Team China victorious in inaugural WPT Global Teams Event

The last two days has seen a riveting clash of nations unfold, with 14 four-person teams being tested in a number of poker formats as they sought to become the first champions of the WPT Global Teams Event, which took place in Incheon, Korea.

In the end, Team China was relentless in its pursuit of the crown, always either hot in pursuit of the leading team or leading themselves.

Chinese talents Xixiang ‘heichao’ Luo, Guoliang Wei and Yang Zhang were led by team captain Dong Guo, and with $5 million in live cashes combined, they were always going to be one of the frontrunners. This victory gives a much-needed morale boost to the Chinese poker community amid government restrictions on the game in its homeland.

Team China Victory
Team China – Photo WPT

Here’s how today action unfolded:

Event 5: India, UK and Norway miss the Final Table

Team Australia and Team USA had already been eliminated when the 12 surviving teams convened for day 3. The goal for all involved was to claim a spot in the final 9. The three teams lowest ranked on the standings were eliminated after event 5, with the leading team collecting a 20% slice of the prize pool with a great chance to add more winnings by finishing in the top 3 overall.

Here are the scores for event 5:

Turbo Shootout A (Top 3)

1st – Luigi Knoppers (Netherlands) – 20 pts
2nd – Alicia Tangiiti (New Zealand) – 18 pts
3rd – Hyunsik Yun (Korea) – 16 pts

Turbo Shootout B (Top 3)

1st – Ivan Seng Yee Leow (Malaysia) – 20 pts
2nd – Harunobu Kojima (Japan) – 18 pts
3rd – Bryan Huang (Singapore) – 16 pts

Turbo Shootout C (Top 3)

1st – Vincent Kwun Ngai Li (Hong Kong SAR) – 20 pts
2nd – Martijn Gerrits (Netherlands) – 18 pts
3rd – Tyler Tan (Singapore) – 16 pts

Turbo Shootut D (Top 3)

1st – Jimmy Lee (Korea) – 20 pts
2nd – Phua Tzaiwei (Singapore) – 18 pts
3rd – Thomas Ward (New Zealand) – 16 pts

At the end of event 5, the team who scored most points in the five preliminary events was Team China, which meant they automatically won a prize of KRW 13,737,640 (approx. US$12,250). They also guaranteed that they would begin the WPT Global Teams Final with the most chips.

In what was an extremely close contest, Team Malaysia edged out Team UK, who were eliminated by less than half a point. They were joined on the rail by Team Norway and Team India. 9 teams remained with the following scores, which gave them a corresponding starting stack, with 1,000 chips equating to each point.

1. Team China – 232 2
2. Team Hong Kong SAR – 229 3
3. Team Singapore – 224 4
4. Team Netherlands – 218.5 5
5. Team Japan – 206.5
6. Team Korea – 202
7. Team Taiwan SAR – 202 8
8. Team New Zealand – 199 9
9. Team Malaysia – 197.5

Final round

Final table overview
Final Table – Photo WPT

The final event was No-Limit Hold’em and took place in a tag-team format. The players had to rotate every 20 minutes. With China having already claimed 20% of the prize pool, the teams were playing for the prestigious title a top prize of KRW27,475,000 (US$24,500). 2nd and 3rd places would receive KRW16,485,000 (US$14,700) and KRW10,990,000 (US$9,800) respectively.

Decisions were made by players under the constraints of an Action Clock, which kept the action flowing smoothly throughout. On top of the standard time chips, players were given time extensions through two time-out chips, allowing players to discuss a key decision between teammates for 2 minutes while away from the table.

With 4 teams left two members per team were allowed on the table, and during the heads up round the whole team was allowed to be seated.

Final table action

Team Japan and Team New Zealand were hoping to make up some ground in the early stages of the final but struggled from the outset, eventually falling in 9th and 8th place respectively. Singapore, Korea and Malaysia soon followed them to the rail, leaving Team Netherlands, Team Taiwan, Team China and Team Hong Kong to contest the bubble. Team Netherlands were out in front with 900,000, while Hong Kong held 420,000 to China’s 320,000. Taiwan were the shortest with 275,000, and were unable to turn their fortunes around, finishing in 4th soon after.

Team Netherlands remained in control, but Team China had moved up to 2nd spot by eliminating Team Taiwan, and the tournament remained anyone’s to win. Before long, a pivotal hand took place which changed the face of things.

China opened from the button with AJ, only for Netherlands to push all-in with AT. Team China made the call and held up to claim the chip lead.

Soon after, China picked up pocket aces to finish of Netherlands, before converting their commanding chip lead into a win during heads-up play. It was no easy task however, with the chiplead changing hands more than once before China wrapped up the win by cracking AsKs of hearts with a lowly Jc6c.

Team China victory group
Dom Choi, Team China, Danny McDonnagh – Photo WPT

The final payouts are as follows:

1st – Team China KRW27,475,000 (US$24,500) + 4 WPT Korea Main Event tickets
2nd – Team Hong Kong KRW16,485,000 (US$14,700)
3rd – Team Netherlands KRW10,990,000 (US$9,800)

More to come

The WPT Global Teams event may be over but WPT Korea is not. Day 1a of the Main Event got underway today, with 75 entries starting the day. Starting from tomorrow we will bring you updates from each day of the Main Event.

More: WPT Korea Coverage

Article by Craig Bradshaw