Time zone confusion, lost laptops, Starbucks wireless, celebratory nipple rubs, players talking to each other during a match, a shirtless boss playing from a Jamaican beach …
Week 7 of the Global Poker League had a little bit of everything. And Sorel Mizzi alone provided those first four things.
As we wind towards the final week of online preliminaries before the live summer series at the WSOP we saw plenty of flashes of the fun and unpredictability the GPL can provide.
The vibe was playful, Sam and Griffin were putting out gems and, with the parallel announcement of the GPL Playoffs at TwitchCon, it felt like we’re on the brink of a new upswing for the GPL.
Technically correct poker is great and all, but it’s personality and buzzworthy action that will ultimately make this work and they showed signs of coming forward this week.
Moorman, Mizzi, Timex On Fire
Tuesday’s Six-Max matches got off to an auspicious start when Berlin Bear Sorel Mizzi – making his GPL debut after six weeks on the sidelines, no less – failed to show up for the first few levels.
The Miz was in form.
As it turns out the story ended up being fairly funny but watching his avatar auto-fold JJ and AK while sitting out was a rough beginning.
Once Mizzi did get in the action, though, he was smart and funny on cam and the setting, outside of a Starbucks in Austin, Texas, was actually quite refreshing. Mizzi even collected 4 points (minus a 1-point penalty for being late) for the Bears, too, after a third- and fourth-place finish.
Speaking of time challenges, Hong Kong Star Guo Dong ran out his time bank in Match 1 and faced the 4-second Hot Seat during his heads-up match, which ended up in him folding queens to the dismay of everyone watching.
Over in the Americas Conference the legendary Phil Galfond (and his sweet house) returned but a third-place was the highest he could grab.
Twitch Poker ambassador Scott Ball surprised with a win in Match 1 of the Americas but it was Mike “Timex” McDonald who stole the spotlight with a win and a second for the Montreal Nationals.
Fedor Holz, Chris Moorman and Alex Luneau also impressed while regular 6-Max crushers Felipe Ramos and Tyler Kenney could only muster up 2 points apiece.
Eurasia 6-Max Match 1
1st Paris Aviators Alexandre Luneau 7
2nd Hong Kong Stars Guo Dong 5
3rd Berlin Bears Sorel Mizzi 2
4th Moscow Wolverines Igor Yaroshevsky
5th London Royals Chris Moorman 1
6th Rome Emperors Todd Brunson 0
Eurasia 6-Max Match 2
1st London Royals Chris Moorman 7
2nd Hong Kong Stars Guo Dong 5
3rd Paris Aviators Alexandre Luneau 3
4th Berlin Bears Sorel Mizzi 2
5th Rome Emperors Todd Brunson 1
6th Moscow Wolverines Igor Yaroshevsky 0
Americas 6-Max Match 1
1st Las Vegas Moneymakers Scott Ball 7
2nd Montreal Nationals Mike McDonald 5
3rd LA Sunset Fedor Holz 3
4th New York Rounders Tyler Kenney 2
5th San Francisco Rush Phil Galfond 1
6th Sao Paulo Mets Felipe Ramos 0
Americas 6-Max Match 2
1st Montreal Nationals Mike McDonald 7
2nd LA Sunset Fedor Holz 5
3rd San Francisco Rush Phil Galfond 3
4th Sao Paulo Mets Felipe Ramos 2
5th Las Vegas Moneymakers Scott Ball 1
6th New York Rounders Tyler Kenney 0
Wednesday - Eurasia Heads-Up – Mizzi Slays the Dragon
For the first-time in GPL history we saw two players able to talk to each other during the match and it was the choice of pals Igor Kurganov and Dario Sammartino.
The two obviously had a great rapport and, with no extra commentary from Sam and Griffin and less straight strategy talk, it added a new and fun dynamic. A little side bet, where the loser will have to be the other’s secretary for an hour during the WSOP this summer, was also a fun twist.
In the end Sammartino, who just won $720k in the $21k SCOOP High Roller, got the better of it to add 6 much needed points for the Rome Emperors.
Weiyi Zhang grabbed a semi-surprising 2-1 victory over Andrey Pateychuk in the opening match to boost the Stars total up to 16 points for the week but it was the finale that threw the leaderboard for a loop as Mizzi stormed to a 3-0 sweep over Paris Aviators legend Davidi Kitai.
Again playing from Starbucks – sometimes inside, sometimes outside, sometimes on coms, sometimes not – Sorel breathed some life into the Bears with a massive 9 points.
With a joyful spirit and a couple of celebratory nipple rubs, Mizzi showed the potential we might see unleashed when we hit the live matchups in Vegas.
- Hong Kong Stars Weiyi Zhang defeats Moscow Wolverines Andrey Pateychuk 2-1
- Rome Emperors Dario Sammartino defeats London Royals Igor Kurganov 2-1
- Berlin Bears Sorel Mizzi defeats Paris Aviators Davidi Kitai 3-0
Thursday - Americas Heads-Up - Ramos Flummoxes Busquet
The most unexpected result of the week might have come during the penultimate heads-up match of the week.
Heads-up god Olivier Busquet, who's dominated (and was undefeated) so far and collected a pile of points for the LA Sunset, fell 2-1 to Sao Paulo's Felipe Ramos.
Busquet's edge in the heads-up format was clear but a couple of nice runouts helped Ramos score a major upset for the Mets.
Busquet didn't seem too bothered, though, as he was playing shirtless from the beach in Jamaica where he's on holiday with girlfriend Sam Abernathy.
The nightcap was supposed to feature Phil Galfond but last-minute sub Jonathan Jaffe popped in to quietly earn 6 big points for San Francisco with a strong comeback win over the previously undefeated Pascal LeFrancois.
New York Rounder Jason Wheeler got the day started with a relatively quick but nicely played 2-1 win over Jake Cody of the Las Vegas Moneymakers.
- New York Rounders Jason Wheeler defeats Las Vegas Moneymakers Jake Cody 2-1
- Sao Paulo Metropolitans Felipe Ramos defeats LA Sunsets Olivier Busquet 2-1
- San Francisco Rush Jonathan Jaffe defeats Montreal Nationals Pascal Lefrancois 2-1
Global Poker League Standings - Week 7
1. Montreal Nationals - 87 points
2. NY Rounders - 81 points
3. LA Sunset - 79 points
4. Sao Paulo Mets - 70 points
5. LV Moneymakers - 63 points
6. San Francisco Rush - 57 points
1. Moscow Wolverines - 87 points
2. London Royals - 79 points
3. Paris Aviators - 78 points
4. Hong Kong Stars - 74 points
5. Berlin Bears - 64 points
6. Rome Emperors - 58 points