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The third ever Caesars Cup played out today at the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific and we're taking you behind the scenes. We speak to Team Americas' Antonio Esfandiari and Greg Merson, plus Team Asia-Pacific's Shane Warne to find out what the pros think about this made-for-TV tournament.
Matt: Welcome back to the World Series of Poker, Asia Pacific. Today we're taking you behind the scenes at the Caesar's Cup.
Host: We are here at Crowd Entertainment Complex in Melbourne Australia. This is the Caesar's Cup. Today team Asia Pacific will play team Europe. The winner will play team America.
Greg: So today's the Caesar's Cup where there's three different continents competing for title of the world, and it's definitely an honor to be part of Team America's. And I couldn't believe it when I got asked to be on the team. It's definitely cool to get picked by my boss, Phil Ivey. I'm looking forward to it.
Shane: Individual sports, any time you get an opportunity to play on a team event it's always cool, and pretty much fun. I think playing in this sort of format, it's pretty good, because you're sharing it with someone else, you're sharing your chip stack with somebody else. I enjoyed that. It's nice when you play a good hand and you've got someone there to say, "You don't have to make anything up. You can tell the truth." And they can say how well you played or bad you played. You don't want to let your partner down. I think it's great. It's fantastic.
Antonio: Caesar's Cup is mostly playing for pride of nations. I'm very honored to be representing the United States of America. I always wanted to say that. So you're just playing for your country basically. So a selected team of individuals from each person's region of the world basically has been selected. It's basically for pride. What country, what region of the world has the best poker players? And that's what it's all about.
Shane: The motivation for this is pure pride. It's a group of guys trying to beat up on another group of guys. And then when they're from Europe and America we want to stick up for the Aussies. Trying to do the best we can. We're doing okay so far.
Matt: Yeah there's definitely motivation to play well, because even though there is no buy in and no cash prize you're playing with a team, and no one wants to ruin it for the team. Especially with these guys, I'm not trying to get berated by [inaudible 00:02:40] on national television for how I played a hand. I'm going to try to play it as well as I can.
Antonio: Poker is really an interesting game. Because yes there's a lot of money involved, but at the end of the day you really just want to win whether you're playing for nothing or for a lot of money. You just want to put the hurt on your opponents, and punish, and deliver that pain. This is a pretty big one. You want to win for your country.
Matt: Yeah. I like the format a lot because it's different. It would be kind of boring to play individual head's up matches. Whoever I end up being partners with, it's going to be a lot of fun. My other four team mates have such big personalities.
Shane: I think it's always that core Texas Hold 'em main event, but if you can have some funky stuff and some pretty cool stuff around that main event I think it always keeps the players stimulated and interested. I think it also keeps the people watching interested as well. I think this format is a fantastic format actually. It's really, really good fun to play and enjoyable. You can blame your opponent if you lose all your chips. So it's always nice, you've got someone else to blame.
Matt: It's always good for poker when there's something different being done. And now this is becoming somewhat of a tradition. This will be the 3rd year, switching every other year that they have it.
Antonio: I really enjoy the switch cards and sharing it with your opponent. I think there's a whole new dynamic that goes into that. I think it will be really interesting and good for TV. And also, all the people watching poker are usually watching the same kind of format, normal Hold 'em, Tournament, Final Table. So this kind of brings a nice change to the table.