Italy Rolls Over Russia to Claim First-Ever Global Poker Masters

italyGPM
Triumphant Team Italy

On the final day of the first-ever Global Poker Masters, the inaugural 'World Cup of Poker,' Team Italy quite simply ran over the competition.

After surprising the favored Team USA on a shocking hand in the semi-finals, Italy finished off final opponent Russia 3-0 in the last round of heads-up matches.

After two very long days of play and a true test of team camaderie and poker acumen, Rocco Palumbo, Dario Sammartino, Mustapha Kanit, Andrea Dato and Giuliano Bendinelli planted the Italian flag on a landmark poker event.

Russia Soars in Quarterfinals; Canada Hangs In

After Day 1 saw the elimination of Team UK and set the seedings for Day 2, the quarterfinals began with a series of three heads-up matches.

ladouceurGPM
Ladouceur win just enough for Canada.

The team in second place took on the team in seventh, number three battled number six and number four took on number five.

These were the matches and results:

Germany 2 vs Canada 1

Ole Schemion def. Andrew Chen

Marc André Ladouceur def. Marvin Rettenmaier

George Danzer def. Jonathan Duhamel

Italy 1 vs Ukraine 2

Giuliano Bendinelli def. Igor Yaroshevskyy

Oleksandr Gnatenko def. Andrea Dato

Eugene Katchalov def. Dario Sammartino

Russia 3 vs France 0

Ivan Soshnikov def. Bertrand Grospellier

Vladimir Troyanovsky def. Sylvain Loosli

Anatoly Filatov def Paul Tedeschi

Ole Schemion proved his uncanny skills once again, being the first one to successfully finish his heads-up match against Andrew Chen.

When Gnatenko took out Andrea Dato, it was clear that both Italy and the Ukraine would advance to the semi-finals, and so would Russia after winning the first two against France.

The race for the last spot in the next round proved to be very close. Canada lost the first two matches against Germany and Ladouceur had to win the last one to keep Canada’s hopes alive.

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Duhamel: Rooting against France.

Ladouceur finally managed to beat Marvin Rettenmaier and that was enough when Troyanovskiy eventually outlasted Sylvain Loosli.

"It was really difficult as we started with the least points," a relieved Ladouceur said after the last heads-up finished.

"We needed to score at least one win and still have one of the other teams get completely swept to still make it into the semis. We’re very happy to make it through."

“We were rooting against France, but obviously that’s not a hard thing to do," said Duhamel with a big grin. “Just kidding, of course, it would be the same the other way round.”

The team that was favored to win the whole event managed to just squeeze into the next round for the second time. Russia won all three heads-up matches and moved up into second spot of the table, overtaking Germany.

The Semi-Finals

The penultimate challenge of the Global Poker Masters was a 6-max freeze-out. Every team had one player at the table but was allowed to switch players when they wanted to.

These were the chipstacks at the beginning of the tournament.


Seat 3

Team USA

118,000

Seat 4

Team Russia

111,000

Seat 2

Team Germany

101,000

Seat 1

Team Ukraine

84,000

Seat 5

Team Italy

79,000

Seat 6

Team Canada

60,000

The Ukraine had to leave the table first after a huge hand in which Oleksandr Gnatenko flopped a set of sevens against Dan Smith’s pocket kings, but got outdrawn by another king on the river.

Smith also took Canada off the table by winning another flip. Then it was Germany’s Ole Schemion who lost two coin flips in a row to Bendinelli.

DanSmithGPM
Shocking end for Team USA

Schemion held nines both times while Bendinelli hit his A-Q and K-Q first on the turn and then on the river.

So it was the US, Italy and Russia who played for the two spots in the final. And in an incredible turn of events, runaway chipleader team United States managed to lose all their chips and become the bubble boys.

The semi ended in bizarre fashion when Sammartino got pocket aces in the first hand and 4-bet Dan Smith who held pocket sevens.

Smith asked for a timeout bank to talk to his team but none of them were there. Eventually he decided to push all-in but the aces held up and Team US were out.

The Final

Italy vs Russia was not the final that most experts expected but they sure deserved to get there.

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Deserving finalists in Italy and Russia

In the final round all five players faced off in heads-up matches with the first team to win three crowned the champion.

As Italy had acquired more chips in the previous round they got the advantage going into the final with roughly a 2.5-1 chip edge.

The final proved to be a shorter affair than expected. The Russians were bravely fighting for their lives. They put the Italians under pressure and for an hour or so it looked like Lunkin and Filatov were catching up.

But then Filatov got it all-in with A-K and Palumbo called with sixes. The pair held up and Italy went 1-0 up.

About half an hour later Dario Sammartino knocked out Alex Bilokur with A-3 vs K-8 all-in pre-flop, and only minutes later Mustapha Kanit beat Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

On a board

      ---   ---  

Kanit went all-in with K-J and the Russian hesitantly called with J-T. Italy had beaten Russia 3-0 in the final of the first Global Poker Masters event.

Fitting Finish, Football Atmosphere

italy2GPM
To the victors go the smiles.

None of the experts had Italy on the list of favorites for the title, but in retrospect, it seems like the event couldn’t have had a better winner than Dato, Palumbo, Sammartini, Kanit and Bendinelli.

The Italian team sang their national anthem and the atmosphere was similar to that of an international football match.

There are no official prizes announced yet but the poker media are now going to vote for the most valuable player and the name will be published on Wednesday during the European Poker Awards.

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