (LA Sunset)||42||20||890||9|
|Fedor Holz (LA Sunset)||41||12||603||9.5|
|Anatoly Filatov (Moscow Wolverines)||35||12||561||8|
|Randy Lew (Hong Kong Stars)||33||18||812||6|
|Felipe Mojave (Sao Paulo Mets)||30||9||592||7.5|
|Mike Leah (Paris Aviators)||30||9||464||7.5|
|Jason Lavallee (Montreal Nationals)||27||11||472||7.5|
|Martin Jacobson (Montreal Nationals)||25||7||310||8.5|
|Liv Boeree (London Royals)||24||5||358||9|
|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|
|Sam Trickett (London Royals)||22||8||374||7|
|João Bauer (Sao Paulo Mets)||22||10||364||1|
|Sorel Mizzi (Berlin Bears)||19||8||480||4|
|Jason Wheeler (New York Rounders)||19||7||259||2.5|
|Anton Wigg (San Francisco Rush)||19||7||306||2.5|
|Igor Kurganov (London Royals)||19||11||374||-0.5|
|Raiden Kan (Hong Kong Stars)||18||4||341||6|
|Pascal Lefrançois (Montreal Nationals)||18||9||359||4.5|
|Scott Ball (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||18||7||425||1.5|
|Jonathan Little (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||18||10||400||-3|
|Tom Marchese (New York Rounders)||18||14||600||-6|
|Jeff Gross (Berlin Bears)||17||5||211||6.5|
|Vladimir Troyanovskiy (Moscow Wolverines)||17||8||382||2|
|Max Pescatori (Rome Emperors)||16||6||330||2.5|
|Weiyi Zhang (Hong Kong Stars)||16||8||344||1|
|Justin Bonomo (London Royals)||16||8||321||1|
|Dominik Nitsche (Berlin Bears)||15||5||331||4.5|
|Jason Mercier (New York Rounders)||14||5||194||3.5|
|Faraz Jaka (San Francisco Rush)||14||7||243||2|
|Andrey Pateychuk (Moscow Wolverines)||13||5||335||2.5|
|Anthony Zinno (Las Vegas Moneymakers)||13||8||336||-2|
|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|
|Dario Sammartino (Rome Emperors)||11||8||217||-4|
|Tony Gregg (San Francisco Rush)||11||6||308||-7|
|Dong Guo (Hong Kong Stars)||10||3||215||1|
|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|
|Bill Perkins (Berlin Bears)||10||7||310||-6.5|
|Bertrand Grospellier (Paris Aviators)||9||9||510||-4.5|
|Timothy Adams (Rome Emperors)||9||9||429||-4.5|
|Jonathan Jaffe (San Francisco Rush)||9||10||324||-7.5|
|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|
|Joao Pires Simao (Sao Paulo Mets)||6||2||152||0|
|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|
Performance by Country & Gender