The GPL playoffs continue with four teams from the EurAsia Conference battling out to find out which one of them will represent the EurAsia Conference in the GPL Finals. Only four teams out of the 6-team conference advanced to the postseason. Unfortunately for the Rome Emperors and the Paris Aviators, both squads failed to qualify for the playoffs. The inaugural season finished with the Moscow Wolverines atop of their conference, which secured them the #1 seed heading into the playoffs. The Wolverines square off against the #4 seed London Royals, captained by Liv Boeree. The other side of the bracket features a tough matchup between the #2 Hong Kong Stars and the #3 Berlin Bears.
On Tuesday, cards officially went in the air inside the “CUBE” for the playoff round of the Global Poker League. When the GPL was envisioned, the playoffs were going to take place inside the Cube in the middle of Wembley Stadium. The GPL experienced serious growing pains and hiccups along the way, but they saved face (thanks to PokerStars) and switched venues for the playoffs. Instead of London and Wembley, the playoffs are now hosted in Las Vegas.
The opening round of the playoffs featured four teams from the Americas Conference. The top-seeded Montreal Nationals finished the regular season with the best overall record in the entire GPL. They were the heavy favorites going into the postseason and they met the market's high expectations by advancing to the finals. But they didn't win without a little drama along the way. Montreal almost got bounced in the opening round and nearly had to play without their best player. Due to a travel delay, Montreal's heads-up specialist Pascal Lefrancois almost never made it to Las Vegas. He arrived late and when Lefrancois finally played matches for Montreal, he posted a perfect 3-0 record.
The San Francisco rushed jumped out to a 2-nil lead and looked like they were going to upset the best team in the GPL. However, Timex made sure he put a licking on Phil Galfond the Rush. Timex won his match and then Lefrancois finally got into the game for Game 4 and proceeded to win his match and tie the score at 2-2. Phil Galfond got revenge by defeating Timex in the fifth game. With the Rush ahead 3-2, it was time for the Nationals to pull off some magic. They proceeded to win Game 6 and Timex beat out Jared Jaffe in the elimination Game 7. Montreal advanced to the finals but it was not a cake walk.
The #2 L.A. Sunset beat the #3 Sao Paulo Mets to advance to the conference finals. Olivier Busquet defeated an unstoppable Thiago Nishijima in Game 7 to advance to the finals.
In the conference finals, the Montreal nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead with another win by Timex. The L.A. Sunset mounted a comeback and won the next two matches to even the score at 2-2. Alas, that's the last the Sunset would win. The Montreal Nationals won the next two matches to clinch the victory and secure themselves a spot in the overall finals.
GPL PLAYOFFS – EURASIA CONFERENCE
#1 Moscow Wolverines vs. #4 London Royals
#2 Hong Kong Stars vs. #3 Berlin Bears
Matches will be played live in Las Vegas. Cards go in the air at noon Vegas time or 9pm CET. The second match of the day begins at 1:30pm PT or 10:30pm CET. And the EurAsia Conference finals begins at 3pm Vegas time or Midnight CET.
Here are the tentative lineups for today...
- Moscow Wolverines: Anatoly Filatov, Andrey Pateychuk, Igor Yaroshevsky, Dzmitry Urbanovich
- London Royals: Justin Bonomo, Igor Kurganov, and Liv Boeree
- Hong Kong Stars: Celina Lin, Randy Lew, Guo Dong
- Berlin Bears: Sorel Mizzi, Brian Rast, Bill Perkins, and Jungleman
Watch the playoffs live via GPL's twitch feed starting at noon Vegas time...