Friday December 2, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Breaking News

It took all 11 matches to determine a winner, but the Montreal Nationals came from behind to defeat the Berlin Bears and win the Global Poker League Championship. The GPL Finals pitted the best team in the league in the Montreal nationals against the Berlin Bears. In the final match or Game 11. Pascal Lefrancois from Montreal defeated Berlin's Brian Rast heads-up for the win. The Montreal Nationals won by an overall score of 6-5 in the GPL Finals. The team splits a grand prize of... $100,000, plus an unknown amount in side action.


The Montreal Nationals took over first place early in the season and never looked back. The finished the Americas Conference atop the standings and finished with the best record in the overall GPL. Coming into the postseason, the Montreal Nationals were the team to beat. They were almost upset in the first round when the San Francisco Rush gave them an early scare. The National rallied to win their opening round match and proceeded to defeat the L.A. Sunset in the Conference finals to receive a berth into the GPL Finals. The Berlin Bears came into the playoffs with the #2 seed in the EurAsia Conference. Prognosticators expected the top-seeded Moscow Wolverines to advance to the finals, but the Berlin Bears had other plans. The Bears beat Moscow to move onto the GPL finals.

How about an 11-game series to determine a champ? I've been following the GPL since the draft and I had no clue the finals were a best of 11 series! I figured it would be a best of 7. There hasn't been a major championship exceeding 7 games in almost a century. There was a time when the American past time baseball hosted a World Series that was a best of 9 series (or first team to win 5 games). But that epic 9-game series is a thing of the past. The 11-game series was the format to determine this year's GPL. In true dramatic fashion, the GPL championship was not decided until the 11th and final game when Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal) defeated Brian Rast (Berlin).

Line-ups for the 2016 GPL Finals

Game 1: Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) vs. Mike McDonald (Montreal)

Game 2: Bill Perkins (Berlin) vs. Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal)

Game 3: Brian Rast (Berlin) vs. Jason Lavallee (Montreal)

Game 4: Bill Perkins (Berlin) vs. Mike McDonald (Montreal)

Game 5: Brian Rast (Berlin) vs. Jason Lavellee (Montreal)

Game 6: Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) vs. Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal)

Game 7: Bill Perkins (Berlin) vs. Mike McDonald (Montreal)

Game 8: Brian Rast (Berlin) vs. Jason Lavallee (Montreal)

Game 9: Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) vs. Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal)

Game 10: Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) vs. Mike McDonald (Montreal)

Game 11: Brian Rast (Berlin) vs. Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal)

Brian Rast finished a perfect 5-0 in his semifinals' matches, but he went 1-3 in the GPL Finals. Sorel Mizzi played well for Berlin by winning 3 of 4 of his matches. Energy trader turned poker pro Bill Perkins went 1-2 and lost matches with two wicked bad beats including one against Timex.

For the winning squad, manager Marc-Andre Ladouceur assembled the right team this season. Pascal Lefrancois finished 3-1 including the crucial Game 11 match in which he beat out Brian Rast for the championship. Timex had a rough day with a 1-3 clip, but Jason Lavallee won 2 out of 3 of his matches to help Montreal win the title.

In the final match, Lefrancois rallied from behind to win. On the 40th hand, Rast doubled up Lefrancois in a clutch hand when his Qd-4d lost to Lefrancois' pocket 4s. The chip lead flopped and Lefrancois regained the lead. Couple hands later during Hand 43, it would be all over. Rast trailed 14BB to 25BB. He had 10s-8d and Lefrancois smooth-called with pocket Queens. Lefrancois flopped a Queen on a Qh-8s-4s board. The turn was the 10h, which gave Rast two pair. The money went all-in on the river when the 2h hit. Rast shoved and Lefrancis called with a set of Queens against two pair.

GPL Final Results

  • Game 1: Berlin 1, Montreal 0... Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) defeated Mike McDonald (Montreal)
  • Game 2: Berlin 1, Montreal 1... Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal) defeated Bill Perkins (Berlin)
  • Game 3: Montreal 2, Berlin 1.... Jason Lavallee (Montreal) defeated Brian Rast (Berlin)
  • Game 4: Montreal 2, Berlin 2... Mike McDonald (Montreal) defeated Bill Perkins (Berlin)
  • Game 5: Berlin 2, Montreal 2... Brian Rast (Berlin) defeated Jason Lavellee (Montreal)
  • Game 6: Montreal 3, Berlin 2... Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal) defeated Sorel Mizzi (Berlin)
  • Game 7: Montreal 3, Berlin 3... Bill Perkins (Berlin) defeated Mike McDonald (Montreal)
  • Game 8: Montreal 5, Berlin 3... Jason Lavallee (Montreal) defeated Brian Rast (Berlin)
  • Game 9: Montreal 5, Berlin 4... Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) defeated Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal)
  • Game 10: Berlin 5, Montreal 5... Sorel Mizzi (Berlin) defeated Mike McDonald (Montreal)
  • Game 11: Montreal 6, Berlin 5.... Pascal Lefrancois (Montreal) defeated Brian Rast (Berlin)

Watch the entire finals here (forward to the 1 hour mark and start watching from there)…

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