US On to Semis, UK Out After Day 1 of Global Poker Masters

Vanessa Selbst of Team USA

The inaugural Global Poker Masters got underway at noon Saturday and even in the first couple of minutes it was clear it was going to be a special event.

You looked at the first table and there were Bryn Kenney, Bertrand Grospellier, Phil Gruissem, Jonathan Duhamel and Vitaly Lunkin.

At the next table you had Marvin Rettenmaier, Vanessa Selbst, Sam Trickett, Rocco Palumbo and Sorel Mizzi.

And that was just for the first round -- a series of five 8-max SnGs with a hard stop after 2.5 hours.

Furious Action in First Round

As for the teething pains mentioned at the opening ceremony, there have been a couple of changes from the original setup.

gpm all teams2
Stars everywhere for Global Poker Masters.

The hard stop will be more of a soft stop so that the players don’t know beforehand exactly when they are playing their last hand.

It was obvious quickly, though, that players didn’t want to get to that stop as furious action ensued after about 30 mins of careful play.

As the chip reward system of the GPM determines that only the top four players get any chips for their teams, it made no difference if you finished in eighth or in fifth place.

Consequently, there were all-ins all over the place all the time. Don’t forget there were always five SnGs running simultaneously.

“It makes a difference to how you play if all places get paid or only the top four," explained Sorel Mizzi of the favored Canadian team.

“With the structure the way it is you really have to play to win. Almost all the chips to win are in the top two spots so you need to get there.

"You can’t hold back, you have to there and play well all the time.”

Italy On Top After First Round

After the first round it was Italy that led the table ahead of Russia and Germany with Canada in fourth place.

The most controversial issue was the time bank. There is a shot clock in place that allows for 30 seconds of decision time, but every team has two time-outs per round.

Players were discussing how to use them best and Bryn Kenney jokingly suggested a “reverse time-out,” where you can force your opponent within ten seconds.

Anyhow, the shot clock is in place and every player has to make their decisions within 30 seconds.

From the second round onwards Germany surged to the top while the Ukraine dropped to the bottom.

However, before the fifth and last round, it was the US that closed in on Germany while the Ukraine managed to come back and sent Team UK into last place.

It Might Not Be Nice, But It's Fair

The last round started around 11 PM, and by that time, the length of play had already taken its toll on most players.

Eugene Katchalov
Super fit Katchalov showed no signs of fatigue.

GPM organizer Alex Dreyfus said that this was no accident: “We actually wanted it to be like this.

"We wanted the players to play for a long time. This will show that poker is more about skill than anything else. It might not be very nice for the players, but I think it’s fair.”

Only the ones in very good physical shape, like Eugene Katchalov for example, showed no signs of fatigue.

Before the final round, the table had Germany with 57k in first place followed by Team US with 56k, Team Italy with 48k, Team Russia with 44k, Team Canada with 38k, Team France with 37k, Team Ukraine with 36k and Team UK with 23k.

A close call for the win, but not looking good for the Brits at the bottom.

“I’m kind of happy that Germany is ahead right now,” commented Dreyfus, “as they have the number one of the GPI in their team and are currently at the top.

"I like also that Italy is doing well."

After the last round, however, Team US managed to just snatch victory away from Team Germany and went straight through to the semis.

Team US Straight Through to Semis

These are the final standings after the first round of play:


Team US


Through to semi-finals


Team Germany


Takes on Ukraine


Team Italy


Takes on Canada


Team Russia


Takes on France


Team France


Takes on Russia


Team Ukraine


Takes on Italy


Team Canada


Takes on Germany


Team UK



Down to the Wire

On Sunday, the GPM will commence with the quarterfinals. Teams will nominate three players right before the start who will take on three players of the opposing team, with a hard stop after three hours.

Team Germany looking good.

Again points will be awarded to the winners, while the losers get nothing. However, there is a little catch.

Only the team with the least points in the quarter finals will be eliminated. So it's possible to lose all three heads-up matches and still go through to the semi-finals.

The final be a 6-max SnG where teams chose the player that will represent them all, playing with all the chips that had been collected in the rounds before.

However, it is possible to change the player during the match.

When only two players are left, play stops and we have reached the final. There, all five players of the team are going to join the game again in a set of five heads-up matches.

The first team to win three matches will be crowned the winner of the first Global Poker Masters.

Final-day action is underway and you can watch it live on below:

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