Hellmuth Leads Americas to 2011 Caesars Cup Victory

Johnny Chan Caesars Cup
Johnny Chan hoists the Caesars Cup for America.

The 2011 Caesars Cup is over and Team America has redeemed itself with a win over Europe.

The 2011 edition of this made-for-television event saw Hellmuth lead a team that included Daniel Negreanu, Ben Lamb, Jason Mercier and Johnny Chan to victory over Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier’s roster of Max Lykov, Gus Hansen, Tony G and Jake Cody.

“There’s no money on the line in this event so all we do this for is pride,” Daniel Negreanu told PokerListings.com moments after the battle was won.

“Everyone wanted to be on the team because it’s a lot of fun but the format isn’t exactly set up to decide much as far as skill,” said Kid Poker of the ten-minute blinds and unorthodox format.

Originally the American team included former world champions Doyle Brunson and Huck Seed, but when the pair announced they would be unable to attend Mercier and Lamb were subbed in.

Europe also had a few lineup issues to deal with. Italian Dario Minieri was originally included on their roster but pulled out, replaced by Tony G.

And since Jake Cody still had a stack on Day 4 of the WSOPE Main Event, which began just two hours after the Caesars Cup kicked off, the Brit was only able to compete in the first round of matches.

The winner of this event was decided by three different formats of heads-up play. First, two players per team squared off playing alternate streets of the same hand. One player on each team would play preflop, the other on the flop, the other on the turn and so on.

In the first round Ben Lamb and Jason Mercier defeated Tony G and Jake Cody to put Team America up one point.

The second round saw two separate heads-up matches with players from each team sharing the same stack. In this round Daniel Negreanu battled Gus Hansen while Phil Hellmuth went up against Max Lykov.

2011 Caesars Cup
It was Americas versus Europe at WSOPE 2011 in Cannes.

That round went to Europe with Negreanu getting all-in pre-flop with K 8 against Hansen’s A 9 on the last hand of the match.

The third round was a straight-up one on one battle between European captain ElkY and two-time world champion Johnny Chan. In the end that round came down to a flip with Chan’s pocket fours holding against ElkY’s A 6.

With America one win from ending the 2011 Caesars Cup, Phil Hellmuth chose himself to go up against ElkY’s pick, Max Lykov.

After see-sawing back and forth, the chip lead came to rest on Hellmuth’s side of the table heading into the final hand of the event. All-in preflop with Q T for Hellmuth against Lykov’s K 9, the board ran out queen high to give Hellmuth the pot and the second Caesars Cup title.

While no money will exchange hands as a result of this win there are bragging rights between Europe and America. But even those bragging rights are dubious, thanks to a patently “Made for TV” structure.

“On one side you want to have a deep structure but on the other hand you’re not playing for money,” said Negreanu.

“It’s not so much who wins or loses, because it usually just comes down to winning flips, but it’s about who made the most mistakes,” he said.

“It was a lot closer this year because last time our team made a lot of mistakes.”k

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